Religion
July 29, 2016
Will conservative Christians back Trump?

Religious belief is playing a significant role in this year’s presidential campaign. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s rhetoric and anti-immigrant positions have split the traditionally conservative evangelical Christian community, with some evangelical leaders embracing Trump, a businessman and reality TV star turned politician, and others rejecting him. Conservative Christians also continue to fight same-sex marriage as well as contraception covered under the Affordable Care Act, both backed by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Within the Catholic Church, Pope Francis’ emphasis on social and economic justice is refocusing the church’s attention on those issues but stirring resistance among Catholic traditionalists.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington on June 10. Trump has chosen Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian, as his running mate, a move that could bolster Trump’s standing among conservative Christians. (AFP/Getty Images/Molly Riley)   Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington on June 10. Trump has chosen Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian, as his running mate, a move that could bolster Trump’s standing among conservative Christians. (AFP/Getty Images/Molly Riley)

In late June, soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump received a standing ovation from several hundred conservative Christian leaders in New York City as he embraced political positions central to their movement. Footnote 1

Trump promised to appoint anti-abortion judges to the federal courts and to end restrictions on tax-exempt churches openly engaging in politics. He also strongly endorsed “religious liberty,” which many conservative Christians say should give them the right to reject same-sex marriage or other legally recognized rights with which they disagree. Footnote 2 Shortly before the Republican convention in July, Trump chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian, as his running mate, a move that could further bolster his standing within the community.

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