Review: What are ‘Red State Christians’ really like?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, accompanied by President Donald Trump, reads a prayer at the beginning of a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

I still recall the unusually warm sunshine on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 27, 2017, when I took part in the annual March for Life. The warmth matched the exuberant, hopeful and youthful spirit of “the largest annual human rights demonstration in the world,” as the president of March for Life, Jeanne Mancini, described it.

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Red State Christiansby Angela Denker

Fortress Press, 325p $26.99

I remember, too, the uneasiness I felt at some of the other marchers’ adulation of Vice President Mike Pence, whom the march’s organizers touted as the first sitting vice president ever to address the event. His boss, President Trump, had come to office after a campaign in which he had expressed support for torture and the killing of civilians in the war on terror; spoken disdainfully of women; mocked the disabled; showed reckless disdain for the rule of law; retweeted racist remarks; and derided entire classes of human beings, including Muslims and immigrants. Only a few days before the march, he had lied about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. On the very afternoon of the march, he announced his travel ban targeting Muslim-majority nations. How could marchers for the dignity of the voiceless and the vulnerable extol this administration?

My question was not so different from the one that many people have asked since Mr. Trump’s election: How did he achieve the level of support that he did? The question becomes more pointed with respect to Christian voters. Mr. Trump won the votes of 81 percent of evangelicals, his strongest demographic. Catholics, too, were a puzzle, not because 48 percent voted for Hillary Clinton to Trump’s 45 percent but rather because in polls conducted the previous June, Ms. Clinton had led among Catholics by 19 points. Why did so many turn to Mr. Trump on Election Day?

I sympathize with and share Christians’ support for President Trump’s policies on behalf of unborn persons. What I do not understand is their adulation—the spiritual fervor that they bring to his rallies, their praise for him as the most pro-life and pro-Christian president in history—especially in light of his many defilements of dignity in private and in public, in word and in deed.

I sympathize with and share Christians’ support for President Trump’s policies on behalf of unborn persons. What I do not understand is their adulation—especially in light of his many defilements of dignity in private and in public, in word and in deed.

Angela Denker, a Lutheran pastor, takes up this same puzzle in her new book Red State Christians. When I cracked open the book, I wondered if Denker would recite the mainstream media’s standard narrative regarding evangelical Christians, whose themes include their belief in a Christian America; their worship of the flag; their veneration of the military; the high holy feasts of Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Veterans’ Day; guns; patriarchy; white people; the prosperity gospel; high school football; unqualified dispensationalist support for Israel; a singular focus on abortion and a lack of concern for babies after birth; wealthy leaders and televangelists; poor, rural churchgoers; and, gluing everything else together, the penal substitution theology of the atonement.

Such a recitation, however, is not Denker’s central aim. Rather, as she announces in her introduction, she seeks “greater engagement and conversation at a time when America feels pulled to its extremes, when our first national impulse is to block and unfriend anyone who disagrees with us.” She holds that “[w]hen we don’t avoid people who think differently than we do, we gain an opportunity for growth and national renewal.”

Acting on this wisdom, Denker spent an entire year making trips into some of the reddest parts of America: a Dallas megachurch; the March for Life; the churches of Orange County; middle Pennsylvania; the southern border in El Paso; high school football culture in Florida; Catholic New Hampshire; and her father in law's childhood home in western Missouri.. In all of these places, she sought out Christians who voted for Mr. Trump. That she would travel so widely indicates her open heart, open mind and willingness to look freshly at U.S. Christians, as do her efforts to speak with whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians, Arabs, rich, poor, men, women, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, intellectuals, leaders and rank-and-file churchgoers—among all of whom can be found supporters of President Trump.

Angela Denker holds that “[w]hen we don’t avoid people who think differently than we do, we gain an opportunity for growth and national renewal.”

Denker does not leave her convictions at home, though, and they are progressive Christian ones. Summing up her travels in the conclusion, she declares, “I refuse to whitewash the troubling incidents I witnessed and heard.” She continues, “Primarily among pastors and media figures, among wealthy and powerful people, I heard people use Christianity to justify American Christian Nationalism that would seek to harm the weak among us: refugees, the poor, women, people of color, the LGBTQ community.” She omits unborn persons from the weak, though she sympathizes with the spirit of the pro-life cause. She also accepts the claims of the L.G.B.T. movement without qualification.

