Donald Trump‘s strange marriage to American evangelicals has left behind a small contingent of conservative Christians appalled by the mogul’s checkered history of public indiscretions, socially liberal values, and resolutely profane character.
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson seems an unlikely alternative for socially conservative voters and an improbable bet to win evangelical support. But then, once upon a time, so did Trump.
Most evangelicals who opposed Trump in the primary have made peace with him because of party loyalties or because his victory promises to hand social conservatives the Supreme Court for a generation. Others encourage Christians of conscience to abstain from voting entirely. Almost none embraces the possibility of a third-party option.
In this climate, a small element of evangelicals is encouraging “values voters” to reject both Trump and the Religious Right that made its dubious alliance with him, and to embrace Johnson’s Libertarianism. These pro-Johnson evangelicals believe that the social conservative movement betrayed the values it purports to espouse and came to prize political power over the Christian virtues of grace and community.
Though small, this nascent movement of evangelical Libertarians is articulating a new way of thinking about the role of religion in politics, one that represents a break with 40 years of conservative Christian activism. If successful, it could signal a tectonic shift in the “culture wars” and put the once-monolithic Republican
[image: Flickr user Waiting for the Word]
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