The Question I’d Ask Trump at the Evangelical Gathering

The Question I’d Ask Trump at the Evangelical Gathering June 21, 2016

Donald Trump, amidst some apparently bad news about his campaign’s meager bank account, is meeting this morning with nine-hundred or so evangelical leaders to court their support.

By Michael Vadon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 via WikiCommons (cropped)
By Michael Vadon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 via WikiCommons (cropped)
He’s got people like Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Jerry Falwell, Jr., and Eric Metaxas (really?) speaking on his behalf. Other usual suspects of the conservative evangelicals (Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer, Tony Perkins, etc.) will be attending, while many others are coming armed with questions for the candidate.

A Time piece today shared some of the questions that a few of the invited leaders plan to ask. Those questions include topics of religious liberty and judicial nominations, national defense and dealing with ISIS, “what Trump plans to do to keep America safe,” and clarifying his policy change concerning abortion.

Obviously that’s a small sample of intended questions, and it will be interesting to hear reports of what actually gets asked. I’m interested to learn whether the nearly 1,000 person group reflects the actual (but often overlooked) diversity of the evangelical movement today.

My invitation must have gone to my junk mail folder–or maybe the Donald read my “leaving evangelicalism” post and struck me from the list.

Whatever. But while I’m no longer comfortable wearing the evangelical label, if I were there, I think I’d ask something like:

“Given that “evangelical” derives from “gospel” (good news), and given that the gospel as many evangelicals understand it, is a message of hope, radical hospitality, and inclusive salvation through the life and love of Jesus Christ for all persons, without discrimination on the basis of ethnic or gender distinctions (Gal. 3:28), if elected, would you commit to toning down the rhetoric of exclusion and fear (of the “other”) that has been a hallmark of your campaign thus far? And if so, how would you go about doing that? And, would you commit to seriously rethinking your intended policy of actual exclusion (of migrants from Islamic countries), of police-state like deportation, and of literal wall-building?”

In other words, not that it’d change anything, but nonetheless I’d want to let him know that there’s another version of the gospel than the one many Evangelicals are promoting.

What would you ask?










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