In the past, Christians seem to have relied on the shared religious identity of their chosen candidate as shorthand for justifying that preference without deeper thought. If a candidate is a Christian, there is no need to think any more deeply about whether that person’s beliefs are compatible with Christian teachings or values — how could they not be when the candidate themselves is a Christian? This way of thinking has been brought into crisis by the Pope’s statement that Trump is not a Christian.
If they accept that Trump is not a Christian, his supporters must find another way to rationalize supporting him. Christian Trump supporters would be forced to ask themselves whether his positions are truly consistent with their Christian values, and most would find that they are incompatible. This realization would force Christians to either choose their religious values over their preferred candidate or admit to themselves that they value some other criteria more highly than their faith.
Much easier than facing this dilemma, though, is doubling down on the old rationalization and insisting against all evidence that the Trump is a Christian who lives out these values.
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