“Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!”
Thus tweeted Donald Trump on Monday, Jan. 28. Seeing this man without law or faith celebrate the comeback of Bible education is definitely comedy of the highest order.
By the norms of the Christian conservatives behind this turnabout, Trump’s unrepentant life would disqualify him for the kingdom of the skies. His has been a life of lying, cheating, moral depravity, three marriages, obscene language, support for abortion, a complete absence of the slightest “Christian” conduct, phony philanthropy and much more.
And yet, the religious right supports him. What gives? “God wanted Donald Trump to become president,” Trump’s spokesperson Sarah Sanders stated on a Christian radio station on Jan. 30. Seen confronting the press with a frown, yet sure of her mission, Sanders is the daughter of former Republican candidate and Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee.
Let us be clear: I am not ridiculing anyone’s beliefs here. I am simply asking myself how such fervent believers could support someone like Trump. How could people that condemn adultery hail the former boyfriend of Stormy Daniels?
But this is the case. And it is not because Trump underwent conversion, or because after having supported a woman’s right to choose he now proposes penalizing doctors that perform abortions, or because he is born again like George W. Bush, who turned his back on his former sinful life. No, Trump has renounced nothing!
Why then? Because he is the King Cyrus of today.
Well below the mainstream media’s radar, last fall 1,000 cinemas screened a film called The Trump Prophecy. It is the story of a fireman that, in 2011, foresaw that Trump would become president. Some prophecies take centuries to arrive, but the fireman’s took was a mere five years.
The film, which was made with the help of members of a Christian college, shows the hero taking out his Bible and reading Isaiah 45, which tells of the enthronement of Cyrus, the Persian king credited with freeing the Jews from Babylonian captivity in the sixth century B.C.
I have stated here before that although Cyrus was a pagan to the Jews, he nonetheless carried out God’s will by liberating the chosen people.
And so with Trump. Religious voters are not dupes; his moral discrepancies are exposed to them just as they are to everyone else. But Trump also has succeeded in appointing two conservative justices to the Supreme Court, reversing the ideological balance for a generation to come. So if, heaven forbid, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, soon 85, does not survive her umpteenth cancer, the court’s conservative wing will increase to six out of nine.
What’s more, numerology fans out there should note that Trump is the 45th president—hardly a coincidence! I may seem to be discussing a minor affair, but among evangelicals the theory of King Cyrus is taught and accepted as mainstream. They always believed that one day there would come a pagan leader that would accomplish God’s plan.
The journalist Katherine Stewart, who covers America’s religious right, goes even further. Citing various sources, she asserts that evangelicals like not only how Trump “delivered” the conservative judges but also his rather kingly autocratic style. She reports sitting through dozens of religious services in which reference was made to Trump. A few reproach his immoral behavior, but most feel that the important thing is his miraculous appearance on the American political scene. Then the “religious nationalists” also feel worry about non-Christian immigration. Basically, as a masculine leader whose like may never be seen again, Trump has something providential to them.
They may not be blind to his earthly failings, but they buy into his mysterious heavenly associations. This is what explains Trump’s occasional religious moments, although they seem bizarre coming from him. Say what you will, but God chose Trump. And he, quite naturally, likewise chose God.