Ever since Donald Trump rode down the escalator of Trump Tower, anyone who dares criticize him–whether on social media or on television–faces the prospect of being viciously attacked by the most diehard of his diehards. Many of these attacks have occurred after of Trump’s most ardent supporters in the pundit class have either subtly or overtly told their own followers, “Sic ’em!”
You would have thought that this trend would have died down as the evidence mounts that Trump did indeed use the power of his office to attempt to bully Ukraine into helping him in a politically motivated investigation of Joe Biden. Far from it. Indeed, this trend has ramped up considerably, particularly on the religious right. On numerous occasions, the nation’s so-called moral guardians have uncorked low blows at Trump’s critics either immediately or not long after some of the most damning anecdotes and testimony in the Ukraine scandal have come to light.
That raised an obvious question. Is the religious right so determined to hold up its end of the Faustian deal it made with Trump that it is willing to support him at all costs? Well, late last week, a pro-Trump pastor appeared to suggest that the answer was an emphatic yes. He warned Democrats against pressing their pursuit of Trump, and explained that if they didn’t do so, he and other Trumpvangelicals might have to sic Almighty God himself on them.
One of the many fundies who googled down on his support of Trump as evidence of Trump’s crimes mounted was Pentecostal evangelist and Christian television mainstay Perry Stone. In late October, Stone suggested that Trump’s Democratic foes were determined to impeach Trump in part because they were possessed by demons.
This came just 48 hours after Bill Taylor, the acting U. S. ambassador to Ukraine, told a House panel that Trump was directly involved in an effort to delay military aid to Ukraine to an investigation of Biden. It also came four days after White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney crassly admitted that this was indeed the case. And yet, if you believe Stone, any Democrat wanting to get to the bottom of this travesty might need a demon cast out of him or her, post-haste.
The fact that Stone was willing to spew this bilge in the face of such damning evidence made it obvious that he was still complicit in the religious right’s effort to bully the nation into bowing and praying to the orange god it helped make. But Stone put it beyond any doubt last Thursday during his weekly “Firehouse Prayer” session at his church, Omega Center International in Cleveland, Tennessee. He put Trump critics on notice–if they don’t watch it, he and his fellow believers may use their authority to sic God on them.
Lest you think this is snark, People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
About six minutes into the broadcast (following almost two-and-a-half minutes of ads), Stone engaged in what seemed to be classic whataboutism. He wondered how Hillary Clinton avoided being even prosecuted for her emails, when Trump has been the target of a massive conspiracy that started “before he ever took office, the moment he was sworn in” that has been fronted by George Soros.
However, Stone had a warning for Trump’s foes–God himself isn’t pleased with them. He recalled at least four instances in Scripture where “Herods” who tried to “delay and hinder the will of God” were “supernaturally removed” after suffering debilitating diseases. He believed that God himself struck these “Herods” down because they were “messing with a sovereign plan”–and when that happens, God himself “will fight against people.”
Stone then delivered a warning to Trump’s foes–they don’t understand that Christians, “if we so choose and decide to set out heart and our mind” to do so, can go to God and ask him to “‘go do your thing right now.'” He believed that it may take Christians praying for God to “clean house himself,” but it can happen.
The theology here is chilling. Stone is likening Trump’s critics to King Herod, who is depicted as mocking Jesus and ordering John the Baptist executed. He claims that by wanting Trump held to account, they are interfering with God’s “sovereign plan”–and if Christians sic God’s wrath on them, they could pay a stiff price.
It cannot be stated enough. Stone is calling evil good and good evil. There’s no other way to describe his suggestion that Christians can sic God on those who are attempting to get to the bottom of what can only be described as a ham-handed abuse of power. We already knew that in order to believe the fundie line that God hacked the election for Trump, you would have to believe God condones identity theft. But this is outrageous even by those standards.
Stone crassly declared that he didn’t care if Right Wing Watch or other critics picked his screed up. After all, if Christians do indeed sic God on Trump’s critics and they end up being “removed,” Stone believes that they will have to “apologize for being an idiot.”
Well, Perry, by suggesting that God condones Trump’s misdeeds, you’re not just being an idiot. You’re complicit in an effort to keep the American people from understanding the depths of Trump’s misdeeds. History will not look kindly on you or your compatriots for this.
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