After President Donald Trump won last year’s presidential election with broad support from evangelical Christians, some embarrassed evangelicals have decided to shed the label so that others won’t mistake them from Trump supporters.
The Guardian reports that the so-called “Exvangelical” movement gained steam last year after Trump’s election, when many American Christians decided they no longer wanted to be publicly associated with a president who boasts about grabbing women’s genitals.
Boz Tchividjian, a Christian who happens to be the grandson of the iconic Evangelical Rev. Billy Graham, said that the community of people who have in the past called themselves evangelicals is much more diverse than what we hear through right-wing media, where voices such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell Jr. are used as representative of all evangelicals.
“Because we have such a broad and vague definition of evangelical, one person could automatically assume every evangelical is a Trump supporter, while another could think they’re anti-Trump, because that exists as well,” Tchividjian explains to the Guardian. “We’re looking at faith through a political lens, and that’s unfortunate and dangerous.”
Christopher Stroop, a former evangelical Christian, similarly tells the Guardian that Trump’s election served as a catalyst for more and more Christians to shun the “evangelical” label.
“I see a lot of people on there saying it was after the 2016 election that they decided they needed to distance themselves from that term,” he says. “These are people who don’t agree with the politics of evangelicals.”
And Iowa-based Pastor Todd Stiles tells the publication that the evangelical brand has been damaged in recent years because “a lot of presidential candidates have claimed to be evangelical, but don’t live their lives according to the Bible.”