Amongst all modern US presidents, Donald Trump stands out for his dishonesty, ignorance, and lack of morality. There’s hardly a demographic that he hasn’t upset as a result of his boorish behaviour. So you’d think that a group that claims to be the moral compass of the planet would reject him and everything he stands for. Instead, Evangelical Christians have taken him to their bosoms like the prodigal son, and he didn’t even have to ask for forgiveness let alone change his ways.
It’s common knowledge that Trump’s biggest supporters are his country’s white Evangelical Christians. 81% of them gave him their support in November’s election, and they continue to support him faithfully. A Pew Research survey finds that within that group, there is an interesting dynamic too. Those who attend church most often are more likely to place their faith in Trump.
I use the words “faith” and “faithfully” deliberately, because it is a matter a faith for this group that they stand behind Trump. It’s their view that God put Trump in the White House and everyone who opposes him is evil. In fact “evil” is one of the milder accusations they use against Trump’s opponents. Some truly believe demonic possession plays a part in those opposing him.
Lance Wallnau, for example frequently posts videos on his Facebook page in which he gives intercessory prayers for Trump. Here is one example of prayers to protect Trump and his family from all the curses, hexes, spells, demonic attacks, and more he believes are directed towards Trump. That’s because (I kid you not) when people pray and get the demons out of Trump that his opponents have managed to lodge there, they may jump into his family instead.
This particular video was made at the time that Donald Trump Junior was in the news for meeting with a Russian lawyer because he thought she could provide negative information about Hillary Clinton. Thus, the particular focus on making sure that the prayers are extended to Trump’s family.
Paula White is a preacher of the prosperity gospel, and preaching has certainly made her extremely wealthy. She’s given the credit by her fellow evangelicals for converting Donald Trump to Christianity. (He himself claims to be a life-long Christian, so I’m not sure what he would say about that.)
She says she visits Trump at the White House on a weekly basis. She often appears in pictures such as the one of a laying on of hands ceremony in the Oval Office, and another where Trump put his signature to an order naming the Sunday after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston a day of prayer.
The prayer session in the Tweet below was led by preacher Rodney Howard-Browne, but he states in his Facebook post about the event that it was White who asked him to lead it.
Howard-Browne and other Evangelical leaders also prayed with President Obama in the Oval Office. CNN spoke to one of those leaders, former senior vice president at Liberty University Johnnie Moore. He told them that the feeling was “… different with President Trump.” He went on to say:
When we are praying for President Trump, we are praying within the context of a real relationship, of true friendship.
The event first became know when Moore posted this on Twitter:
— Johnnie Moore ن (@JohnnieM) July 12, 2017
Trump apparently discovered Paula White while watching TV. He “… would often bring her to Atlantic City for private Bible studies, and he has appeared on her television show.” (Wikipedia.)
Wikipedia also says:
[White’s church was] … the subject of a 2007 Senate investigation into their practices. Southern Baptist theologian and ethicist, Russell D. Moore said, “Paula White is a charlatan and recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe.”
White has also been criticized for being introduced [as having] or claiming to have a doctoral degree, when she has no college or seminary degree.
Her close association with Trump has got her plenty of attention. This recent appearance on the Jim Bakker Show is typical of her rhetoric.
Like I’ve said before: The greatest threat our nation faces are Evangelical Christian extremists. pic.twitter.com/22pca4TC5u
— Hosseh Enad (@ehosseh) August 25, 2017
That Two Corinthians Moment
Back in mid-January 2016, Trump gave a speech at the conservative Christian college, Liberty University. It was from this speech that we get quotes that most of us find laughable but play well to an Evangelical Christian audience. Things like, “Christianity is under siege,” and “You’ll be able to say Merry Christmas again.”
Reading from his notes Trump said:
Two Corinthians, 3:17, that’s the whole ballgame.
The correct way to say this is, of course, second Corinthians. The specific reference was 2 Corinthians 3:17:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
A few days later in an interview with Don Lemon on CNN, Trump said the mispronunciation was Tony Perkins’s fault. From their story:
“Tony Perkins wrote that out for me — he actually wrote out 2, he wrote out the number 2 Corinthians,” Trump said. “I took exactly what Tony said, and I said, ‘Well Tony has to know better than anybody.’ “
(Tony Perkins is head of the anti-choice and anti-marriage equality group the Family Research Council. The SPLC names them as a hate group, and I agree.)
In an interview with CNN‘s Erin Burnett, Perkins agrees that is what he wrote.
However, writing it that way is the usual way to write it. It’s like saying, “he wrote 2 July, so I said two July.” Someone who knows the Bible well would automatically say 2nd, just like it’s normal to say the date out loud 2nd July.
The Evangelical Christians have an excuse for every wrong step Trump makes though. The blame doesn’t just go to the usual suspects such as Clinton, Obama, Pelosi, Schumer, and the rest of the Democrats. No, all the demons in hell are out to get him too.
Paula White’s Take on 2 Corinthians
Check out this. It’s another recent Paula White visit to the Jim Bakker show.