Accordingly, Denker depicts most tartly those Christians and churches who most closely match the mainstream media’s narrative. She finds red-state Christianity at its most rough-hewn at the Dallas megachurch on the Fourth of July. Southern Baptist, festooned with flags, blaring sermons on “America as a Christian nation,” this congregation is the main subject of Chapter 1, and here she dispenses zingers most thickly. “Jesus better make room for America in the heart of the believer,” she writes. “And you couldn’t tell which was taking up more real estate.” The evangelicals who support Mr. Trump “love a redeemed sinner, especially when he’s white, male, and rich.” The church practices “the “near deification of the American military,” and its leaders are “American Pharisees, the disciples of Christian nationalism.”

Her zingers taper but recur throughout the book. Her chapter on Trump-supporting Catholics is titled, “Building a New American Kingdom and Defying the Pope.” She is at her harshest when describing the subordination of women, as in Orange County: “Nowhere else in the country are women expected to toe the line between Madonna and whore so effortlessly.”

This narrative, though, is not Denker’s dominant theme. Immediately following the “I refuse to whitewash” statement in the conclusion, is a paragraph that begins, “Still, as I come to the end of this journey, what sticks with me are the stories of surprise. All across America, people are doing surprising things that don’t fit into our prescribed boxes that we use to categorize people.”

Angela Denker: "All across America, people are doing surprising things that don’t fit into our prescribed boxes that we use to categorize people.”

In the chapter on the March for Life, Denker walks alongside a grandmother from Maryland who did not vote for Mr. Trump but is “thrilled” with his support for religious freedom and unborn life. While the author expected to find a Trump rally at the march, she did not spot more than five red MAGA hats in the crowd and discovered that many of the marchers were conflicted about their support for the president. At a pre-march rally, she heard Russell Moore, a Southern Baptist leader whose opposition to President Trump has raised the ire of fellow evangelicals, declare that both refugees and unborn persons are pro-life concerns. One speaker at the march, a former N.F.L. player, declared that “abortion advocates are our brothers and sisters.”

In Denker’s subsequent visits around the United States, she remains open to being surprised. Again and again, she finds red-state Christians who are ambivalent, not zealous, in their support for Mr. Trump. Repeatedly she remarks upon the diversity of the churches she visits. Even the Dallas megachurch is populated with old and young, African-Americans, Asians and Latinos. Most of all, she finds common ground with her interlocutors—compassion toward the suffering, commitment to family, tales of conversion to Christianity and love for Jesus.

In her conclusion, she recounts a story of attending her father in law's family reunion back in rural western Missouri, where she, a woman minister from the more liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (she is from Minneapolis, MN), was surrounded by members of the conservative Lutherans of the Missouri Synod—Trump voters. After helping her 2-year-old son change his clothes in the church bathroom, she found her husband telling her that everyone had hoped that she would lead the prayer before the meal.

Such bridge-building, boundary-crossing gestures are a microcosm of what Denker believes America needs in the present moment. “My Red-State Christian story began with Trump,” she concludes, but “the place my story ends is far from Trump. It ends in places in America where people are forming unlikely alliances, surprising each other and surprising political pundits, to build a future that looks nothing like the Republicans or Democrats of the past.” Doubtless, some readers will differ sharply with Denker over her political and theological views—as I do in some respects—but her intrepid forays of empathy show us how these very differences can be met with love rather than with bitter, downwardly spiraling enmity.

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J Cosgrove
3 weeks 3 days ago

What an absurd question the headline is. It assumes that these people are some sort of specimen to be looked at under a microscope. The author should read Zalena Zito who talks to average people all the time for her columns. This will open his eyes to his narrowness. http://bit.ly/31VCvwn

By the way Trump did not lie about those who saw the inauguration. With the large crowd, TV audience and online streaming, it was the most observed of any inauguration. There is so much fake news in the author's article (a scholar on Islam get wrong what Trump travel ban did) I wonder where the editors were. Or maybe they don't know either.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 3 days ago

Here is a photo of the inauguration as Trump is being sworn in. http://cnn.it/2jF2sLa

It is impressive but not as big as that for Obama. But the 50 mile circle around the Capitol voted for Obama 5 to 1. So Trump supporters traveled a longer distance as this article indicates while the Obama supporters did not have to And while the crowd was very large, most watched on TV or streaming as I did on my IPhone.

