Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Trouble Ahead

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson opened a cabinet meeting on Monday with a prayer which was mostly boilerplate and anodyne, monotheistic theology. Without invoking the name of Jesus- perhaps to avoid alienating the president for whom Jesus Christ is a stumbling block- Carson stated " We ask you give him strength to endure and wisdom to lead and to recognize you as the sovereign of the universe, with the solution to everything."

There is little to be offended there but it was preceded with "We thank You for President Trump, who also exhibits great courage in face of constant criticism." That opinion is valid only if "exhibits great courage" is spelled "capitulates to evil dictators" but your mileage may vary.

Not only was the prayer more nationalistic than humble, it thanked God not for the person of Donald Trump (as bizarre as that would have been) but instead for "President Trump." And thanking God for the election of Donald Trump reinforces Trump's belief that every knee should bow to him.

This argument has been made more explicitly by Dr. Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist Church (SBC) minister and pastor in Dallas who reportedly told the actor in January 2016 "Mr. Trump, I believe you’re going to be the next president of the United States. And if that happens, it’s because God has a great purpose for you and for our nation.” Paula White, the corrupt prosperity gospel preacher (but I repeat myself) who is Donald Russia's spiritual adviser, in June 2017 claimed the President has been  "authentically raised up by God" to lead.

Hear enough of these things and anyone, let alone a narcissist such as Trump, will believe that he is more than all and above all or as he put it himself, "the Chosen One." More likely, he will try to convince others that he was chosen by God to lead the nation.  It is central to his mission.   Two journalists understand. The first:

I know he burbled on about George Washington and Barack Obama and Netflix and how unprecedented it is that he's not taking a salary. (Herbert Hoover didn't, nor did JFK.) But I think I briefly went to another place when he said that thing about the Emoluments Clause. How about the Bill of Rights? How about the powers of Congress? How about the impeachment provisions? What other parts of the Constitution does he consider "phony"?

All of them, Katie.

When the history of this era is written, the historians will note the individuals, including Ben Carson and many members of the clergy, who aided and abetted President Trump's effort to destroy democratic values and institutions.  Whether their effort will succeed depends upon the judgment of the voters and of the Electoral College late next year.

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