If you watch video of Trump making his Liberty University speech, he’s clearly reading “2 Corinthians,” and he says himself in the CNN interview that he read those words.
Paula White has a different excuse. She’s re-writing history. She says a pastor, whom she doesn’t name, said “2 Corinthians” to Trump just before the speech. She thinks that pastor set Trump up to fail by putting those words in his mouth.
On top of that, we have Paula White saying of the pastor:
… good people can be used by bad spirits … it was a set-up …
and Jim Bakker saying
It’s a set up people. And every demon in hell is after Donald Trump …
During her monologue, Paula White contradicts herself in an amusing way too. Several times she says “2nd Corinthians” when she means to say “2 Corinthians” because, presumably as someone very familiar with the Bible, it’s automatic for her to say “2nd”. So, why doesn’t Trump automatically say “2nd”. It’s because he doesn’t know any better.
Now, I don’t actually have a problem with him saying “2” instead of “2nd”. My issue is with the twisting of facts to suit their agenda by the Evangelicals. I also find the level of delusion here quite concerning – this belief in demons that are out to get Trump.
Re-Visiting Liberty University
Trump went back to Liberty University as their commencement speaker in May. This time he stuck to the script and his embrace of and by the Christian Right was total. He gave all the right lines to his audience, and got the reward he constantly craves – cheers and applause. Think Progress says Jerry Falwell, President of Liberty University, described Trump as, “a dream president for Evangelicals.” To me, that describes someone who will believe anything as long as the person telling them is persuasive enough. However, I’m sure Falwell was actually referring to actions such as appointing the young and extremely conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court.
Lines from his speech that day have now become go-to lines for him (from Think Progress):
“America is a nation of true believers…When the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, they prayed,” he said. “It’s why we proudly proclaim that we are one nation, under God, every time we say the Pledge of Allegiance.”
“In America we don’t worship government, we worship God,” Trump proclaimed, to thunderous applause. He later added: “We all bleed the same blood of patriots, we all salute the same, great American flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God.”
The graduation cap of one Liberty University Student.
— Sarah McCammon NPR (@sarahmccammon) May 13, 2017
POTUS Shield and Frank Amedia
President of the United States isn’t the only thing the POTUS acronym stands for. It also represents a group of Pentecostal Christians with an extreme devotion to Donald Trump. They’re the Prophetic Order of the United States and are Trump’s Dominionist Prayer Warriors.
The Dominionists are a pretty scary bunch. Their goal is “… to institute a nation governed by Christians based on [their] understandings of biblical law.” (Wikipedia.) They want to ban same-sex marriage and all abortion, they believe sexuality is a choice and that everyone is heterosexual, and Christianity is the only valid belief system.
They don’t even accept that all forms of Christianity are valid. Mormonism, for example, would go under their rule. People with other beliefs or no belief are not tolerable in their world view. Further, they do not dismiss violent means of removing opposition “if necessary”. There was concern about how close they were to the White House during the presidency of George W Bush. Now, they’re regularly in the Oval Office.
The leader of this particular group of Dominionists, which is a new one, is Frank Amedia. POTUS Shield was born on 9 November 2016 when God gave Amedia a vision that with the election of Trump, he and his supporters had a new mission. It’s apparently to help Trump to help God to institute the reign of Christ. Amedia “… believe[s Trump] receives downloads that now he’s beginning to understand come from God.”
Lou Engle is a Dominionist/Pentecostal preacher who is close to POTUS Shield.
From Right Wing Watch:
At the March POTUS Shield gathering, Engle prayed for God to “sweep away” Supreme Court justices and federal judges who uphold Roe v. Wade, clearing the way for Trump to nominate their replacements. Engle suggested that God could either kill or convert the judges in question, and he had some words for people who might be squeamish about praying for God to “remove” bad judges:
I tell you, the church can’t be humanistic right now. I feel this in my spirit. We’re so concerned about these Hamans [Haman is the evil adviser to the king in the biblical book of Esther] that we’re not concerned about the millions of babies! I say that we believe that Donald Trump, President Trump, is a Jehu as well as a Cyrus. And I’ve been praying, ‘remove the house of Ahab.’
Who’s Jehu? In the Bible, God used Jehu to enact His judgment on the sinful house of Ahab, which Jehu accomplished by overseeing the slaughter of Ahab’s family, supporters and priests. “We need to begin to pray to sweep away the House of Ahab,” Engle said.
(See video of Engle making this pronouncement here.)
Engle is not the only one referring to the Book of Kings in relation to Trump. Prophet Jonathan Cahn, a favourite in Evangelical circles, says the first two chapters of the Book of Kings foretell Trumps election. He’s currently on a tour promoting his latest book, The Paradigm: The Ancient Blueprint That Holds the Mystery of Our Times, which comes out next week. It’s already a #1 Best Seller in Christian Prophecy on Amazon.
Cahn makes his living showing how the Bible predicts major events. His book The Harbinger tells how the Book of Isiah supposedly foretold the 9/11 attacks. (He could have told us beforehand!)
