Angela Denker visits SMSU Campus Religious Center


Denker visits SMSU (photo by Cory Becker)

Lutheran pastor and veteran journalist Angela Denker spoke to a crowd of roughly 25 people who gathered to hear her speak on her new book Red State Christians. During the 2016 presidential election, Denker was serving a congregation in Orange County, California. She described the area as “deeply, deeply Christian and deeply, deeply conservative.” She also noted that nearby Yorba Linda, California is the hometown of U.S. President Richard Nixon.

Serving as a pastor at an evangelical megachurch, Denker saw the trends coming that people were starting to support then-candidate Donald Trump. She attended the 2016 Catalyst West Conference in Orange County. The hosts of the conference did not take candidate Trump seriously at all. However, she noted that the “rank and file evangelicals” took him seriously. “The support for Donald Trump began where people didn’t expect it,” she said.

Denker believes that following the 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama, politics became personal. Donald Trump latched on to that and ran with Hillary Clinton’s comment of calling his supporters “deplorables”. Following the election of Trump, Denker noticed a new divide in her congregation. People who had been friends for decades no longer spoke. Political identity took a turn.

Denker initially wanted to title her book Bibles and Boob Jobs, citing the history of the population of Orange County with evangelical Christians. Denker’s editor changed her mind, and she got Red State Christians. While she wrote her book, Denker traveled

the nation to speak with evangelical Christians who voted for Donald Trump.

While visiting SMSU, Denker spoke on her book and then did a short question and answer session. Many questions were related to the controversy of President Trump, as well as the people who support him. The recurring theme was racism and rhetoric. Denker ended the talk with a reading from her book and then signed books for those who purchased them.