Pastor Turns on Christian Right for Losing its Moral Core in Support of Trump

The white evangelical Christian community has followed its unyielding opposition to abortion down a path of immorality, a Minneapolis religious leader wrote in an impassioned opinion piece published Sunday.

Evangelical pastor Doug Pagitt decried the loss of the religious right's moral core in a USA Today editorial. Pagitt pointed at abortion as the main issue leading evangelicals away from religious teachings.

"Many of us are taught from a young age that abortion is the issue on which our vote should always hinge. The hope among many evangelicals is to make abortion illegal," he wrote. "Evidence, however, suggests that criminalization does not reduce abortions. In fact, studies show that criminalizing abortion does nothing to protect babies, but instead endangers mothers."

Pagitt mourned the broader loss of morality among white evangelicals, which he wrote was sacrificed to "lockstep with the Republican Party" on abortion. He lamented the community's support for Republicans and Trump despite the president's immigrant family separation policy and the nomination of Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He wrote that the unwavering backing for conservatives had led white evangelicals to espouse values "antithetical to what Jesus preached."

The preacher challenged the idea that faith should lead to a specific political alignment, writing "my faith does not call me to be Republican or Democrat. My faith calls me to love God and love my neighbor as I love myself. I am called to vote for the common good, for justice and humanity."

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence take questions from the audience at the The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center on July 25, 2016. Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

President Trump won 81 percent of the white evangelical vote in the 2016 election, according to Pew Research Center. At least 74 percent of white evangelicals have voted for the Republican candidate in the last four presidential contests.

A Barna survey from 2015 noted a pointed disparity in how much evangelical voters cared about abortion in comparison to the general populace.

Thirty percent of the entire U.S. population said a politician's stance on abortion heavily influenced candidate selection. But 64 percent of all evangelicals said they heavily consider abortion when deciding which politician to support.

Jerry Falwell Jr. even called Trump a "dream president for evangelicals," according to The Washington Post.

The evangelical community has continued to espouse Trump despite policies that are ostensibly antithetical to their faith.

The perceived contradiction has catalyzed a range of think-pieces analyzing white evangelical support for Trump.

"White evangelicals are more conservative on a range of issues," Janelle Wong, author of Immigrants, Evangelicals and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change wrote in The Washington Post. "More than 25 percent of white evangelicals oppose more federal spending on the poor, while that is true for about 14 percent of all nonevangelical whites. And about 50 percent of all white evangelicals believe immigration is bad for the economy, compared with about 33 percent of other, nonevangelical whites."

Pastor Turns on Christian Right for Losing its Moral Core in Support of Trump | U.S.