CHARLOTTE, N.C.—A new survey from the American Culture & Faith Institute finds that conservative Christians are helping move along President-elect Donald Trump’s transition with confidence, especially as their belief in him as a leader grows.
Throughout the election season, Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu), served as a member of President-elect Donald Trump’s executive, non-endorsing board to provide advisory support on moral issues. The board will continue into Trump’s presidency, and Land says that both conservative Christians and the Trump team are contributing to each other’s confidence about the transition.
According to the Institute’s study, “Christian Conservatives Providing a Comfortable Honeymoon Period for Trump Transition,” “With intense media scrutiny and half the country rooting against him, not to mention championing a substantial change in political ideology away from the policies of Barack Obama, the move from businessman to President was certainly not going to be an easy shift for Donald Trump. But during the initial month after the shocking election results were announced things have gone more smoothly than many people expected.”
“It may be true that the conservative confidence in President-elect Donald Trump is helping with the transition because, in short, the Trump transition is helping with conservative confidence,” Land said. “Yes, Mr. Trump won the election, but he went into the post-election period with less implicit trust, a lower approval rating and far less confidence in his leadership, than say, former President George W. Bush. The progress in this first month since the election has delighted and pleased conservatives, especially in the choices he has put forward for his administration. And each new appointment instills a little more confidence, and as conservatives have become progressively pleased, they have also become more supportive.”
The survey of SAGE Cons—Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservatives—from the Institute, led by social science researcher George Barna, indicates several important reasons why things may be progressing more smoothly than first anticipated. Key findings of the study included:
- SAGE Cons were the voting segment most supportive of Trump, with 93 percent voting for him.
- Trump’s victory came as a surprise to most SAGE Cons; six out of 10 (59 percent) were expecting Hillary Clinton to win.
- SAGE Cons overwhelmingly believed that the GOP nominee would bring more to the table than his democratic challenger, including creating new, non-government jobs (95 percent for Trump); more likely to “keep America safe and militarily strong” (94 percent for Trump); and more likely to bring about the change the political system needs (90 percent for Trump).
- Christian conservatives were eager to see results out of Washington, D.C., and they determined that Trump was the man to facilitate it, as 86 percent said he was more likely than Clinton to “get things done.”
- More than three-quarters (78 percent) felt Trump had “a clear and compelling vision for the country,” while 2 percent said the same about Clinton. Another 75 percent said Trump was “a strong and decisive leader.” Just 2 percent said the same of Clinton.
- Seven out of 10 (71 percent) said Trump was the candidate who “really cares about people like you,” while nearly two out of three (64 percent) said he was better described as “honest and trustworthy” than Clinton. A similar number (63 percent) said Trump was more likely to “unite and heal the country.”
“Especially as the reality of his campaign promises grows, it leaves the subtle reminder that Christian conservatives are trusting but verifying,” Land concluded. “And so far, we are liking what we see.”
SES is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. Many courses focus on societal issues from a Christian worldview, delve into scientific apologetics or contemplate creation research.
At SES’s apologetics blog, www.WhyDoYouBelieve.org, Land and other SES voices address the most pressing issues of the day. SES also explores ethical issues through its “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program; for more information, visit www.ethics.ses.edu.
Land is featured in his nationally syndicated daily radio commentary, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on nearly 800 stations nationwide, including nearly 200 on the American Family Radio Network, 100 on the Bott Radio Network and almost 400 on the CSN radio network. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” is also podcast daily on the free SES mobile app and airs locally in the Charlotte, N.C., area every weekday. The “Bringing Every Thought Captive” television program, hosted by Land, airs on the NRB Network Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and midnight EST. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” also reaches nearly 2 million households in the Chicago area on the Total Living Network. For details about stations, times, downloads and more, click here.
Land has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology (Honors Program) degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families. In 2014, he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow of the ERLC’s Research Institute, and in 2015, he was named in the top 15 of Newsmax’s “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America.”
Southern Evangelical Seminary invites visitors to its web site to join the more than 20,000 people who have already downloaded the SES Apologetics App for Windows mobile devices and Android and Apple phones and tablets. Those with the app can get the very best news and information in Christian apologetics, including articles, audio, video, blogs and more from today’s most able defenders of the Christian faith—William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas and other well-known speakers, authors and teachers.
Southern Evangelical Seminary has been ranked as one of the top graduate programs for General Christian Apologetics by TheBestSchools.org’s “Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.”
For more information on SES, visit its web site at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH. For more information about SES’ “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program, visit www.ethics.ses.edu.