Thursday, August 22, 2019

There Is Always An Argument For Evil

Now that President Trump has anointed himself "The Chosen One" and "King of Israel," it may be time to revisit some of the Christian right explanations of Donald Trump. In March, 2018 Jane Coaston explained

The story of King David, a sinner who remained beloved by God and favored by his people, has been a favorite of evangelical Christians who support Donald Trump, even during the Republican primaries. Their reasoning is that like King David, Donald Trump has committed adultery, and like King David (or President Franklin Roosevelt, as one columnist wrote), Trump can be a great (and moral) leader even after having committed adultery.

This isn’t new. GOP donor Foster Friess compared Trump to King David in January 2016, saying, “[A]ll throughout history, God has harnessed imperfect people to fulfill his perfect will.”

After the Access Hollywood tape became public, right-wing talk-show hosts Sean Hannity and Dennis Prager echoed this amateur analysis.

The King David story rivals the story of King Cyrus, who 

was born in the sixth century B.C.E. and became the first emperor of Persia. Isaiah 45 celebrates Cyrus for freeing a population of Jews who were held captive in Babylon. Cyrus is the model for a nonbeliever appointed by God as a vessel for the purposes of the faithful.

This theory was promoted in October 2018 with release to theaters of "The Trump Prophecy," which told of a firefighter who alleges he was told in 2011 that Donald Trump would become president, and which

was produced with the help of professors and students at Liberty University, whose president, Jerry Falwell Jr., has been instrumental in rallying evangelical support for Mr. Trump. Jeanine Pirro of Fox News has picked up on the meme, as has Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, among many others.

This notion is conveniently reinforced each time the President sins and/or acts outrageously, for "Cyrus is the model for a nonbeliever appointed by God as a vessel for the purposes of the faithful."  A major proponent is this author, who claims Trump is "God's chaos candidate," whom God has said is a "wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness."

There also is the notion that Donald Trump is the "wolf-king," who has come for wolves and not the sheep. It was promulgated by the late Doug Coe, head of The Family, whose members in Congress conduct what has been described as "a kind of shadow diplomacy, a secretive 'unofficial' and unaccountable outreach to foreign officials." (Its most prominent member is Mike Pence. I'm sure you're shocked.)

According to CBN News, the president of legal advocacy organization Liberty Counsel maintains that President Trump "has fulfilled about 90% of the goals on a list that Staver and other conservative leaders compiled." "In the first two years of his administration," Matt Staver states, "he's achieved more than all of the presidents combined since Ronald Reagan. He's been the most pro-religious freedom and pro-life president in modern history."

So maybe the real motive is advancement of conservative political principle. Even more likely, it is a triumph of power politics over morality. Whatever the base motive, when the dust clears and the Trump family has left a lasting stain upon the nation, there will be fewer Americans than ever before willing to identify as Christian, an understanding which leaves these religious leaders unfazed.

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