Ron Martel
3 weeks 3 days ago

Lots of probably in your comment.

Ron Martel
3 weeks 3 days ago

Sounds like you need to educate yourself before commenting and review your biases.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 3 days ago

You are right. It was about 5 to 1 against Trump in surrounding area. So unlikely those who showed up were local. Took probably’s out.

Here is an article about why evangelicals voted for Trump and will continue to support him. He was a New York liberal who espoused conservative values to get elected and then fulfilled on his promises. http://bit.ly/2ZcKrwn

Nora Bolcon
2 weeks 6 days ago

J - he also did not fulfill his promises. He has created an almost Trillion Dollar more deficit and despite that fact it looks like we are still heading for a major recession and in part due to his stupid trade war with China. He still does not have a wall built - thank God!, He let down the mid west - those good union jobs are still gone and more have been leaving every day he has been in office. The farmers are going bankrupt on account of his inept leadership. They should have known better than to hire a president who let his own companies go bankrupt 4 times or more. Hating women is not a great reason to vote for a president. Fear of black and brown people is just as bad a reason and that is why God is not blessing this presidency.

Nora Bolcon
2 weeks 6 days ago

Ahh J.,

Trump claimed he had a huge crowd present at his inauguration and he didn't - so that is a false claim - period. He had no where near O'Bama's crowd and plenty of people watched O'Bama on Facebook etc. when it was his inauguration too. I have no doubt it was a much larger amount than Trump simply because O'bama was our first black president. Republicans looked flat out stupid and pathetic when they tried to support this idiot in the white house.

As for Evangelicals and White Catholics who supported Trump because he was a Pro-Lifer - Shame on them! In this age it is the easiest thing to research topics with qualified responsible experts on virtually any subject. The laws Pro-Life wants to pass in our country kill more unborn than having no laws restricting abortion at all, during any stage of pregnancy, and this has been well proven with real evidence by Guttmacher, The World Health Organization, and the actual countries around the world's own abortion stats. All Pro-life had to do was look this information up and that is all they need to do now but alas that would mean facing the truth and how horribly unchristian and misogynistic and unborn hating their stand actually is.

The Truth: Laws restricting abortion kill the unborn in higher amounts in every country and or continent of the world where these laws have been passed and that has been true for more than a decade. These laws also kill dramatically more women. The U.S. has one of the lowest abortion rates in the world and even lower rates than when it was a crime back in the 1950s. South American (Catholic) countries have the strictest laws against abortion and the highest abortion rates in the world and many of these countries have double the rate of abortion than the U.S.

I get what this writer of this book is talking about and the writer of this article shows his own idiocy when he critiques a women as liberal for stating facts rather than opinions. If I see people praying to a flag and holding it as dear as a crucifix, it is an observation to state they are worshiping that flag - it is not an opinion.

I heard people use Christianity to justify American Christian Nationalism that would seek to harm the weak among us: refugees, the poor, women, people of color, the LGBTQ community.” She omits unborn persons from the weak, though she sympathizes with the spirit of the pro-life cause. She also accepts the claims of the L.G.B.T. movement without qualification.

Without qualification? What qualifications is this man looking for? I have continually heard both evangelicals and Catholics demonize homosexuals and there are how many stories about evangelicals and Catholics firing LGBT people because they have married or refused to serve them like at Chick-a-Filet?

Again, the unborn die more under the laws Trump would like passed criminalizing abortion and jailing women and providers so how is she not including the unborn in with the weak?

Although, the writer of this article is correct about the fact that even this Lutheran Minister has clearly not bothered to research the subject of abortion and what increases and decreases it on a global scale because she acts like Pro-Life Marches lead to less instead of more dead fetuses too, and again incorrectly.

I can however completely understand all those people who have given up trying to even speak to the "red side" since facts and truth do not interest them. They don't really want to follow the Gospels either and that goes for Catholics as much as Evangelicals based on "red" supporters actions from both these groups.