According to Right Wing Watch, another book, The Mystery of Shemitah, predicted a “massive calamity” in the US on 13 September 2013. It didn’t happen, but the faithful still love him.
Here he is talking about how he describes Bill and Hillary Clinton in his new book. He says they are the modern-day Ahab and Jezebel. Note at the end how he speaks about Hillary Clinton in relation to children.
He further believes that Trump is the modern day warrior Jehu who brought the nation back to Christianity. He says:
He’s a warrior, he’s a fighter, he fights with everybody. His name is Jehu … He’s used by God, but he’s the most unlikely person.
You can see him talking about that here.
Mark Taylor is another “prophet” and favourite with the Evangelicals. Like most of them, he believes the story that Hillary Clinton was running a paedophile ring out of the basement of a pizza shop.
All reasonable people know this story was made up by trolls, and most of us can’t believe anyone could think it was true. But the story was retweeted by people like Alt-Right activist Mike Cernovich and the son of (then future, now past) National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.
— 🇺🇸mflynnJr🇺🇸 (@mflynnJR) December 5, 2016
That led the credulous Edgar Welch to drive all the way from North Carolina to Washington DC and open fire on the restaurant with an automatic rifle.
According to Right Wing Watch, in June Taylor said on a YouTube program called ‘The Sharpening Report’ that
… thousands of well-known, high-ranking figures have been arrested in recent months as part of Trump’s crackdown on satanic pedophile and child sacrifice cults, but we are not hearing anything about it because Trump is keeping it all under wraps.
The Clintons are going to go down, Obama is going to go down, they’re all going to go down … Time is up for those who are corrupt … God is very serious when He says He is going to clean house. Everybody keeps asking, “When is it going to start, when is it going to start?” It’s already started, it’s just they’re not saying anything.
And the other thing you have to understand, with Trump being ten places ahead of everybody else, he’s not going to tip his hat as to what he’s doing.
You’re just going to wake up one morning and Hillary Clinton is going to be in jail, …[and] it will be a sign to the United States that that spirit called Jezebel has been locked up and the key thrown away.
There, again, is that reference to Hillary Clinton being Jezebel.
I’d also like to know why, exactly, would Donald Trump hide the fact that he’s arresting paedophiles?
Carl Gallups is yet another Evangelical Baptist pastor who believes that he’s a prophet for God. He’s a close associate of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and worked closely with him on the birther conspiracy. Just last week he was on TheDove TV show ‘Focus Today’, talking with its host about his investigations into Obama’s birth certificate and the “demonic” Deep State. He insists he has proof of all his and Arapaio’s claims from “CIA informants”, and the only reason nothing is happening is Congress refuses to look at their evidence. He further said:
We are in the midst of prophetic times … It’s deeply demonic and it is deeply deep state and there is an agenda. We’re in a spiritual war.
… when you know stuff ahead of time … you’re always on the cutting edge and you always are ahead of your time and we have been. But now, it’s being revealed right before our eyes and I think God is the one doing the revealing.
One of Trump’s biggest supporters is his conservative Catholic counselor, Kellyanne Conway. She has a level of delusion is relation to her boss that beggars belief. It has seen the creation of the “Alternative Truth” meme. She has been through a lot of attacks on his behalf, but her loyalty to him remains intact. Here she is just a few days ago telling an audience of Evangelical Christians that Trump’s humility is his greatest quality.
How anyone, no matter how much they might support his political views can genuinely believe this I simply don’t understand.
Trump also has multiple supporters in the Senate and Congress who appear to believe the same message that’s coming from the Evangelicals.
One of the those who’s been in the media recently is Senator Luther Strange of Alabama. He says he credits God with Trump’s election victory. Strange won his seat after it became vacant when Jeff Sessions became Attorney-General. On a campaign stop in Montgomery Alabama, the Washington Post reports him saying:
President Trump is the greatest thing that’s happened to this country. I consider it a Biblical miracle that he’s there.
Suffice to say, others who won elections hold these same delusions. Former congresswoman Michelle Bachmann is often part of the group of evangelical leaders too. Another is former Governor Mike Huckabee, father of Trump’s White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders.
The First Amendment
One of the greatest things about the US is it’s First Amendment. It is things like Freedom of Speech and Separation of Church and State that make a modern democracy strong. There is no religious test for office in the US, but in most states it would be impossible for an atheist or non-Christian believer to win an election, no matter how good they were or how bad their opponent was. Trump’s supporters are not only trying to bring religion into public life in their country, they are succeeding.
The Evangelicals embrace a form of Christian Nationalism that excludes most who aren’t white men from the corridors of power. Worse, they back up their beliefs with a dangerous level of delusion. Once you start believing God chose you, you start believing you can do anything you want to. You feel you don’t have to follow the same law as other people because you are especially chosen by your god.
The potential for disaster throughout the world if these people get too much control, especially given the size of the US economy and military, is extremely worrying. Too many of the wars in this planet’s history began due to leaders thinking God was on their side.
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