Politics for God and Jesus: Rising Evangelical Influence in U.S. Foreign Policy During Trump's Presidency


Özçelik O. M. , Okur M. A.

Midwest Political Science Association 78th Annual Congress, Illinois, United States Of America, 14 - 18 April 2021, pp.1-21

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Illinois
  • Country: United States Of America
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-21

Abstract

This paper aims to show how well known evangelical interest in U.S. foreign policy has affected foreign policy decisions during Trump's presidency. Evangelicals were highly represented both within Trump's cabinet and among his close advisors. Most evangelicals in the US are the staunchest supporters of Israel due to a belief based on the End Times prophecy, dispensationalism. Dispensationalists believe that Israel has a unique significance in Biblical prophecies and to God. In parallel with their influence over the White House, Israel and the U.S.'s cooperation became broader and deeper. Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017 and moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in 2018. Trump's decision was a long demanded move for evangelicals who believe that Israel should have full control over Jerusalem for the "Second Coming of Christ". Most recently, Israel and the UAE reached a peace accord led by Trump. Evangelicals' activism was effective in bringing this accord to the table too. The common hostility towards Iran has been the main factor underlying this accord. Besides, Trump's policies towards Iran were a way of initiating the return of Christ for dispensationalists predicting that Iran has a great role in Biblical history. Our thesis is that evangelical influence over the Trump administration has stood out as one of the salient elements of the US policy of maximum pressure against Iran and efforts to improve relations between the Gulf states and Israel.