No surprise here — most of the Anderson Cooper interview focused on Donald Trump, Southern Baptist doctrines on sexuality and more Donald Trump.
Barber rejected Trump in 2016, reluctantly voted for him in 2020 and totally rejected the January 6th riots. That’s a common sequence for White evangelicals in recent years. Cooper also does some subtle editing, when paraphrasing language in the questions and answers, when he switches back and forth between saying that the 2020 election was “stolen,” as opposed to arguing that some elements of that legal election were “rigged” by liberal donors, pollsters, elite journalists, etc.
The big idea, from Barber’s point of view, is that American voters — including White evangelicals — deserve better White House choices than the ones being offered in recent elections by Democrats and Republicans.
Why does this matter? Here’s another large chunk of the “60 Minutes” transcript:
Anderson Cooper: Bart Barber told us that he doesn’t believe the election was rigged. He does believe that Joe Biden was duly elected the President of the United States.
Ryan Burge: That’s a big deal. 60% of white evangelicals believe the election was stolen in 2020. And many, many Southern Baptists go to church every Sunday believing that. Southern Baptist pastors have been afraid to speak about that from the pulpit, because they know lots of people oppose that in the pews.
Anderson Cooper: How many people, how many voters is — is Bart Barber in a position to influence?
Ryan Burge: At least 70 million people identify as evangelical today. He can have a huge impact when it comes to who they vote for and why they vote for that candidate.
Ryan Burge says in 2016, evangelicals accounted for 33% of all votes cast for Donald Trump, but Bart Barber’s vote was not among them.
Anderson Cooper: In 2016, you said, “I think it hurts the credibility of my testimony for me to be a vocal supporter of a demonstrably evil man whose campaign platform consists mainly of his evilness.”
Bart Barber: Yeah. I, I did not vote for President Trump in 2016. And that lays out my rationale for that pretty well.
Anderson Cooper: What was the evilness that you saw?
Bart Barber: The way he treated women that had been documented at that point. Uh, I thought that– a lot of the rhetoric about immigration was wrongful. A lot of Southern Baptists thought that the rhetoric about immigration was wrongful.
Anderson Cooper: You’re talkin’ about legal immigration?
Bart Barber: Talkin’ about legal immigration.
Anderson Cooper: You embrace it?
Bart Barber: I embrace it. I’m– I’m thankful for people who have immigrated. I live in Texas. I’m surrounded by people who are intermarried into our families. They make our community better.
Anderson Cooper: Correct me if I’m wrong. In 2020, you did vote for Donald Trump.
Bart Barber: Part of what changed is that, um, the President advocated for some legislation on, uh, sentencing reform, uh, somethin’ that really addressed some injustice that affected, uh, minority communities. I was encouraged by the consistent pro-life support that the President gave. I didn’t expect that.
Read it all and watch the whole “60 Minutes” feature. And, of course, go to Twitter and follow Burge, if you have not done so already and look for all those “Yo. @GetReligion” tweets from moi.
Stay tuned for “Do the Math” here at GetReligion.
FIRST IMAGE: CBS screen grab from its “60 Minutes” report, featured in social media and elsewhere.
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