tv Religious Politics the Republican Party CSPAN May 19, 2018 3:27am-5:18am EDT
separating parents and children? are breaking the law. that is why they are separated. in the united states, if you break the law, you are separated from your family. it shouldn't be any different. reporter: people who are seeking asylum. ms. nielson: go to the embassy. >> sunday night on afterward, barbara ehrenreich with her book "natural causes," which explores how the body ages and dies. she is interviewed by science reporter natalie injure. >> that is one of the jobs of ,eing old, passing the torch taking what you know and have done or accomplished or wants done and passing it on to younger hands. watch "afterwards" sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2's book tv.
on monday, religious leaders, academics, and journalists took part in a discussion about religious politics and the republican party at an event hosted by georgetown university. this is just under two hours. >> good evening, as they make their way up -- there is no one in the front row. i'll take the collection for myself. all for being here.
i am a program associate at democracy fund. we are a foundation established thebay founder to make sure american people come first in our democracy. we have partnered with the georgetown initiative on public life for a series of dialogues on faith, democracy, and the common good. we are also happy to sponsor tonight's event with the georgetown institute for politics and public service. to understand our shifting political coalitions in this country, we must better understand the place of faith and of the role of the faithful in our political system. if we are to improve democracy and make it more responsive to the american people, it is vital that we take a closer look at the way in which faith and culture drive our politics and it is vital for us to understand how politics sometimes drive our faith.
tonight, we will discuss faith and the faithful in the republican party. quite a been discussed bit over the last three years and the topic requires a diverse set of voices to do it justice. tonight's panel features a set of speakers who each define the republican party and their relationship to the party in very different terms. there are few places that can bring together such an engaging panel and this is why you we are so proud to partner with our friends at georgetown. now in its fifth year, the initiative has organized more than 40 gatherings with more than 50,000 participants. from the catholic perspective looking out toward the world, they have become a respected host of global importance. they hope to encourage a new generation of faithful leaders who are the salt, light, and 11 of our public life.
especially grateful for the whole team at the initiative and for john carr, in particular. know, probably already john carr served for more than 20 years at the u.s. conference of catholic bishops in the department of peace, justice, and human development. he has a longer biography then you will know. so i'm going to skip it. what i'm going to say instead is that john has been in the arena for deferral -- difficult conversations on both sides of the political aisle and has the scars to prove it. he is a tireless advocate for people who are poor and marginalized. he does this while avoiding partisan and political traps, and by encouraging civil discourse and deeper understanding. as a fellow catholic, i can say that john carr and the whole team here offer the very best of the catholic church. we are excited to be here. take it away, john. thank you. [applause]
john: i want to thank chris and our friends at the democracy fund, not only for their support, but for two things. there was a time when lots of us complained about dysfunction and polarization, and the lack of stability, the democracy fund invests in trying to provide ways to overcome those abnormalities. -- maladies and ways to bring people together. secondly, at a time when many people see faith as the source of division only, or a part of the polarization, they understand that faith, at its best, brings people together and provides a moral vocabulary and framework to pursue the common good. both those things are in short supply in this city and country.
so we are very grateful. this is, as chris mentioned, this is the second of our three dialogue panels on faith and the faithful. how many were at the first one? that's great. ink you for coming back. for those of you, this is your first one, welcome. the third one will be roughly a month from now on the faith and the faithful in the dem party. that ought to be fairly interesting. michael said, i don't know how you will feel -- fill the time. that should be an interesting discussion. a couple of distinctions or disclaimers. we deliberately sought a wide range of perspectives. i was saying to linda, my republican mother would be so proud that i'm part of this. i come from a mixed marriage. both my parents were minnesota catholics.
but my mother's family from st. paul, my dad is from minneapolis. my mother is republican and my dad is democrat. she would be so proud, and she would say, this sort of looks like the republican party. a couple of evangelicals, a catholic, a libertarian, a journalist watching over us, more men than women. she would want to see where all this goes, but we did not, and i want to be clear about this, we did not invite the people who think there can be no compatibility between faith, the faithful, and the republican party. there are people in the party and in every religious community who think you cannot be a good democrat, you can't be a trump supporter or a republican and hold fast to the positions of our faith.
we don't buy that. we have people who -- here who in different ways with different respect is express that. -- perspectives express that. we have a lot to work with. had a story about ten days ago on the firing and rehiring of the catholic chaplain, whether there is an anti-catholic conversation going on in some parts of the republican party. the alliance between trump and the republican party and evangelicals is the subject of vigorous debate. michael wrote a long article. people respond to johnny as in the middle of that conversation. there is a religious resistance to trump and the republican party on a wide range of issues.
