Christian leaders have attacked Donald Trump over the revelation of a lewd video tape, as poll show evangelicals are deserting the Republican nominee in disgust.
Mr Trump was widely condemned across the political spectrum following the release of the video in which he is filmed making sexually aggressive comments and talks about “grabbing (women) by the p—-“. He said the conversation was “locker room banter”.
Donald Trump caught saying lewd and sexual commentsPlay!00:46
However, as his overall poll numbers plummet, it will be the loss of support from evangelical Christians – a cornerstone of Republican presidential campaigns – that will be of particular concern to the embattled Trump camp.
According to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, Mr Trump had only a 1-point edge over Hillary Clinton among people who identified as evangelicals, down from a massive 12-point advantage for the Republican in July.
Christianity Today, a leading evangelical magazine, said in an editorial that Christians should not support a man whose life is based around “idolatry, greed, and sexual immorality”.
“The revelations of the past week of his vile and crude boasting about sexual conquest — indeed, sexual assault — might have been shocking, but they should have surprised no one,” wrote Andy Crouch, editorial director.
Donald Trump: misogyny row intensifies as more lewd tapes emergePlay!01:44
“Enthusiasm for a candidate like Trump gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord.
“They see that some of us are so self-interested, and so self-protective, that we will ally ourselves with someone who violates all that is sacred to us.”
Wayne Grudem, a popular theologian, has withdrawn his support for Mr Trump – a move that could signal a huge sector of evangelicals following suit.
“I previously called Donald Trump a ‘good candidate with flaws’ and a ‘flawed candidate’ but I now regret that I did not more strongly condemn his moral character. I cannot commend Trump’s moral character, and I strongly urge him to withdraw from the election.”
A member of Mr Trump’s own evangelical advisory board, James MacDonald, said he was withdrawing his support unless the billionaire repented.
The megachurch pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel said Mr Trump’s comments in the video were “truly the kind of misogynistic trash that reveals a man to be lecherous and worthless — not the guy who gets politely ignored, but the guy who gets a punch in the head from worthy men who hear him talk that way about women”.
Popular evangelist and author Beth Moore tweeted:
However, some conservative Christians said they were standing by the Republican. James Dobson, of Family Talk radio, condemned Mr Trump’s comments, but called Mrs Clinton’s support for abortion rights “criminal”.
“Mr Trump promises to support religious liberty and the dignity of the unborn. Mrs Clinton promises she will not,” he said in a statement.
In a further blow, Glenn Beck, the right wing media personality, said opposing Mr Trump was the “moral, ethical choice” – and that he briefly considered voting for Mrs Clinton.
On Tuesday, Mr Trump stepped up his fierce attacks on his own party leaders, promising to teach Republicans who oppose him a lesson and fight for the presidency “the way I want to”.
He ridiculed the party’s 2008 White House nominee John McCain as “very foul mouthed” and called Paul Ryan, the nation’s top elected Republican, a “weak and ineffective leader”.
WikiLeaks Dump: Top Clinton Aides Mock Catholicism, Evangelical Christianity — “They must be attracted to the systemic thought and severely backward gender relations.” — Hillary Clinton Thinks People Who Go To Church are “Deplorable”?
Tags: Christian leaders, Christians, Donald Trump, ethical, evangelical Christians, evangelicals, Family Talk radio, freedom of religion, Glenn Beck, James Dobson, John McCain, lewd comments, lewd tape revelation, moral, Religious Freedom, Religious Liberty, sexually aggressive comments, women sexually abused