The imminent threat is theocracy.

January 13, 2020 at 2:59 pm (By Amba) ()

Separation of church and state may be the first casualty of a Trump reelection. (Completely destroying the environment could take a little longer than trashing the Constitution. Scissors, paper, rock.)

Pious fraud
(Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP)

Rank-and-file evangelicals have also embraced the imperfect vessel concept [that Trump is like the biblical King Cyrus, another sonovabitch who was nonetheless “good for the Jews”] . . .

“If you’re a faith community and you make a political deal with the president, and sell your soul, you stretch to come up with a theological justification, and this seems to be the go-to, this idea,” [said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United, a non-partisan organization dedicated to the separation of church and state].

The concept has since gone international, with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, making the comparison in March 2018.

Cheered on by these, and other, prominent figures . . . who claim Trump has been “raised up by God” . . . white evangelical Christians have continued to support Trump.

In return, they have been rewarded with attacks on reproductive rights and the freedoms of LGBTQ people, and the appointment of scores of conservative judges.

They have also watched people with the same evangelical beliefs appointed to key government positions, as Trump has stacked his cabinet with devout Christians, some of whom have been explicit about how their faith influences their approach to government. [emphasis mine]

“Many of Trump’s political appointees have, as their primary qualification, the fact that they are committed to a very distinct, conservative religious agenda,” said Katherine Stewart, author of an upcoming book The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.

9 Comments

  1. Polly said,

    I am not a Christian (Trump isn’t either AFAIK), but I think I might understand why this is not as crazy as it seems. Progressives want atheism to be the new state religion. Their hatred for religion started at least with Marx, and it is alive and well, and working hard at making converts.

    Most Christians are probably not aware that generic spirituality, and faith in higher powers, is the essence of all religion. Jesus is all they were taught, so that’s their only choice for a higher power.

    Most atheists, also, only know about the organized western religions. Many of them think the choice is between either irrational fundamentalism or absolutely no spiritual beliefs at all.

    The division is really between atheist/materialists vs all spiritual seekers. Between the arrogant believers in human intelligence as the only intelligence on earth, and those of us who feel we are just a small part of something infinitely greater.

    I don’t like the crazies saying Trump was sent by Jesus. But I can sympathize more with that kind of craziness more than I can sympathize with the arrogant atheists. Both extremes are fundamentalists.

    But my point is that Trump supporters aren’t the only ones pushing for a state religion. They are reacting against the equally passionate atheists.

  2. amba12 said,

    The guys who wrote the Constitution were neither. The most radical among them were Deists, not atheists. More like your spiritual types.

    Your diagnosis of the false polarization and the fears it induces in each side is correct, but “there shall be no establishment of religion” does NOT equal the establishment of atheism as a “state religion”!!! even if some fundamentalists think it does. DO NOT ENCOURAGE THEM. That clause means merely that the government should be neutral and stay out of ALL people’s beliefs. The only belief of fundamentalists that MUST be frustrated in order to protect the rest of us is their belief in theocracy—the belief that God authorizes them to impose their own views on everyone else. Sorry, but NO.

  3. Polly said,

    I don’t want the fundamentalists imposing their beliefs on abortion, homosexuality, etc., any more than you want that. I said it’s crazy. But I do think there are atheist activists who want to impose their beliefs.

    It will not be possible for the fundamentalists crazies to take over. They can’t be a majority. I am not very worried about it. I hate their intolerance and the crazy ways they interpret the bible. And the fact that they never read anything except the western bible.

    I guess it’s a question of who I hate more. To me, the “new” atheists are as sickeningly judgmental as the fundamentalist Christians, but in a more subtle (and therefore more deadly) way.

  4. amba12 said,

    But if Trump is reelected, the fundamentalists CAN take over, and they are aiming for that. They cannot be a majority, but the electoral college, as presently constituted (I would rather see it reformed than abolished, since its abolition WOULD totally overrule the rural minority, which would also be unrepresentative and unjust), gives them a disproportionate advantage. We already have minority rule.

    And I think people underestimate the likelihood of democracy being eviscerated under Trump 2.0. They imagine things would just naturally swing the other way in 2024. They’re not reading the ominous signs that the pendulum might be tied up. Or sawed off.

  5. Polly said,

    I agree with you about the electoral college — we need it.

    Evangelicals aren’t the only Trump supporters. There are working class white men, some former Obama voters, libertarians, anti-Democrats, Israel supporters, etc.

  6. amba12 said,

    Right . . . but there is some overlap, and note that he is dead set on cementing the loyalty of the evangelicals, has packed his government with them, and is as assiduous about serving their agenda as he is that of the fossil fuel corporations.

  7. Polly said,

    Yes, there probably are a lot of evangelicals, and he needs them. And they like having someone to worship. Very crazy.

  8. wj said,

    people with the same evangelical beliefs appointed to key government positions, as Trump has stacked his cabinet with devout Christians, some of whom have been explicit about how their faith influences their approach to government.

    In part, the abundance of fanatic evangelucals among Trump’s appointees reflects nothing more than the unwillingness of most people to show appropriate (in his mind) slavish devotion to the Dear Leader. It’s sort of like why Trump has such an astounding number of judicial appointees who are rated “not qualified” — qualified candidates who will put the good of Trump (and/or party, to the extent that they are different any longer) are not easy to find. So you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

  9. Polly said,

    It is horrifying that the evangelicals worship Trump, and even more horrifying that he allows it.

    I think it’s a reaction to the growing power of the atheist “church.” But that doesn’t make it ok.

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