(RNS) An Indiana evangelical leader says he and other Christians are in an “untenable situation” after Sen. Ted Cruz’s withdrawal from the 2016 presidential race.
Speaking on NPR’s “Morning Edition” program, Ron Johnson Jr., head of the Indiana Pastors Alliance, could not explain why 50 percent of Indiana’s evangelicals voted for Donald Trump, according to exit polls.
“That is what I can’t understand,” he told NPR’s Rachel Martin. “We saw a very clear track record with Senator Cruz, where he consistently stood for my values and, I believe, Hoosier values. … I felt like the clear solution was Ted Cruz.”
Cruz dropped out of the race Tuesday (May 3) and Gov. John Kasich announced his withdrawal Wednesday. That clears the path for Trump, a nominal Presbyterian who has had difficulty pronouncing a book of the Bible, to be the GOP nominee.
Trump’s triumph has thrown into sharper relief the predicament some evangelical Christians have expressed at not having a Republican candidate who they feel expresses their values for the first time since the 1970s.
Trump won approximately 36 percent of self-identifying white evangelicals in state primaries to date.
As one evangelical pastor told The Washington Post, “People are confused.”
Johnson said he supported Cruz early in the race, citing the senator’s support for anti-abortion laws and the “sacredness of marriage” as his reasons.
“These are nonnegotiable points for believers,” Johnson said. “We are left in a very untenable situation where if we are looking at Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as our choices, I can’t in good conscience offer my vote for either.”