RELEASE: Reza Aslan, E.J. Dionne explore God in the Age of Trump

Washington, D.C. — In a two-part podcast series from the Center for American Progress’ “Thinking CAP,” author and commentator Reza Aslan, The Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, and ThinkProgress Senior Religion Reporter, Jack Jenkins, explore the role of faith in identity politics, voting trends, and the Trump era.

In an interview for the podcast aired last Thursday, Reza Aslan, author and commentator, laid out the three reasons he believes 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, despite President Trump’s lack of biblical knowledge or expression of Christian morality. Primarily, Aslan said that there is a racial element involved—he cites that 67 percent of evangelicals of color supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, while white evangelicals acted more white than evangelical. As well, he says that many white evangelicals saw Trump’s wealth and took it to mean that he’d been blessed by God—the promiscuous influence of the prosperity gospel—and that Trump explicitly promised secular power to white evangelicals.

“It’s baffling, it is baffling, and it’s something that I think a lot of people are trying to figure out, most especially white evangelicals,” said Reza Aslan, “81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump, that’s a record. That’s more white evangelicals than voted for George W. Bush who was a white evangelical … unlike Donald Trump … whose entire world view makes a mockery of Christianity, makes a mockery of core Christian ideals like empathy, care for the poor, humility. This is a man who said why should he ask forgiveness from God, he’s never made a mistake before. This is a man whose primary emotional response is negative empathy, as in delight in the suffering of others, that’s the primary emotion that he expresses. He is a thrice married, lying, lecherous, greedy, conniving man.”

E.J. Dionne also believes that there is a racial aspect to the way people of faith vote, pointing out that progressives are often seemingly afraid of religion, conflating the identity of faith voters with conservatism.

“I think there is the weirdest condescension among liberals, because the only people with whom it’s permitted to be religious are African Americans,” said E.J. Dionne on an episode of the podcast released this morning. “It’s like treating African Americans as, ‘well they’re odd that way.’”

“Thinking CAP” is a weekly podcast launched in May by CAP. During the past few months, co-hosts Michele Jawando and Igor Volsky have spoken with progressive thought leaders, comedians, advocates, and politicians, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Hasan Minhaj of “The Daily Show”; comedian Baratunde Thurston; Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Al Franken (D-MN), and Chris Murphy (D-CT); former U.S. Secretary of Education John King; and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. The podcast is produced by Sally Tucker, and Rachel Rosen is the supervising producer. New episodes are released every Thursday. The podcast is available on iTunesSoundCloudStitcher, and CAP’s website.

If you are looking for more information on guest booking, please contact Sally Tucker at sstucker@americanprogress.org or 202-481-8103.