Evangelicals were slow to warm up to Donald Trump, whose personal history and values put him at odds with the Christian ethic. For a while it seemed the real estate mogul and entertainer was in danger of irreparably splitting the Republican party, which has for years depended on its conservative Christian voting bloc.
But those fears, it turns out, were unfounded. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that a whopping 78 percent of white evangelical voters say they would vote for Trump (even though 55 percent say they are dissatisfied with the choice of candidates.)
Though some have come to Trump’s side a bit begrudgingly, others, like those interviewed in a recent episode of “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” are all in.
In the episode, which aired Monday night, Bee’s team travels to the Western Conservative Summit in Colorado to talk with evangelicals about the man religious right leader James Dobson once called a “baby Christian.” Trump was a featured speaker at the event, which ran July 1-3, just weeks before the Republican party would name him their official candidate.
“I believe, truly, that Trump is appointed by God to lead this nation back in the direction it needs to go,” said one attendee, sporting an American flag cowboy hat.
Another person described Trump as “the answer to our prayers.”
The Full Frontal team questioned the attendees about their support for a man whose adultery, lewd commentary and past gambling endeavors make him an unlikely favorite among devout Christians. Their response was largely: Hey, no one’s perfect.
“Just because you’re Christian doesn’t mean you have to go to church every Sunday,” said one young attendee. Trump doesn’t appear to attend church any Sunday, but these evangelicals will give him a pass.
On the matter of his values, one attendee struggled to paint a clear picture.
“As long as he’s not murdering people or killing babies, I’m sure he’s fine,” the evangelical said.
The rationale sounds absurd out of context and makes for entertaining television, but it also might hint at the larger difficulty some evangelicals have reconciling their faith with their dedication to the Republican party.
Although almost 80 percent white evangelicals say they’ll vote for Trump, 45 percent of them say they intend their vote as opposition to Hillary Clinton, not as an endorsement of Trump.
But even if Republicans heed Ted Cruz’s call to “vote your conscience,” polls suggest it won’t be hard for many evangelicals to cast their ballot for Trump.
Check out the clip above.