The religious right has made what can only be described as a Faustian deal with Donald Trump. As the 2016 campaign wore on, Trump made the “right” clucking noises on abortion, marriage equality, Israel and other matters near and dear to the fundies’ heart. In return, the nation’s so-called moral guardians have been all-in for Trump in a way that would make one wonder if they believe Trump, not Jesus, is their savior.
For the better part of four years, the standard fundie response to any complaints about Trump’s boorish behavior and retrograde policies is that God hacked the election for Trump, not Russia. They have also maintained that the opposition to Trump is demonically driven.
Incredibly, they have kept it up even in the face of evidence that Trump abused his power in an attempt to get a foreign government to launch a politically motivated investigation into a political rival. They claim that the impeachment push is an attack on their values by “deeply inhuman” people. They’ve even gone as far as to threaten to sic the Almighty on us if we don’t leave Trump alone.
So what if Trump has no qualms about using the power of his office for personal gain? Or if he revels in degrading women? Or if he can’t bear to be criticized? No, no, say the fundies. None of that matters. He’s giving honor to our Savior by making America Christian again.
We got a lovely example of this mentality this weekend from rabidly pro-Trump pastors and so-called prophets Hank and Brenda Kunneman. They have proven themselves to be on the same level as the likes of Jim Bakker, Lance Wallnau, Rick Wiles and Steve Strang in their loyalty to Trump. They insisted that Trump would be exonerated–before the Ukraine scandal broke in full. They even went as far as to try to spiritually shush the impeachment effort in what they called a “prophetic act.”
The Omaha-based “prophets” underscored their loyalty to their political savior on Friday. A week earlier, several leading pastors and worship leaders gathered in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for a praise and worship session. Watch a clip here.
This praise session was followed by a “faith briefing” with Vice President Mike Pence. They then posed for photos with Trump in the Oval Office before praying over him.
It should surprise no one that this gathering was harshly criticized. After all, they were hitching their wagons to a president whose own chief of staff crassly admitted that his boss conditioned military aid to Ukraine on opening an investigation into Biden. When the Kunnemans heard this, they took to the page of their political activism page, “Stand up for the Bible,” to let it be known they were outraged at the outrage over the gathering.
To the Kunnemans, those wringing their hands over this gathering are missing the point. They claim that there are only three things that really matter. First, Trump is “emphatically pro-life”–as “every believer” ought to be, in their view. Second, Trump is probably the most pro-Israel president ever. Third, Trump is working overtime to protect the church from attempts to “remove the influence of Christianity from the public square.”
In contrast, they say, all of the Democratic hopefuls are “extremely pro abortion” and have become too friendly for comfort to “non-religious” Americans. All things considered, the Kunnemans say, even if you oppose Trump, you definitely shouldn’t vote for a Democrat because too many of views don’t jibe with the Bible. For them, the question is simple.
If Trump isn’t the one that will keep the door open to God and His people in this nation then who is?
Okay, Kunnemans. I’ll play. Are rolling back abortion and protecting the church so important that we must condone a president who revels in degrading women? Or who at the very least condones campaign aides soliciting help from a hostile foreign power? Or who deliberately tries to discredit the media? If so, your mentality is no different from college boosters who are willing to go all-in for a winning coach with no regard for NCAA rules or his school’s integrity. Surely your Savior wouldn’t look too kindly on that.
And as far as Trump being pro-Israel–do you seriously believe anyone can credibly claim to stand with Israel and direct anti-Semitic slurs at Jewish congressmen? In case you missed it, Trump once called Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff “savages,” and then called Schiff “human scum.” Are you asking us to ignore that?
So once again, the religious right’s moral bankruptcy is on very loud display. And once again, we are left to wonder–who does the religious right consider its savior now–Jesus, or Trump?
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