President Donald Trump’s delayed State of the Union address is tonight. Most everyone knows what he is likely to say and has already formed either dismissive or supportive opinions about it. We found out the other day, though, that some people believe that when Donald Trump speaks, a higher authority is in the building. In an interview last week with the Christian Broadcasting Network, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders revealed that in her estimation, Trump’s Presidency is divinely ordained.
I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times, and I think that He wanted Donald Trump to become president. That’s why he’s there, and I think he has done a tremendous job in supporting a lot of the things that people of faith really care about.
There’s some pretty creepy theology lurking behind Sanders’ claim, including the supposition that if something happens the way that I want it to happen, then God must be involved. Millions of evangelical Christians undoubtedly agree with Sanders’ assessment of the divine will—that’s one explanation for why they voted for Trump in 2016 and continue to support him in lock step. Indeed, an angry evangelical Christian (is there any other kind?) assured me when commenting on my blog the other day that the only thing Donald Trump loves more than his country is God. This also explains why Trump delivers his garbled non-sequiturs with confidence and resistance to fact-checking. He is speaking with divine authority.
My preferred news report concerning Donald Trump and God came a couple of days later when Andy Borowitz repeated one of his reports from the summer of 2016. In an article entitled “Trump’s Bid to Become Born-Again Fails When Jesus Turns Down His Friend Request,”
Borowitz reveals that in the months leading up to the 2016 election, Trump’s attempt to become a born-again Christian by seeking to become Jesus’ friend on Facebook failed when Jesus, in a rare public statement on Facebook, announced His “decision to ignore [Mr. Trump’s] request for a personal relationship with Him.” In a brief post explaining His decision, Jesus said “just everything” gave him reason to ignore Trump’s friend request. My only comment on Twitter and Facebook when sharing Borowitz’s important article was “This is the Jesus I know.”
In order to update this story, let’s imagine Trump and Jesus in a gospels-style conversation. A somewhat odd-looking man with hair that is an unnatural shade of orange approaches Jesus with a question.
Jesus: You know the commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, honor your father and mother . . .
Trump: Despite Fake News from the failing new York times and CNN, I’ve kept the Commandments since I was a Boy. Bigly.
Jesus: You shall not bear false witness . . .
Trump: Witness? I’m not in Legal trouble. Theres no Collusion! Fake News! total Witch Hunt!
Jesus: I mean stop lying.
Trump: I never lie—I’m the Most honest President in the History of the universe.
Jesus: (sighs). You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven . . .
Trump: (interrupting) My base doesnt like Socialism.
Jesus: And release your tax returns.
Trump: Wait a Minute. As Ive said many Times, my tax Returns are under Oddit and I cant Release them.
Jesus: Then there’s separating families at the border, putting children in cages, race baiting, grabbing pussies and bragging about it, kissing up to your country’s enemies and insulting its friends, your bromance with Vladimir Putin . . .
Trump: No one Told me following you Wood Be this hard.
Jesus: And above all, limit yourself to one tweet per day. And have someone check that tweet for grammar, spelling, and—most importantly—obedience to the rules of proper capitalization.
Trump: This is Shocking. Sad. Not Good. This isnt what my Base voted for. Can I talk to Your dad about this?
Jesus: As your supporters know, no one gets to my Dad except through me. And sometimes Nancy Pelosi.
Trump: Never mind. This isnt going To work. Im going to Check with Rudy about an executive Order that will force you to be My friend.
As Donald Trump trudged away, some of Jesus’ disciples asked what had gone wrong. “Just everything,” Jesus replied. “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a guy like that to enter the kingdom of God.” “Who, then, can be saved?” asked the disciples. “What is impossible with human beings is possible with God,” Jesus answered. “Except this.”
In a news cycle where Andy Borowitz and The Onion are closer to the truth than to satire, it is depressingly difficult to catch a glimmer of the divine, even for the most dedicated person of faith. One thing’s for sure—it won’t be up front at the State of the Union address.