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Manafort Verdict Deepens Evangelical Divide

Manafort verdict

On Tuesday, a jury found former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty on eight of the 18 counts of tax and bank-fraud charges.

While Donald Trump received 70 percent of the evangelical vote in 2016, many evangelical leaders have been vocal in their opposition to his lifestyle, character and even his fitness to be president.

While not many evangelicals commented on the Manafort conviction and its implications for Trump’s presidency, those that did ignited a firestorm of comments from Christians both for and against Trump on Twitter.

Ed Stetzer, an outspoken critic of Trump and those who voted for him, tweeted shortly after the verdict was read in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. Stetzer is the Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.

While not defending Manafort or Trump, many took exception to Stetzer’s tweet. One was Phil McCutchen, Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Mendon, MA.

Another tweet that garnered quite a bit of reaction came from the other side of the political divide. Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and an ardent supporter of Trump, suggested in his tweet that the verdict amounted to nothing.

Bryan Ayers, a software engineer from San Diego, echoed the sentiment of many.

Social media indicates evangelicals remain divided, and sadly it appears to be politics that is separating them.

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Bob Ditmer has worked in Christian media for more than 20 years including positions with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Focus on the Family.