Vessel Messiah Warrior: Donald Trump In Evangelical Christian Narratives
HANK WILLENBRINK is a scholar/artist whose essays have been published in Theatre Journal, Contemporary Theatre Review, Theatre Forum, Response, and online at The Lark and HowlRound. He teaches theatre at The University of Scranton.
Hank Willenbrink Vessel, Messiah, Warrior: Donald Trump in Evangelical Christian Narratives. Ecumenica 1 November 2021 14 : 221247. doi:
He Will Vanquish All Our Foes
Micah Schouten cannot remember exactly why he did not go to hear Mr. Trump that morning. Probably it was just too cold, or maybe he was working.
As a child he dreamed of being a farmer like his father, but land was too expensive. Now he worked at a cattle reproduction company or, as he explained with a smile, I.V.F. for cows.
At the time, he supported Ben Carson. But Mr. Trump was a celebrity, and Dordt University, 10 minutes down the road, was Mr. Schoutens alma mater. The school was named for a major church assembly in 1618 and 1619 that declared salvation was only for Gods chosen ones, and expelled from Dutch territory anyone who disagreed. Its students are Dordt Defenders, represented by a knight in gray armor, wielding a sword like a cross.
So that night, after his three children went to bed, Mr. Schouten pulled up YouTube to hear it for himself.
Soon Mr. Trump made him laugh. The candidate bashed the media. He said the thing about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue. But the thing Mr. Schouten remembered most was that he defended Christianity.
Mr. Schouten, 36, is proud of his town and during a tour pointed out a community hospital and water park for children. Asked about the growing Latino population in Sioux Center, he drove to an area he did not know well and pointed out a trailer park where he said new arrivals, many of them Latino workers, live.
They prayed: With our God we shall be valiant, he will vanquish all our foes.
Are Trump Christians Really Christian
ITS THE DAY after Easter, 2018, a good time to call out Donald Trump supporters who claim to be Christians.
Heres the Merriam-Webster definition of a Christian: one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
But this is not me speaking.
This is whats been argued ever more fervently in Christian and secular circles since Trumps election. The president has apparently divided a faith just as he has divided this country.
Just days ago, in a dramatic and unprecedented move, 23 prominent Christian leaders including Bishop Michael Curry, leader of the Episcopal Church Richard Rohr, Catholic priest and famed spiritual writer and Jim Wallis, an evangelical and founder of Sojourners magazine issued a manifesto at ReclaimingJesus.org saying just that. It details what Christianity rejects. And most are policies Trump and his self-professed Christian supporters embrace.
So what can we call such Christians?
Since almost no black evangelicals support Trump, you cant call them evangelicals, Wallis said in an interview last week. I keep telling the press, call them old white evangelicals, nearly all men, rich, the ones benefiting from the tax cuts.
Or Trump evangelicals, he said, part of a fake church, to use language.
But white evangelicals are not the only problem, Trinity College religion professor Mark Silk wrote last week on Religious News Service. Silk says its white religious people, period.
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Position On The Death Penalty
Most conservatives favor the death penalty however, opposition to capital punishment rises with church attendance. Very frequent churchgoing Trump voters are about two and a half times as likely as secular Trump voters to oppose the death penalty . Similarly, Trump voters who are very frequent churchgoers are about 20 percentage points less likely than nonreligious Trump voters to think the death penalty ought to be imposed more often .
The Undermining Of Religious Freedom
Defending the right to practice ones religion, free from fear, is of grave importance to everyone who cares about the nations long-standing commitment to true religious freedom. Yet the Trump administration has consistently undermined the rights of religious minorities.
One of the administrations first acts upon assuming office in 2017 was attempting to implement the Muslim ban that Trump promised as he campaigned for the presidency. Executive order 13769 blocked entry of people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, for at least 90 days, in addition to other provisions curtailing refugee admissions. In response, thousands of Americans rushed to airports across the country to stage protests. Five federal judges soon ruled in defense of religious freedom, temporarily blocking the Muslim ban.20 On March 6, 2017, the Trump administration issued a revised Muslim ban 2.0executive order 13780that was also blocked by federal judges.21 On September 24, 2017, the Trump administration released Muslim ban 3.0presidential proclamation 9645which made more changes to the ban.22 While this version was blocked in federal court and by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court took up the case and allowed the ban to go into partial effect during its review.23
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We Started Out As A Christian Nation
The day Mr. Trump spoke at Dordt, Rob Driesen sat in the very front. He supported Ted Cruz at the time. But now, four years later, his eyes light up when he talks about Mr. Trump.
