Evangelical historian explains how Christians came to put Trump ahead of Jesus

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John Fea is an evangelical Christian and a historian. When Donald Trump was elected with 81 percent of the self-described white evangelical vote, Fea was both stunned and surprised. “As a historian studying religion and politics, I should have seen this coming,” he notes.

Paul Rosenberg | Alternet

Yet he did not. Which was why Fea ended up writing his new book, “Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.”

On its own terms, the book clearly succeeds in making sense for Fea and others like him, with potential for reaching wavering Trump supporters as well. He identifies and lucidly explores three fundamental flaws in evangelical thinking that have led them to embrace a leader who is wholly unfit by their own once-cherished moral standards, in pursuit of ends they cannot possibly achieve — restoring 1950s America via government action. In a key passage, Fea explains:

For too long, white evangelical Christians have engaged in public life through a strategy defined by the politics of fear, the pursuit of worldly power, and nostalgia for a national past that may never have existed in the first place. Fear. Power. Nostalgia. These ideas are at the heart of this book, and I believe they best explain the 81 percent.

Fear is Fea’s central concern, and the one most directly at odds with the Bible. “The Bible teaches that Christians are to fear God – and only God,” Fea writes. “All other forms of fear reflect a lack of faith, of failure to place one’s trust completely in the providential God who has promised to work all things out for good for those who love him.”

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