There has been much hand-wringing among some of Sen. Ted Cruz’s supporters about Donald Trump’s success with evangelical voters, once thought to be a safe voting bloc for Cruz. Exit polls in South Carolina showed the thrice-married, biblically shaky Trump winning the plurality of white evangelical and born-again Republican voters, with Cruz, who has made his faith the centerpiece of his campaign, coming in second among that group.
Steve Deace, a conservative Iowa talk radio host and Cruz supporter, asked Cruz’s father, Rafael, about the development in an interview yesterday at the National Religious Broadcasters convention, which is taking place this week in Nashville.
“How in the world does Donald Trump win evangelical voters in South Carolina?” Deace asked. “What does that say about where we’re at as a church, or does it say anything about where we’re at as a church across the board?”
The Texas Republican’s father responded that the evangelicals who vote for Trump may not be real evangelicals, but have instead been influenced by a “politically correct” culture and forgotten the “word of God.”
“Well, I think that they’re defining evangelicals in a very loose manner,” he said, “If we look at the numbers, those that are people that call themselves born-again Christians that are committed to the lord, we won overwhelmingly among that group. Unfortunately — and this is a message that I have been carrying to America, as you said, for several years — there are too many people in the church that have actually become lax about the word of God, that they are being more concerned with being politically correct than being biblically correct, they have diluted the word of God in order to be palatable to everyone.”
Deace, for his part, wondered if those who identify as evangelical in South Carolina and other southern states are merely reflecting a “cultural Christianity” and are not actually faithful, practicing Christians.
“Is it possible that people, because they’re conforming to a cultural standard, think because they celebrate Christmas and Easter and ‘I love America and I believe in the Second Amendment, that makes me an evangelical’?” he wondered.
Cruz agreed that this explanation “is entirely possible.”