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:
Such an honor to pray within the Oval Office for @POTUS & @VP . pic.twitter.com/JrDOSJyFeN
— 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.
#MAGA on back of graduation cap at @LibertyU, where @realDonaldTrump delivers today’s commencement address. pic.twitter.com/BBJW2iFWlT
— 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.
Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it’ll remain a story. The left seems to forget #PodestaEmails and the many “coincidences” tied to it. https://t.co/8HA9y30Yfp
— ????????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.
You can see an article about his appearance and clip from the show here, and the full show here.
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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Another great piece of work. One addition: the First Amendment that was interpreted to mean separation of church and state is completely ignored in Palmer & Butler’s draft constitution for NZ. When NZARH wrote to Sir Geoffrey about this omission the response was total silence. Ipso facto they would prefer a NZ republic without separation. Likely reason is true separation could lead to High Court cases arguing various religious privileges are unconstitutional. Especially those privileges involving taxpayers subsidy of religion in NZ. A 2016 NZARH survey on this question found 56% wanted separation, 15% did not, a whopping 29% did not know. It would be good if you could turn your forensic mind to this, Heather.
I’m disgusted that Palmer & Butler didn’t include that in their constitution. Makes Palmer at least rather a hypocrite.
I think that the tax-free status for churches will be gone in NZ within 20 years. Most NZers already want churches to be tax-free. The Catholic Church has had its hooks into the Nats for a few years which, in combination with Key was good for making them more social justice friendly but, especially now English is in charge, means there’s no way they’ll take money off the Church. The younger generation coming through will change that. They mostly see it as a fairness issue and don’t get why religion should have special treatment even if they go to church themselves.
I also think most of the 29% in your survey would move to separation if someone was in a position to fund a well-publicized campaign. It always takes the government longer to catch up on things like that.
Kellyanne is not an Evangelical. Her job of course is partisan advocacy. She just happens to be good at it.
FRC is a highly respected organization. (I had the privilege to meet the late Christopher Hitchens at a lecture he delivered there.) A few years ago SPLC inspired a terrorist attack on FRC’s headquarters by a leftist gunman who succeeded in wounding a guard. Needless to say, SPLC has long since forfeited any legitimacy or credibility.
Never heard of most of the other characters. I wouldn’t lose any sleep.
What I wrote about Conway’s religion is a mistake. I knew her religion when I wrote that. I will change it. I note that you don’t mention what her religion actually is. Is that because she’s a Catholic like you?
I agree that SPLC no longer has much credibility – I’ve written several posts attacking them. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong about everything, and I agree with them about FRC. You might consider FRC worthy of respect. I do not. The revolting opinions they espouse and spew into the media disgust me. It’s not just that they are, for example, against marriage equality and abortion. If that was all it was, I would be happy to let them have their opinion.
FRC backs the abomination that is gay conversion therapy. They put out pamphlets with titles like ‘Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex With Boys’. (You can see a collection of some of the anti-gay stuff they put out here.) With that kind of thing bombarding them at every turn, is it any wonder that gay children in conservative religious families have such a high suicide rate? They also tell lies about the effect of same-sex marriage on children. (Research shows there is no deleterious effect.) They oppose abortion even in cases of rape and incest. They have a patriarchal view of marriage. There’s more, but that’s enough to be going on with.
It is disgusting that a gunman should go to FRC’s headquarters. You know I oppose both everyone having guns and any form of violent protest, so don’t lay that one on me. During my lifetime at least, the vast majority of those who have used violence as a form of violence in the US are from the right, not the left. However, as I said, it’s wrong whoever does it.
I don’t see how Hitchens debating the FRC means they’re good people. Do you think Hillary Clinton is wonderful because Trump debated her?
The people in this post form a significant portion of your president’s supporters. It should worry you that they are so close to him. There are a whole lot more that I didn’t even mention, they have strong support and a lot of money. Each one rakes in millions from their faithful every year. They can and are doing damage to your country.
And I didn’t even mention that all these people have tax-free status and legally should not be trumpeting their support for a particular candidate.
As threats to the republic go, I’d be far more worried about dangerous left-wing crackpots who hold actual power and have too little regard for what makes America great. Or the sorry characters who dominate the fake news media, the entertainment industry, and our cultural and academic institutions. But worry is a useless emotion, and I have too much faith in Providence and in American ideals to indulge it.
The character who most dominates fake news is Trump himself. No longer is the White House press secretary a source of reliable information. It started on day 1 with crowd sizes. Then shortly after was his claim to have won the popular vote. It’s still happening. He’s still going on – just today still insisting there were “good people” amongst the white supremacists and Nazis at Charlottesville.
He’s took weak to admit being wrong.
