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Conference Proceeding

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Over the past five years, the curious relationship between Donald Trump and many conservative evangelicals has been at the intersection of US religion and politics. Explanations for this curious linkage include:

• John Fea’s accent on the historical fear of evangelicals of the other.

• Ben Howe’s claim that evangelicals have chosen power over values.

• Whitehead and Perry’s articulation of a U.S. Christian nationalism.

• Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s feminist critique of U.S. Christian masculinity.

• Timothy Carney’s connection between social collapse and Trumpism.

This paper argues that each of these arguments capture important parts of the Trump-evangelical nexus, but not the complete picture. Fea’s historical approach needs to be complemented by Whitehead and Perry’s quantitative approach and vice-versa. By synthesizing these arguments and well as others, this paper shows how Donald Trump and his evangelical partners have fostered a civil religion that secularizes the Great Awakening heritage. This is particularly evident in Trump’s rhetorical style, public policies, and the character of his campaign rallies.


Jon K. Loessin


Association for the Scientific Study of Religion

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The 2021 Proceesings of the ASSR