He brought out two photographs, framed, one of him and Mr. Trump, and one of him with Mike Pence before he became vice president.
I guess the biggest concern for me is trying to keep our country the way it was. Conservative. The values. For us, I mean, this is as good as it gets. We can do whatever we want, said Mr. Driesen, 56, sitting at his kitchen table this spring with his wife, Cheryl, 52. Next to them, a family motto was painted on the wall in gold and black lettering: Home, Where Your Story Begins.
He gestured to his front door. You dont lock the doors, he said. I never take the keys out of the car.
He thought back to Mr. Trumps speech. There was one gaffe he kind of got in trouble for. What was it? Because there were a bunch of things he said. He paused a while. I cant distinctly remember, but I just remember there was one thing, and that was the news for 10 days after that. Something about I wish I could remember. I cant.
You know how things can sound bad, he said. He can get away with it. People seemed to like it.
Was Donald Trump America’s First Atheist President
Christians worldwide are called to observe penance and develop a closer relationship with Jesus Christ during the Lenten season. Self-reflection and repentance, key pillars of Lent, are tools of atonement for past sins and are innate to the moral teachings of Christ. It’s difficult to imagine a true Christian who wouldn’t welcome the opportunity for forgiveness. In contrast, former President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he has never asked God for forgivenessa foremost doctrine of Christianityand has questioned his need to do so if no sins were committed.
This broaches the question: Was Donald Trump America’s first atheist president?
Though faith is a private matter only known to the individual, our actions provide outside indicators that can be explored. Trump’s formative religious exposure was as a congregant of the Marble Collegiate Church in the NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan, where he attended services with his parents. The church’s head pastor, Norman Vincent Peale, a conservative icon and author of the seminal work, The Power of Positive Thinking, had a lasting effect on Trump’s self-confidence. Peale is often considered to be more of a motivational speaker than an evangelist, delivering his message on radio programs, in newspapers and in a monthly publication.
Ben Pryor is an American politics researcher and writer.
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Trump Has Claimed That He Is The Protector Of American Christians But His Incivility Has Tainted The Nation
President Donald Trumps campaign is making a closing argument that he hassaved Christianity, a blasphemous claim that in reality is aimed at getting people of faith to save him.
The truth is, Donald Trump cant win without the overwhelming support of Christians support he does not deserve.
Trumps desperation is showing. Just days ago, Trump tweeted Biden is against Oil, Guns and Religion.
This is a ridiculous statement and it says everything about his approach to religion. His primary argument to Christians has never been that hell do anything positive for them, but that they must support him out of fear of the other side. Like much of his presidency, his approach to Christians weakens rather than strengthens them. And he shows exactly how much he values faith when he lumps it alongside petroleum and firearms.
Are There Denominational Differences
Nearly three-fourths of Trump voters identify as either Protestant or Catholic. Might participation in either of these two faith traditions have different effects? Statistical tests suggest not. A series of tests comparing the impact of religious attendance among white Protestant Trump voters and white Catholic Trump voters reveals that participation in either faith, in most instances, is a significant predictor of improved attitudes toward racial and religious minorities. Furthermore, these tests indicate that the small differences that do exist are not statistically significant. Trump voters who attend either Protestant or Catholic religious services weekly are more likely than their secular counterparts to have warm feelings toward these population groups .
Among white Trump voters, Catholic church attendance significantly predicted more favorable attitudes toward black people and Jews, as well as immigrants at the p .05 level and towardHispanics and Asians at the p .10 level. It did not significantly predict more favorable attitudes toward Muslims. Protestant church attendance among white Trump voters significantly predictedmore favorable attitudes toward black people, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, Muslims, and immigrants. These differences may in part be the consequence of there being fewer white Catholic Trump voters than white Protestant Trump voters surveyed with a lower number, there is less certainty around the white Catholic Trump voters estimates.
