RNC chair Ronna McDaniel created a furor last week when she revealed the launching of a new initiative called the "Pride Coalition" in partnership with the Log Cabin Republicans, which describes itself as "LGBT conservatives and straight allies who support fairness, freedom, and equality for all."
McDaniel was forced to do damage control when a number of evangelical leaders like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and John Stonestreet of the Colson Center expressed their fears that the arrangement will undercut the RNC's pro-family, pro-faith agenda and make it look more like the Democratic Party. The RNC chair sent emails to the GOP's 168 committee members apologizing for not giving them a heads-up and assuring them that the party's platform would not change.
Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist-Dallas was among President Donald Trump's strongest supporters during the president's campaign and administration. He sees trouble on the horizon.
"We've seen this before. We saw it with Mitt Romney [and] we saw it with John McCain when the Republican Party took evangelicals for granted," the Southern Baptist pastor tells AFN. "They said, 'Where else do they have to go except to vote Republican?'
"Well, they did have another option," Jeffress notes. "They could stay home."
Rob Chambers, executive vice president of AFA Action, believes McDaniel and the RNC have an agenda: make sure as many moderate Republicans as possible win in the 2022 GOP primaries.
"They don't like GOP members of the House, for example, who are House Freedom Caucus members," Chambers says. "They don't want to be held accountable; they don't want to advance the people's agenda. This is all about trying to elect as many 'swamp creatures' as possible in the GOP primary."
The AFA Action leader says Christian voters must be diligent in finding true conservatives to support in next year's Republican primaries.
Chameleon politics can come back to bite
When asked if this is enough to cause evangelical Republicans to abandon ship, Jeffress suggests they probably shouldn't have set sail in the first place.
"I don't think evangelicals ought to identify themselves as Republicans," he states. "I'm not a Republican; I'm not a Democrat. I vote for candidates according to biblical issues. I don't think there ought to be any long-term, unconditional romance with the Republican Party because the party could change overnight."
And Jeffress has a warning for the GOP: "Having evangelical support doesn't always guarantee you're going to win, but not having it always guarantees you'll lose."
Editor's Note: AFA Action is an affiliate of the American Family Association, the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates AFN.net.