I have come to believe that most Pro-Lifers take up this cause on abortion and pro-life because one or two reasons. The first reason: the excitement of being in a click, no matter what the cause, or the second reason: underlying misogyny being feigned as concern for the unborn when it really is just the desire to control women thru their reproductive organs. If these reasons were not correct, I believe that these pro-lifers would have done the whole half an hour research on the subject, from respectable experts, whom I have already listed above because that is how long it took me to find out the facts below of which there is no refuting evidence against this evidence being accurate:

From Guttmacher: Abortion and Birth Control Stats.
(Notes from my other research on this topic - bottom)

REGIONAL INCIDENCE AND TRENDS:
• The highest annual rate of abortion in 2010–2014 was in the Caribbean, estimated at 59 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, followed by South America, at 48.

The lowest rates were in Northern America, at 17, and Western and Northern Europe—at 16 and 18, respectively.

• Across regions, Eastern Europe experienced the largest decline in the abortion rate, from 88 in 1990–1994 to 42 in 2010–2014. Despite this decline, there is a persistent gap in rates between Eastern and Western Europe (42 vs. 16) likely reflecting lower use of effective, modern contraceptive methods in Eastern Europe.

• The overall abortion rate in Africa was 34 per 1,000 women in 2010–2014. Subregional rates ranged from 31 in Western Africa to 38 in Northern Africa. There has been little if any change in abortion rates in these subregions since 1990–1994.

• For Latin America, subregional abortion rates range from 33 in Central America to 48 in South America. Rates have increased slightly since 1990–1994, but not by statistically significant amounts.

• Abortion rates in Asia have also fallen since 1990–1994, although not significantly. Asia’s subregions all have rates close to the regional average of 36 per 1,000 women.

• Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. When countries are grouped according to the grounds under which the procedure is legal, the rate is 37 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age where it is prohibited altogether or allowed only to save a woman’s life, compared with 34 per 1,000 where it is available on request, a nonsignificant difference.

• High levels of unmet need for contraception help explain the prevalence of abortion in countries with restrictive abortion laws.

What I have researched from other appropriate sources agrees with Guttmacher but also indicates the below information on this subject:

The World Health Organization Research agrees with the Guttmacher Research. Their results are almost identical.

However, neither the W.H.O. or Guttmacher can give us a solid conclusion, due to lack of evidence, as to what happens when countries offer easy access to quality birth control but make their abortion laws stricter. This is due to the fact that most countries either are lenient on both issues or they are strict on access to both abortion and birth control.

We could make some confident speculation, based on the global evidence that does exist, that in countries, currently, where laws are strict for both abortion and birth control or where both are criminalized, that were these countries to loosen up laws on birth control access alone and not on abortion, the abortion rates would come down more, and likely closer to where the Western and developed nations are at. However, these countries are not necessarily or likely to get quite as low as the western, industrialized, countries since there does exist evidence that the mere difficulty of access to abortion alone lends, especially in certain cases, to higher abortion rates by itself.

Unfortunately, in the countries where the laws for abortion become much stricter than in the past, such as may exist in the U.S. for the future, the amount of abortions could increase quite a bit even if birth control access remains easy and free. One of the reasons this is true is due to the fact that, in these countries, many women who get pregnant in their later years, 40s or older, often now seek to get an amnio to see if their fetus is healthy. They can only get this during the late part of the 3rd month or beginning of the fourth month of their pregnancy. With stricter laws, some of these women may decide they don't want to take the chance the fetus is unhealthy or has downs syndrome, and instead may opt to get an early abortion thru more easily, anonymously obtained, although perhaps illegally obtained, abortion pills. These pills become not an option in later months, and testing would put women in a position to not be able to deny they are pregnant, publicly, if they wait, so this puts the women at risk they could be charged with a crime if abortion becomes illegal. (Please note: I am not suggesting this is right or moral or Christian behavior but only that the reality exist and I personally know quite a few women who would fit this category, today, in the U.S. despite anyone's opinions or beliefs)

A horrible side effect of the above situation is this: 50% of all downs fetuses naturally miscarry in the first trimester, and 40% that make it to the 2nd trimester miscarry then. Fetuses that have other severe health issues often miscarry, naturally, within the first three - four months of pregnancy as well. The amount of downs fetuses that become born infants are very small amounts even for older women. This illness is still quite rare overall. This means many women could end up aborting perfectly healthy fetuses, by the thousands, each year, or more, to avoid the possibility of having an unhealthy baby, and this number increases if women already have other children. One way some western countries avoid this issue is that they keep early abortions legal and allow later abortions into the 4th and 5th month if the fetus has tested unhealthy or the woman's life is in real danger if she remains pregnant. Many married older women think they aren't fertile when they still are and stop taking birth control.

