Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Disciples and Their Deceiver


Well, this makes sense.


Appearing at Liberty University in Virginia in 1/8/16, Trump asked during a speech "Two Corinthians 3:17? Is that the one you like?" (Well, maybe, Second Corinthians, anyway.) 

At a nondenominational Christian church in Iowa on 1/31/16, Trump began to place cash into the communion plate because he thought it was the offering plate. On 7/18/15, he had told moderator Frank Luntz at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa :"When I drink my little wine- which is about the only wine I drink- and have my little cracker, I guess that it is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed. I think in terms of 'let's go and let's make it right.'" 

Trump thus simultaneously unveiled his condescension toward a sacrament' "my little wine (and) my little cracker"; erroneously stated that communion pertains to forgiveness; and evinced a complete misunderstanding of the Christian faith, as if performance of one sacrament can "make (things) right." Do this in remembrance of me.

In the same interview, Trump was asked whether he had asked God for forgiveness and replied “I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.” Evidently, the core of the Christian faith is to avoid asking forgiveness when we are perfect.

Police used tear gas to clear a path for President Trump from Lafayette Square to St. John's Episcopal Church so that the could stage a photo-op holding a squeamishly holding a Bible on  6/1/20. The presiding bishop of the denomination noted that the President "used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes."  Perhaps Bishop Curry had forgotten that Trump is the (self-anointed) "Chosen One."

In September of 2020, McKay Coppins of The Atlantic explained 

.... in private, many of Trump’s comments about religion are marked by cynicism and contempt, according to people who have worked for him. Former aides told me they’ve heard Trump ridicule conservative religious leaders, dismiss various faith groups with cartoonish stereotypes, and deride certain rites and doctrines held sacred by many of the Americans who constitute his base….

From the outset of his brief political career, Trump has viewed right-wing evangelical leaders as a kind of special-interest group to be schmoozed, conned, or bought off, former aides told me. Though he faced Republican primary opponents in 2016 with deeper religious roots—Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee—Trump was confident that his wealth and celebrity would attract high-profile Christian surrogates to vouch for him….

In Cohen’s recent memoir, Disloyal, he recounts Trump returning from his 2011 meeting with the pastors who laid hands on him and sneering, “Can you believe that bullshit?” But if Trump found their rituals ridiculous, he followed their moneymaking ventures closely. “He was completely familiar with the business dealings of the leadership in many prosperity-gospel churches,” the adviser told me….

To those who have known and worked with Trump closely, the notion that he might have a secret spiritual side is laughable. “I always assumed he was an atheist,” Barbara Res, a former executive at the Trump Organization, told me. “He’s not a religious guy,” A. J. Delgado, who worked on his 2016 campaign, told me. “Whenever I see a picture of him standing in a group of pastors, all of their hands on him, I see a thought bubble [with] the words ‘What suckers,’” Mary Trump, the president’s niece, told me.

It's remarkable, but hardly unbelievable, that so many religious whites are anxious to believe that Donald J. Trump is one of them. Perhaps they're impressed that the guy who hawked Bibles for personal profit while declaring "make America pray again" seriously appreciates their support.  Maybe it's wishful thinking, believing that someone so conservative politically, as are most of them, must also be a believer. Some would say they are stupid, naive, or even ignorant. Whatever it is, it's one of the great mysteries of the modern era of politics, which yet again threatens to upend  this great experiment spanning 250 years of representative democracy.



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