In the wake of the past week’s tumultuous election outcome, many small details have escaped the public eye. For example, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine both thanked God in their concession speeches and quoted Scripture. President-elect Donald Trump, however, did neither in his victory speech.
Supporters of Trump are divided over this issue. Some believe it is best that he did not include Scripture, as they believe he is not a truly religious person and it would not be genuine. Other followers argue that he has simply used them for their vote and is now completely disregarding them in his omission of spiritual references.
Trump’s inclusion of any real appeal to religion in his speech would have been very out of character and would have struck the vast majority of people as ingenuine.
When Clinton used scripture to say, “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart,” it seemed forced and as though she did not actually mean it.
If Trump had used Scripture, I believe the effect would have been similar. As neither candidate is a very religious individual, uses of Scripture and other references to religion would have appeared insincere and would have failed to achieve their desired purpose.
I also believe that such an issue matters much less than most people believe. Whether Trump referenced Scripture in a single speech has no lasting effect. It is his actions that will show his actual stance toward religion. In danger of sounding too politically expedient, I believe such types of talk should be left to his vice president, Mike Pence, as Pence is recognized as a more religious character.
Pence is a political figure with a track record of voting in line with religious principles, such as voting against same-sex marriage and abortion. He is also known as a devout evangelical Christian and someone who has been religious all his life.
Perhaps it is Pence’s involvement in the Trump campaign, coupled with his support of Trump, that made the prospect of a Trump presidency more appealing to the average religious voter. Religious voters were not convinced by Trump’s claims to be a “devout Christian,” a statement which most people have trouble believing, or by his suddenly changed stances toward same-sex marriage or abortion. Rather, he was made popular by the religious figures, such as Pence, with whom he surrounds himself.
Regardless of the varying opinions on Trump’s exclusion of Scripture in his victory speech, it is clear that his actions will demonstrate his true views on religion. The most for which evangelical voters can realistically hope from their presidents is that they remain neutral on the dividing issues of same-sex marriage and abortion.