Lastly, there is no existing evidence that easy access to abortions, even throughout pregnancy, equates to more abortions, in any country, that has free and easy access to birth control. In fact, countries with easy access to abortion and also free easy access to birth control have the lowest rates in the world, and these rates lower even more when those countries offer mandated longer paid maternity/paternity leaves, free quality universal health care, and free, quality, public daycare. (The only exception to this seems to be Sweden. Despite Sweden's similarly ease of access to both abortion and birth control and it's offering many of the benefits listed above that other Western European Countries offer, it still has quite a high abortion rate. However, there is no evidence suggesting that tightening Sweden's existing laws would lower its rate for abortion and doing so would likely only raise it even higher.)

The evidence we do have seems to indicate, on a global scale, that despite what seems reasonable in theory, i.e., harsh abortion laws will lower abortion rates, is completely false when put to the test in reality. It just may be that easy access to abortion, and lenient abortion laws, help more to reduce abortion rates than having strict laws against abortion, in any country. Perhaps some morality issues simply cannot be solved by force or threat but must instead be dealt with by respecting the situation of the people involved and helping them out of their place of fear or desperation, with physical and material protections and emotional and spiritual support. We could do much more perhaps by encouraging a choice for good, and for life, without attempting to control women. We could choose to help women in real ways, instead of trying to corner them into doing the Christian thing.

Lloyd William
3 weeks 3 days ago

Sorry Dan but your anti-Republican and especially anti-Trump sentiment clearly shows. There are a number of assertions in your commentary that you state as fact that are not necessarily so. I believe that Trump was elected for several reasons: 1) he promised to nominate conservatives to the Supreme Court. 2) the economy, while recovering, was growing too slowly to improve the standard of living for many. Trump promised strong pro-growth policies. 3). His opponents engaged in “identity politics” that were not perceived to benefit all

I am no defending some of the outlandish comments and policies adopted by the administration. He deserves some of the criticism.

Finally, the point about finding surprising views is refreshing because it may begin to crack the stereotypes that many have about people in red states. We also need to understand that we should never assume that someone from a group, male or female, black or white, Catholic or not automatically hold views that may or may not fit those stereotypes

Ron Martel
3 weeks 3 days ago

There are more than theee reasons Americans voted for trump.

Lloyd William
3 weeks 3 days ago

Agree. But in my opinion, those are the principal reasons. Everyone has their own list

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 2 days ago

There are over 20 reasons people voted for Trump. Most were taking a chance but the big one was the alternative was too distasteful for most of the Trump voters. See http://bit.ly/3209Fel . 300 Reasons to reelect Trump

Dave B
3 weeks 2 days ago

Sad that any catholic would vote for Trump.If a catholic believes the victims of abuse by the priests they need to believe the abuse victims by Trump.Lets not forget the man was accused of sexual assault and rape by over 15 women.For any catholic to give a pass on this should examine their conscience.

Robert Lewis
3 weeks 1 day ago

Trump's tariff wars are already exacerbating a gradually depressing economy, and the "growth" is beginning to stall. Mercifully, this will probably cost him the election in 2020, because it will enable folks to see through his flimflam tax rebate, that is mainly for millionaires living in "red" states. I say "mercifully" because his stance on global warming would end up burning the planet unless he were removed.

Michael Bindner
3 weeks 3 days ago

This comports with most such investigations. People on both sides are basically nice. The people whose reputations require that they be partisan breathe fire when they are in stage. Some true believers are nice personally, but others are too doctrinaire to stand, especially in the anonymity of the Internet. As for Trump, his handlers put in more effort than he did.