there is the demonstration of your choice over the next few weeks, whether it is on immigration, race, a whole range of issues. as the democratic party has become more secular, and some would say, more intolerant of religious views, it seems to me that the republican party has become more dependent on religious voters, particularly white christians. we ought to forget that white people are not the only christians, african-american and latino christians are a huge part of the democratic coalition. others can make the case for the coalitions that work in both parties. some issues bring different parts of the religious community together, whether it is
abortion, the defense of unborn children, religious liberty, on the other hand, it might be immigration or race or economic justice. one thing that strikes me -- we -- and this is something you covered, we are a long way from pope francis before the united states congress, where he came -- both parties came together to dialogue,sage about about compromise, about principal, and now we appear to be in a period of enormous polarization, a good deal of anger, and considerable religious conflict. having said that, my question is first a very general one to each of you, and then i will introduce you. after the 2016 election, and in the current context, is this
-- is this popping off a lot? reminds me of a story. an irish pastor using one of these mic's for the first time -- lavalier mics for the first time, he goes, there is something wrong with this microphone. he says "the lord be with you. there is something wrong with this microphone." people responded, "and also with you." [laughter] john: so i hope the microphone is working. after the 2016 election, and in this current context i have tried to describe, what is the most surprising development at the intersection of faith and politics, especially on the place of the faith and be -- the faithful in the republican party? with that, i will introduce each
of our panelists briefly and informally. i want to begin with johnny moore. there are not many people who worked in university in hollywood and were successful at both. ofwanted a representative the evangelical leaders who are close to the president and we got the person who, in many ways, according to "the washington post" is the gatekeeper, the bridge builder in making the evangelical counsel which advises. he is probably best known for his defense of religious liberty and the rights of christians around the world. he has written a new book called ath."martyr's o apr executive, a
businessman, somebody who has in -- and there are those who think it is the greatest thing in the world and the worst, has tried to connect with the evangelical voters who supported the president so strongly, with the administration they put into office. that is johnny. he is a member of the national association of evangelicals board and a lot of other groups. i want to thank you for helping get johnny here. johnny may be passed up the most. i am grateful to everyone for being here, but johnny passed up a trip to jerusalem on a government plane with a block of -- and a lot of big shots to be with us tonight and i am glad you did. julia is a religion were order -- reporter at the "washington post." there are a lot of things that are not going great in religion
in public life. one of the great things that is going on is "the washington post " has invested in first rate coverage of religion and public life. michelle and sarah, you know. now julia has joined that team. if you have been reading her she covers the chaplaincy. controversy. my favorite story she did was on a dreamer priest in atlanta, who is actually able to serve because of the daca program. another story was explaining to middle school students why they might want to be a religious sister. she has covered the religious right, she has covered the religious left. she covered the visit of pope francis. the thing i find most interesting about julia, she speaks latin. my question -- what is a good
jewish girl doing speaking latin? i took for you -- four years of latin and i can't say a word. she was also on jeopardy and did really well. she's really smart, and as someone with six grandchildren, she does balloon sculpture. what do you call it, twisting? >> twisters. john: i am signing her up. that will pay better than this. she is not a republican leader, she is an observer of the republican party. she can help us understand this. amesh is someone we have been trying to get here for a wild. he has several outlets, he has been on national review for 20 years. he has showed up on the bloomberg syndicate. he shows up on pbs. he is someone who has been a
powerful defender of human life, written a couple of wonderful pieces about the young child in evans., alfie he grew up in kansas. i believe your father was hindu, and your mother was lutheran. so of course, he became a catholic. [laughter] john: he had a wonderful interview with an american magazine, where he talked about that choice. and, you took francis xavier as your confirmation name. somebody who went into the tough situations, a conservative catholic in washington. francis xavier may be a good name. he said being a catholic knocks off some of the edges of your commentary, maybe. position on the death penalty, but he is one of
the most thoughtful and conservative commentators in washington. is a poster. she will help us share something more than opinions, the facts. she works at a libertarian think tank. millennials and has a wonderful piece. she is part of the voter panel that my friends at the democracy she hase together, and the five types of trump voters. we are all trying to figure out on. is going you have actually thought and written about that. one of her articles i love is millennials love socialism until they get a job. on. [laughter] john: which describes one of my children. michael is known to many of us for his work in the bush white
house, where he[laughter] was assistant to the president, he was a principal speechwriter. michael is in many ways the architect and articulate her of .ompassionate conservatism what you may not know is he has a pbs show "in principle" that is on now. in its first show i saw was with president george w. bush, who he served. in that show, they talked about papfar. they are -- there are literally millions of people in africa have lived to see their children grow up. the other thing i work with him ramesh- a priority for as well. michael is not an enthusiastic
supporter of the evangelical-trump alliance. he has been a pretty consistent critic, both on character and policy grounds. we have a range on that. one of the things i am most grateful for, we do a session with young leaders in washington, and the first one we did with john favreau, the speechwriter for barack obama themichael garson, who was speechwriter for george w. bush -- i forget what the title was. it was some pompous in to two type of title, but what they talked about was how not to lose your faith and your hope in washington. michael has been a leader of the sanity caucus for a long time. let's go back to those long and formal introductions. since the election in this context, what is the most
surprising or most important thing about the relationship between the faith in the faithful in the republican party? >> thank you again for having me. it's a pleasure to be with you. as john mentioned, i work at the cato institute, a nonpartisan think tank. we have been doing research on voters and opinion trends, particularly those surrounding the 2016 election. in answer to your question, i think there are two factors coming together that have had a major impact on the 2016 election. the first is a dramatic increase in the number of people leaving organized religion and don't identify with particular religious to nominations. -- denominations. in the 1990's, that number has tripled among the general public, it has tripled among republicans.
that trend applies to republican voters, not just the nation overall. the second, religion seems to -- this one might surprise many of our viewers today, that religion seems to play a moderating force when it comes to issues of tolerance, of difference, particularly when it comes to race, immigration, and living in a more diverse, multicultural society. i would like to give you an example to explain. as part of the data we collected with the democracy fund voter study group, we collected opinions from 8000 voters. because it was such a large survey, we were able to have large numbers of people who attended church a lot, a little bit, occasionally, or not at all. we were able to compare and contrast how those types of voters think about different issues. i specifically looked at trump
voters, people who voted for trump and attend church more than once a week, once a month, once a year, or never. what we find is people who attend church more regularly tend to have more favorable opinions of racial minorities, african-americans, and hispanics, compared it to trump -- compared to trump voters that never a attended church. people who attended church regularly are more likely to support making it easier to immigrate to the united states and provide a pathway to citizenship for those who are unauthorized immigrants living in the u.s. points more so30 than trump voters who never attend church. similarly, we found the same thing when it came to the travel ban. trump voters who attended church regularly are far less likely, about half as likely to support a travel ban on muslims entering
the united states compared it to -- compared to trump voters that never attend church. similarly, when it comes to -- when we asked people, how important was to accept people from diverse racial and religious backgrounds, trump voters who attended church regularly are more than twice as likely to think it is important to do so. this really surprised a lot of observers of the data, because kind of, the stereotype is those who attended church are less tolerant, when we are seeing the opposite be the case. part of what is going on is that when it comes to favorable attitudes toward gay and lesbian people, the more frequently someone conservative attends church, the less likely they have warm feelings towards them, but that does not hold up when it comes to looking at racial and religious minorities, and not just issues of tolerance. concern about poverty, also, is
