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Evangelicals Much More Accepting of Immorality

October 25, 2016

A recent poll by PRRI shows that American evangelicals have changed dramatically in their view of whether immorality affects an individual’s ability to serve in public office. Here’s a synopsis:

No group has shifted their position more dramatically than white evangelical Protestants. More than seven in ten (72%) white evangelical Protestants say an elected official can behave ethically even if they have committed transgressions in their personal life—a 42-point jump from 2011, when only 30 % of white evangelical Protestants said the same. Roughly six in ten white mainline Protestants (60%) and Catholics (58%) also believe elected officials can behave honestly and ethically in their public roles regardless of their personal behavior. In 2011, only about four in ten white mainline Protestants (38%) and Catholics (42%) held this view. Notably, religiously unaffiliated Americans have remained constant in their views; six in ten (60%) believe elected officials who behave immorally in their personal lives can still perform their duties with integrity, compared to 63% in 2011.

When Bill Clinton was running, immorality mattered to evangelicals. When Donald Trump is running, immorality doesn’t.

There’s a word for this.

Hypocrisy.

There is no reason to suppose that a candidate who violates a marriage oath will uphold an oath of office.

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