Trump: Unwashed messiah of Americana

Published on 29 June 2023 at 11:49

I usually avoid engaging in political discussions as it is not an area of interest for me and tends to be highly polarizing, making productive conversations nearly impossible. However, there are moments when politics and religion intersect, and this has become especially prominent in recent years within the United States. We have witnessed the emergence of a cult of personality that surpasses anything we have previously experienced, with Trump transcending the realm of mere politician to become a messiah-like figure in conservative Christian circles. In this entry, I will delve into the rise of this phenomenon and examine how we arrived at this peculiar and perilous juncture in American history.

 

There isn't a singular event that can be pinpointed as the sole catalyst for reaching this juncture. It could have been the alarming prediction that Trump could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York without losing supporters. It might have been Ted Cruz's remark that Trump couldn't insult his way into the White House, to which Trump seemed to respond by proving him wrong. The relentless promotion of Trump by hyper-conservative church congregations since 2016 might have played a role. Additionally, Trump's utilization of religiously tinged racist dog-whistle language during both of his previous presidential campaigns likely contributed. It is highly probable that a combination of these factors, among many others, led to this situation, with particular emphasis placed on churches emphasizing Trump over Jesus, including figures like Greg Locke, Pat Robertson, and numerous televangelists.

 

We are about to delve into the religious aspects, but it is important to first examine the political maneuvers that solidified Trump's influence within the Republican Party. It is astonishing how easily we forget the antics of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. While we briefly mentioned the senator from Texas in the introduction, let's take a closer look at that particular situation. During the 2016 primaries, Trump and Cruz engaged in the typical exchange of insults and criticisms that are expected in politics. However, what stood out was the venomous nature of their exchanges. Trump not only targeted Ted repeatedly but also directed insults at Ted's wife, Heidi, and indirectly insulted his children through his derogatory remarks about the LGBTQ community.

 

In response to the insult aimed at his wife, Cruz initially expressed his refusal to be treated like a subservient follower and support Trump. Yet, just fifteen days later, he made a complete turnaround and endorsed Trump for president. Since then, Cruz has been an overly enthusiastic cheerleader for Trump, forsaking his integrity and principles in the process. Despite being an intelligent individual, Cruz succumbed to the overwhelming hold Trump had on his party and his base. The downfall of someone as highly educated and once respected as Cruz exemplifies the powerful grip that Trump maintains over the Republican base. Cruz, who vehemently denied being a servile follower of Trump, has regrettably become precisely that—a submissive supporter who bends to Trump's every whim.

 

In 2016, Trump centered his campaign around three primary promises: constructing a wall along the southern border, restoring law and order in the country, and incarcerating Hillary Clinton. However, if we fast forward to the present, seven years later, we can observe that there has been no substantial border wall built. Instead, there have been some chain link fences erected in specific areas. Furthermore, when the concept of law and order applied to Trump himself, it took on a reminiscent tone of the Richard Nixon situation—"it is not illegal if the president does it." The fervent chants of "lock her up" in relation to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election suddenly became labeled as un-American and detrimental to the country when it appeared that the law might be closing in on Trump. Ironically, Trump and the Republicans have advocated for stricter punishments for the very crimes for which Trump has been indicted.

 

It is worth noting the stark contrast between the promises made by Trump during his campaign and the actual outcomes we have witnessed. The lack of a substantial border wall, the selective interpretation of law and order, and the discrepancy between the treatment of Clinton and Trump reveal the complexities and inconsistencies within the political landscape.

 

 Whataboutism has undeniably played a more prominent role than ever, especially now that Trump faces 74 felony criminal indictments. Trump's base has attempted to shift the focus onto Hunter Biden, who did take responsibility and plead guilty to his crimes, as a means to excuse Trump's own actions. Trump consistently claims that these indictments are nothing more than a witch-hunt, and this narrative is echoed throughout his base. What is truly disturbing is that Trump's base seems to genuinely believes he is the messiah reincarnate and that he was divinely chosen by God to be the President of the United States. This messianic belief is the reason why there is almost nothing Trump could do to lose their support. The only possible exception might be if he were to engage in blasphemy, but even that may not be enough to shake his base at this point. Furthermore, it is of utmost importance to hold accountable anyone involved in criminal activities, regardless of their position or affiliation. If evidence can be presented and verified, they should face indictment without exception. This principle must be applied universally, leaving no room for selective enforcement. Nevertheless, it is crucial to emphasize that the aforementioned actions others do not absolve Donald Trump from the crimes he has committed. Regardless of the involvement of others, Trump should be held responsible for his own actions and face the appropriate consequences for any illegal or unethical behavior he engaged in.

