I’ve recently finished writing a series on White Evangelicals in an attempt to garner some basic understanding as to why these folks are so reliant and yet, protective of the authoritarian, morally corrupt, flawed leader, the republican President Donald Trump.
This is an important subject as it benefits the Democratic Party 2020 presidential candidates vying to be its standard bearer, to possess a better feel for who are these ardent supporters who continue to back President Trump, no matter how outrageously he acts, and why GOP lawmakers fear stepping out of line in being openly critical of him..
I’m convinced that this subject warrants more media scrutiny because of the White Evangelicals’ out-sized influence that they’ve been exerting over President Trump and his Republican Party. Their high level of clout has resulted in the enactment of policies which may not be in the long term US national security interests but that comport with their belief systems which hits the high note of every conspiracy sci-fi aficionado. Their end-times, obsession with the Rapture, all revolve around topics like the Apocalypse, being selected to enter Heaven from earth in an instant, leaving others behind to face 7 years of tribulation, a period of great suffering. The key to these end-time scenarios revolve around Jerusalem and Israel being under the total control of the Jewish peoples.
These Evangelicals tout their disdain of anything having to do with their bogeyman, the New World Order which translates into their antipathy towards organizations like the United Nations and NATO. They’ve been fully backing the president’s anti-immigration sentiments especially when it comes to the Muslim community, as in the President’s Muslim travel ban, and they are infamous for their anti-LGBTQ rights which accounts for the president’s military transgender ban.
The reason the White Evangelicals in the USA have been able to exert all this influence is because they comprise over 35% of the president’s Republican Party’s reliably loyal base of voters even though they are a minority population at 26%, who self-identify as Evangelicals. In 2016, its members voted for President Trump by a margin of 80%, plus, they continue to approve of his presidency at rates that exceed 70%. It only makes sense that the president and his crony GOP lawmakers would be motivated to cater to their interests in order to maintain their positions of power.
But it turns out, there have been writers warning the political world about this phenomenon, going back years. But for most sane Americans, it’d be hard to swallow what they’ve been trying to tell us.
Here’s the rest of the story…
As per 10/24/2018 VOX report, “Author Stephen Mansfield tries to answer this question (Why Evangelicals support President Trump) in his new book, Choosing Donald Trump. Mansfield is a conservative Christian who did not support Trump, but he does his best to understand the wager his fellow Christians made when they threw their lot in with Trump.”
“He argues that religious conservatives knew Trump was flawed but took a chance on him anyway. Tired of establishment Republicans and weary of the Obama years, they were willing to roll the dice on a guy they thought could deliver on a few crucial issues, namely handing over the Supreme Court to pro-life justices.”
“They supported him so fully that they own him in the eyes of the American people. And they’ve taken a great risk,” he told me.”
“But Mansfield also says he isn’t willing to call religious leaders like Franklin Graham hypocrites for cozying up to Trump. “Some of them I think were just sincere believers,” he said. “Some of them sincerely believe that Donald Trump was ordained by God and actually going to put the right people on the Supreme Court and fight for religious liberty.”
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist who has written for the New York Times and has had several best selling books published. Currently, he’s a columnist for Truthdig and a professor in the college degree program offered to New Jersey state prisoners by Rutgers.
He has been attempting to warn the political world about how the White Evangelicals would be a major destructive power within the Republican Party as far back as 2007 with his book, “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.”
As per a 7/24/2017 Truthdig commentary, “Trump and the Christian Fascists” by Chris Hedges:
“Trump’s moves to restrict abortion, defund Planned Parenthood, permit discrimination against LGBT people in the name of “religious liberty” and allow churches to become active in politics by gutting the Johnson Amendment, along with his nominations of judges championed by the Federalist Society and his call for a ban on Muslim immigrants, have endeared him to the Christian right. He has rolled back civil rights legislation and business and environmental regulations. He has elevated several stalwarts of the Christian right into power—Mike Pence to the vice presidency, Jeff Sessions to the Justice Department, Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Betsy DeVos to the Department of Education, Tom Price to Health and Human Services and Ben Carson to Housing and Urban Development. He embraces the white supremacy, bigotry, American chauvinism, greed, religious intolerance, anger and racism that define the Christian right. (Add the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to this mix.)”
“More important, Trump’s disdain for facts and his penchant for magical thinking and conspiracy theories mesh well with the worldview of the Christian right, which sees itself as under attack by the satanic forces of secular humanism embodied in the media, academia, the liberal establishment, Hollywood and the Democratic Party.”
“In this worldview, climate change is not real, Barack Obama is a Muslim (racism) and millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.”
“The followers of the Christian right, like Trump and his brain trust, including Stephen Bannon, are Manicheans. They see the world in black and white, good and evil, them and us. Trump’s call in his speech in Poland for a crusade against the godless hoards of Muslims fleeing from the wars and chaos we created replicates the view of the Christian right. Christian right leaders in a sign of support went to the White House on July 10 to pray over Trump. Two days later Pat Robertson showed up there to interview the president for his Christian Broadcasting Network.”
“If the alliance between these zealots and the government succeeds, it will snuff out the last vestiges of American democracy.”
“On the surface it appears to be incongruous that the Christian right would rally behind a slick NY real estate developer who is a very public serial philanderer and adulterer, has no regard for the truth, is consumed by greed, does not appear to read or know the Bible, routinely defrauds and cheats his investors and contractors, expresses a crude misogyny and an even cruder narcissism and appears to yearn for despotism. In fact, these are the very characteristics that define most of the leaders of the Christian right. Trump has preyed on desperate people through the thousands of slot machines in his casinos, his sham university and his real estate deals. Megachurch pastors prey on their followers by extracting “seed offerings,” “love gifts,” tithes and donations and by selling miracle healings along with “prayer clothes,” self-help books, audio and video recordings and even protein shakes. Pastors have established within their megachurches, as Trump did in his businesses, despotic fiefdoms. They cannot be challenged or questioned any more than an omnipotent Trump could be challenged on the reality television show “The Apprentice.” And they seek to replicate their little tyrannies on a national scale, with white men in charge.”
