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#IfTrumpWereEvangelical makes Twitter great again

Revelations: Quick Takes on Top News

(RNS) The bombshell dropped by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson that Donald Trump had recently accepted a relationship with Jesus shook certain corners of social media over the weekend.

Some evangelicals welcomed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to the family as a “baby Christian.” Others expressed their doubts any such conversion had taken place.

And still others found something in the report that tickled their funny bones.

Several scholars studying American evangelicalism began joking amongst themselves on Facebook about what the candidate might be like as a born-again Christian. Kate Bowler, assistant professor of American Christianity at Duke Divinity School, said she quickly “realized what an incredibly fruitful line of inquiry this was” and took the lighthearted conversation to Twitter Monday (June 27) morning with the hashtag #IfTrumpWereEvangelical.

Many Twitter users quickly jumped in with their own suggestions, and by mid-afternoon Monday, more than 800 total tweets had been posted using the hashtag, according to hashtracking.com.

It’s partly funny, Bowler said, because of the nostalgia and “tender love-hate relationship” many have with their evangelical upbringings, which many of the tweets reference.

And also, she said, “I think it was mostly that it wonderfully highlights the contrast between Trump’s hedonism and evangelicalism’s puritanism.”

Here’s a roundup of some representative tweets using the hashtag #IfTrumpWereEvangelical:

First, there’s the issue of Trump’s reported conversion. So far, it only has been relayed by Dobson, but at least one Twitter user is hoping to hear it dramatized in the style of the “Golden Age of Radio” on the long-running radio program “Unshackled.”

Many Twitter users riffed on Trump’s plan to build a wall along the United States border with Mexico.

The Bible includes numerous references to walls: Joshua led the Israelites in marching around the city of Jericho and its walls came tumbling down, and Nehemiah led the Israelites in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem after they returned from exile. And what Sunday School student hasn’t sung about the house upon the rock?

https://twitter.com/samuelgilleran/status/747461378076610560

Others referenced movies, music and books — like the apocalyptic “Left Behind” and “Thief in the Night” series — that were popular in Christian subculture 20 to 40 years ago and left their mark on many evangelicals growing up.

Most lovingly drew from Scripture or poked fun at certain evangelical turns of phrase and verbal tics, like a tendency to pepper prayers with the word “just.”

https://twitter.com/JesusOfNaz316/status/747459034605752320

And a few made their politics clear.

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About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

5 Comments

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  • I’m perfectly prepared to welcome a genuinely converted Trump into the family of faith, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Some evidence of such conversion should necessarily be forthcoming in the near future.

  • How gullible are evangelicals? Don’t answer that. You guys still make Focus on Family a thing, even though it has no purpose anymore. You guys buy Gulfstream jets for televangelists. You guys keep Creationism around. By all means claim Trump as your own. He is the presidential candidate you deserve. 🙂

  • Um, lack of faith has never struck me as one of The Donald’s weaknesses.

    Maybe you should be a little more discriminating about exactly faith in what?

    Clearly his faith in Donald J. Trump is of the mountain-moving variety…

    -dlj.

  • “Focus on the Family”? More like “Focus on the Sex Lives of Others”.
    But either one’s an awfully square peg for Trump’s round hole.

  • I appreciate the humor of your remark. I merely posit that even the likes of Donald Trump has the potential to be converted to a genuine faith. Men with worse records in the arena of human history have been so converted. Jesus taught us to pray for our enemies, which seems like a sound spiritual principle to me.

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