Let’s not sugarcoat it, folks. With three months before election day, Donald Trump is in an absolutely brutal position. FiveThirtyEight calculates his average approval rating at 41.3 percent, and gives Democrats a seven-point lead in the generic congressional ballot. Moreover, a number of Republican-held seats that should not even be on the board at this stage–including one Trump won by almost 50 points in 2016–are very much in play. There’s no denying it–if these numbers hold, there is little prospect of the GOP stranglehold on Washington being saved.
But it’s very likely that these numbers are inflated. The religious right still remains as loyal as ever to Trump. For the better part of the last two years, the nation’s so-called moral guardians have engaged in a ham-handed campaign to bully white evangelicals into bowing down to Trump. A lovely example of this came last week, when two of Trump’s most rabid religious right supporters declared that Christians who oppose Trump might not really be Christians at all.
Even by the standards of the pastors and televangelists who are doing everything short of wearing MAGA hats on air, online or in the pulpit, Jim Bakker is almost fanatically loyal to Trump. He even went as far as to lead his followers in prayer for Trump to be saved from the “evil forces” attacking him–including Robert Mueller.
Well, apparently Bakker thinks that some of those “evil forces” include Christians who oppose Trump. That’s the only thing you can conclude from his conversation last month with Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj, a former Hindu who is now one of the many “Prophets Talking Loud” on a regular basis with Bakker.
On the same day that Selvaraj declared that this country had been given a respite to change its ways when Trump became president, he warned that anti-Trump Christians are putting their salvation at risk. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Bakker recalled that a number of “church people” aren’t sold on Trump, and asked Selvaraj if he had a message for them. Recalling the parable of the wheat and the tares and the parable of the sheep and the goats, Selvaraj suggested that Trump was a “righteous king”–and “the tares” are the ones who aren’t sold on him. He claimed that Christians who oppose Trump “pretend to be like a sheep” when they are really goats.
Just in case the audience didn’t get the message, Selvaraj put it bluntly–Christians who oppose Trump are agents of the devil.
It’s the devil who has planted them, so they have the spirit of what the Apostle John calls the spirit of the Antichrist in them. So it is they who stir up the people and stir up the hornet’s nest against a righteous king, a righteous man, so that either he is moved out of office or so discouraged that he cannot stand up for righteousness he will end up compromising.
For that reason, Selvaraj believed that it was incumbent upon “the last days remnant prophetic people in America” to cover Trump in prayer. Bakker and his wife Lori agreed, and had the audience pray that God protect Trump and his family.
Okay, Sadhu and Jim. I’ll play. I am a charismatic Christian, and I oppose Trump with every fiber of my being. You mean to tell me that because I cannot abide a president who found it acceptable to plaster a private cell phone number on social media and mock the disabled while he was a candidate, I’m an agent of the devil? You mean to tell me that because I recoil at Trump retweeting hateful, violent and degrading memes, I’m an agent of the devil? And because I believe Trump’s behavior in Helsinki was incompetent at best and treasonous at worst, I’m an agent of the devil? And because I recoil at Trump’s stratospheric conflicts of interest, I’m not really saved? And on, and on, and on.
Moreover, last time I checked, being saved doesn’t entail accepting Trump. All it entails is accepting Jesus as your Savior. From where I’m sitting, Bakker and Selvaraj are adding to and taking away from the Word of God in a way that comes dangerously close to blasphemy.
But even without the potential blasphemy, you have to wonder–if Bakker is still all-in for Trump at this stage, is he serving two masters? It wouldn’t be the first time he’s done so. Remember, back in his salad days of the 1980s, he was an open and unashamed lover of money. Now it looks like he’s bowing down to a golden calf–or rather, an Orange Calf.
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