Mike Macrie
3 weeks 3 days ago

My Daughter and Son In-Law live in red state and they are both Trump Supporters. My Son In-Law comes from a Military Family that have always backed Republicans. The Military background of his family is why I feel they are Trump Supporters and not because of the Red State they live in. Now my Son and his Wife have lived in both a Red State and a Blue State and they are both Center Left Democrats. They are both Ivy League Graduates and strong Anti Trump. The Liberal Ivy League Education is why I feel they are Democrats.
Now for myself I have gone from Independent to Democrat. I vote on sizing up the Character of the man who runs for Political Office.
Let me say this, knowing my Son In-Law and his Family as Christians, Trump Supporters and living in a Red State, they are good people. The vast majority of the Red State Christians are not White Nationalist or Racist but ordinary people with different views on life.

George Obregon
3 weeks 3 days ago

Daniel Philpott,
Review: What are ‘Liberal Catholics’ really like? ... would be a more responsible article given that liberal Catholics are the enemy of human life in the womb.
/geo ex machina

FRAN ABBOTT
3 weeks 3 days ago

What a strange comment! I am a liberal Catholic and I am not an enemy of human life in any way, place or form.

FRAN ABBOTT
3 weeks 3 days ago

Duplicate

Mike Macrie
3 weeks 2 days ago

What is a Liberal Catholic ?

George Obregon
3 weeks 2 days ago

All liberal Christians I know, Catholic or Protestant support abortion-on-demand, some even attend the local Jesuit Santa Clara University. America, the Jesuit Review should profile them.
/geo ex machina

FRAN ABBOTT
3 weeks 2 days ago

Then, George Obtegon, you should have qualified your statement and not made a blanket accusation against all liberal Catholics, since you are only talking about people you know. I am, by the definition that I have read in this site, a liberal Catholic and neither I nor other liberal Catholics I know demand — or even support — abortion on demand. Please do not paint innocent people with an overly broad brush.

George Obregon
3 weeks 1 day ago

Of course, the artless author of this article did exactly what you oppose, --painting with a very broad brush normal Americans who support President Trump, but as some kind of zoo animals when viewed at a distance... "What are Red State Christians really like?" when viewed up close...

I thought it funny to put the same shoe on his foot since he's obviously a liberal Catholic. And so it goes...
/geo ex machina

Oz Jewel
3 weeks 3 days ago

So, parents in the USA let a one-eyed man with such bile and incoherence teach their children?
Each voter is a PERSON and an INDIVIDUAL; end of story.

Randal Agostini
3 weeks 3 days ago

The beginning of the article sets the tone: "President Trump, had come to office after a campaign in which he had expressed support for torture and the killing of civilians in the war on terror; spoken disdainfully of women; mocked the disabled; showed reckless disdain for the rule of law; retweeted racist remarks; and derided entire classes of human beings, including Muslims and immigrants. Only a few days before the march, he had lied about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. On the very afternoon of the march, he announced his travel ban targeting Muslim-majority nations."
When something is seen through a jaundiced eye, everything becomes ugly, jaded:
Nobody likes torture, but we hate hypocrisy more and we turn a blind eye - check your history. Nobody seeks to kill civilians, but we hate hypocrisy more and we turn a blind eye - Dresden, Hiroshima. It is not polite to speak ill of women, but we hate hypocrisy more - listen in on the locker room. Nobody speaks ill of the disabled, but we hate hypocrisy more, even when used by the infirm. Rule of law? Enshrined hypocrisy? Racist is now the codeword of everything we don't agree with. Travel ban? We hate hypocrisy more.

Douglas Fang
3 weeks 2 days ago

“By the way Trump did not lie about those who saw the inauguration”!!!

So much for an “intellectual” claim that “Conservatives respect facts…” Yep, they respect facts only if the facts align with their view, otherwise, everything else is fake!

Please don’t spin this by adding TV and streaming… Who cares about them, we were talking about the inauguration crowd in DC here.