 

While we have witnessed cults of personality in the past with unwavering and fervent support, this instance is particularly concerning due to its vast membership of around seventy million Americans. We must remember that we are discussing the immense power held by the presidency, and such unwavering support for an individual can have significant implications. It is indeed perplexing that individuals who identify as patriots and claim to love their country and its constitution often demonstrate a lack of loyalty to these very ideals. Instead, their allegiance seems to lie with Trump, to the extent that they are willing to undermine cherished institutions such as the rule of law, the Justice Department, and law enforcement agencies in order to protect their chosen leader. Shockingly, even our electoral system, a cornerstone of democracy, has not been spared from their attempts to undermine it. It is important to recognize that those who voted for Trump, both in the past and potentially in the future, may not hold true loyalty to the country itself. This was evident during the attempted insurrection on January 6th, when some of Trump's supporters engaged in an attack on the U.S. Capitol. Furthermore, there were even calls from within Trump's base to harm his own vice president, Mike Pence, simply because he refused to attempt to overturn the certified election results. These events highlight the dangerous extent to which blind devotion and loyalty to an individual can override one's loyalty to the nation and its democratic principles. It is crucial for the well-being of our democracy that we remain vigilant in upholding the integrity of our institutions and the values they represent.

 

For those who are not caught in the grip of Trump's cult of personality, one of the most effective ways to make a difference is by actively participating in the upcoming elections and exercising their right to vote. Regardless of the Democratic nominee, it is crucial to support the Democratic Party and its candidates. If you identify as a Republican but oppose Trump, I encourage you to vote against him in the primaries. Consider supporting alternatives like DeSantis, Cruz, or Jeb Bush, as any of them would likely be a better choice than Donald J. Trump. It is essential to recognize that Trump represents a significant threat to the country, and it is of utmost importance, for the sake of our nation, to prevent him from returning to the White House.

 

Trump's true influence lies in bringing out the worst in people. A genuine leader should inspire individuals to tap into their highest potential and foster unity. However, Trump has demonstrated a remarkable ability to incite misogyny, bigotry against non-white Christians, overt antisemitism, and propagate baseless conspiracy theories such as blaming George Soros or an ambiguous "deep state" group. These narratives resemble nothing more than the unfounded fears of the old Illuminati or the recycled notions of a new world order. They lack substance and serve only to divide and create unnecessary panic.

 

Certain segments of the Christian community seem determined to perceive anti-Christian persecution lurking at every corner, interpreting every event as a sign of the impending apocalypse. Sadly, a significant portion of these apocalyptic-minded Christians, including some preachers, have now twisted their perceived Christian persecutions into imagined persecutions of Trump and the "Make America Great Again" Republicans. It is an alarming and unfounded narrative that seeks to justify and reinforce their political beliefs rather than promoting genuine dialogue and progress.

 

Trump's behavior regarding COVID-19 was riddled with hypocrisy and inconsistency. While publicly dismissing the severity of the virus and even calling it fake, behind closed doors, he was evidently concerned about its impact. This stark contrast demonstrated a lack of transparency and disregard for the well-being of the American people. Moreover, Trump publicly criticized vaccines and spread misinformation about them, undermining efforts to combat the virus. However, he and his family privately received the vaccines and boosters, exposing his double standards and disregard for the public's health.

 

Throughout the pandemic, Trump not only ignored the recommended shutdowns and precautions but actively organized and attended super-spreader events, disregarding the regulations and orders put forth by his own government. This blatant disregard for the safety measures his own administration implemented showcased his unwillingness to lead by example. In an attempt to deflect responsibility, Trump shifted blame onto the government, despite being the head of that very government. His base, unfortunately, followed along with his narratives, failing to hold him accountable for his actions. This pattern of behavior reveals a lack of accountability and a manipulative approach to leadership.

 

On January 6th, 2021, Trump made a highly concerning statement, urging his supporters to march to the Capitol Rotunda and "take their country back." Disturbingly, sworn testimony from the Secret Service indicates that Trump would have joined the march if they had not refused to take him there. Thankfully, their refusal prevented a potentially disastrous situation, as the insurrection might have succeeded had he been present. Nevertheless, his loyal followers continue to support and attempt to justify these actions, which is deeply troubling.