a significantly higher among trump voters who attended church regularly. the point i would like to make is that religion seems to be playing a moderating force within the conservative movement among trump voters. but at the same time, fewer republicans are attending church regularly. the very force that could moderate some of these cultural conflict -- conflicts is receding. that is related to what we saw play out in the 2016 election. john: that is fascinating. when we were doing work on the death penalty, our pollster was surprised to find out people shifted their position on the death penalty based on how often they went to church. his assumption was it was reversed. one thing i left out of your introduction, you spent a year at georgetown before going to wheaton? two similar institutions in
every way. [laughter] john: over coffee, maybe we could talk about that. what do you think is the most significant development in terms of faith and the faithful and the gop? >> clearly, the most surprising is "though shalt not commit sex with a porn star is an optional -- with a porn star" is an optional commitment among evangelicals, nowadays. that is a plus for a lot of people. the most surprising thing that really struck me was how wrong i was. around the year 2010, i wrote a book called "city of man," where we postulated that the model of the social engagement of the religious right was reaching its exhaust -- reaching
exhaustion. that something new and better was in the offing, that old leaders and old institutions were passe. -- passing. i had seen some evidence of that when working with religious groups on issues like malaria or other issues that seem to broaden the range of social concern. but i think we saw something very different in 2016, different than what i expect it. you saw from a lot of evangelicals a fairly apocalyptic tone. pat robertson said "if hillary clinton won, this would be one of the last elections for republicans." you have a lot of evangelicals that were convinced this was a really important cultural turning point moment and the binary choice between hillary clinton and donald trump represented, a fundamental
choice about the direction of the country, i think. feltnk you had people that besieged in a broader cultural context. they turned to someone they regarded as a strong leader as a bully, essentially, to fight the bullies. you had that explicitly stated by some evangelical leaders, that was where things were headed. you also saw arguments that were explicitly utilitarian in character. which is, i wouldn't say cynical, but very realistic, arguing that i am going to get a certain amount of benefits for the support of a certain candidate i view as deeply flawed. --hink they were willing to
in a way that was unexpected to me. my concern as we move along is that evangelicals now, by becoming the base of trump's base, have identified themselves closely with the president and his future. i think are seen by the broader culture, white evangelicals, as the most loyal elements of that coalition and in many ways will share in its fate the way that the public views it more broadly. >> i was supposed to mention this. we are happy we are being broadcast on c-span this evening. there are lots of people enjoying this conversation and for those who wish to either here or on c-span, you can join the conversation on twitter. use our hashtag,
#faithandpolitics. ramesh, is the most important, surprising, significant issue with the gop and religious voters? ramesh: i'm not sure it is the most important or surprising development, but i do think there is an interesting feature of religious and moral politics foresee, and has gone under appreciated, and that is that president trump seems to have a lot of running room on the policy agenda of the social right, precisely because no one believes he cares about it. when trump changed the policy on international family planning by executive order -- it has been a ping pong between
administrations, there was an outcry that he cut off organizations that advocate or perform abortions, but it was nothing like what you saw when george w. bush did the same thing. i don't think it was anything like you would have seen had president pence implemented the exact same policy. --hink it is because while, when many people think of trump, they think of a of negative things, but they don't think, religious zealot, holier than thou, self-righteous. all of those traits were more easily attached to george w. bush. they are more easily attached to pence. in a way, it makes it easier for him to implement a conservative social agenda. it is one of the reasons why people who have a transactional attitude towards trump are getting some of the things they
wanted out of this relationship. also increasing their influence within the republican party is the fact that this administration has been much less focused than previous american administrations at getting the 50% plus approval -- the support of 50 plus percent of the country. a normal rate is 40% approval. when you think about base politics in that way, you have a lot of strategic options that would not have been open to an administration playing by some of those rules. those are some of the things i think are contributing to the situation in which religious conservatism, and i am saying this as a person who is sensitive to a lot of conservative -- have less and less purchase with the public in general, but have more and more
sway within the governing party. john: julia? you have been watching this, covering it, one of the stories i remember is immediately after the election, people were finding a church or going back to church. some to celebrate, others to deliverance. you covered the pope -- what is your take on where things are with the gop and religious voters? have a very memorable night at church at an evangelical church about an hour outside of washington dc, with a large number of trump voters, the night after the election in 2016. julia: i had a memorable night at an evangelical church about an hour outside of washington dc, with a large number of trump voters, the night after the election in 2016. they had a thanksgiving service, basically. talking to them, it was so clear how relieved they were. it wasn't because they thought that president trump was one of
them, or religious, or in keeping with the values they felt in their community -- they felt beseiged, that -- one of the phrases that comes up a lot is the culture, the culture had been moving away from them for eight years of the obama administration. they felt like the culture was embracing gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, getting further and further away from their culture, and they saw a way to win with president trump, not that he was one of them, but they would win with him. and they did. what has been interesting over the past two years is not just how politicians respond, but how politics is changing faith communities themselves, and how religious identity has become so wrapped up in political identity
in a way that is really accelerating under the trump administration. we see that in catholic parishes, among the few places where you find different political opinions in one congregation, which is becoming excessively rare. it is a real challenge for lot of parishes and we especially see it evangelical communities. where the word evangelical has come to mean republican for some many people. even if 80% of white evangelicals voted for president trump, 20% of white evangelicals is at an enormous number of people. 25% of people in this country are white evangelicals. a huge number. a majority of people don't even call themselves evangelical at all.
if you leave the group because you are not a trump supporter, then everyone who is an evangelical is a trump supporter. in the past few years, this has really been accelerated. john: you have been in the middle of this. what has been the most interesting, most important, surprising thing about this last year and a half? >> i will stick to the question. there are four simple things in my perspective. >> i will stick to the question.
this idea of co-belligerency. i was there for 13 years and started working there when i was 19 as a campus pastor. the moral majority was that, the moral majority. it was not evangelicals, it was evangelicals and catholics across the board. if you agree on a few of these principles, you can move forward together. it is something we really got, as young evangelicals, that we don't have to look the on everything in order to work together on one thing.
i remember coming here when i first learned about michael's amazing work, attending the international aids conference in washington dc. co-belligerency died for a time after jerry falwell's death, where you would have people swing to the right and endorse a candidate. conversations i hear with a lot of these people, they are used to seeing pivotal elections, and then it is like, see you in four years. that has not been the case. i still live in southern california, and i have been trying to handle the d.c. problem that way. but the white house wants to continue this, so i have been a
part of several listening sessions with 700,000 evangelicals in the white house. the third thing is something that has been said here twice already. i feel like this gets lost in the news coverage, with due respect julia, i am not speaking of your paper, but sometimes -- the fact is that evangelicals, the conservative ones, have played a moderating force on issues like daca and prison reform, family leave, which i think will come up in the next few months. evangelicals have played a huge role in the opioid conversation. i sat at a meeting in the white house with 50 leading professionals.
