I know these are anecdotes, but it is still absolutely, 100 percent the truth that politicians and activists who seek to mobilize white Evangelicals are trying to mobilize millions of people who do not know or believe scripture and are thus not persuaded by appeals to scriptural principles. As political operators, those politicians and activists often feel they have to appeal to Fox News or talk radio talking points because the biblical argument simply will not resonate. It’s speaking to their audience in a foreign tongue.
For example, I know there is large-scale churchgoing Christian resistance to vaccines, but why is there such profound religious resistance from white Evangelicals specifically when there is not one single significant denomination that theologically resists vaccines? Well, one reason, in addition to partisan politics, is that millions of self-described Evangelicals don’t have much clue about any of the teachings of the church.
Combine the huge, unchurched “Evangelical” mass with a potent neo-fundamentalist movement that is steeped in angry Christian nationalism, and politics and religion can easily become a God-and-country branding exercise. And in that effort, the actual Bible can be an obstacle, not an asset.