From Trump’s evangelicals to witches to Roy Moore: how religion shaped 2017

By Tara Isabella Burton

When it comes to religious issues in America, 2017 has been remarkable. Donald Trump, one of the most counterintuitively evangelical-backed presidential candidates in history, winning the white evangelical vote 4-1 despite being a twice-divorced, foul-mouthed billionaire New Yorker who’s bragged about his ability to sexually accost women and has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women. He took office in January, faith communities — from Christian evangelicals to Muslims to the spiritual but not religious — have been reckoning with the aftermath ever since.

In my first year at Vox, I’ve covered a range of religion stories — from witches casting spells against Trump to controversial debates over the alt-right at the annual Southern Baptist Convention conference. In that time, I’ve noticed a few distinct, related patterns emerging. Most notably, Christian nationalism is getting stronger — even as that nationalism has both caused divisions within the evangelical community and led to wider politico-religious divisions in America, cleaving white evangelicals, from, well, everybody else.

If we take away any lessons from the narratives of American religion in 2017, they should be these.

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