faith drove the conversation. it is not about abortion and religious freedom, but the cost of drugs. pastors have said, because i have a congregation and people are suffering, this matters to us, too. i think evangelical conservatives have played a moderating force. i don't want to break rules. john: we are a little loose on that. johnnie: [laughter] the last thing i will say is i have been surprised by the unwillingness on the part of some individuals to work with people like me and other evangelicals. that is why i am so thrilled by the work that you have done in this center for so long.
the fact is if we are not , careful, we will read and believe our own headlines about ourselves. but the trump administration has been so focused on whatever else is going on. john: fascinating. let me pursue a theme here. the policies of the party don't need to be very moderate right now. on immigration, we had the chief of staff say the other day, an irish catholic, saying the people that are coming don't seem to fit in well, they are uneducated and don't speak the language, a familiar ring to such catholics of generations ago. if you are going to separate -- what is the obligation?
it will be a question in the democratic discussion as well. when do you build bridges? when do you stand up? how do you take this moderation and have it lead to action? right now, on immigration, we see much further away from where president bush and michael were pushing us, even where president trump was months ago on refugees, muslims. i have been working on this for a long time. it seems tougher than it's ever been. my republican mother and a lot of republican members i know seem to sign-up for agendas they don't have their heart in, really. how has this taken over the party? emily: i'd like to dovetail what you were saying into the
increasing number of people who have left organized religion over the past two decades. that is playing a role. it is by no means the only thing. what research has shown is that, particularly conservatives, people who have a desire for community, if they are not getting the community from some sort of church, synagogue, they are going to look for it elsewhere. what we are seeing is for those who are not attending church regularly, they are tending to draw the boundaries at the level of the nation, the level of their racial group. there was a core group of trump supporters, a core group of enthusiastic supporters, in which many of them believe that to be truly american, you need to be of european descent, very troubling. these individuals were least
likely to go to church. they have redrawn the lines of their community on the basis of immutable traits. that is toxic to having consensus and compromise and having a public policy that works for all people. i think that is playing a role. we saw this in the 2016 election, particularly when it came to the issues of immigration in this country. >> other comments on this point? >> a lot has gone into the shift among republicans on immigration. one thing i think happened was that you had for a few years a leadership group among republicans who were to the left of the party faithful. if we even take left to mean sort of more open to high levels
of immigration. for example almost everybody who , ran for the republican presidential nomination last time was in favor of higher levels of legal immigration. except for santorum, his campaign was not noticed by anybody. except for trump, who took an odd position on an even number of days. this is favored by a minority of americans admit even smaller minority of republicans. in every primary exit poll, we found the majority of republican voters were in favor of providing a path to citizenship. but among people who treated this as a top issue, trump was getting a significant portion of the primary.
and other people who had said, if we didn't see support a path to citizenship unconditionally, it doesn't mean we wouldn't support a path when we see how hard people are fighting for it. as a result, you have a new leadership group in the party that is in certain respects well to the right of where the medium republican voter is. john: if a majority -- i saw the same exit polls. a majority supported a path to citizenship.
that is not the policy of the president they voted for. is this the case where the president is setting the agenda, instead of responding to the ideas? michael, you spent years trying to make policy in this area. on who sets take the agenda, who follows, and who is responsible for where we find yourselves? michael: the republican party may have been to the left, republican leaders may have been to the left of the rank and file in the republican coalition. the republican party, by any definition, had a hostile takeover in this last election. this is true of free trade,
refugees, immigration reform, refugees, immigration reform, these things were not deeply rooted in the republican coalition. i agree with that. my concern is that there are a lot of prudential issues in these matters. whether you support a wall or not at the border is a prudential issue. is it a good use of resources, is it an effective policy is it , going to stop terrorism, is it going to do these things? when the president of the united
states proposes, as a policy of the u.s. government, a separation of families as a form of deterrent and punishment in the immigration system, that is a violation of human rights. unfortunately, this is something we have a history of doing in the united states. people should be cognizant of the fact that family separation was an essential element in the united states. my concern has been that a lot of evangelical leaders have not seen that distinction, there are some things truly prudential we should have debates about, but there are other matters that are not. my concern is that these are not peripheral to the trump appeal. i don't think the president has an overriding ideology, but i
think he has a certain approach to politics, blaming the other for the problem. that is true of migrants, muslims, and refugees. it is a political approach that i find fundamentally problematic from an evangelical perspective. i don't think that evangelical leaders have brought that voice. julia: this president as a candidate, openly and a national television, repeatedly advocated for the united states to commit were crimes. i did not see a ton of pushback from religious voices on that. john: is there pushback? i see people in the audience who are pushing back on the
issue strongly. julia: there has been an awful lot of debate about whether there is such a thing as a religious left. i would say there is. there are a lot of religious voices, whether in muslim and jewish communities, or in segments of the catholic church. they have been vocal in speaking out against president trump, on immigration. i am interested to hear about this idea of a moderating effect of religious voters. i think that we don't see that loud and clear often in religious leaders speaking.
if that is true in their voting, this suggests there are less religious voters choosing immigration as their top issue and voting for trump. if that is one segment of the electorate and not the religious segment, what are the reasons religious voters are choosing to vote for trump? i imagine abortion is high on that list and i was disappointed after the election about the lack of polling that addressed abortion. people, who would have otherwise found it distasteful to vote for trump, thought it mattered so much that they had to get a supreme court seat.
