27/09/2016 6:13 AM AEST | Updated 04/10/2016 7:53 AM AEDT

Popular Christian Author Is Downright Baffled By Evangelical Support For Trump

Philip Yancey wants to know: How can evangelicals support someone who "stands against everything that Christianity believes"?

Award-winning Christian author Philip Yancey is dumbfounded by the way that many members of his faith have rallied around Donald Trump. 

Yancey expressed his doubts about the Republican presidential candidate and his Christian supporters during an interview with website Evangelical Focus.

“I am staggered that so many conservative or evangelical Christians would see a man who is a bully, who made his money by casinos, who has had several wives and several affairs, that they would somehow paint him as a hero, as someone that we could stand behind,” Yancey said

“To choose a person who stands against everything that Christianity believes as the hero, the representative, one that we get behind enthusiastically is not something that I understand at all,” he added. 

To choose a person who stands against everything that Christianity believes as the hero ... is not something that I understand at all.Philip Yancey

Yancey, a respected author and columnist whose books about Christianity have sold millions of copies, is just the latest evangelical heavyweight to speak out against Trump. A number of high profile evangelical Christians have parked themselves in the “Never Trump” camp, pointing out that the candidate’s policies and actions don’t reflect Christian values.

And yet, rank and file white evangelical Christians don’t seem to mind ― or at least, are willing to forgive. The group, which counts for one-fifth of all registered voters in the U.S. and roughly one-third of all voters with Republican leanings, has been rallying strongly around Trump. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in June, 78 percent of white evangelical voters said they would vote for Trump.

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks on the campus of Liberty University on January 18, 2016. Liberty is a non-profit, private Christian university that was founded in 1971 by evangelical Southern Baptist televangelist Jerry Falwell.

In private meetings with evangelical pastors supportive of his campaign, the nominee promised to cherish and defend America’s “Christian heritage,” which has struck a chord with Christians who feel that they are losing the culture wars.

But Yancey believes that tying the church and politics together in this way isn’t good for American Christianity in the long run. 

“There are countries in Europe where the church is set back for decades and decades, because they have been stained by how they sold their soul for power, I would say.”

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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