While the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem is a political victory for Trump, it is a religious victory for evangelicals. Trump appealed to this group of evangelicals—a group who overwhelmingly supported Trump in the presidential election—by the inclusion of so many evangelical faith leaders in Monday’s Jerusalem Embassy Ceremony. Richard Flory, CRCC’s director of research and evaluation, spoke to Forward to weigh in on the situation:
“The administration is saying, ‘We understand you, and we’re giving you what you’ve always wanted,’” said Richard Flory, director of research at the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture.
Flory then went on to say:
“There’s a ton of evangelicals they could have picked, and they chose those guys,” said Flory. “They’re older, they’re white, they’re male and they’re preaching to their own choir.”
The two pastors also showcase commonly held beliefs that non-Christians will go to hell when Jesus Christ returns as the messiah.
“That’s an extreme way to say that, but every white evangelical believes that,” Flory said of Jeffress and Hagee’s statements. “‘Mormonism is a cult, and Jews have no way to go to heaven unless they take Jesus as their savior.’ If you go to any major megachurch in America, I guarantee you most of the people will tell you the same thing.”
Flory said that Monday’s violent demonstrations in Gaza, where IDF soldiers killed over 50 protesters and injured over 1,000, also plays into evangelical narratives about the end of days.
“They interpret any violence there through that lens, that this is the next step toward Jesus coming back,” Flory said.
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