there was not holding to demonstrate how many people that was the top issue for. if it's not immigration or abortion, what are evangelicals -- what are the issues evangelicals and powerful enough to get that vote? >> something like 21% of the public treated that as a top issue when they voted for trump. pretty substantial in such a tight race. john: we talk about that in our next discussion, maybe in response to how important it was to the democrats. you are in a unique position to talk about why people voted for trump and the motivations and how all that worked. johnnie: this was an election not made by hillary clinton or
donald trump, this was an election created by the untimely death of judge scalia. that was the linchpin of this election. i would say that was what made this feel existential. you can say, whether it was a real threat or wasn't, but living in california, as it related to religious liberty, we were watching, and moving from virginia to california, seeing the comparison between the two and the real lack of resource in california to do anything about it. when a bill came up in california that made it difficult for any religious institution of higher education to continue with the first step, and that bill would have flown
through the statehouse, made it to the ninth circuit, and when it got to the supreme court, it might have been upheld. what caused it to go down? a number of us said, in california, it is useless to argue on the basis of religious freedom these days. what is going to happen? in order to protect one community, we will disenfranchise the two largest minority communities. the hispanic community and the african-american community. bishops blake and gomez co-wrote an op-ed and the state senator withdrew the bill. if you were paying attention to the evangelical world, there was this unusual coalition of evangelicals saying, this is dangerous, joined by the
catholic community. secondly two weeks before the , election, we had a bill that would require upholding of crisis pregnancy centers if you walked in for an abortion. we had nuns -- which this community knows clearly -- i am not progressive, but if i was, i would say obama did an incredible disservice to his community by pressing too much, too fast, too quickly. he created an environment where it felt like the end of it all for this community. the feeling of the threat to religious liberty, coupled with the binary choice between clinton and trump, and evangelicals spent time with trump.
michael would know this better than i. i was born in 1983. i don't know so much of the history of the republican party in recent elections, but in my community, we thought we were outsiders to the republican party. it was like an outsider candidate with an outsider community. with donald trump called and asked if we would put together a group of advisers, my first statement was, are they required to endorse you? no, they are not required to endorse me. what about a monday called every monday?
not dial *7. we had a conversation that happened every monday. this group of evangelicals he has become close to. there is a genuine conversation. a genuine relationship. the community, the bible tells me that the faithful -- it does not say it have to be in bold 32 font. on the front page of the new york times. this is a community that in a particular environment, in a series of circumstances created an unlikely alliance. there was a lot of pessimism about how that alliance would play itself out. what has happened is again and again and again we have found there is this strange politician that has kept his promises to our community, which is an unusual characteristic for a politician. >> if i could add a little data
to what you were saying. let's be clear that evangelical churchgoers are not the base of the trump coalition. by any means. the more likely you are to go to church the more likely you were to vote for cruz. even today, the more you go to church, the less favorable you are to trump today. people who go to church more than once a week are about 20 points less likely to say they are favorable to donald trump. these are republican conservative voters. they are less likely to say they are favorable of donald trump. the question you have to ask is if it were not trump, who would
it be. partisanship plays a powerful role in how people are going to vote. if you are an evangelical voter, who do you pick? many evangelicals feel like they are besieged and religious liberty seems to be at stake. do you vote for hillary clinton or donald trump? why did so many evangelicals vote for him? >> there was something distinctly different. they were largely in line with ted cruz. i was invited to a number of these meetings. there was this concerted effort from the right wing side of evangelical communities to consolidate. it was going to be rand paul or ted cruz. in the end they landed on ted
cruz, which is also interesting that rand paul was in there. the leaders that sat around, there were two things that pulled evangelicals away from ted cruz and in the direction of trump. number one is, it was the evangelical pastor, not the political activists in this city who moved the congregation to the polls. this time, it was the mega-church pastor, not the activist class. the relationship has maintained its identity outside the beltway. the second thing, ted cruz, while a principled conservative always pervades this authenticity. -- inauthenticity. not to say anything about his policy, he is just a very good politician, a very good lawyer. trump just said what he thought. you could argue with him and he
would go back and forth with him. >> this is very helpful to understand. richard said a while ago there was a catholic moment. it is not just directed at johnny. sentence, it in a is hard to imagine that we would say that the president paid off a porn star and religious people have stuck with him. people talked about mulligans, they talked about he is not our pastor. >> he is like king david. we have heard that analogy. >> in the catholic community, there is a line of integrity.
there has been a long stream of evangelical politics and any religious conviction that who you are is reflected in what you do. i am not asking you or anybody else to defend the behavior. help us understand what is going on. >> i will pick that up for a moment. i think a lot of people recognize that the president is a lowlife. [laughter] but we are willing to support him despite that. >> let me interrupt. that is inside the beltway. >> people use that phrase outside the beltway. >> there are so many americans attending a church in the middle of america. it is part of the americana. you might agree or disagree with his policies or lifestyle, or
previous lifestyle, but you talk about the president of the united states in a respectful way. i am not even arguing the point. i am just saying the incredulity of this audience is what the problem is. there is this massive gap between so many of the everyday masses in this country. in donald trump they found someone who authentically said what he had on his mind. >> first of all, i think that is false. he does not speak his mind, he lies all the time. at an unbelievably rapid clip, fragrant -- flagrantly.
he says things authentically from moment to moment that contradict each other. he speaks authentically if we define authentic as not being restrained by norms of decency, manners. some people positively respond to that. let's be accurate about the actual phenomenon going on here. the fact of the matter is, it is a minority of americans that will say they think of the president as a good role model for children and honest. but they think of him as decent and sharing their values. [applause] there is a significant number of americans, even while affirming each of the things that i have said, that he is not a good role model etc. my concern is that, given the facts you have a majority of the , american public who recognizes the president for what he is. a lot of these caveats that you hear from his supporters, i'm not sure that is coming across. i think a lot of people have rationalized and started with he is not perfect, but he is better than clinton. they start looking for reasons
to ignore people who are bringing unflattering stories about him to attention. they come up with what about the other guy? he is even worse or he did something bad. then you move towards rationalizing him. i think that is coming across in a way that is very bad for the future of the life of the evangelical that is exacerbating a wide generation gap within the evangelical world. what is the long-term trajectory that this puts us on as conservatives? there is reason for worry. >> we promised diverse points of view. you are getting that. [laughter] let's talk about catholic. julie, you wrote a piece about a firing of a former chaplain in georgetown. he started the retreat program in georgetown.
nobody gets to serve as chaplain forever. this seemed particularly badly handled. people made it worse by what they said privately and publicly. this seems to be the evangelical moment for good or ill. there are not a lot of leaders advising the president or the party. what was your sense as somebody who covers all these communities, of where the catholic community fits in this moment in the republican party? >> you brought up one thing that is very striking. every president for the past many years has had advisors. president trump created a somewhat new office. until this point, what has been different about president trump
is that he has had johnny's evangelical counsel. there is not been any formal or informal advisers from any other faith, which is very different and unusual. washingtonl here in has been open about saying that he -- there's not that channel to the catholic community that there has been. in terms of what happened with the house chaplain, who is a jesuit priest, his accusation, when you said paul ryan dismissed the chaplain. father conroy thought this was anti-catholic bias. he thought he was being targeted because he identified with pope francis.
