We’ve heard of people, or read of people, who have asserted that God chose Trump to be president, but most of these were likely people who believed all sorts of other nonsense. It is something though to hear it from a person, who in all other respects, seems to have normal cognitive functioning.
When I read Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s statement, my first thought was, well that explains the constant spinning and lying. After all, if you are doing it for God’s chosen vessel, it must be serving a higher purpose. And to do otherwise might incur the wrath of God. I suppose it also eases the conscience somewhat—you know, helps one sleep at night.
Let’s unpack this a bit. She thinks God wanted Trump to be president. And thus, he is. Does that mean God wanted Obama to be president for eight years? Did God want Bill Clinton to be president? Did God want Nixon to be president? Did God want Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House? Did God want the Democrats to take over the majority in the House? Did God put Robert Mueller in place? I mean, how does this work? Is whomever wins, the person God wanted to win, whether president, or speaker, senator, congressperson, etc.? And, even if they represent completely different philosophies and goals? Is God confused? Is democracy a joke?
Was she making an extreme Calvinist-like assertion that God is in control of every single event, from the movement of an atom to the expansion rate of the universe, and absolutely nothing happens without God’s direction? Thus, God wanted or allowed Hitler to come to power too? Is God ultimately the cause of evil then?
And she uses the word “wanted.” It was God’s intention. Not that God allowed it, but that God actually “wanted” Trump to be president. Does she know the mind and intention of God in that regard? That alone should send shivers.
Is she saying that, out of all the candidates, God wanted the thrice divorced, sexist, racist, bullying, and dishonest person with the least amount of decency, integrity, and character to be president? God wanted the person who cheated on his wife with porn stars and playboy bunnies to be president? God wanted the person whose many business/charity practices have been shown to be either illegal or cons, to be president? God wanted the person who made fun of a handicapped man, and urged his followers at campaign rallies to commit violence to be president?
In other words, all of a sudden, contrary to everything we’ve been told by evangelicals we should want, and what God wants, in a candidate for political office, with Trump God has now made it clear he wants the exact opposite. Is that what we are to take away?
Let me suggest what we might take away from such assertions like Sander’s: They are unmitigated nonsense. They reveal an astounding theological immaturity and ignorance. They suggest an amazing lack of philosophical and intellectual curiosity or grasp of basic logic. They demonstrate a closed mind, a shallow sensibility, and notion of a god made in one’s own political-ideological image. Further, they show an alarming capacity for presumption as to knowing the mind of God.
The idea God wanted Trump to win, or if it was reversed and the notion was that God wanted Hillary to win, is no more sensible than when we hear a coach or athlete say God wanted their team to win. These are statements made by people who, while meaning well, or just trying to give thanks, are speaking out of turn. But a coach or athlete we can overlook, as their statements, usually made in the glorious aftermath of a win, are not considered in those moment to be serious theological or philosophical reflections to begin with. We consider the moment and the source.
It is different though with Sanders. My guess is her statement was a calculated attempt to shore up support for a president who is tanking with almost every voter demographic. They have to hold on to white evangelicals. But if she was serious, she should be embarrassed. Unfortunately, one has to have, at least, a tiny bit of self-awareness, a sense of how one’s missed the enormity of the conversation surrounding their topic, for that to happen. This White House and the people who work there seem incapable of such.
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