Spiritually active governance engaged conservatives (SAGE Cons) think that aside from unions (who had the most influence), conservative pastors influenced the election of Donald Trump, according to a survey conducted by George Barna group. There were eight non-media entities that were evaluated, and of those eight SAGE Cons said that the top three with the greatest impact were “President Obama (25% said he had a lot of impact) voter guides (24%), and Christian non-profit organizations (23%). These were followed by Protestant churches and pastors (20% attributed “a lot of impact” to them); public opinion polls (15%); celebrities who endorsed a candidate (14%); and Catholic churches and priests (12%).
When combining the top two factors together voter guides jumped to the top spot as the most important influence on the election (in the minds of 79% of SAGE Cons), while labor unions slipped to number two, tied with Christian non-profit organizations with (76%). And lastly, Protestant churches and pastors (74%). In other words, 74% of respondents said they believe that Protestant churches and pastors were very influential in decision-making.
Theologically, conservative pastors had a somewhat different view. They rated themselves and their churches on top in terms of influencing the election, even though they only ranked fifth in the minds of most conservative Christians. These pastors were also more likely to see more influence from Catholic priests and churches than other Christian conservatives, and view President Obama’s influence as much more limited. These pastors also rated other elements less significantly than Christian conservatives.
While pastors may have over-rated their influence, they apparently view themselves as key to political results. This will likely encourage them to try to become more influential. Will conservative pastors eventually try to influence more than elections? When church leaders unite with state leaders to achieve their mutual ends, only religious oppression will be the result.
“In the last conflict the Sabbath will be the special point of controversy throughout all Christendom. Secular rulers and religious leaders will unite to enforce the observance of the Sunday; and as milder measures fail, the most oppressive laws will be enacted. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the land ought not to be tolerated…. Romanism in the Old World, and apostate Protestantism in the New, will pursue a similar course toward those who honor the divine precepts.” Maranatha, Page 188.