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In 2016, 81% of white evangelical Christians voted Donald Trump for president.
Pastor Doug Pagitt of Minneapolis wasn’t one of them, but four years later, he said he still feels partly responsible for allowing Trump’s rise to power.
“As someone who spent my professional life and my whole adult life working in the industry with white Christians, I realized that my DNA was all over this crime scene, just like everyone else’s,” Pagitt said.
Now, Pagitt is organizing anti-Trump rallies in swing states through his organization Vote Common Good, trying to convince his fellow evangelical Christians to vote against the president. He travels with former worship pastor Daniel Dietrich and other artists, workers, and volunteers.
They denounce the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families from their children at the US-Mexico border and its stoking of racial tensions, among other actions they view as unchristian. So far, Pagitt has convinced more than 1,600 faith leaders to endorse Joe Biden with him.
The pastor has long had progressive views. But for years, he hesitated to speak out, thinking politics and religion should stay in separate arenas.
That all changed after listening to Black church leaders leading up to the 2018 midterm elections.
“My Black preacher friends tell me, the people of our communities are so affected by the political systems in our world that we have to be engaged in both of those,” Pagitt said. “So I realized that I was using my own privilege to not have to be involved in politics.”
Now this is a full-time job for Doug, who relies on donors to pay for the expenses of his bus tour.
But convincing other white evangelicals to change their minds isn’t easy. Especially since the demographic has voted Republican for about 50 years, in part because of the party’s position on LGBTQ and abortion rights.
Younger generations are becoming more progressive, however. Forty-five percent of millennial evangelicals favor same-sex marriage, nearly double the support from older generations.
“I think that many leaders don’t think it’s worth it to lose anyone from their church over politics,” Pagitt said. “And I want to remind them that they’re not going to lose those people. You’re going to lose an entire generation who watched you stay silent when there was a moment that you needed to rise up.”
But when it comes to abortion, the generations align more closely. The Supreme Court case Roe V. Wade has been galvanizing evangelicals since it legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.
Still, polls have found support for the president among evangelicals has gone down recently. One exit poll showed Trump’s evangelical support dropped from 81% to 76% from the 2016 election to this year’s. The disparity was even more severe in key battleground states like Michigan, where Trump’s evangelical support fell from 81% to 70%, while Biden earned 29% of the vote.
Meanwhile, Biden led among every other nonwhite religious group, including Hispanic Catholics and Black Protestants, as well as all atheists and agnostics.
Pagitt’s message to voters is simple.
“We’re not asking Republicans to not be Republicans. We’re asking …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics