White supporters of former president Donald Trump are rushing to embrace the "evangelical" or "born-again" Christian labels, according to new survey data from the Pew Research Center.
"According to analysis released Wednesday, more Americans started identifying as born-again or evangelical Protestants between 2016 and 2020 than stopped calling themselves evangelicals. The boost came almost entirely from white Trump supporters," Christianity Today reported Thursday, based on the Pew survey data.
"Among those who didn't consider themselves evangelicals when the former president was elected, nearly 1 in 6 had begun identifying as evangelicals by 2020. Just 1 percent of white Americans who did not favor Trump made the same switch," the site reported.
Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, told Christianity Today that the survey results show, "Evangelicalism is not collapsing, despite the enthusiasm predictions of its detractors."
But historian Thomas Kidd said the notion of people calling themselves "evangelical" simply because they support Trump "should be of concern to all pastors and committed churchgoers."
"I suspect most pastors would not want to inadvertently signal to their congregations that they are effectively branch offices of Donald Trump's GOP, simply by making undefined use of the term evangelical," Kidd said.