Evangelical Christianity in America became a get-rich-quick scheme long ago. So it’s no wonder that millions of prosperity gospel-following downtrodden white evangelicals who forgot to start churches of their own (and get rich) see Trump as one of their own. For a start he’s just like their preachers and leaders: a comforting fraud who holds out hope of winning life’s lottery.
According to a new Pew poll an astonishing four fifths of white evangelicals are Trump supporters. Heading up the party of the “values-voting,” “pro-family” “Jesus-following” religious right is a man that every single white evangelicals’ mother told them to never become. He’s every Sunday school teacher’s nightmare: a boorish, lewd and wealth-worshiping avatar of those dreaded fuck-every-woman-with-a-heartbeat-then-abort-the-result “New York values” sinner’s sinner. This is the perv that in a TV interview riffed about his baby daughter’s future sexy breast size.
Trump’s about as far from religious right values as you can get. He even had to borrow a Bible from Ralph Reed to wave from the podium at a “values summit.” Ralph lent him one at the last moment that looked suitably worn out from much reading.
Nevertheless, notwithstanding all his fucking around (not to mention racism, fascism, etc.,) four fifths of white evangelicals have effectively told their mom and Sunday school teachers to go fuck themselves. And they don’t believe Dr. Dobson when he said Trump is now a born again “baby Christian.” They know this is bullshit and just don’t care.
Forget be nice. Forget “born again.” Forget God is love. Fuck that! The faithful white remnant are are about to vote 4 to 1 for a proven liar, dishonest “business” fraud and a proven adulterer, philanderer and long time Planned Parenthood supporter.
(I’ll tell you why in a moment but first note this:)
As the New York Times notes in “Trump Business Career Shows Persistent Patterns in Bending or Breaking the Truth” (July 16, 2016) over the span of Trump’s “career,” it’s hard to find a project that didn’t produce allegations of bad faith, broken promises, blatant lies or outright fraud.
There was the time Donald J. Trump told Larry King that he had been paid more than $1 million to give a speech about his business acumen when in fact he was paid $400,000. Or the time he sought a bank loan claiming a net worth of $3.5 billion in 2004, four times as much as what the bank found when it checked his math. …
…Mr. Trump’s four decades of wheeling and dealing also reveals an equally operatic record of dissembling and deception, some of it unabashedly confirmed by Mr. Trump himself, who nearly 30 years ago first extolled the business advantages of “truthful hyperbole.” Indeed, based on the mountain of court records churned out over the span of Mr. Trump’s career, it is hard to find a project he touched that did not produce allegations of broken promises, blatant lies or outright fraud.
Taken as a whole, though, an examination of Mr. Trump’s business career reveals persistent patterns in the way Mr. Trump bends or breaks the truth — patterns that may already feel familiar to those watching his campaign.
In other words Trump would have made a perfect TV preacher!
Trump looks and acts like your average mega-church founder cast in the Pat Robertson (net worth $1 billion, given he sold International Family Entertainment to Fox in 1997 for $1.9 billion)/Joel Osteen (net worth is $40 million, lives in a $10.5 million 17,000 square foot home with 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 3 elevators)/Benny Hinn (net worth: $42 million)– mold.
In other words in Trump the white evangelicals have one of their very own familiar ripoff artists. He’s Billy Graham, Oral Roberts and Jerry Falwell Jr. rolled into one.
Trump even exaggerates wealth and lies outright like Oral Roberts used to before his son Richard Roberts took over their Jesus Cash Cow and sucked too hard and too openly on that Gushing Evangelical Tit. He nearly got thrown in jail when lawsuit hit the front pages of the Tulsa World, alleging that Richard and Lindsay Roberts, ORU’s president and first lady since 1993, (after he divorced his wife Patty, who BTW was a friend of mine) treated the university as a personal ATM.
[Oral Roberts University] was $52.5 million in debt. Campus was in shambles. The tiled steps leading up to the library were missing most of their tiles. Even the 200-foot-high Prayer Tower at the center of campus—the very symbol of the university, wrought from steel and tinted glass and resembling a gold-plated Space Needle—was rusting. (From a Longreads Exclusive from Kiera Feldman and This Land Press: How Richard Roberts went from heir to his father’s empire to ostracized from the kingdom.)
As Feldman notes, “The university’s finances were inadvertently cracked open” by three professors who claimed they’d been fired for questioning Richard’s efforts to involve ORU in campaigning for Senator Jim Inhofe’s chosen candidate in Tulsa’s mayoral election. What’s more, the suit claimed Lindsay sent hundreds of text messages to “underage males” between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. on cell phones expensed to the university.”
