July 29, 2019
As the Church continues to debate the effectiveness of Donald Trump’s presidency, Christopher Corbett offers a unique perspective on the larger threat of what he calls “Christianophobia.” This very real ideology is gaining steam, with or without President Trump, and we need to realize, and pray for, the ramifications of this anti-faith movement. Here is an excerpt from his article published in THE STREAM.
In short, the best explanation for why evangelicals support Trump is not Trump. It’s Christianophobia. Never-Trumpers may say that evangelical support for Trump feeds Christianophobia. But this movement pre-dates Trump. It doesn’t need Trump. Its fires burn regardless of who is president.
What Evangelicals Preserve Under Trump
I’ve seen Christianophobia’s effects first hand. For over four years, I was a vice president in communications at First Liberty Institute. First Liberty is a non-profit legal organization giving pro bono defense to Americans of any faith suffering from unlawful religious discrimination. Based on the hundreds of legal matters our lawyers handled, here’s what I would estimate is on the line for a very large number of Christians:
Their jobs. Their businesses. Their Bible studies. Their right to raise their children without interference or indoctrination. Their churches’ right to govern property and to control church teaching. Their ability to operate ministries such as orphanages and homeless shelters. Their right to publicly pray and express their views. The list goes on and is well-documented. Losses in these areas are already mounting. Of course, Christianophobic institutions might let us keep some of these things, but only if we renounce key pillars of our beliefs.
Against Christianophobia, there is the Trump administration.
Trump’s federal judges give religious liberty a chance at survival — the “space” for Christians to exist and to influence others. Already, Trump’s judges have paved the way to overturning chilling decisions against Christians in education and small business. However, more is needed. Trump’s religious liberty executive order and the administration’s department guidance rules likely have saved the ability of Christians to live out their faith in government service, including the military. They also likely saved countless faith-owned contractors from banishment by federal agencies. Another executive order seeks to restore to students — including Christians — greater ability to speak more freely on campuses. Throw in Trump’s unprecedented pro-life energy, and is it any wonder that for most evangelicals, the pro vs. con calculus on Trump has fallen toward the “pro” side?
Sure, there will be difficulties to wrestle with. And the ultimate counter to Christianophobia? A revival of biblical literacy and sacrificial zeal within the church. But government is important. It is a God-ordained institution that should protect, not oppose, a freely lived faith. In that light, Trump is not the “crisis” for Christians some may believe.
Christopher Corbett is a writer and communications strategist working with an array of non-profit policy organizations and ministries. He holds a degree in political science from the University of Chicago.