Barack Obama's former faith adviser has blamed the high Christian support for Donald Trump in last night's election victory on the Hillary Clinton campaign's "almost complete disregard" for engaging with faith communities – especially white evangelicals and Catholics.
Michael Wear, who was 'head of faith outreach' for the outgoing President, told Christian Today: "I am sad for my country and for those who went to bed scared last night."
Wear, who also served on both of Barack Obama's successful presidential election campaigns in 2008 and 2012, said: "The high Christian support for Trump is the result of many factors, but certainly one has to be her [Hillary Clinton] campaign's almost complete disregard for showing empathy or earnestly engaging faith communities—particularly white Catholics and evangelicals."
He added: "This must be part of the discussion of where the [Democrat] Party goes from here."
Wear's comments about the Hillary Clinton campaign reflect tensions within the Democratic party that will doubtless emerge in the coming days, and especially between Obama and Clinton, who stood against one another for the Democrats' nomination in 2008.
Wear went on to say that he would pray for the incoming Republican president and emphasised the role of the church in healing America's wounds. "I will pray for Donald Trump, as I will pray for the nation and the church. This will be a moment for the church to lead, to support our political leaders when possible, and to oppose them when necessary," he said. "We must heal in the church across the political and racial lines that have overwhelmed our unity in Christ, and come to agree on some basic public implications of our faith. I remain ever hopeful about the future of the church."
In an interview with Christian Today on 30 September, Wear said: "Donald Trump is the most secular, least prepared, least qualified and most dangerous nominee either party has nominated in the modern era. He abuses those who stand in his way, and he shames those who stand with him. He has stoked America's most tender divides for his own personal benefit. Whether the racism, xenophobia and misogyny of his campaign is one of intention or ignorance does not matter, as it would not matter if he was making decisions for our country. He does not contain an ounce of the grace or thoughtfulness of the man he wants to succeed, the understanding of the job and the aspirations to service of the woman he is running against, or the character and commitment to conservatism of the Republican Party's previous nominees. He lacks substance, and we sorely need leaders of substance in the United States today."
Evangelical Christians turned out in large numbers to vote for Trump and were pivotal as he swept to power. They backed the Republican by 81 per cent to 16 per cent, according to ABC News. That is a bigger margin of the evangelical vote than was achieved by George Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney.
In Florida 85 per cent of white evangelicals voted for the Republican, according to early exit polls. In North Carolina that figure was 78 per cent as the state went to the Republicans by 50 per cent to 46 per cent.
Meanwhile, an ABC-Washington Post poll showed 54 per cent of white Catholics voting for Trump, with 38 per cent voting for Clinton.
Wear, who was born into a Catholic family but became an evangelical, has a new book coming out in the UK early next year: Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About The Future of Faith in America.