BTW, anyone with a tiny bit of honesty can see that the crowd attending Trump’s inauguration was much smaller compared to the one for Obama’s. The pictures, the metro-bus data, etc. can demonstrate this obvious conclusion.
https://www.factcheck.org/2017/01/the-facts-on-crowd-size/
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/1/24/14354036/crowds-presidential-inaugurations-trump-average

It was quite a shock at that time to see Trump and his worshippers disputed these facts at that time. This POTUS (and his worshippers??) has very small self-esteem and very thin skin. Since then, how many lies and distortions did he spew? 12000+ and counting…

Hypocrisy at the highest level – Indeed.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 2 days ago

So you are saying that those watched on television or streaming don’t count. In a city that votes 9 to 1 Democratic and adjacent countries that vote 2-6 to 1 democratic does not affect actual bodies there in person. The photo provided shows the extent of the crowd. It reaches to the Washington monument. Yes, the crowd was bigger for Obama but total watching was higher for Trump. Even if it wasn’t it’s not a big deal. It was held in an extremely concentrated Democratic area so it’s surprising the crowd was that large.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 2 days ago

The real issue here is that the author brought it up and thought it important. It seems like a puerile point especially when depending on how one takes the claim he is wrong. The rest of his objections are also childish. This is supposed to be a serious writer’s objection to Trump? It is just one of many Trump hit pieces here that are basically shallow in their assessment. Quoting other anti-Trump authors is not a valid approach.

Douglas Fang
3 weeks 2 days ago

“…Yes, the crowd was bigger for Obama…” – So, it seems at least you still have some honesty to accept this fact. However, Trump and his crew got into heated debates and accusations to deny this simple and verifiable FACT. This silly incident now is famous to show that Trump is so sensitive to anything that is negative about him and denounce them as fake. He just did it again for recent Fox polls that showed him defeated by a good margin against Biden, Sanders, and even Warren!

“…but total watching was higher for Trump…” – Wow, this is a desperate spin. First, whenever people talk about the inauguration crowd, they are talking about the crowd in DC. For the other claim about “total watching”, can you provide a legitimate and respectable source or is this just a wishful bogus claim, aka “fake”?

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 2 days ago

My original comment said the crowd for Obama was bigger and I provided a photo of the crowd. Your ad hominems get a little tiring. You should ask questions not denigrate others. Here is an article published a few days after the inaugural on streaming. https://tcrn.ch/2ZdmHZc

Persy Skywise
3 weeks 2 days ago

Pre-presidency Donald Trump was a pop tv figure who would be invited on to Fox News to shame conservatives and be the voice of moderation. Go check the google images to see his chummy relationship between him and the Clintons. He is/was a self-described typical New York liberal pro-big government, pro choice, pro gay marriage, pro eminent domain and most importantly pro-Keynesian economics etc etc etc. and he has had a sordid tabloid past. And he would never have been the GOP candidate if the media (the same one that is profiting off Sensationalist Trump hatred) hadn’t given him millions of dollars worth of free publicity during his “self-financed campaign”. The real story is how the DNC, the White House and the Clintons manipulated the election process to hand the election to Hillary Clinton but Trump double-crossed them and went for the win. Fortunately, there were enough voters nauseous at the idea of Hillary Clinton and whoever else has the Goods on the Clintons having the White House that we were saved that fate.
Research the Clinton death list and actually read the old details going back to Arkansas - it illuminates that where the Clintons tread there is corruption and violent lawless ruthlessness.

Colin Donovan
3 weeks 2 days ago

I looked in vain in the article, and its account of the book, for any real knowledge, as opposed to caricatures, of people who voted for Trump. Yes, there are racists and xenophobes who did so, but that’s a few. In that dichotomy, it’s similar to the situation on the Left, in which there are extremists who think bashing heads at protests is a legitimate political activity, and the ordinary progressive who holds that “choice” is legitimate before birth, but gets rightly squeamish about it afterwards.

In that vein, I also read the usual shibboleth that those who care for babies in the womb don't care for them after they are born. First, no actual pro-lifers that I know of at least, and I know quite a few Catholic and Protestant, hold such a morally contradictory view. No, they are more likely to find abortion abhorrent and also be inclined to support with money and prayer, as well as volunteer for, apostolates geared to help pregnant poor women keep their child, as well as provide for them after their babies are born.

On immigration, there are surely xenophobes wanting no non-white immigration, but very many Catholics and Protestants simply want immigration properly regulated, even if generously allowed. Both are common sense. Regulation deters abhorrent practices such as human trafficking, sex trafficking, gun and drug trafficking. It ensures the safety of immigrants and citizens alike, protecting both from criminality that is destructive of personal lives, families and society. Likewise, generosity is common sense, as well as charity and an American civil tradition. Yes, there has been bigotry historically against immigrants, but that is not what motivated their descendants to vote for Trump over Clinton and her “progressive” agenda. To say otherwise, as this article and this book seems to do, is slander against the many millions of Protestants and Catholics who reject the progressive worldview and voted for the only person who seemed to be listening to their concerns.

