Former Obama faith adviser Michael Wear blasted President Donald Trump’s son’s claim that his father “literally saved Christianity,” calling it blasphemous and just a ploy to get Christians to save the president’s re-election campaign.
Wear, who directed faith outreach for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and is an adviser to a new Super PAC trying to convince voters that Trump is using religion “for his own purposes,” wrote in an op-ed published by USA Today that Trump’s “desperation is showing.”
He specifically touched on comments made by Eric Trump during a North Dakota radio interview last week in which he proclaimed that his dad “literally saved Christianity." Eric Trump accuses the Democratic Party of becoming the party of atheists who want to attack Christianity and close churches, adding “there’s a full out war on faith in this country by the other side.”
“The truth is, Donald Trump can’t win without the overwhelming support of Christians — support he does not deserve,” the strategist explained in the piece.
“Just days ago, Trump tweeted ‘Biden is against Oil, Guns and Religion.’ This is a ridiculous statement and it says everything about his approach to religion.”
Wear, founder of Public Square Strategies LLC and also a member of the executive team for nonprofit Christian civic engagement organization AND Campaign, contended that Trump’s “primary argument to Christians” is that “they must support him out of fear of the other side.”
“Like much of his presidency, his approach to Christians weakens rather than strengthens them,” Wear stated. “And he shows exactly how much he values faith when he lumps it alongside petroleum and firearms.”
The Obama adviser further noted that for Christians, “the position of Savior is already filled, and Jesus is one person Trump can’t fire or bully.”
“Yet, Trump supporters arguing that Christians must support him often want us to believe Joe Biden is responsible for every statement ever uttered by anyone on the political left, while they fail to hold Trump accountable for his own actions,” Wear continued. “Trump has evaded accountability for long enough.”
Wear criticized the president’s “vulgarity, incivility, and cruelty” and asserted that the U.S. can’t hope for “healthier” political discourse while Trump is still in the White House. He stated that Biden has “run a campaign that has promised to decrease antagonism in our politics.”
“It is Biden who insists political opponents can be good people, and that those who have a different perspective must still be valued members of the American family,” Wear contended.
“This isn’t just rhetoric; we’ve all seen Joe Biden live it. And we’ve seen the life and leadership of Trump. We’ve seen enough. This election transcends partisan divides. I say this, yes, as someone who worked for President Barack Obama. I also say it as someone who has real disagreements with many Democrats on issues that are important to me.”
Wear noted that his support for the Hyde Amendment has not changed and that he finds himself isolated from both political parties because he believes “religious freedom can’t be dismissed even when it’s inconvenient to other political goals.”
“If Biden wins this election, and I believe he should, there will be real disagreements that will need to be worked out through the political process,” he advised. “Those of us who support Biden in this election must stand ready to advocate on those issues where we disagree with him. This is the work of politics.”
Wear concluded by saying that while he supports Biden, he does not think it is “inherently a sin to vote for Donald Trump,” nor is it a “sin” to vote for Biden.
“There is too much of that kind of religious manipulation in our politics. There are faithful Christians who will support Donald Trump, and faithful Christians who will support Joe Biden,” he stated. “I disagree with the former, as a prudential matter, but I can understand why they might do so.”
Wear’s op-ed comes as both the Biden campaign and Trump campaign are jockeying to win the support of religious voters.
Throughout 2020, there have been various campaigns aimed at encouraging conservative Christians not to vote for Trump. In 2016, exit polls showed that Trump won 81% of white evangelicals and born-again Christian voters, 59% of Protestant voters and 50% of Catholic voters.
In the weeks leading up to the November election, the new bipartisan super PAC Not Our Faith launched a six-figure TV and digital ad campaign targeting evangelical and Catholic voters in battleground states, according to the Associated Press.
Wear is an advisory council member for the group along with a former aid to former Republican Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas and others.
“Trump eked out 2016 with unprecedented support from white evangelicals and, important to note, a really strong showing among Catholics,” Wear told the Associated Press. “We think Christian support is on the table in this election.”
The Christian Broadcasting Network reported this week that the Trump campaign is launching a six-figure ad campaign that will have advertisements on Christian and conservative radio networks and programming.
Salem Christian America and Bott Radio Network are among the networks that the pro-Trump ads are said to be airing on in addition to the shows of popular conservative radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Sebastian Gorka.
Over the summer, Never Trump Republican groups spent millions in an attempt to encourage conservative and faith-based voters in battleground states not to vote for Trump. One group ran commercial advertisements telling Christians that Trump is “using” them.
Prominent conservative evangelicals have pushed back against attempts by the Biden campaign and supporters to appeal to Christians. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a prominent evangelical activist, wrote in July a response to assertions that Biden is “a more acceptable choice to Christians because he's less brash and confrontational than Donald Trump.”
“No one is rationalizing or excusing Trump's failings,” Perkins stated. “But consider what he's accomplished for the unborn, religious liberty, Israel, persecuted minorities, the military, our economy, the family. He's had a backbone of steel to push back against LGBT extremism, political correctness, America's enemies, and the world's tyrants.”
Conservative Christians and pro-lifers have criticized Biden for his desire to codify the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in all states, into federal law as well as his support for the Equality Act, which seeks to codify LGBT nondiscrimination protections into federal law.