he is a close follower of pope francis, which means talking about climate change, refugees and immigration. a lot of issues that are not necessarily political issues, but they are issues that the pope is talking about. to a congressman might stomach you are talking democratic politics. whether that is why he was dismissed, there are a lot of opinions. it is hard to know. only paul ryan knows. paul ryan is catholic himself. it is hard to believe that he would have anti-catholic bias. he said that there were issues with pastoral services after father conroy spoke up and argued against his dismissal. he was reinstated. he is the house chaplain again. we might not get much more of an answer than that. it has raised questions about
how members of the house view a pope francis catholic these days. one congressman said i think the next chaplain should be a man with a family who can talk about what it is like to raise children, which would rule out catholic priest, which struck a lot of people the wrong way. [laughter] it would not rule out every catholic priest. the question of whether pope francis is viewed as a political figure, whether that means catholics more broadly argued as liberal is an interesting one, even though the chaplain is back and we might not hear about it for a while. been workingu have
on an interface basis, building bridges. what is your take on relationships between evangelical, catholic community, the place of different groups in the republican party? you built these alliances. >> i am not that optimistic about the republican party nor the democratic party. we have tried to work on these issues that i was talking about earlier. we have also met trouble. i do not know about the party. what i do know is if we just change our thinking, if we recognize that most of the issues that we point at the white house for are issues that congress can solve. if we disconnect ourselves from the punditry. and as religious leaders resist the temptation to be pundits. that is one of the reasons why the number of evangelical leaders have not been frequently gotten in trouble. there is a lot of stuff that we
can get done. a rabbi friend of mine in los angeles quoted to me something from ethics of our fathers. it is not up to you to complete the task, nor are you free to desist from it. my way of thinking of these things is whatever is on the news, people are discussing, those are all distractions. we have to focus on areas of mutual concern. and move forward together. if we can push all that aside and decide this week -- i was in the blue room of the white house the last national day of prayer, sitting around the table with jared and ivanka. , and harryrodriguez jackson.
we were at one table and the president was over here, the vice president was over there. there was about 50 of us together. we started talking about criminal justice reform around that table. it turns out that this is an issue that jared kushner is deeply passionate about. that very evening we start talking about what we can do together on this issue. i think there is unbelievable temptation where you have to have an opinion on everything. we too easily boil down everybody into these automatons of what we think that they think. there are so many experts that tell us what to think. if we get down to the simple things of picking an issue and working for a period of time on that issue. this month it is prison reform. that is the only thing i am focused on. i will just not talk about hardly anything unless asked to because this is my focus. i am doing it with rabbis and
members of the catholic community. this is something we shared together. we can move forward on this together. we have to resist the temptation of punditry and stop letting congress play with this game. it goes all the way back where every time they get on their feet, they point at the white house. when it comes to immigration, wherever you are on the spectrum, everyone agrees the system is broken. it is only congress that can solve it. what if we spend a lot less time talking about whatever is going on and we get our focus together? as a general rule if somebody , says something negative about me, i try to reach out to that person. i fail at it sometimes, but i try most of the time. we just did it with north korea. we just united.
jim wallace, 100 of us, we all gathered together and called for prayer and peace on the north korean peninsula. i think we are in a room with a lot of believers. you can line up the following of the conversation. this is documentary in hollywood. it says, "the beginning of tyranny is the lack of nuance." that is what we argue about. when we get together and pray together things start happening. this is what changes the world. >> when i worked at the bishops conference, i thought we should put a sign outside our building
there. it says nuances are us. michael, you have put together coalitions. you know more about catholic social functions than most catholics. what is the role in the catholic church within your party, within our country at this point, when so much of the focus is elsewhere? i will ask people to start moving towards the microphones. i would also say you can join our conversation with the #life in politics. reflect on your work with the catholic community. with the role of the catholic church in politics and in this party. >> i have argued in the past that the great advantage of
catholic social teaching, that fills a need for evangelicals is the if then teaching. if you are pro-life, you cannot dehumanize. if you oppose euthanasia, then you have to support health care for all people, in whatever way that is possible. catholics do not always obey this in public life. evangelicals have approached a lot of these questions from the perspective of the perceived aggressions. abortion, religious liberty, other things, rather than looking at first principles and coming to issues. there is some overlap, but they are not identical to one another.
i would also -- i think there is an important role there. i will be a voice in this broader debate about how to get things done in washington. if you are going to make the utilitarian arguments, you have to make them all the way down. there is no doubt that evangelicals on their agendas support supreme court nominees and have gained things. my concern for the pro-life community for catholics and evangelicals is that i am strongly pro-life. if the pro-life cause becomes identified with misogyny, that underlines the long-term ability
to make arguments that persuade the public to support these causes. the whole idea of family values is undermined when there is tolerance for cruelty. i think you have to say, if you are going to total up all the gains and losses of this type of engagement, there are huge risks that evangelicals and christians more broadly are taking right now. their movement will be seen as identical to something that is very different in values and goals from their approach. for me, this is why evangelicals are not just another interest
group among many. like a business organization or a union. these are leaders that in their normal life are supporting the reputation of the christian gospel. i'm afraid making decisions that are alienating the young, making decisions that are alienated minorities from these messages and doing some serious long-term damage to the causes that evangelicals have cared about for a long time. >> questions? join us. we would ask you to put your question in the form of a question. [laughter] identify yourself if you can. >> my name is bob.
