Churchgoers adore the heathen Trump because of a Christian subset that “reveres authority and acts from fear.”

It doesn’t explain the hermetic Gahan’s appeal. Money?

The essay is a year old, but even more relevant today. Without the authoritarian streak, would Christians be so prone to advocating a theocracy?

Paul Prather: The mystery of Christians’ support for Donald Trump is solved (

You might be puzzled that so many churchgoers back Trump for president

A Massachusetts scholar has solved the puzzle

These are the subset of Christians who revere authority and act from fear

I’ve expressed before my puzzlement that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump could win so many disciples among the Christians who make up a hefty portion of the Republican base.

Trump is an insulting, profane, thrice-married, megalomaniacal billionaire from New York City who can’t even pronounce 2 Corinthians correctly. Indeed, he seems to proudly stand for everything the Christian faith supposedly opposes.

And yet a great throng of Christians love the guy.

If you, too, have been scratching your head in wonder at this conundrum, allow me to say this mystery has been solved.

The answer made great sense, too. It even led me to contemplate an ancient divide within Christianity itself.

It came from a poll by Matthew MacWilliams, a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

He wrote a brief essay for about his research.

MacWilliams sampled 1,800 registered U.S. voters from across the political spectrum in an attempt to understand Trump’s popularity.

“I found that education, income, gender, age, ideology and religiosity had no significant bearing on a Republican voter’s preferred candidate,” he said. “Only two of the variables I looked at were statistically significant: authoritarianism, followed by fear of terrorism, though the former was far more significant than the latter.”

Authoritarians, a group studied by social scientists for decades, inclined sharply toward Trump.

MacWilliams summarized what it means to be authoritarian:

“Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And they respond aggressively to outsiders, especially when they feel threatened.”