The religious right is still sticking by Trump. Sadly, there's a long, grim pattern - 2020-06-05
A common refrain in white evangelical circles is to condemn the police murder of George Floyd as, in the anodyne words of the evangelist and Trump ally Franklin Graham, a "terrible tragedy that should not have happened and should never happen again". In this all-too prevalent way of thinking, there's only one cure for racism. As Dan Patrick, the Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, told Fox News on Wednesday, the country could only be "healed" by people accepting Jesus Christ.
But when it comes to the systemic change demanded by lawful protesters all over the country, from its largest cities to its small towns, Trump's defenders draw the line. "We cannot heal through commissions and blue-ribbon panels and more laws," Patrick told Trump's favorite network. Graham wrote in a Facebook post, "New laws and more government give-away programs are not the answer. It's a heart problem, and only God can change the human heart."
This white evangelical opposition to laws and policies addressing systemic racism is nothing new. At other similarly transformative moments in recent American history, white fundamentalists and evangelicals viewed the advance of civil rights in America as the nefarious work of leftist outsiders, and opposed laws and policy designed to promote equal rights.