(RNS) Some celebrated and congratulated the victor. Some prayed and called for unity. But it was clear early on that evangelical Christians were key to Donald Trump’s stunning upset in the 2016 presidential election.
Meanwhile, others — including atheists and Muslims — reacted in shock and vowed to defend against what one group termed “unconstitutional and undemocratic actions.”
According to exit polls, 81 percent of white evangelicals and born-again Christians cast their ballots for the reality TV star-turned-Republican presidential candidate. It was a higher figure than voted for Republicans Mitt Romney (79 percent) in 2012, John McCain (73 percent) four years before that or George W. Bush (79 percent) in 2004.
“The triumph of Donald Trump may signal ‘the last hurrah’ of white male evangelicals in America, or it may mean that their influence is once again on the rise. We will have to wait and see,” Tony Campolo, former spiritual adviser to President Bill Clinton, told Christian Today.
“But there is no question that his victory was largely due to their support.”
Here’s how prominent evangelical Christians and others responded to the 2016 presidential election results as they became clear overnight.
White is Trump’s spiritual adviser, a member of his evangelical advisory board and pastor of the New Destiny Christian Center in Florida. She issued this written statement:
“Far more than what divides us, this election has revealed what unites us. I have never seen such solidarity between evangelicals and catholics, pentecostals, charismatics and baptists. We were brought together with a mutual love for our country and through a mutual faith in God. The election started the conversation but what will come from these new and renewed relationships will have far more impact than anything that could be realized through the election of any politician. We aren’t ending this season so much entering a new one, ready to love the world together to a degree greater than we ever could alone.”
Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, called the election results “Brexit 2.0” on Twitter.
In a longer written statement, he said:
” Instead of the agenda of the donkey or the elephant, Christians must be about the Lamb’s agenda. We can and we must continue the fight to reconcile Billy Graham’s message of righteousness with Dr. Martin Luther King’s march for justice. The moment we, as Christian voters, are co-opted by any given political party or ideology, we lose our legitimacy to speak truth to power. Looking ahead, now is the time to rise up as people of faith and as an independent voice that holds political leaders on both sides of the aisle accountable to policies that don’t aim left or right, but toward righteousness and justice, for all. Chief of which remains our concern for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, immigration reform and racial unity. We pray for the safe keeping of our democracy as we transition to the new Donald Trump administration and we pray that God will continue to bless and prosper our nation in the coming months and years ahead.”
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, tweeted Tuesday night: “This is why I fight. This makes the work more important. Separation of religion and gov is in serious danger. Help.”
In the weeks leading up to the election, the best-selling Christian author called Trump “absolutely, positively, thoroughly unfit for the presidency” in a controversial interview with RNS in which she also expressed her support for the LGBT community. As electoral votes rolled in Tuesday for Trump, Hatmaker tweeted, “Will someone come hold my hand?”
The day before, she had posted on Facebook:
“Our marching orders are the same. We are still about the same things we’ve always been about, Christian. We will still love our neighbors and resist fear. We will stick up for the marginalized and protect the vulnerable. We will show up for the hard work of good citizenship and remain faithful to God and each other. We will insist on bringing hope and grace and strength and love to this busted up world. We will not malign people out of fear or confusion. We will love God and love people and that is the same basic plan it has always been.”
Her fellow speaker on the Belong Tour, Nichole Nordeman, also tweeted as Trump’s win was announced early Wednesday morning.