You do not have to support Trump to understand his appeal

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

President Donald Trump does not seem much like an evangelical Christian.

He was not known to be religious for his adulthood before he reached the Oval Office.

For much of his very public life, he seemed to have almost the opposite persona to that of a traditional Christian: sexually boastful, grasping for money, and so on. But he has a huge evangelical Christian following.

While this is surprising, and perhaps to many Christians deplorable and alarming, there are important lessons to be learned as to why he has such support.

Mr Trump has an uncanny feel for culture. Not high brow or elitist culture, but the mainstream culture believed in by ordinary Americans: self reliance, hard work, the right to spoils earned through that hard work, love of family, love of country, and belief in God.

The United States remains a markedly more Christian country than the United Kingdom. Indeed the only part of the UK that has comparable church attendance rates to the US is Northern Ireland.

Now Mr Trump is reiterating a return to American values. He is, rightly, dismissing nonsense such as sensitivity over terms such as Happy Christmas. He has been keen to call Islamic extremism exactly that: Islamic.

You do not have to be a supporter of Mr Trump to understand his support, and even to admire some of these cultural positions in defence of his nation’s traditions.