By: Dr. Kelli Criss
This week we focus on the new book, For God and Country: The Christian Case for Trump (2020), by Dr. Ralph Reed, the founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Dr. Reed is also the chairman and CEO of Century Strategies, the Atlanta-based public relations and public affairs firm. His work in American politics includes eleven presidential campaigns, chairmanship of the Georgia Republican Party, and service on the Evangelicals for Trump Coalition. Additionally, Dr. Reed is a prolific writer, having authored or edited seven bestselling books and columns in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and National Review.
Politics, History, & Faith
The significance of the title, For God and Country, lies in its parallelism with Dr. Reed’s own life. In the book, he draws upon his knowledge of US history (evidenced by his PhD in history from Emory University), his expertise in American political strategy, and his deeply held Christian values. The book is woven together with personal anecdotes detailing interactions between Dr. Reed and President Trump as well as the First Family. The book aims to explain the various reasons that Trump is the “unlikely champion” of Christian values and to rally pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals to maintain their support of Trump.
For God and Country describes the liberal media’s lingering befuddlement over Evangelical Christians’ backing Trump: “The only thing that has driven the liberal media more nuts than Trump’s presidency . . . is the fact that it was achieved with the full backing of Evangelical Christians” (Reed, 2020, p.8). Dr. Reed enumerates various criticisms hurled by commentators like Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time, who said in 2016 that Evangelicals’ voting for Trump has laid bare “the shameful hypocrites they’ve always been” and that “Trump has nothing in common with Jesus.”
Confounding the Liberal Media
As the liberal media scratches its head over the fact that Trump even won in 2016, they daily review the mystery of Trump’s continued support from Evangelical Christians. Why is the liberal media confounded by Evangelical Christians’ backing Trump?
Dr. Reed (2020) proposes that the liberal media lacks understanding about the “civic aspirations of people of faith” and “the proper role of faith in God in a pluralistic society” (p. 9). This misunderstanding by the liberal media implies that Evangelical Christians, due to their belief system, should only vote for sinless candidates who are embracing and carrying out Evangelical Christians’ moral principles impeccably.
The liberal media preaches to the faith community that our vote should not be cast for imperfect candidates whose history includes missteps and whose platform includes the valued policy positions of Evangelical Christians whether pro-life, pro-family, pro-Israel, or pro-religious liberty. Reed (2020) claims such commentary implies “the citizenship of Christians is reduced to a function of their piety – not love for America, advancing sound public policy, or a desire for the common good” (p. 9). While we embrace our religious convictions through our vote, the liberal media daily proselytizes on a worldwide stage available 24 hours a day through laptops, iPhones, tv screens, and radio to win converts. They seem unaware of their promotion of their own religion of judgement against dissenting views and of faith in secularism and humanism.
Shame: The Real Goal
What’s the goal of the liberal media’s criticism of Evangelical Christians on the basis of a perceived conflict between a vote for Trump and the Christian faith? Shame – is the simple answer. If they can criticize and malign us enough, perhaps the public shaming will keep us from casting our vote for Trump in 2020.
Dr. Reed supposes that if the liberal media’s criticism were meant to promote morality in America, then perhaps Evangelical Christians would give weight to the liberal media’s complaints. The hypocrisy of the media’s criticism of Evangelical Christians’ support for Trump relates directly to their loyalty to and promotion of the Clintons. They want to shame us into staying home and silent, not only to make the 2020 election a referendum on Trump, but also because they vehemently reject our political convictions regarding the unborn, the family, and Israel.
Power: 50 Million Christian Votes
Without the 50 million Evangelical Christians and pro-life Catholic voters in 2016, Dr. Reed contends that Hilary Clinton would have been president. We can only imagine what would have happened if Hilary Clinton were in charge. Thankfully, we elected a president who is committed to conservative policies. Namely, the Trump administration enacted the Title X Protect Life Rule, relocated the American embassy to Israel to Jerusalem, and nominated two conservative, pro-life Supreme Court Justices, and 158 conservative, lifetime federal judges. These nominations mean that nearly 1 in every 4 seats on U.S. appeals courts is now filled by a judge appointed by Trump. The Boston Globe has asserted that “the breadth of the Donald Trump legacy on the federal courts…will be with us for decades to come.”
Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition refuses to cower to the liberal media’s shame campaign against Evangelical Christians and pro-life Catholic voters. We stand with the faith community to support and vote for leaders who uphold our Judeo-Christian values. Be sure to check out next week’s blog and to sign up for our newsletter.