Monday, August 08, 2016

Trump: a Favorite of Christian Fundamentalists

That many US evangelicals think Trump  is God's chosen
man to rule the most powerful nuclear armed democracy
in the world is a pretty hair raising thought. 
Apart from his thoroughly deluded cult following of racists, right wingers, patriot ultras, semi-fascists, Kluk Klux Klansman and wacko Christian fundamentalists I don't think anyone regards presidential nincompoop in waiting, Donald Trump, as a serious presidential candidate, especially in view of his recent gaffs. But some Christian fundamentalists really do think he's God's gift to America.

Evidence of an affinity between the Christian hard right and Trump surfaces in a news item appearing in the August Premier Christianity magazine. This item tells us that fundamentalist James Dobson believes Trump has been "led to Christ".  Dobson who falls in the same league as the Falwells and Pat Robertson goes on to say:

All I can tell you is that we have only  two choices, Hilary and Donald. Hillary  scares me to death'

The article also says that:

 ...the president of of Liberty university, Jerry Falwell Junior and broadcaster Max Lucado have voiced support [for Trump]. ... Mr Trump recently appointed an evangelical advisory board, on which Dr Dobson and 24 other Christians sit.

So, the link between an incompetent quasi-fascist presidential candidate and Christian fundamentalists is further confirmed; they clearly have like minds.  It scares me to death that Dobson, Falwell and Lucado et al aren't scarred to death by Trump: It all goes to show that being a Christian doesn't guarantee discernment in spite of  fundamentalist self-belief in being privy to the counsels of the Divine. Although the Christianity article does say that not all evangelicals support Trump this connection between Trump and evangelicalism is testament to how lacking in self-criticism and how culturally run down some versions  of US Christianity have become. 

Further evidence of the link between Trump and fundamentalist Christianity comes from another fundamentalist source, namely Dr Michael Brown whose newsletters I receive (Not because I support Brown but because I like to keep an eye on fundamentalism). Brown is not the most extreme of fundamentalists himself - although still pretty extreme in my books - but his news is revealing. For according to Brown (My emphasis):

Ever since Donald Trump began to surge as a candidate last year, Christians have been pointing to the book of Isaiah and comparing Trump with the ancient Persian king Cyrus. Some have even claimed that God has revealed to them that He will use Trump for the good of America just as He used Cyrus for the good of the Jewish people, even though Cyrus was a “pagan” king.

To be fair Brown doesn't agree with these views himself although he doesn't condemn Trump. Brown, however, does otherwise hold extreme right-wing political views: As an indication of the latter,  we find Brown in another web article telling us it is possible that Trump's buffoonery is God's way of ensuring Democratic victory; Why? This is not because Brown supports the Democrats; far from it in fact. What follows is Brown's opinion of why he thinks the Democrats are being let in by God (My emphases): 

     To me the message would be clear: Despite President Obama’s radical policies, policies which have directly (and, for the most part, quite negatively) affected our families and our freedoms, the Church in America is still largely asleep, still largely oblivious to our nation’s steep moral and spiritual decline, still largely unaware of the perilous situation in which we find ourselves in the world today.
     The bad news is that a Hillary presidency would mean divine judgment on a sleeping Church and a sinning nation.
     The good news is that, with true repentance, that judgment could become a mercy, provided that we wake up.
     The best news is that the elections are still three months off and we can wake up today, asking God to have mercy on our land, getting out of our self-satisfied complacency, and praying for the Lord to turn us in the right direction without the help of His smiting rod.
     Obviously, I can only offer these thoughts as spiritual surmisings, also recognizing that the Lord has no political affiliation and that there is good and bad in each party. And whoever our next president is, that person will be my president and I will pray for him or her.
    My hope, though, is that the thought of Trump being raised up to pave the way for Hillary, all for the purpose of divine judgment, would provoke us to a greater sense of prayerful urgency. It is certainly called for today.

It is quite possible that as he wrote the above the issues of homosexuality, Obama care and even gun control were in Brown's head. In common with other fundamentalists Brown's mind is full of judgement, damnation and holy vengeance.   He regards the whole business of Trump as a wake up call to the sleeping right wing of Christian America who must rise up against the devil Democrats else come under judgement themselves! I am actually familiar with this kind of fundamentalist response when the drift of a nation or a church goes against their views - they believe the nation or church to be worthy of the most severe judgement by God. I personally have seen this kind of angry fundamentalist taste for judgment  in church contexts. Their moral compass is such that they see it as highly moral to express righteous anger and look for judgement if there is no submissive acquiescence to their theological views. Like other fundies Brown is all too ready to read wickedness into the behavior of both believers and unbelievers if that behaviour doesn't suite him (See footnote for another example *1).

Brown also provides a window on just how extreme some US Christian fundamentalists get in their opinion of Barak Obama:

    Is it true that a Hebrew prophecy about Barack Obama is hidden in the words of Jesus in Luke 10:18, where He said to His disciples, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”?
     Although this claim has been circulating for a number of years, I was asked about it again today, prompting this article.
     The short answer is: Absolutely, categorically, certainly not. This is complete nonsense, without any possible linguistic support.
     The claim goes like this: 1) Although Luke wrote in Greek, Jesus was speaking in Hebrew, so we must translate Luke’s Greek back into the original Hebrew; 2) the Hebrew word for lightning is baraq; 3) the Hebrew word for “high place” is bama; 4) in some cases there would be a u before the word bama (like the u in tube); 5) putting this together, Jesus would have spoken about baraq ubama, equating him with Satan.
     To repeat: This is complete nonsense, without any possible linguistic support, but since this claim is still in circulation, I’ll take a few moments to demolish it.

To his credit Brown condemns this fanciful rubbish:

    That being said, if you want to have some fun with the president’s name, then try this on for size: When you rearrange the letters for President Barack Obama you end up with An Arab Backed Imposter.
     As ridiculous as this is (and of course, it’s just plain silly), it’s infinitely more plausible than is the completely absurd, not to mention impossible, reconstruction of Luke 10:18 to yield a secret reference to Barack Obama, one in which he is connected to Satan himself.
     To be sure, internet myths die a prolonged and painful death, but I’m hoping that this one can be snuffed out once and for all right here.

Woe betide you if you are a Christian and you disagree with these people - they will probably regard you as fighting on the side of Satan! In their books appeal to the Divine Grace in Christ is futile unless you eat out of their doctrinaire hand!

Although Brown is anxious to distance himself from some of these extremes his evidence has grave implications: It  shows that in spite of the testimony of some Christians about how God guides their thinking the above subverts the thought that God works personally in peoples lives. Many apparently devout fundamentalists are living in a fanciful world of paranoia and conspiracy theorism, a world that qualitatively is not that much different from that of David Ike.The whole episode reflects extremely badly on Christian testimony and its persuasive power is correspondingly compromised.

*1 For example, see a blog post by fundamentalist Jason Lisle entitled "Deep Time - the god of our age  and dated 9/11/12 Lisle, like a good inquisitor stuffs blasphemies in the mouths of Christians who don't agree with his Young Earthism. He then uses this as a pretext to call down Divine censor upon them. 

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