By Brian Kleinhammer, Guest Blogger
I guess I never got the memo.
Suddenly, in 2016, I discovered that American Christians are backing Donald Trump for the Republican ticket.
I should say that backing is the appropriate, but wholly inaccurate, term to describe the near-immediate relationship I saw spring up between this man and evangelists. I don’t watch Fox News, so it is entirely possible that I missed something pertinent that might explain this growing fascination with this reality show host.
And then, to my astonishment, it became something even more extreme. A loyalty test.
People that I had met in public, having God conversations with and even learning that I am a minister, looking at me with a mixture of astonishment and disgust to learn that I did not completely and utterly support this man. Growing friendships with other ministry couples suddenly coming to a screeching halt. Long-term friendships ending both suddenly and slowly. Arguments and anger, from people who had been friends for years, being hurled at me because I dared to ask what I perceived to be simple and reasonable questions about him.
As in why him?
There are books that struggle to answer this question in detail, and many more to be written by both witnesses and historians. It’s a complex relationship; one that I have come to realize that is manipulative in, perhaps, ways that we have not approached in political conversation.
The bottom line is this: We, the American Evangelist culture, are using him for our purposes.
And not for his betterment. Not for his growth, or his relationship with Jesus, or making him into a more Godly leader, or even for his eternity. We are using him to achieve our purposes with a similar loyalty to the one that was once reserved for Christ himself.
Now there is no doubt Trump realizes this and caters to his evangelist base with the most minimal of effort; saying the word God now and then, mentioning scriptures he has never read, carelessly holding a Bible upside down. All of which are blown out of proportion by evangelists as irrefutable evidence of his true faith. And all the while, televangelists, well-funded think-tanks and Russian bots are pouring out “emergency prayer requests” and “prophetic alerts” on social media asking us to pray against Trump’s political enemies, which are first described as demons, then are indirectly defined as human beings. Over and over, as though this propaganda seeks to blur the difference between the two. And from what we are seeing from the level of hate being hurled at Democrats…it’s working.
The president working hand-in-hand with a highly-effective, very expensive and completely persistent campaign to keep him in power. But to do what?
Whatever we want.
That’s the beauty of religious dominionism – it never has to openly state what it really wants until it has achieved the level of power it has been seeking all along. The influence to revoke Roe v. Wade is the first and most obvious one. Then it comes to working in all the side dishes: antil-LGBTQ, anti-Muslim, anti-Feminist, anti-Liberal, and more. Even the more fanatical of the evangelists see the president’s potential willingness to fulfill Revelation and start the Armageddon that will bring about the return of Christ. Something for everyone, in a group that has preached the same character development that they have spurned in their own hearts.
Trump may be using evangelicals, but it’s we who are using him worse. It is we who are the greatest offender. We took an unhappy, powerful rich kid who never had to grow up, never had to face real consequences, and offered him the one thing he could not buy with his father’s money: A base who would love and support him no matter how cruel or how selfish or how corrupted he would become…and, of course, salvation without condition beyond that of proclamation. It would require a whole new and hypocritical gospel, but since the church has been conditioned to accept this moment for the last fifty years, it turns out not to be a challenge at all.
First we must forgive him; over and over again. Scripture is clear on this. Not with the purpose of shielding him from justice for his actions, but with the requirement of our beliefs and relationship with Christ.
And (here’s the weird thing) we must ask him for forgiveness. On behalf of the entire evangelical church, we must ask him to forgive us. Forgive us for using him, teaching him a false gospel, misleading him about the true nature of Christ, deceiving him in order to fulfill our purposes of dominionism, cursing his political opponents and Christians who do not prostate themselves in near-complete loyalty. Also, and perhaps most tragically, being willing to sacrifice his eternity for our current gain.
I have no doubt that Trump is a highly anointed man. I also have no doubt that the church has failed to turn that anointing into something beautiful and inspiring.
The sad thing is… we didn’t even try.
Read More from Brian Kleinhammer at https://kingdomculture2.com/