It’s clear also that other governments dismiss threats issued by Trump, especially via Twitter. He threatens to ban all trade from China, for example, which would literally destroy the international economy (we’re talking c. 8 times worse than the 2008 crisis) and everyone just ignores it.
I could only look at about half of these sidewinders before becoming nauseated and jumping past them.
What a rogues gallery! The amount of gullibility and downright stupidity evident here is truly depressing. I worry for the species.
A significant portion of the USA — amply represented here — has surrendered to lunacy and outright evil.
It astounds me every time I see these Videos, of the gullibility of the followers of these charlatans, especially those who send money to these “prosperity” Preachers.It’s absolutely incredible.
Luther Strange was appointed to serve as Session’s replacement by then-Governor Robert Bentley. After Bentley resigned because of misconduct, current Governor Kay Ivey called for a special election for the seat. This caused a Republican primary runoff between Strange and the controversial and twice-removed former state Supreme Court chief justice, Roy Moore. On September 26th, Alabamians will decide which Republican will face the Democrat Doug Jones in the general election in December. I think everybody agrees that Mr. Jones doesn’t have a chance in hell or Alabama of winning. Strange has received Trump’s blessing, but Moore is currently leading in the polls.
I saw a political commentator yesterday, I think on Fox, who said that it’s unlikely that a Democrat could ever take Alabama right now, but that Roy Moore is a candidate that could lose the seat. Personally I don’t see how anyone could vote for him, but his refusal to follow the law because of his “Christian principles” got him a lot of fans in the Bible Belt.
Am I right in saying that Steve Bannon back Moore?
Good stuff Heather.
Perhaps one of the most telling commentaries on the state of American evangelical Christianity today was the eagerness with which they abandoned everything they purport to stand for at the slightest whiff of the chance of power and influence, and jumped into bed with the deeply odious Trump.
I add my voice to those who find this post especially valuable, and make special note of your statement: “… 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”; which segues nicely into @Rosa Rubicondior’s above comment about their complete lack of morality, while ostentatiously preaching morality they demand the hoi polloi submit to, not them, though. Whitened sepulchres is the term for them all, and that comes straight from the mouth of Jeebus.
Another home run Heather. The thing is these things are rarely discussed in other western countries. I really don’t know how America got so f…d up.
Thanks for another wonderful post. If these people claim to be Christians they are certainly defaming the term. We live in difficult times and their hate is not helping.
Great spotlight on Trump’s mad followers. The delusional following the deluded in chief. Or to borrow from their book- the blind leading the blind. I heard the word ‘cino’ the other day in regards to Trump’s evangelical sheep (pronounced ‘cheeno’); it’s an acronym for Christians in Name Only. Works for me.
Yeah, it’s a good one, and a good pronunciation to go with their hate of Mexicans!
Paula White won’t have converted Trump, she will have enticed him. She’s definitely his “type”.
Thanks for posting this, Heather. Despite looking into this topic a bit myself, I hadn’t come across Paula White. (His earlier pastor Norman Vincent Peale sounds quite sensible compared to this demonic loon.)
Here are three I missed. They’re scary.
Perhaps his imaginary friend will find him food and shelter when his hero turns the US into an Ash Pit.Idiot.!
Tour de force, Heather!
I’m really disturbed by the apparently total lack of critical thinking skills among these religious zealots. It’s quite worrisome that they wield the power they do.
Thanks Diane. That’s what worries me too. If they want to believe this stuff that’s fine, but the thought of them being so close to power is a real concern. I also worry about how much money they make off the gullible.
Jim Bakker makes a lot of his money selling survival supplies for the Apocalypse. There’s a new video from his show where he’s going on about no one laughing at him anymore after Harvey and Irma because people needed those supplies.
I live near an active volcano in an earthquake prone country. I have supplies for a disaster because I believe in science, not scripture. Most NZers have the supplies etc needed to survive at least three days without help. It’s a government recommendation.
Well done, and I hope you never have to use them!
It should be possible to arrest Bakker and his ilk for fleecing their followers, no matter how eager the victims themselves are to swallow the Kool-aid.
FWIW, I’ve been checking the box but not getting any notices of replies for quite a while now. The same system is working on Jerry’s bl*g. Wonder if I’m the only one with this problem?
Hi Diane. You’re not the only one who has this problem. I’ve had it myself on other blogs, and other people have said the same. It’s a WordPress issue. It’s something to do with a bug in the way their system works. I’ve managed to fix it for myself in the past, but I’m not I’m sure how I did it. All I remember is I had to go into the list of blogs I’m subscribed to and change something there. Cheers, Heather. 🙂
To arrive at where he is he did not need any critical thinking skills. He is in the zone and it will carry him on to new levels in the field of delusions.