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Election To The Presidency
On November 8, 2016, Trump received 306 pledged electoral votes versus 232 for Clinton. The official counts were 304 and 227 respectively, after defections on both sides. Trump received nearly 2.9 million fewer popular votes than Clinton, which made him the fifth person to be elected president while losing the popular vote. Clinton was ahead nationwide with 65,853,514 votes to 62,984,828 votes .
Trumps victory was considered a stunning political upset by most observers, as polls had consistently showed Hillary Clinton with a nationwide though diminishing lead, as well as a favorable advantage in most of the competitive states. Trumps support had been modestly underestimated throughout his campaign, and many observers blamed errors in polls, partially attributed to pollsters overestimating Clintons support among well-educated and nonwhite voters, while underestimating Trumps support among white working-class voters.The polls were relatively accurate, but media outlets and pundits alike showed overconfidence in a Clinton victory despite a large number of undecided voters and a favorable concentration of Trumps core constituencies in competitive states.
In September 2020, Trump was nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. A far-right Norwegian politician nominated Trumps name citing his role in the peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Support Of Trade With Other Countries
Although trade is a separate issue from immigration, attitudes about trade often correspond to feelings about an increasingly interconnected world which includes immigration. Indeed, we find a familiar pattern in which nonreligious Trump voters are less optimistic about trade, compared to religious Trump voters. While 51 percent of secular Trump voters favor increasing trade with other countries, two-thirds of churchgoing Trump voters favor doing so.
Interestingly however, immediately after the 2016 presidential election, religious and nonreligious Trump voters had similar attitudes about increasing trade . Perhaps because Trump made trade a salient issue during his campaign, his supporters fell into line behind him. Partisanship combined with Trumps negative rhetoric about trade may have equalized conservatives attitudes on the issue regardless of religious participation. As with our finding concerningattitudes on the travel ban, partisan loyalties may reduce the possible moderating effects of religion on attitudes.
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Donald Trump Is A Christian Can You Believe It Really Can You
When I first read in my news feed that Donald Trump had become a Christian, I chuckled. With Jesus being Middle Eastern and all, I was certain Trump had built a wall around his heart a long time ago to keep him out. Although, there are those on the right who insist, as Fox News‘ Megyn Kelly stated, that not only is Jesus white, but the fictitious character of Santa Clause is white, too!
Truth is irrelevant in the game of politics. It’s all about stirring the passion of the people who can get you where you want to go. In Hitler’s Mein Kampf, he said, “All propaganda must be presented in a popular form and must fix its intellectual level so as not to be above the heads of the least intellectual of those to whom it is directed…” Donald Trump is a master at reaching the least of the intellectuals.
Political strategist, Paul Weyrich, also knew this well. It was his decision to involve the untapped fundamentalist Christian right in the mid-60s while working with Barry Goldwater. Goldwater famously denounced the unholy union of politics and religion when he said:
But it’s all good now. He’s a “baby Christian,” according to James Dobson. In the evangelical faith, a mere admission of acceptance of Christ — particularly if you are person in power — and all is forgiven.
Was Donald Trump Americas First Atheist President
Christians worldwide are called to observe penance and develop a closer relationship with Jesus Christ during the Lenten season. Self-reflection and repentance, key pillars of Lent, are tools of atonement for past sins and are innate to the moral teachings of Christ. Its difficult to imagine a true Christian who wouldnt welcome the opportunity for forgiveness. In contrast, former President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he has never asked God for forgivenessa foremost doctrine of Christianityand has questioned his need to do so if no sins were committed.
This broaches the question: Was Donald Trump Americas first atheist president?
Though faith is a private matter only known to the individual, our actions provide outside indicators that can be explored. Trumps formative religious exposure was as a congregant of the Marble Collegiate Church in the NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan, where he attended services with his parents. The churchs head pastor, Norman Vincent Peale, a conservative icon and author of the seminal work, The Power of Positive Thinking, had a lasting effect on Trumps self-confidence. Peale is often considered to be more of a motivational speaker than an evangelist, delivering his message on radio programs, in newspapers and in a monthly publication.
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