Three Quarters Of White Evangelicals Back Trump's Travel Ban
Three quarters of white evangelicals back Trump's ban on people entering the US from seven Muslim-majority countries, according to a recent poll.
The study by Pew Research Center found white evangelicals, who backed Trump four to one in the November election, are sticking by their president as his approval ratings slump to 39 per cent.
Overall, 59 per cent of Americans disapprove of Trump's executive order halting the entire US refugee programme and temporarily barring citizens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen with an indefinite ban on those fleeing war-torn on Syria.
But 76 per cent of white evangelicals support the policy, the poll released on February 16 suggested. At the same time half of white mainstream Protestants back the initiative but Catholics and the religiously unaffiliated do not.
Trump's approval ratings have plummeted to the lowest of any recent president at a similar point in their first term. Just 39 per cent of Americans generally approve of his performance while 56 per cent disapprove.
This compares to 78 per cent of white evangelicals still backing their president. This is 26 points higher than any other religious grouping.
But despite the widespread support for Trump among grassroots evangelicals, their leaders have denounced his refugee ban with a number of prominent figures signing a full page advert in the Washington Post criticising the order.
Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Bryant Wright, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and Ed Stetzer, the former director of LifeWay Research who now heads the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College all signed the ad.
The Baptist World Alliance said in a statement they recognised the government's right to protect its citizens but warned against 'misguided policies that will have deleterious long-term effects and that undermine freedom of religion'.
But some religious leaders, most notably Franklin Graham, continue to support the ban.
Graham, who succeeded his father as CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 2002, has said that Trump's move to ban immigration, refugees and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries was, for him, 'not a Bible issue'. He told the Huffington Post: 'It's not a biblical command for the country to let everyone in who wants to come, that's not a Bible issue...We want to love people, we want to be kind to people, we want to be considerate, but we have a country and a country should have order and there are laws that relate to immigration and I think we should follow those laws...Because of the dangers we see today in this world, we need to be very careful.'