Campus Crusade

Citizen Trump in Orlando: Press must note evangelicals who attend and those who do not

Citizen Trump in Orlando: Press must note evangelicals who attend and those who do not

(Cue: audible sigh)

Do we really have to keep writing about Donald Trump and THE evangelicals? It would appear so, since he is headed to Orlando today to talk to a Florida Pastors and Pews event, organized by the American Renewal Project.

Once again, the team behind this story seems to think that we are dealing with Trump efforts to fire up THE evangelicals and THE "religious conservatives." That's kind of like saying a candidate is reaching out to THE Jews, THE Catholics, THE Muslims, etc.

That won't cut it. It's really crucial for journalists, when covering this kind of event, to give readers some of the details on who is taking part and who is not.

This is especially true for an event in Orlando, which is a hub city for evangelical megachurches and parachurch ministries. The Orlando area -- especially the suburbs -- is also a very important region in Florida (and thus national) politics, when it comes to gauging evangelical enthusiasm at the polls.

So let's look at the Bloomberg News report that The Miami Herald picked up about Trump's appearance. He is expected to say more about his opposition to the Johnson Amendment, the IRS rule that prohibits churches from endorsing individual political candidates, as opposed to making faith-driven statements about moral and cultural issues in public life.

I'll comment on that issue once we see the press coverage of what Citizen Trump has to say. However, it's important to stress that -- as is so often the cases -- there is no one evangelical camp on that topic. In fact, some evangelicals would like to see that rule enforced in a more consistent manner, affecting churches on the left as well as the right.

What's the first thing I noticed about how Herald editors handled this Bloomberg News report?

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