Donald Trump Has No Idea How to Speak to the GOP’s Religious Base

Donald Trump is a horrible Presidential candidate for a lot of obvious reasons, but I haven’t heard many people discussing just how bad he is at pandering to the religious GOP base.

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Yesterday, during the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, he tried reaching out to the evangelical crowd. It was obvious, though, that he has no idea what he’s doing:

“I’m a religious person,” Mr. Trump offered. “I go to church. Do I do things that are wrong? I guess so.”

Going to church is pretty much the least you can do to play up your religious bona fides. Where are the mentions of Jesus and salvation?

So he tried again:

Mr. Trump also struggled to answer if he had ever sought forgiveness from God, before reluctantly acknowledging that he had not. “If I do something wrong, I try to do something right,” he said. “I don’t bring God into that picture.”

That’s a great answer if you’re trying to appeal to atheists… unfortunately, there are only about four of them in the GOP.

Let’s try again:

… Mr. Trump raised eyebrows with language rarely heard before an evangelical audience — saying “damn” and “hell” when discussing education and the economy

Oh dear god… even I know you’re not supposed to do that.

C’mon, Trump. Last chance:

“When we go in church and I drink the little wine, which is about the only wine I drink, and I eat the little cracker — I guess that’s a form of asking forgiveness,” Mr. Trump said.

He called a communion wafer a cracker.

Again, you’ll get some claps from the atheist, but it’s completely disrespectful to people who think it’s literally Jesus. Even those who treat the wafer as a symbol don’t call it a cracker. You know what? Politicians should just never say “cracker.” It’s just good life advice.

(Not to mention Trump sounds like he’s talking about the Catholic Church version of communion while promoting himself to evangelicals, despite actually being Presbyterian.)

I realize his inability to speak Christianese is the least of his problems right now, but let me throw this out there:

It’s pretty clear that Trump isn’t actually religious. He might go to church every now and then, but he doesn’t really care. He has more important things to think about. And yet he’s he most popular Republican candidate right now, crushing Religious Right favorites like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

In other words, Donald Trump may be our greatest hope for a non-religious President.

If you need me, I’ll be in the corner sitting in the fetal position.

(Image via Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock.com)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.