"New school" evangelicals lean toward Donald Trump. Old-liners like Ted Cruz. That shows a "crisis" among evangelicals.
A guy in Washington said so. That's good enough for a newspaper advancing the South Carolina primary. Even if its own report doesn't bear that out.
Evangelicalism, "like the Republican party itself, finds itself in the midst of an identity crisis," the Kentucky-based Messenger-Inquirer declares confidently. That "fact" will split their votes between "new school evangelicals," who lean toward Trump, and more traditional believers who prefer Ted Cruz.
Dang, this newspaper is pretty sure of itself:
In new school churches, altars are often replaced by elaborate stages with light shows that rival backdrops from "American Idol" performances. Holy water fountains are converted into jacuzzi-sized baptism pools. For the purveyors of this flashier packaging of Christianity, it's all part of an effort to shepherd disenfranchised Christians back to Jesus, much in the same way that Trump is able to convert his own celebrityhood and financial success into a political following that attracts first-time voters.
"There's a self-identifying factor these new school evangelicals have with Donald Trump," said Dean Nelson, chairman of the Douglass Leadership Institute, a socially-conservative Christian coalition network based in Washington D.C., that is not affiliated with any candidate.
Cruz, meanwhile, is going after more traditional evangelicals, many of whom frown upon the material trappings of the emerging new school movement. Nelson said that they focus more on the Bible's teachings and place less emphasis on personal wealth. It's a church culture, Nelson said, that's more akin to ultraconservatives like Bob Jones and they're more likely to be conservative hard-liners on social issues, just like Cruz.
What's wrong with this appraisal? Well, gee, what isn’t?