I read an article a few weeks ago chiding evangelicals for being conned by Trump for his political advancement. This is half right, but Evangelicals are doing their own manipulating when it comes to the President, and they are no slouches when it comes to using Trump to advance their own religio-political agenda!
If I could draw, I would create a political cartoon of Trump as a puppet with the various evangelical leaders (Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Betsy DeVoss, Paula White, Robert Jeffress, Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham et. al.) above him pulling the strings. Then above them, is a bigger Trump manipulating their strings. Finally, you see strings extending up through the clouds into heaven where God is assumed to be controlling Trump. You see, this dysfunctional relationship or “unholy union” is mutually beneficial like the little birds who pick food out from between the teeth of an alligator. We all know who is who in this analogy (sorry for the double metaphor).
I have read hundreds of articles over the last three months on the topic of evangelical support for Trump. Most have some merit, few understand the big picture. Let me try to break it down.
First, as just mentioned, each benefit from the others support. This is the foundation of their relationship. They got Trump into the White House now he owes them. He adopts their ideological positions in exchange for unwavering loyalty and support.
Second, if evangelicals initially voted for Trump in spite of his many moral failings, they had no idea how vital they would become to his presidency or vice versa. They hoped he would become their political messiah, and he has. They point to the Persian King Cyrus whom the ancient Israelites viewed as “a messiah” to prove God can use anyone he chooses as his divine instrument.
Third, they don’t support Trump, they support the God behind (above) him they believe is “pulling his strings.” Trump is God’s unwitting dupe, and evangelicals will support Trump as long as he keeps working with God. In their minds, it is better to vote for a more morally bankrupt candidate who ultimately will achieve greater things for evangelicals, then someone who may be a better person but who opposes the conservative agenda.
Fourth, evangelical’s are conditioned to support dictator like leaders. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is replete with men who carried out brutal attacks on those who did not align themselves with God’s holy purposes. Joshua and David literally exterminated entire villages in the name of Yahweh. Evangelicals are no strangers to supporting holy justice and those who help them achieve it. The perfect model for evangelicals is a heavenly kingship. Jesus on the throne ruling over his Christian subjects.
Last but certainly not least, evangelicals have had a chip on their shoulder for many decades. They have felt belittled and disrespected by the liberal media and Hollywood who portray them as feeble minded anti-intellectuals. Like when the little kid who is constantly bullied on the playground suddenly is befriended by the school’s biggest bully. Now they sit and watch with glee as he viciously pummels those same kids who once “persecuted and victimized” them. Now they have become the popular kid by association and everyone may not like them, but they have to respect them! And by the way, the bully loves being their hero and derives immense satisfaction in using his bullying skills for revenge.
Nobody should be surprised by what we are witnessing in the White House. This sacralism of American politics is unprecedented in scope and influence. As the next election looms ever closer, the potential for greater destruction of human rights, freedoms, political stability home and abroad and the viability of the planet are in serious jeopardy (these will be discussed fuller in future blogs).
If Trump is re-elected two things will happen. First, he will feel vindicated and more powerful than ever before — with nothing to lose! He does not have to worry about guarding his presidency. He can do whatever he wants without fear of political repercussions — and he will. He can begin to exact revenge on all who have opposed him (Democrats mostly). He no longer has to cow tow to evangelicals (We all know he probably doesn’t like them anyway). He will be unfettered and unguarded in all he does. He will become like an angry dog who is finally unleashed.
Second, evangelicals will take this as a further sign from God the “End Times” are officially upon us. This perspective has catastrophic possibilities of which most are unaware. Many evangelicals are pre-tribulation premillennial dispensationalism. These two dollar theological terms simply mean, “They don’t have to care about their own safety or that of the world’s because they won’t be here when God executes his wrath upon the earth.”
If you have ever been curious as to why evangelicals can have such a blasé attitude toward global warming, it is embedded in this dogma. God will destroy the earth when he wants and how he wants. There is literally nothing mankind can do to prevent this. The Middle East will be the venue for God’s unleashing of his holy judgment according to his divine timetable. Evangelicals can’t speed up or slow down this clock by advocating for Israel, but they can align themselves with God’s sovereign will (as they understand it) so they are on the “right side” of political strategy in the Middle East.
Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence are dangerous men despite seeing themselves as God’s holy warriors. Their unabashed efforts to curry favor with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are strategic and without risk in their own eyes. Believing they are acting in accordance with God’s will allows them to act irresponsibly and recklessly in a region where delicateness and diplomacy are required. But remember, they sleep peacefully at night knowing the future scenario of the Middle East is one of catastrophic and cataclysmic war so anything they do which leads to this end is biblically consistent.
The Bible when placed in the hands of the wrong people can be used for diabolical ends.
I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think I am when I say:
If the reasonable segment of society does not wake up and make every effort to expose and defeat this insidious ideology which is increasing its grip on America, the future is uncertain especially if Trump is re-elected by an emboldened evangelical base.
This blogs primary purpose is to provoke discussion in hopes of alert people to the dark clouds gathering on the horizon. The synergism of Trump and evangelicals have caused a political disturbance which is gathering momentum and increasing in intensity. We have already witnessed some of the damage the front edge of this political storm has caused. As it continues to build, its ferocity will be further experienced by the LGBTQ community, women’s advocacy groups, immigrants, minorities and environmentalists. Though largely local in scope, its effects are being felt abroad particularly in the Middle East. Unless a robust counter offensive is mounted to stop or slow it down, it is difficult to predict how much damage will be left in its wake.