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Blind Leads the Blind as on this Board: 'No regrets': Evangelicals and other faith leaders still support Trump after deadly US Capitol attack
Posted by: NuNativs ()
Date: January 13, 2021 05:56AM

'No regrets': Evangelicals and other faith leaders still support Trump after deadly US Capitol attack

"Religious delusion and political delusion, a deadly combo..."

Like millions of other Americans, Franklin Graham watched the disturbing images of last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol with swelling concern and anger.

Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham and head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said he was sickened to see "people attack my Capitol and break down the doors of my Capitol" and was dismayed to see how President Donald Trump riled up the protesters.

"I don't think it was the president's finest moment," he said.

But Graham said he doesn't expect the tumult at the Capitol to deter evangelical Christians from continuing to support Trump.

"I don’t think he had any understanding in that moment of what was going to take place," he said. "None of us did."

Graham added: "He regrets it."

Since his victory in a very competitive Republican primary in 2016, Trump has relied on evangelical Christians and other influential religious groups as powerful voting blocs to shore up his influence. In exchange, he has appointed more than 200 federal judges and three conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court who support limits on abortion and gay marriage and other policies favored by many conservative religious leaders. In the November presidential election, 76% of White evangelicals voted for Trump and 24% for President-elect JoeBiden, according to Edison exit polls.

The attack on the Capitol, where thousands of protesters broke into the building as Congress finalized the Electoral College vote count and acknowledged Biden as the election winner, have led to nearly 100 arrests and motivated House Democrats to introduce articles of impeachment against Trump for allegedly inciting the crowds. During a speech just before the violence broke out, Trump told his followers, "we’re going to have to fight much harder."

“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” he added hours before rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol threatening to kill Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers.

On Tuesday, before leaving on a trip to South Texas, Trump said calls for his impeachment were divisive and his comments to supporters before the Capitol insurrection were "totally appropriate."

None of the recent turmoil has eroded much of his support among evangelicals, experts and religious leaders said.

Part of the reason is that, for the past four years, evangelical leaders have created an "echo chamber" where they blamed all of Trump's digressions and missteps on the Democratic Party or the mainstream media, said Sarah Posner, an investigative journalist and author of "Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump."

After the deadly Capitol riot, which resulted in five deaths, evangelical leaders who supported him have largely continued to stand with him and deflect blame away from Trump, while those who have been critical of the president denounced the riots and blamed him for playing a role, she said.

Evangelicals "are so conditioned not to trust the media, it's going to be really hard to convince them of the truth of what happened on Wednesday," Posner said.

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