Jack Graham

Trump and the evangelicals: Is a counselors’ association becoming too politicized?

Trump and the evangelicals: Is a counselors’ association becoming too politicized?

The ongoing entanglement of an important segment of U.S. evangelical Protestantism with the Donald Trump phenomenon keeps taking new and newsworthy turns.

The latest is a small but intriguing ruckus about, of all things, the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC). Objections are being raised about political moves by the group’s president, Timothy Clinton (no relation to President Trump’s 2016 opponent).

The journalistic potential here is shown in an August 4 item about Aaron New of Central Baptist College in Arkansas and why he quit AACC. New is leading an online protest campaign to have the AACC and Clinton shun political activities. The effort claims not to be anti-Trump, but rather pro-political neutrality, and New identifies himself as a “conservative.”

However, New’s words about President Trump are pointed. He says Clinton has “gone out of his way to publicly confirm and praise” Trump while never offering any public criticism, especially regarding his bragging about sexual groping in the infamous “Access Hollywood” video. New thinks that silence was “unconscionable” for the leader of what he considers “the flagship Christian counseling organization.”

He continues, noting that Trump’s “character and behaviors are the kind that cause wounds and trauma to the very people that end up needing the care of Christian counselors.” He says fellow professionals work "with our clients every day" to counteract the psychological harm from such behavior.   

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About the Republican presidential race and that 'Christian army' assembled Sunday in Texas

About the Republican presidential race and that 'Christian army' assembled Sunday in Texas

A friend of mine — a progressive evangelical who doesn't always agree with GetReligion's take on media coverage — asked me what I thought of a front-page story in today's Dallas Morning News.

The story, with the main headline "Faith takes the stage" in the dead-tree edition, reports on a Southern Baptist megachurch hosting six Republican presidential candidates at a Dallas-area forum Sunday.

My friend didn't care much for the coverage:

This looks and feels to me like religious bias from The Dallas Morning News. (It was political bias by Prestonwood Baptist, but that's an entirely different story.)
Where are the interviews with progressive Christian leaders, reminding readers that these six men do not represent the views of every Christian? By not mentioning us, aren't they perpetuating the myth that all Christians vote alike?
The DMN is covering an event that was decidedly Republican (an event to which Democrat candidates declined attendance). On the other hand, isn't the DMN contributing towards the assumption that evangelical voters represent the "Christian vote" by not mentioning the rest of the Christian voting bloc?

I am, of course, familiar with Prestonwood Baptist from my time covering religion and politics in Texas for The Associated Press. When I interviewed Prestonwood pastor Jack Graham, then the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, in 2004, I couldn't help but notice a prominent photo of President George W. Bush welcoming him to the Oval Office.

This is the lede on today's Morning News story:

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