It requires quite a feat of imagination to think that Trump will uphold and advance the major causes of the Religious Right.
Having basically given up on the hope that Donald Trump could pass as a Christian worthy of white evangelicals’ support, politically conservative Protestants are now trying a new tactic: admitting that he’s not quite got the hang of Religious Right morality while arguing that he’d still do more to promote their particular vision of Christian America than his rival Hillary Clinton. This requires, of course, overlooking a lengthy list of behavior that violates not merely Christian ethical standards but basic expectations for human decency.
After that high hurdle has been overcome, it requires quite a feat of imagination to think that Trump will uphold and advance the major causes of the Religious Right: anti-abortion politics, “religious freedom” (a term that basically means that religious groups and individual business owners are exempt from laws they think contradict their teachings, including insurance mandates that include particular forms of contraceptives), and the appointment of socially conservative Supreme Court justices, especially given that he seems more interested in watching TV than in reinforcing the City on a Hill. Nothing in his history indicates that he would even know what these ideals are, much less how to go about realizing them. I’m not sure that a man who has repeatedly made lewd remarks about children would make eliminating child pornography (a 2016 Republican platform goal) a reality.
Plus, of course, the fact that this list—which really all boils down to sex (abortion, contraception, and LGBT rights and the Supreme Court justices who will oppose them)—isn’t the only list imaginable that Christians (conservative or progressive) could choose to care about. There’s also prison and justice system reform, racism, sexism, economic inequality, poverty, the refugee crisis, health care access, and our constant state of warfare.
In principle, though, the idea that a person’s religious affiliation or beliefs don’t matter as much as the job they would do in office is move in the right direction for the Religious Right. Is that move as exploitative as Donald Trump’s conversion? Probably so.