Rival visions highlight evangelical split over Trump's presidential candidacy

Christian evangelicals are increasingly divided over Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.


The leader of American Renewal Project, a conservative Christian organisation, wrote to 100,000 pastors asking them to support Trump, in the same week that the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference openly criticised him.

"The choice facing America is not the lesser of two evils, but who will inflict the least damage to freedom and liberty," said David Lane, the leader of the American Renewal Organisation, according to the Washington Post.

"Between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, this is an easy choice. What and how will Mr Trump do? I don't have a clue. But with Hillary we do know, the progressives that she will stack on the Supreme Court alone will set-back America for a century. ...Codifying transgender bathrooms rights will only be the beginning of nine unelected and unaccountable justices imposing a godless agenda, tearing America apart brick-by-brick."

American Renewal is a conservative Christian organisation that encourages evangleicals to engage with politics.

His message of support contrasts with that of Rev Samuel Rodriguez, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Rodgriguez has asked to meet with Trump to discuss issues he has with his presidential campaign, including immigration, the border with Mexico and the "millions of hard-working Latino immigrants" who live in the United States.

"To date, Donald Trump's comments about immigration have been inflammatory, impractical and unhelpful," Rodriguez told Charisma News.

"Now that he is the presumptive nominee, we call upon him to immediately stop rhetorical commentary he has previously used that discredits groups, including Latino immigrants, and start discussing and offering real, productive solutions for comprehensive immigration reform."

If he has any hope of gaining voters in the Hispanic community, Rodriguez said Trump needed to engage positively with the community:

"If Trump truly wants to make America 'a beautiful and loving country', then he must personally begin by treating all –black, white, Latino, male and female – as they deserve to be treated. For at the end of the day, every individual is made in the image of God and merits love and respect," he said.

"As we continue down the path in choosing our next president, may we remember that our great nation's future depends not on one man or one woman, but rather God."

Trump has also drawn criticism from the head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Russell Moore, who said that opposition to the mogul would put evangelicals on "the right side of Jesus".

"The man on the throne in heaven is a dark-skinned, Aramaic-speaking 'foreigner' who is probably not all that impressed by chants of 'Make America great again'," said Moore in an op-ed for the New York Times.