With four months to go before Election Day, Donald Trump is in as bad a position as any incumbent president seeking reelection has been in recent memory. He only has himself to blame. Between his narcissism, his boorish and bullying behavior, and his nauseating tendency to lie, it was only a matter of time before his utter unfitness for the presidency would be exposed. Lo and behold, his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic has knocked the scales off the eyes of a number of people who were still on the fence about him.
Numerous high-quality polls released over the last month show Trump far behind former Vice President Joe Biden–in some cases, by margins that would translate to a landslide Biden win if repeated in November. FiveThirtyEight’s average, for instance, pegs Biden with a lead of just over 10 points.
Moreover, FiveThirtyEight’s averages of polls suggest Trump is behind in the battleground states as well. Most seriously, Trump is behind by significant margins in the three “Blue Wall” states where just a few thousand votes put Trump in the White House–almost 10 points in Michigan, over seven points in Pennsylvania, and over eight points in Wisconsin.
There’s no sugarcoating it–a lot of voters are fed up with Trump, in no small part because of his tenuous relationship with the truth. But if you believe one rabidly pro-Trump pastor, you have no right to have a beef with Trump’s tendency to lie. After all, it’s only his business–and God’s.
It’s been amply established that as bad as Trump’s numbers are, he would already be circling the drain if not for the religious right’s sustained campaign to bully the nation into supporting Trump. Among the many pastors and evangelists who are trying to bully the country into bowing and praying to the orange god they helped make, Omaha-based pastor Hank Kunneman has become one of the most obnoxious of all.
Kunneman, who pastors Lord of Hosts Church in Omaha alongside his wife, Brenda, claims to operate under a “strong prophetic anointing.” But he’s had some pretty bad misses lately. For instance, in the fall of 2018, he claimed to have gotten a “word from the Lord” warning that Democrats risked having any attempt to impeach Trump “boomerang” back on them. But by the time he issued it the following May, the Ukraine scandal had broken in full–and enough Democrats had come off the fence to launch a formal impeachment inquiry.
Hank and Brenda tried to “hush” the impeachment push to no avail. Even though Trump was acquitted, so far there has been no boomerang. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Democrats lead the generic congressional ballot by a solid nine-point margin.
One would have thought that Trump’s repeated downplaying of the severity of coronavirus, as well as documented evidence that he blew numerous chances to prepare the nation for this crisis, the scales would have come off Kunneman’s eyes. But if a special “Night of Prayer for America” Kunneman held last Wednesday is any indication, it doesn’t seem that even that is enough to bring Kunneman to his senses.
At that meeting, Kunneman led his flock in a prayer over Trump that was patently bizarre, even for him. How’s that? Well, in the same breath that he prayed for an honest election, he also suggested that there was a demonic plot to send Trump to the unemployment line. No, this isn’t snark. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Between several bursts of tongues, Kunneman prayed for a “truthful, honest election”–but later prayed for the Holy Spirit to “burn every satanic altar” and “every satanic scheme” that dared rise up against Trump.
So if the American people vote by a clear margin for Biden, will Kunneman consider it an “honest election”? Or will he consider it a demonic fib? It says a lot that we even have to ask that question.
But that wasn’t the only bizarre moment from that service. Later on, Kunneman offered a, shall we say, novel defense for Trump’s lies. While slamming those who told lies about Trump online, he claimed that when Trump tells a lie, it’s not really our business. No, that isn’t snark either. Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Kunneman told his audience that Trump “has been lied about a lot” by his critics. Apparently he’s been criticized for standing with Trump despite Trump’s long and sordid history of lying, because he had a ready response.
‘Well, Pastor, he lies.’ That’s between him and God.
Um, Hank? When the sole person who has access to nuclear codes has a tendency to lie, and do it daily, it damn well is our business. When said person has no qualms about promoting conspiracy theories on his Twitter feed, it damn well is our business. When said person tells so many lies that The Washington Post has to create a separate fact-checking category for him, it damn well is our business.
Kunneman is one of many pastors who is long overdue for a reckoning over their obstinate loyalty to Trump. This spiel proves why that reckoning can’t come soon enough.
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