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Evangelicals and the Candidates (‘The Des Moines Register’)

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“If (James) Dobson’s frantic efforts to claim Trump as a fellow evangelical represent high comedy, however, the reason behind it bespeaks tragedy,” writes Dartmouth’s Randall Balmer in a Des Moines Register opinion piece.

“With the emergence of the Religious Right in the late 1970s, politically conservative evangelicals cast their lot with the far-right fringes of the Republican Party. In so doing, they ignored the teachings of Jesus—care for ‘the least of these’—and discarded their own heritage as social activists on behalf of those on the margins. Evangelicals in decades past had advocated for minorities, for workers and the poor; they fought for equal rights for women and supported public education as a way to lift the fortunes of those on the lower rungs of society,” writes Balmer, the John Phillips Professor of Religion.

“The Religious Right, however, ignored that noble tradition of social activism in favor of a political ideology that favored the wealthy and belittled the poor. Having struck that Faustian bargain with the Republican Party decades ago, Dobson and other leaders of the Religious Right now are desperate to support the presumptive Republican nominee—even if he, now on his third marriage, is hardly the avatar of ‘family values’ that Dobson has been braying about for decades.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 7/8/16 by The Des Moines Register.

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