Mar 12, 2018 - Politics & Policy

The evangelical moment of crisis

Phyllis Schlafly, Founder and President of the Eagle Forum, speaks at Justice Sunday II at Two Rivers Baptist Church August 14, 2005 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Barry Williams / Getty Images

Michael Gerson, syndicated columnist and former top aide to George W. Bush, writes the cover story of the next issue of The Atlantic, "The Last Temptation ... How evangelicals ... became an anxious minority seeking political protection from the least traditionally religious president in living memory."

Why it matters: "It is difficult to see something you so deeply value discredited so comprehensively. Evangelical faith has shaped my life, as it has the lives of millions. Evangelical history has provided me with models of conscience. Evangelical institutions have given me gifts of learning and purpose. Evangelical friends have shared my joys and sorrows. And now the very word is brought into needless disrepute."

  • The gist: "One of the most extraordinary things about our current politics — really, one of the most extraordinary developments of recent political history — is the loyal adherence of religious conservatives to Donald Trump. The president won four-fifths of the votes of white evangelical Christians. This was a higher level of support than either Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush, an outspoken evangelical himself, ever received."

P.S. The N.Y. Times' second "most viewed" and "most tweeted" story this weekend was a Saturday front-pager, "A Quiet Exodus in White Evangelical Churches ... Why Black Worshipers Are Leaving," by Campbell Robertson from Fort Worth.

  • The "most viewed" and "most tweeted"? Sam Dolnick's Sunday Styles cover story from Glouster, Ohio, "The Man Who Knew Too Little: Upset by Trump's election, an Ohio man began an experiment. ... Living a liberal fantasy is complicated."
Go deeper