With 16 months to go before Election Day, Donald Trump is in a position that would be brutal by normal standards. He hasn’t budged too far above 42 percent in FiveThirtyEight’s average approval rating. The biggest reason he hasn’t completely cratered is that the religious right is still firmly behind him. For the better part of three years, they have sent evangelicals a not-so-subtle message–opposing Trump could put your salvation at risk. To hear them talk, God sounds a lot like Big Brother–watching for any sign of disloyalty to his “anointed one.”
Anyone who recalls reading George Orwell’s “1984” will recall that in Oceania, it is not enough to obey Big Brother. All good Oceanians must love him. Apparently, the same mentality prevails on the religious right regarding Trump. And apparently one man is charged with making that happen–Jim Bakker.
For some time, Bakker has been in a class by himself among the so-called moral guardians who have abased themselves before Trump. To hear him talk, people who oppose Trump because of their faith, not in spite of it–including this writer–may not really be saved at all. Moreover, if you believe him, the forces opposing Trump are driven by demons, and that makes it particularly important for the church to rally to his standard.
Well, if you believe another prominent general in the Trumpvangelical Army, Lance Wallnau, there’s a reason Bakker has been so vocal in his loyalty to Trump. On Friday’s edition of Bakker’s show, Wallnau stopped by to tell Bakker that God had chosen him to make us love Trump–and keep the devil from keeping us from loving him. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
While chatting with Bakker, his wife Lori, and Latino pastor Ramiro Peña, Wallnau sounded a common theme for him–the only reason Trump appears to be so unpopular is that there is a “witchcraft veil over the minds and perception” of the people. Supposedly, this veil of “Jezebel witchcraft” is being fed by “false prophecies” being churned out in the media. As far as Wallnau is concerned, media critics of Trump are “prophets of Baal.”
Turning to Bakker, Wallnau told him that he believed God had chosen him to break through that veil.
I think God raised you up to apostolically and prophetically break through—in the media realm—that veil, because there are some false prophets in the media. And God has put a burden on you to be courageous. You have a sense of the future as very few people have, and you’re a media titan yourself in the spirit realm. I think God has raised you up for us to be able to pierce the veil off of the minds of our people.
Really, Lance? So God has anointed Bakker to make us ignore the almost daily outrages coming from this White House? Has Bakker been tasked with making us ignore that we have a president who revels in degrading women, believes that any critical coverage of him is “fake news,” has no qualms about praising corrupt and brutal dictators, and believes his daughter is qualified to be a diplomat despite no experience whatsoever?
Wallnau’s suggestion is not unlike O’Brien telling Winston Smith that we must change our own perception to believe what Big Brother wants us to believe. Just like Oceanians are expected to believe that “2+2=5” if Big Brother says it, Wallnau and friends expect us to believe Trump is making America great again even as we see him acting like a boor and a bully at home and abroad.
But even without that to consider, a glimpse into Bakker’s past history makes Wallnau’s assertion even more ridiculous. You may recall that back in 1989, Bakker was sentenced to 45 years in prison for, among other things, taking money that was supposedly intended to build a luxury hotel and steering it into either his ministry’s bank account or his own pocket. Anyone who followed that trial back then would conclude that he deserved every minute of that sentence. At his age, it would have assured that he would have died behind bars.
However, it was brought undone when a federal appeals court ruled that the sentencing judge, Robert Potter, had improperly used his own religious beliefs as a factor in sentencing him. Potter famously told Bakker at sentencing that people like him made it appear that people of faith were “saps for money-grubbing preachers and priests.” Bakker was ultimately sentenced to eight years and paroled after five.
So if you believe that Bakker is anointed to make us love Trump, you would have to believe that God caused Potter to get a case of diarrhea of the mouth when he sentenced Bakker. Ridiculous, you say? Well, consider that these are the same people who believe God hacked the election for Trump. After all, if you believe that, you would have to believe God condones identity theft.
Apparently Wallnau and Bakker want most Americans to have the same moment that Winston had at the end of “1984”–to finally give up and love Big Brother. Well, gentlemen, you’re in for a long wait. A significant number of Christians, including charismatic ones like you, know this country was swindled in 2016, and have been praying for that swindle to be exposed. And when that swindle is exposed, you will pay the price in full for perpetrating it.
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