can you hear me? i'm wondering if the panelists or anyone in the audience saw a column called "and jesus said unto paul ryan." it was a conversation between christ and the speaker. every time jesus spoke, he makes a description. it kept me awake at night. because i'm a conservative and there was a little bit of catholic guilt going on. his premise was that republican policy was anti-christian. when i was naked, did you give me clothes? in essence, paul says i disagree with these programs for these reasons. kristof condemns him. do we do enough as conservatives for the poor? if the answer is that we do, why
do not people know that? is there more that we can do as conservatives to make people mindful that we care about the poor, as christians? >> i will take a couple at a time. >> my name is max. i am a senior studying theology. my questions concerns the topic of moderation and immigration/refugee policy. emily presented data. reverend johnny presented some anecdotes. if i turn on the tv, the voices of jerry falwell junior, even governor pence in indiana at the time got into a huge public dispute with the archbishop on
the issue of refugees. where is this gap between the public evangelical voice that i am familiar with and what is actually going on in the pews? is there a pastor that is moderating the aspect? >> one more than the last the panel to comment. >> my question is for reverend moore. obviously, there has been many communities in the u.s. that have felt that feeling well in the history of our country. we have condemned parts of that community when they have supported either violence. given the fact that evangelical christians are not been remotely in the situations those communities have faced, that
they have not resorted to what those communities have had to endure. >> a lot to work with. conservatives and the poor, are we visible enough? migration and immigration. are the voices strong enough? given the history of race and oppression in our country, have we stood up clearly enough? comments from the panel and then we will go back to questions. >> to answer the first question about conservatives. data shows conservatives donate more to charitable causes than liberals, even when you account for differences in income.
you might say conservatives make more money, so they donate more. even when you account for those differences. there are probably disagreements about what level, through what mechanism is charitable giving -- through what mechanism do we help people in poverty? i just wanted to add that interesting data that there are differences in charitable giving by ideology. >> they had this huge survey of the landscape in america. they find, like everybody has, nones are growing. people with no religious affiliation. a group that is leading the decline of religion is white evangelicals. there is some reason to think that one of the things that has contributed to the rise of the
nones is that there are a titan -- two tight and in alliance between evangelical church and conservative politics. that there is a rigid cultural and political stereotype that is driving a lot of people away. that is a long-standing problem for my evangelical conservative friends. it is a problem that is getting significantly worse right now. >> short answer, no we do not do enough for the poor. we do far more than what we are given credit for. i do not quite remember the structure of the refugee question. i think a lot of this comes for the not the passion problem, but the solution. it tends to be locally oriented. this is why i think we are less
concerned about overarching ideas. i think most evangelical pastors, their are most repeatedly talked about in the public square with regards to politics. they spend 90% of the time helping people. it is a very good point. i would say that evangelicals are very involved with religious persecution around the world. you sit down with christians like i have been northern iraq, or throughout the middle east, there was say it began like this. i do not think that is happened here. i think we have all the safeguards in place.
there is no comparison between the experience of these communities. it is all of the above. it is all of the above. it is not either/or. >> i would just add, as far as bute uncle priorities, another is a significant amount of priority placed on pluralism. i think appropriately. i want to add that i think that is important. i think it is an important element that conservatives should be concerned about, particularly civil society conservatives.
religious liberty is an essential commitment there. the ultimate christian distinctive and political life is not pluralism, it is personalism. the view that every human being has rights and dignity. i think, sometimes, that gets lost in an environment where there are challenges to religious liberty. but, if you metalico christians are concerned primarily about , it is a rights misrepresentation of their most basic responsibilities. we risk that sometimes. >> we talked about many religious voices.
jim is one of them. we work together in the circle of protection. i honestly came tonight to listen and learn. first of all, i'm glad to hear prison reform is one of your issues. i really am. since you say to people who don't agree often don't talk, i will buy you a cup of coffee and we will talk. i want to say that whenever you say evangelical, given the way evangelicals, you have to say white evangelicals because that is what you are talking about. there was a phone call right
after the election that i was on with evangelicals, black and white and hispanic, and the white evangelicals said we did not vote for donald trump because of his racial bigotry. said ick evangelical guess his racial bigotry was not a dealbreaker for you. the feeling of black church members is betrayal. most black churches do not like the word evangelical because of how white evangelicals have shaped it. they are deeply evangelical and their philosophy. there is a real racial difference here, and a racial
divide, that i have never seen stronger than during the civil rights movement. i think biblically, how we treat the vulnerable is the most important question always. are they make the image of god? racial bigotry is an assault on the image of god. these are gospel issues. i was actually concerned about the california issues you mentioned before. i am pro-life, too. but i resist with all of my left, to not be religious because there are ways that my being evangelical makes me critical of the left. would not beat you
but your gospel commitments would have you raise those hard questions. my question is, what would you say to that black evangelical on the phone who said i guess alleges bigotry -- i guess trumps racialtry bigotry. why is that not a dealbreaker for trump evangelicals? >> i am cliff, a georgetown >> i am cliff, a georgetown graduate, recent, current student and politically homeless.
>> my question concerns the political philosophy formally known as -- formerly known's conservatism, which seems to have been completely taken over by trumpism. my question is what does the faithful conservative or the thoughtful conservative do to resist or push back against this takeover? and might be strategy be to abandon the term and come up with a new one? >> ok. and our last question. >> hi, my name is josh tatum. i also have a question about the philosophy really formerly known as conservatism. i have a friend who says it is important to remember before trump defeated the democrats in 2016, he defeated the entire republican party. when i think of the triad of the reagan era conservatism, i think of social onservatives, free market -- and interventionist foreign and interventionist foreign policy. so, was there a change in religious values? >> so, three questions really about definition and
accountability. what do white evangelicals say to black evangelicals? what became of conservatism -- i would add compassionate conservatism? and broader, philosophically, how do we go forward in this environment we find ourselves in? i would ask you to make your responses to this to be your final comment. who wants o jump in? >> i was struck by -- cliff, your phrase. you say you are "politically homeless." and i am interested in the large number of religious people who fall in that category and also the growing number of people who find themselves religiously homeless, to use that term, that they are ex-evangelicals or they don't go to church anymore. there was a study a
couple years ago, i think right before the 2016 election, asking people who used to be religiously affiliated and were not anymore, which is a rapidly growing number of people, why ot? and some of them said they stopped believing or they did not find a church they felt stopped believing or they did not find a church they felt comfortable in. i think it was about 30% is specifically said of gbg issues. the church was not welcoming to lgbt people and they left their church. 30% of people who left heir churches, a huge portion, and that is one issue. now the trump administration and there are so many more issues people of faith taken issue with, the stands their church has taken because the church has stood implicitly or explicitly with president trump. those people who were religiously homeless now, i am very interested in finding out where they go. where they go religiously, where they go politically. they
