Opinion: How evangelical women will vote in 2016

Donald Trump makes promise to evangelicals
Donald Trump makes promise to evangelicals

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Story highlights

  • Penny Young Nance: Women evangelicals are divided over the election
  • She says evangelical women will have to find a way to unify once election is over

Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America and author of the new book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Left-leaning friends, and especially members of the Washington media elite, are confused by evangelical women's views on Donald Trump. They might be surprised to learn that evangelical women "do" nuance more than they give us credit for.

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending the homecoming celebrations for my alma mater, Liberty University. It was a wonderful opportunity to speak with evangelical women from around the nation. Predictably, this year's presidential election was widely discussed, and I walked away with several impressions.
    Penny Young Nance
    There seem to be three camps among evangelical women at this point in the campaign.
    There are those in the camp of respected author Beth Moore, who have had enough and simply refuse to vote for Trump. "I'm one among many women sexually abused, misused, stared down, heckled, talked naughty to. Like we liked it. We didn't. We're tired of it," Moore tweeted this month.
    She also had a word about evangelical leaders still supporting Trump: "Try to absorb how acceptable the disesteem and objectifying of women has been when some Christian leaders don't think it's that big a deal."
    However, many of these same women on Team Moore will also quickly tell you that they won't vote for Hillary Clinton and they will be voting Republican in the down-ballot races. These ladies are counting on the House and hopefully the Senate to act as a backstop to Clinton's effort to reverse the Hyde Amendment and other nefarious policies.
    Evangelical leader: Trump support hurts Christian credibility
    Evangelical leader: Trump support hurts Christian credibility

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    Evangelical leader: Trump support hurts Christian credibility 04:45
    Then there is the group I will call the "Burke Mom's Group," named after a home-school mom I met in Burke, Virginia, who helpfully suggested the Trump campaign hand out "barf bags" for people to use after casting their votes. The entire room of women laughed and nodded at her characterization of their predicament. They don't like their choices, but they are sticking with Trump. Many of these ladies will quickly point to key issues such as potential Supreme Court appointments of the next president and national security concerns as the basis of their support. They are practical women acting on a binary choice. They find the election of Clinton so distasteful they are willing to support a less than noble leader.
    Finally, there are the die-hard Trump supporters. These are women who have long been disgusted with the Washington establishment and feel that no matter who they support, nothing ever changes. They are looking to blow the system up with a disrupter. They think the federal government's heavy hand is keeping them down and they are looking for someone to slap it.
    These women, incidentally, don't think Trump is one of them, but they don't seem to care. They don't want him as a pastor or a husband or even a friend. They want him to swim the moat with a knife in his teeth. They don't believe the polls and expect to win.
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    This election has created division within evangelical circles and the church writ large. In about a week this will all end, and we will have a new president. Next we must begin to mend and unify even as women within the church.