“The personal piety of most of the ministers who lead the Christian right is a facade. Their private lives are usually marked by hedonistic squalor that includes mansions, private jets, limousines, retinues of bodyguards, personal assistants and servants, shopping sprees, lavish vacations and sexual escapades that rival those carried out by Trump. And because they run “churches,” in many cases church funds pay for their tax-free empires, including their extravagant lifestyles. They also engage in the nepotism found in the Trump organization, elevating family members to prominent or highly paid positions and passing on the businesses to their children.”
“Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is home to many of the worst charlatans in the Christian right, including the popular healer Benny Hinn, who says that Adam was a superhero who could fly to the moon and claims that one day the dead will be raised by watching TBN from inside their coffins. Hinn claims his “anointings” have cured cancer, AIDS, deafness, blindness and numerous other ailments and physical injuries. Those who have not been cured, he says, did not send in enough money.”
“These religious hucksters are some of the most accomplished con artists in the country, a trait they share with the current occupant of the Oval Office.”
“I wrote a book on the Christian right in 2007 called “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” I didn’t use the word “fascist” lightly. I spent several hours, at the end of two years of reporting, with two of the country’s foremost scholars on fascism—Fritz Stern and Robert O. Paxton. Did this ideology fit the parameters of classical fascism? Was it virulent enough and organized enough to seize power? Would it go to the ruthless extremes of previous fascist movements to persecute and silence dissent? Has our deindustrialized society replicated the crippling despair, alienation and rage that always feed fascist movements?”
“The evangelicalism promoted by the Christian right is very different from the evangelicalism and fundamentalism of a century ago. The emphasis on personal piety that defined the old movement, the call to avoid the contamination of politics, has been replaced by Christian Reconstructionism, called Dominionism by some. This new ideology is about taking control of all institutions, including the government, to build a “Christian” nation. Rousas John Rushdoony in his 1973 book, “The Institutes of Biblical Law,” first articulated it. Rushdoony argued that God gives the elect, just as he gave Adam and Noah, dominion over the earth to build a Christian society. Their state will come about with the physical eradication of the forces of Satan. It is the duty of the church and the elect to “rescue” the world so Christ can return.”
“This is an ideology of death. It promises that the secular, humanist society will be physically destroyed. The Ten Commandments will form the basis of our legal system. Creationism or “Intelligent Design” will be taught in public schools.”
“People who are considered social deviants, including homosexuals, immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims, criminals and those dismissed as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace the Christian right’s perverted and heretical interpretation of the Bible—will be silenced, imprisoned or killed. The role of the federal government will be reduced to protecting property rights, “homeland” security and waging war.”
“Church organizations will be funded and empowered by the government to run social-welfare agencies. The poor, condemned for sloth, indolence and sinfulness, will be denied government assistance. The death penalty will be expanded to include “moral crimes,” including apostasy, blasphemy, sodomy and witchcraft, as well as abortion, which will be treated as murder. Women will be subordinate to men. Those who practice other faiths will become, at best, second-class citizens and eventually outcasts. The wars in the Middle East will be defined as religious crusades against Muslims. There will be no separation of church and state. The only legitimate voices will be “Christian.” America will become an agent of God. Those who defy the “Christian” authorities will be branded as agents of Satan.”
“Tens of millions of Americans are already hermetically sealed within this bizarre worldview. They are given a steady diet of conspiracy theories and lies on the internet, in their churches, in Christian schools and colleges and on Christian television and radio. Elizabeth Dilling, who wrote “The Red Network” and was a Nazi sympathizer, is required reading. Thomas Jefferson, who favored separation of church and state, is ignored. This Christian propaganda hails the “significant contributions” of the Confederacy. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who led the anti-communist witch hunts in the 1950s, is rehabilitated as an American hero. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya, is defined as part of the worldwide battle against satanic Islamic terror. Presently, nearly 40 percent of the U.S. public believes in Creationism or “Intelligent Design.” And nearly a third of the population, 94 million people, consider themselves evangelical.Those who remain in a reality-based universe often dismiss these malcontents as buffoons. They do not take seriously the huge segment of the public, mostly white and working class, who because of economic distress have primal yearnings for vengeance, new glory and moral renewal and are easily seduced by magical thinking. These are the yearnings and emotions Trump has exploited politically.”
“Those who embrace this movement need to feel, even if they are not, that they are victims surrounded by dark and sinister groups bent on their destruction. They need to elevate themselves to the role of holy warriors, infused with a noble calling and purpose. They need to sanctify the rage and hypermasculinity that are the core of fascism. The rigidity and simplicity of their belief, which includes being anointed for a special purpose in life by God, are potent weapons in the fight against their own demons and desire for meaning.”
“Evil when we’re in its power is not felt as evil but as a necessity, or even a duty,” Simone Weil wrote.”
“These believers, like all fascists, detest the reality-based world. They condemn it as contaminated, decayed and immoral. This world took their jobs. It destroyed their future. It ruined their communities. It doomed their children. It flooded their lives with alcohol, opioids, pornography, sexual abuse, jail sentences, domestic violence, deprivation and despair. And then, from the depths of suicidal despair, they suddenly discovered that God has a plan for them. God will save them. God will intervene in their lives to promote and protect them. God has called them to carry out his holy mission in the world.”
Click here for a 2007 video of Chris Hedges speaking about his book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.”