John Hagee, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar—ORU’s “board” was a who’s who of televangelists shysters and thieves. Oral was the original pioneer thief of television ministry. “He trained up a whole generation of jet-setting mega-church pastors who preached the prosperity gospel: Plant a seed—meaning, send a check—and God will reward you with health, wealth, and happiness,” as Feldman writes.
I spoke at the college and spent a lot of time with Richard and Patty when they were trying to figure out how to get divorced — without hurting the “ministry” back in my old evangelical days. In those days pre-Trump divorce was a no-no.
So what gives? Are white evangelicals all racists and white supremacists like Trump? No — but they are all money worshipers.
Trump bends or breaks the truth — patterns that feel familiar to evangelicals watching his campaign. How else would a Franklin Graham, or Billy for that matter, have survived? How can an outfit like Christianity Today or the major evangelical publishers stay in business churning out lies they don’t believe but that sell?
White evangelicals like Trump’s theology of hate of gays, blacks and Hispanics. But what they really, really LOVE to the point of getting their take-back-America slathering-juices flowing — is Trump’s prosperity gospel.
Bluntly: evangelicals have been led for years by jumped up white trash preachers, evangelists and TV entertainers and now aspire to the same gaudy bullshit that passes for “wealth” in taste-in-your-ass white lower class easily-fooled America.
As noted in the Washington Post in a detailed article by Chris Lehmann (author of “The Money Cult: Capitalism, Christianity, and the Unmaking of the American Dream“) “it’s that a large part of the Protestant world has for decades now been embracing the brash capitalist gospel of Trumpism. He writes:
The key bulwark of faith-based Trumpism is the prosperity gospel — a movement rooted in Pentecostal preaching that holds that God directly dispenses divine favor in the capitalist marketplace to his steadfast believers. … Last year, he hosted a conclave of three dozen leading prosperity preachers at Trump Tower, and his effort promptly netted him the vocal support of prosperity televangelist Paula White. Indeed, White is reputed to have presided over Trump’s born-again conversion.
Still, the most influential religious figure associated with Trump hasn’t officially aligned with him. Joel Osteen, head pastor of the Houston-based Lakewood congregation — the country’s largest megachurch — has a commercial brand that’s too valuable to be associated with partisan politics, so he’s tried to remain above the campaign fray (though this spring there were rumors that he had endorsed Trump). Nevertheless, the two men share an affinity of character and outlook that runs much deeper than the provisional, camera-ready alliances that make up a presidential campaign. Osteen said as much in that misconstrued would-be endorsement during a Fox News interview last fall: “Mr. Trump, he’s an incredible communicator and brander. He’s been a friend to our ministry. He’s a good man.”
Osteen and Trump share the same core prosperity precepts: God pushes them and their discerning followers upward to greater success!
“Don’t put limits on God” is Osteen’s version of now out of fashion John 3:16, the verse that used to power evangelicals’ zest for interfering in other people’s lives. These days Trump Tower/Osteenism is what motivates, not salvation from sin.
Trumpism/Osteenism, espouses wealth as an expression of personal greatness. Ego is good! Money is good! Outright theft from the least of these is good! One asshole starts a fraudulent “university” to rip off plumbers and secretaries the other runs a church to do the same thing.
Behold, the American believers in the power of positive thinking: DONALD TRUMP is your prophet for profit! Get close he can make you rich!
Trump talks about helping working people and yet exports jobs and dodges taxes. Osteen talk Jesus and uses the US “non-profit” tax doge to rip off America.
Who are four fifths of white evangelicals–in other words most white evangelicals from the editorial staff of Christianity Today magazine to the administrators of Oral Roberts and Wheaton College and Gordon College and Liberty Baptist University, and most evangelical white-led churches in America voting for?
Based on the latest and most reliable polling evidence they are voting for Trump.
They have at last come out of the closet.
So I have a question: Why are so-called progressive white evangelicals still calling themselves “evangelicals?”
If you aren’t into greed and hate find yourself another name. It is no use saying that you are of the Loving Nice One Fifth who reject Trump. Tell the truth, you like sucking on the God Tit too, and the evangelical world is still where the money is… even on the so-called “left.” You aren’t burning your bridges because you want it both ways: follow Jesus and also get those good speaking invitations to the evangelical schools and churches.
American white evangelicals are now openly worshipers of greed and hate– but not necessarily in that order. Trump has outed you. Are you still one of them? If not say so. History is about to judge Trump and his followers very harshly. Don’t take Jesus down with you.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book —WHY I AM AN ATHEIST WHO BELIEVES IN GOD: How to give love, create beauty and find peace
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