 

The primary responsibility for this situation lies with evangelical America, as they had fervently predicted Trump's reelection based on their belief that God had ordained it. Congregations eagerly embraced these prophecies and refused to acknowledge the possibility that many people would vote against Trump. However, one significant aspect to consider is that a substantial portion of the 81 million votes cast for President Biden were likely not votes for Biden himself but rather votes against Trump. This highlights the widespread sentiment of opposition to Trump's leadership. The events of January 6th and the subsequent reactions underscore the concerning influence Trump had over his supporters and the divisive atmosphere that prevailed during his presidency

 

 The unwavering support of American evangelicals for Trump, regardless of his actions, indeed highlights a concerning trend. Many flocks and congregations of evangelical preachers have shown a strong tendency to blindly follow Donald Trump. This phenomenon can be attributed, in part, to the perception among these evangelicals that America holds a special role akin to that of Israel, and they view Trump as a messianic figure. Ironically, this perception is also influenced by the historical Protestant-Catholic divide, where some Protestants do not consider Catholics as "true" Christians. Given that Joe Biden is a Catholic, it further exacerbates this division among religious groups.

 

Within this context, it is important to note that some segments of Protestant communities label anything they disagree with as not only heretical but also inherently evil. They attribute various phenomena to demonic forces, an enigmatic "deep state," or even pedophiles. Unfortunately, Trump's followers have now expanded their belief system to include anyone who does not align with Trump as being associated with pedophilia, demonic entities, witches, or a combination of these accusations.

 

There are two categories of issues that can effectively capture the attention and support of conservative Christians. These are the matters they staunchly oppose, which they believe should be universally condemned without exception. Let's delve into one prominent example: abortion. While the perspective on abortion extends beyond conservative Christians in the United States, it predominantly centers around two key aspects for most individuals. These include safeguarding women's health and respecting their bodily autonomy. Without delving into the broader debate or disclosing personal viewpoints, it is important to acknowledge a singular point. Personally, I hold reservations about abortion and do not find it favorable. However, I also recognize that, as an individual who will never experience pregnancy, my opinions on this matter hold no relevance. I firmly believe that when it comes to a decision about one's body, it is not my place to dictate but rather the prerogative of the person involved.

 

For conservative Christians, the abortion debate revolves primarily around their belief that it constitutes murder, with no consideration for the well-being of the woman, her health, or even the unborn baby itself. However, it is crucial to highlight a striking discrepancy: their concern for children significantly diminishes once they are born. Some prominent figures within this group, such as Trump, possess the financial resources to support orphanages, care centers, or even engage in adoption. Yet, aside from a few isolated instances, such actions are rarely taken. Trump served as president for four years, and the Republicans held full control of the US government for two of those years, yet no substantial efforts were made to alleviate the challenges faced by orphaned, abandoned, and abused children in the country. It is worth noting that neither the Democrats, when they were in similar positions, have made significant strides in addressing this issue. This paradoxical situation highlights a critical point: despite championing the cause of unborn babies, the attention and care for children already present seem to wane. Conservative Christians readily embrace this narrative put forth by Trump, where the focus on babies is fervent until they are born, but diminishes thereafter. I would also bet a year’s salary that people in Trump’s family have had, or paid for abortions themselves.

 

Trump's mere mention of the word "abortion" is enough to incite fervor among his base. This reaction stems from their staunch opposition to killing, as they believe it goes against the laws of God. However, it is puzzling to see the same individuals who ardently support Trump's agenda also champion causes that involve violence. These are individuals who carry guns, endorse the death penalty, and even showed support for the insurrection. They are the same people who believe it is acceptable to take the life of a black person if they are labeled a "thug." They exhibit a disturbing acceptance of genocide or murder, as long as it is sanctioned or carried out in the name of God.

 

It is clear that Trump and his ardent supporters cannot be accurately labeled as pro-life. They endorse the termination of human life in numerous circumstances. Additionally, instances such as Herschel Walker's involvement in abortions, which he concealed, shed light on the hypocrisy within their ranks. Their concern for unborn life appears to be a façade, as their true objective lies in exerting control over every aspect of a woman's life—a position they believe is biblically supported. This contradiction raises further perplexity about any woman's alignment with conservative Christianity or Trump's following.