No President is the One, as some said of Obama, or the Second Coming, as someone recently said of Trump, but as long as one party continues to offer up candidates like Obama, Hillary, Sanders, Warren and Catholic Biden, expect the same result.

Christopher Lowery
3 weeks 1 day ago

“as long as one party continues to offer up candidates like Obama, Hillary, Sanders, Warren and Catholic Biden, expect the same result.”

Lease be specific — what result is that?

Judith Jordan
2 weeks 3 days ago

Colin Donovan---

You assert what most pro-birth people state that they help pregnant women and their children with money as well as provide for them after their babies are born. That is well and good, but with all due respect, you and your colleagues do not state the realities of what is happening.

Charities, including one of the biggest, Catholic Charities, have repeatedly testified before Congress that they do not have enough resources to take care of all the needs and they need more government subsidy to care for children. Most of the “pro-life” Republicans vote against this. If you look at the Congressional Record, you will see that most “pro-life” representatives vote against programs feeding children. The pro-choice representatives vote for programs feeding children. A paradox…or something else?

These facts have been known for some time, yet the pro-birth people continue to ignore it and continue to vote for “pro-life” representatives who vote against funds for the pregnant women and children.

Ironically, “pro-life” people criticize women for getting an abortion for “mere economic” reasons. When it is pointed out that we must give much more governmental support to poor women, children, and pregnant women, the “pro-life” people lash back in anger and insist the government already has money for these programs. In other words, they do not support these programs because of economic reasons…they don’t want to pay more taxes.

Sister Joan Chittister, Order of St. Benedict, best describes my position. She stated:

"I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

Dave B
3 weeks 2 days ago

Too bad the Christian right supports Trump a man who has been accused of rape,sexual assault and harassment.A woman said she was raped by Trump when she was 13 at a Jeffery Epstein party.She dropped the charges after she was harassed.They believe the victims of sex abuse against the priests,but not the ones assaulted by Trump?Trump has ten thousand documented lies,and two thousand conflicts of interest.What kind of ethic,or morality is this to support?
If one says their pro life then ignores babies and desperate poor people just trying to survive at the border,Im sorry that’s not pro life.If you cut out food stamps for people who need it,that’s not pro life.If you support a president who stands for the death penalty that’s not pro life.
The right needs to see the big mistake their making and really ask if Jesus would support a president like Trump.
God bless.

amy born
3 weeks 1 day ago

Dave,
This one does baffle me....I have Catholic friends that have left the faith bc of the sexual abuse in the Church yet pass off the multiple sexual assault/harassment & extracurricular sexual activity of Mr. Trump as “that was in the past”.
My thought is that people have a Pro & Con list for political leaders.

Nora Bolcon
2 weeks 6 days ago

No surprise there. Many People claimed to be Christian but their actions prove them liars. Some people claim to Christian just to get elected like Trump based on his abusive lifestyle overall.

amy born
3 weeks 1 day ago

Thank you Mr. Philpott for talking about this important idea of listening to each other. I’m looking forward to reading this book & discussing with others that have similar & different thoughts on the political landscape we’re navigating.
I enjoy your work very much!

amy born
3 weeks 1 day ago

😊

Andrew Strada
3 weeks 1 day ago

Professor Philpott and Reverend Denker examining Trump voters is like an entomologist studying an ant colony. The little rascals may be interesting and may justify the time and effort to study them, but they are clearly several orders of magnitude lower on the food chain than the observers (at least in the humble opinion of the observers). It is hard to find "greater engagement and conversation" with people for whom you have such obvious contempt. But do give yourselves a pat on the back for making such a "good faith" effort.

david_roccosalva@yahoo.com
3 weeks ago

You say ‘Red State Christians’ I say Radicalized Christian Extremists. And that picture of Trump "praying"? Propaganda his undereducated supporters love.

Judith Jordan
2 weeks 3 days ago

Supporters of Trump say they like Trump because he says what he thinks. So does a toddler.

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