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Religious Right Waning? Not After Trump Win

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Published on: November 16, 2016

“Clinton’s loss at the hands of Donald Trump amounted to the most surprising outcome in the history of modern electoral politics.” So writes David Catanese for

Many of the pollsters proved to be wrong. To his credit, Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia cried mea culpa, declaring: “We were wrong, OK? The entire punditry industry. The entire polling industry. The entire analyst industry. And I want to take this opportunity to take my fair share of the blame. We were wrong.”

“Success,” noted John F. Kennedy after he took responsibility for the fiasco that was the Bay of Pigs, “has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” Trump’s surprising victory is ultimately his.

But what factors could have led the pollsters and punditry class so off base? I think a case can be made that abortion was very much on the ballot – and along those lines, since abortion was imposed on the American people by judicial fiat, the future of the Supreme Court was also key.

At the outset, if anybody accuses me of being a one-issue voter, and that issue is the protection of the unborn, then I plead guilty. That issue reveals so many other aspects of where a politician stands.

If politicians can’t get this issue right, what else can’t they get right? It’s so basic – especially in this day when sonograms improve all the time and document the humanity of the unborn. Yet the ruling elites treat abortion like a sacred rite and right.

I believe God has blessed America through the years. I also agree with Thomas Jefferson’s view, when he said in another context, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” How can God continue to bless us when we have now killed up to 60 million of preborn children since Roe v. Wade?

But, of course, abortion has many supporters. Writing for Gallup (May 2015), Lydia Saad noted, “Americans divide 50 percent ‘pro-choice,’ 44 percent ‘pro-life’ on abortion. … This is the first time since 2008 that the pro-choice position has had a statistically significant lead in Americans’ abortion views.” Yet, voting-wise, it didn’t work out that way last Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood wanted to repeal the Hyde Amendment – the 1976 measure named after the late, pro-life Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde – which denies federal funding for abortions. Some pro-lifers estimate that at least 2 million babies have been saved by that measure.

I once interviewed Henry Hyde for TV. He said, “There is no constitutional justification for Roe v. Wade. No one had ever seen a right of privacy or whatever other distortion the court found to justify its decision for 200 years.”

The platforms of the two major political parties this year were diametrically opposed to each other on this issue of life. And this issue played a key role in terms of what types of judges would be appointed and approved. Since personnel is policy, choosing Mike Pence, a solid Christian conservative, as his running mate told millions of potential voters that Trump meant business.

After the election, I asked Bill Federer on my radio show, “What role did Christian conservatives play in the outcome?” He said, “I think it was crucial. Several different groups were trying to educate pastors.”

One of those is the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., and its president, Tony Perkins, who “served as a platform delegate from Louisiana.” He sent out a release after the election, noting the importance of the platform and the actual votes: “The Republican Party’s platform positions on unborn human life and religious liberty was the bridge between Donald Trump and Christian conservatives.”

Perkins added, “Nearly 60 percent of Trump voters were more likely to vote for him because the platform is very clear on life and religious liberty. It was the party platform that brokered the deal between Trump and Christian conservatives – a deal that was sealed in the final debate when Trump vividly described a partial-birth abortion and pledged to appoint pro-life justices.”

And Perkins noted, “… if there’s one overwhelming message everyone should have heard on Tuesday, it’s this: The media, the courts and the left don’t speak for the American people.”

Eric J. Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, sent out a post-election statement: “Voters rejected Hillary Clinton’s radical support for taxpayer-funded abortion. Now it’s time to withdraw all our tax dollars from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain. This will be our number one priority in the first 100 days of the Trump administration.”

I’m reminded of how, after the conservative victories of the 2010 midterm elections, Ralph Reed of the Faith & Freedom Coalition declared: “… those who ignore or disregard social conservative voters and their issues do so at their own peril.”

Anybody who thought the religious right was dead in this country should think again in light of last week’s election.

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