 

Another category that garners unwavering support from conservative Christians is the notion of freedom of religion, although its interpretation may differ from its actual meaning. Rather than advocating for genuine freedom of religion, their stance leans more towards enforcing Christianity as the dominant belief system. They actively seek to display religious monuments, such as the Ten Commandments, in public spaces, promote prayer in public schools, and endorse religious leaders who blur the line between their roles as politicians and preachers, often using the halls of churches and elected offices as platforms. However, Trump and his cohorts conveniently overlook the fact that while Christianity may currently be the largest religion, it does not constitute a majority of the overall population, and its status as the largest religion is likely to change within the next fifty years. They also tend to neglect the fundamental principle that freedom of religion encompasses all belief systems, including non-religious perspectives. It is fascinating to witness the swift meltdown that occurs when one suggests that they should endorse teacher-led prayers in schools if Islamic prayers are treated equally. Similarly, proposing the inclusion of statues like Baphomet alongside the crucifix reveals the selective and exclusionary nature of their version of religious freedom.

 

Trump's manipulation of his base's religious devotion is indeed a deceptive and insidious tactic. It is highly doubtful that Trump possesses an in-depth knowledge of the Bible or can recite a passage without consulting the text itself. However, he cleverly utilizes the language of Christianity to rally support from his Christian followers. While it is possible that Trump holds some belief in a higher power, it is evident that he does not embody the principles and teachings of Christianity.

 

Representative Lauren Boebert once proposed the idea of a Christianity-centered religious aptitude test for elected officials. Setting aside the fact that such a requirement would be unconstitutional and contradict the principles of a diverse and inclusive America, it is a test that Trump himself would likely fail. There is a high probability that neither Trump nor Boebert could recite the entire Lord’d prayer "Our Father" prayer from memory or list all ten commandments in the correct order without having them in front of them. Indeed, it is highly questionable whether Trump or Boebert could accurately explain the significance of the Lord's Prayer or even locate its specific place within the New Testament. Their lack of familiarity with foundational aspects of Christian teachings raises doubts about their depth of understanding and commitment to the faith they claim to represent.

 

Do not misunderstand my message: There undoubtedly exist devout Christians who possess a genuine and profound faith in Christianity. However, Donald Trump is not among them; he shamelessly exploits these individuals for his personal advantage. What exacerbates this situation is the unfortunate fact that the average conservative Christian in America has failed to recognize this manipulation, succumbing to it completely. It is a perplexing paradox: Trump displays no genuine concern for Christians themselves; he only covets their votes. He shows no true reverence for the Bible; rather, he seeks to manipulate its teachings to suit his own interests. Yet, evangelical preachers persist in endorsing him as if he were the messiah

 

The Democrats, liberals, and the general "left" in the United States indeed have their fair share of issues, and perhaps I will address those concerns in the future. However, when compared to the singular danger that Trump poses to the nation, their collective impact pales in comparison. Trump has firmly grasped control over the Republicans and conservative Christians in this country. What were once debates about differing political ideologies have transformed into toxic and hate-filled battles between "us" versus "them," fueled by both sides. This is precisely the atmosphere Trump thrives in; he perceives life through the lens of Petyr Baelish from Game of Thrones. He deliberately fosters chaos, utilizing it as a ladder to power, with unapologetic enthusiasm. He excels at sowing this chaos and will never be deterred as long as conservative Christians continue to idolize him, allowing him to openly ridicule their religion.

 

It is true that the division in the United States did not originate solely with Trump; it had its roots during the presidency of George W. Bush, with some individuals on the left mocking his supporters. Furthermore, while President Obama had good intentions, his tenure inadvertently contributed to the widening divide. In a deplorable turn of events, closeted racists in the country exploited his skin color to rally deep-south confederate flag supporters against all those on the left. Trump, being an astute individual, recognized these festering wounds and shamelessly capitalized on them. He understood that he could manipulate those individuals, despite their being a minority, and he subsequently turned his attention towards influencing Christians. He transformed what was once a realm of civil discourse into a full-blown culture war, and Christians not only permitted it but also fell prey to his tactics.

 

Donald J. Trump transcends the realm of traditional politics; he is a former conman who has transformed himself into a messianic figure, attracting an ardent following that is willing to grant him absolute power. Like many infamous cult leaders before him, Trump has cultivated a cult-like devotion among his most loyal followers. The "Make America Great Again" Republicans are not simply a political faction within the Republican Party; they operate as a cult, with Trump at the helm as their leader. The longer that influential figures within the Republican Party cower in fear and refuse to confront Trump, the more severe the consequences will be. This could result in the demise of their party or even pose a threat to the entire nation. Trump's influence has the potential to dismantle American Christianity, unless those who are not part of the MAGA cult-of-personality find the courage to speak out. As an atheist, one might expect me to remain indifferent to the struggles within the Christian world. However, I cannot afford such complacency, for the country I hold dear is also in mortal peril due to Trump and his devoted cult followers.