are not going to all turnaround them become democrats. there has to be a third place and has to be a third place and they do not know where that is going to be and i think that is the big question looking forward into 2020 and beyond. where do the disaffiliated end p? >> to have questions about what is conservatism anymore -- the evidence of compassionate conservatism is an argument for the contest ability of trumpism. george w. bush, his entire first term, he had as high or higher support from republicans than trump has now. he had the only majority of the national popular vote that any republican has managed its the end of the cold war, and yet compassionate conservatism -- let's just say it has not end of the cold war, and yet defined the future of the republican party. looking at it from the other angle, after 2008, there's a lot of talk about how the end of the bush years was going to be a discrediting event in
american politics to republicans. it would be like the who years. it would be very hard to recover from. james carville would have called for 40 more years. and a years later, republicans have the state legislatures, governorships, the white house, both houses of congress. that, i think, suggests the definitions are not set in stone and one thing that helps contesting trumpism is it does not have any stable meaning. >> johnny? not have any stable >> well -- in catholic the elegy, this means that -- in catholic theology, that means ore time in purgatory for you. >> i would say i was not on the call, but i listened to the call . the reason why i did that is because one of the things i think i know, and i think i live is what matters more than
what you say is what people ear from what you say. the fact of the matter is that evangelicalism has had a race problem from the very, very beginning. this is not -- if we hink that this problem is new, it isn't. what i would say to that person -- and i will give you a few bits of information in a moment, but what i would say to that pastor is, we are not offering you a seat at our evangelicalism has had a race table. we want a seat at your table precisely to figure out what we can do to make a difference. i will tell you one of the most disappointing moments in this whole thing is someone who -- i do not have a position. and i don't want one by the way. with three young kids, a five world, a
three-year-old, a one-year-old, flights taking red eyes to the city every chance i can to try to make a difference, when the incident in charlottesville had happened -- just to bring it up -- there were a few things colliding in my mind. number one, my interactions with the president himself, he had never said anything in the direction of racism whatsoever. not a thing. i still haven't had an interpersonal level. number two, i've -- i was so incredibly grieved by what happened, you can go back and look -- immediately we were out there. we issued a statement. what we want to do is disband -- and i will get to the disappointing moment in a minute and wrap it up -- we would not disband the cause first of all, we did not exist. there is no formal board. it never existed to begin with.
this informal group. in a moment of national crisis like this, it would be dereliction of our duty to disband in that moment. this is when you want spiritual leaders even if you disagree with them. if we were a business we would have fiduciary responsibilities. we were religious leaders, so we had conversations and we were involved in it. the most disappointing moment -- and i do not judge this person for it at all because i know it is not what you say, it is what people here -- but i wrote a very, very prominent member of the african-american community who was deeply hurt diet, and i said, i will meet -- god is my witness -- i don't know that we can say that. i will meet you whenever, wherever. name the ime so we can work together on healing this. the email i got back was he would not even meet me. i do not judge him for it. i do not judge him. i want to healing this. the email i got be clear. but what i do know is
week before charlottesville i was in a meeting at the white was in a meeting at the white house. we compiled a list of the 100 most influential african-american leaders, regardless of party, whatever, and we were planning on inviting them to the white house the week after charlottesville. but then we could not do it because it would be perceived as a political action, it would be a difficult situation, there would be protest by not coming. what i can tell you, in the last month, we have had over 200 liters cap -- 200 liters, between face-to-face meetings and phone calls, it's just aving quietly. [inaudible] >> yes, sir? [inaudible] >> well, but it is -- it is ncomplete.
>> you want to respond to all that? [inaudible] >> i guess i will say to get things. public opinion research has long shown there are different opinion -- different opinions about how you define racism and bigotry and conservatives tend to define it differently than liberals, and what we have seen in the data is many conservatives genuinely do not view trump's comments as bigoted. while that may seem strange to many people, there s just genuine disbelief. that is part of it. a broader conversation is to take place about what is bigotry and racism today? and how does that affect people? and completely is part of it. a broader unrelated, just my other final comment that i would like to make, by bringing it back to the issue of religion and tolerance, i think over the past maybe decade or so, because of the conflict between the respect for the rights of lgbt people and general civic
respect for these individuals has not often come into conflict with religious conscience, that there has been kind of this shift in a demonization and culture war more broadly against organized religion and people of faith. and i think i can understand where that is coming from, but i would argue that that is misplaced because of the data that i mentioned today. organized religion can also be a source of moderation, actually can bring people together in surprising ways. it does not seem to be that way on lgbt issues specifically, but it can be on very important issues -- immigration, criminal justice reform, poverty, matters of racial tolerance. and those issues also matter. and so i would hope there would be a broader conversation about how less demonization of organized religion and civil society and also seeing it as a
source for left, right, libertarian. >> i would say just two words in favor of compassionate conservatism, which was raised earlier. we just had a very upbeat meeting in our phone booth. but i do actually think that there is an enduring role for conservatism of the common good. the application of conservative and free ideas to issues of social justice. that will be there no matter what it is called. that is a hopeful thing. there will be people involved, including the person at the end of the table. i hink that is rather hopeful. i would conclude with one idea that religious people, i think, should bring to the debate little bit. that is an
understanding of the nature of power and influence. there is a worldly definition of organization and the exercise of power. but when i look at the moment that christian people communicated most about the nature of their faith over the last several years, it was after the charleston church hootings. when the families of those who had suffered for gave the man who had taken their family members. and it was an example of grace, not anger. grace, not resentment. grace, not organization for power. and that -- the comparative advantage that christians have, i think, in the broader culture
is that when they act by the values and attitudes that characterize jesus christ, it peaks across every boundary. it reaches people of every ackground. i think we just cozzzant ofwhere the true power ies. [applause] >> before you leave, previews of coming attractions -- a month from now, we will have, i suspect, a similarly passionate, principled, lively, passionate, principled, lively, civil discussion about faith and the faithful in the democratic party, and i want to invite you all to an extraordinary gathering on the afternoon of june 4, where we are gathering for three days, leaders in our own catholic community on how we overcome
polarization and use catholic teachings to advance public good and the public dialogue associated with that. we will nclude the cardinal from chicago, arch bishop of los angeles. teresa maye. a couple clerics, a few women, three latinos, to explore how those values bring a few women, three latinos, to us together in this initiative, can reduce polarization and find an alternate way to ring together a deeply divided nation. please join us for those and please join me for thinking these people for a principled, passionate discussion -- thanking these people for a principled, passionate discussion. [applause]