 

In conclusion, the ascent of Donald J. Trump and the dangerous cult-like movement he has cultivated transcend mere political divisions. As an atheist, I acknowledge that the harm caused by Trump and his devoted followers extends beyond religious realms and directly impacts the country I hold dear. The magnitude of the threat posed by Trump's influence demands a united response, transcending religious and ideological differences. It is imperative for all Americans, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof, to recognize the grave danger Trump represents to our democracy and the fundamental values we cherish. We must resist the temptation to remain indifferent or complacent, for the consequences of inaction affect us all.

 

This is a call to action that extends beyond religious boundaries. It is a plea to mobilize, to join forces with like-minded individuals who share a commitment to truth, justice, and the preservation of democratic principles. Let us bridge the gaps that divide us and stand together in defense of our common values. As an atheist, we possess a unique perspective and an important voice in this fight. Our support and engagement can help counter the narrative that Trump's influence holds sway over all segments of society, including the non-religious. Let us come together, atheists and believers alike, to champion rationality, compassion, and evidence-based decision-making. By advocating for policies that prioritize the well-being of all citizens, regardless of religious affiliation, we can forge a path towards a more inclusive and equitable society. The time for passivity has passed. We must actively challenge the divisive rhetoric, falsehoods, and manipulation perpetuated by Trump and his followers. It is through our collective efforts, grounded in reason and empathy, that we can reclaim the principles of integrity, truth, and progress.

 

In the face of adversity, let us be the voice of reason, the proponents of unity, and the champions of a future that celebrates diversity and respects the inherent dignity of every individual. By embracing this mission, we can counter the destructive influence of Trump's cult-like following and work towards a brighter future for our nation. Together, let us shape a society guided by principles of compassion, critical thinking, and evidence-based decision-making. Regardless of our personal beliefs, we share a common interest in safeguarding the values that define our democracy.

 

The choice is ours. Will we allow the forces of division and deceit to triumph, or will we rise above, united by our shared commitment to reason and justice? Let us move forward, hand in hand, atheists and believers, as we strive for a nation that upholds the principles of equality, justice, and human dignity for all.


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The Schoolbook Suppository
8 months ago

The Rise of Trump is a stain on the principles of American Democracy.

There. I said it.

As an Englishman, an Outsider looking In, I can say that the issue of Christian Fundamentalism is perplexing, to say the least. We don't really have Evangelical Christians over here, or at least the few we do have are generally regarded disfavourably. Televangelists, particularly, are a uniquely American phenomenon, and the idea of monetising Christianity is scorned (beyond a polite request to donate to the Church during Mass, which is entirely optional - a far cry from the obligatory Tithe of Old).

Of particular concern is the Rise of Trump within Evangelical circles - the man is so OBVIOUSLY a cheat, a liar and a conman that it seems ABSURD that he could win over the Christian community, regardless of their political leaning, and yet here we are, lumbered with a man who is broadly seen as (as you say) some kind of Messiah figure, with some Evangelicals even holding him up ABOVE JESUS! I mean, REALLY. REALLY?!?! It genuinely beggars belief - again, as an Englishman looking in, as a Catholic, born and raised, it is BEWILDERING to me that ANYONE - Catholic, Evangelical, Muslim or Jew - could POSSIBLY hold even an IOTA of positive thought for a man so OBVIOUSLY morally and humanly reprehensible.

I could go on all night about tis, but I shall spare you for now. It is 3:00am here and I must away to bed (but I'm sure there's a LOT to follow tomorrow!)

Bottom line: I agree with basically EVERYTHING you said. Trump is a disgrace not just to America or the Presidency, but to the very bases of Decency and Humanity, and the fact that Evangelicals are his #1 base in all of this, politically, is not only DISGUSTING, it is an expose of their bigotry, their hatred, their arrogance and their desperate need to place themselves above all others.

These two-faced, horrific, appalling excuses for "Christians" need to take a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror and realise the shame they have brought not only on themselves, but upon Christianity, Jesus and God Him(or Her, or It)Self.

Just disgraceful.

xx