Christianity and Trumpism

Christianity and Trumpism November 16, 2020

Pastors George and Terri Pearsons are not happy with the results of the election. They have an idea how it can all be fixed. Ask God to fix it. In a recent service, Terri had some specific requests:[i]

In every state in the United States, in the name of Jesus, every city. And Lord, we don’t just look to the presidency, but we’re asking you to straighten out every Senate race, straighten out every House race, straighten out every governorship, straighten out every state legislature, straighten out every mayor election, straighten out every city council. Straighten ’em out. Straighten ’em out. Straighten ’em out. Expose it all! Expose it all! Expose it all, Lord!

And Lord, if it be your will and if it be necessary, another election! Another voting day! Whatever it takes under Your kingdom, of God, to bring it all in line. Bring it all in line! Bring it all in line with the will of God! But we claim righteousness in the White House, righteousness in the House of Representatives, and righteousness in the Senate. And righteousness in every state, in Jesus’ name.

Fortunately for the rest of us, God is unlikely to intervene in the election, or anything else that happens on the planet. But the thinking behind those words is chilling. Such people actually yearn for a theocracy. If somehow Trump and his gang manage to figure out a way to subvert the democratic process and overturn the election, they will claim that it was the Will of God, and the result of their prayers.. If they fail in their machinations, and Biden is inaugurated, they will claim it is the work of Satan and his followers…all of us liberal Democrats and some Republicans who haven’t seen the Trumpian Light. They will spend the next four years doing everything they can to block anything that Biden tries to do, and the result will be government gridlock, and failure to tackle some urgent problems like climate change.

How has this happened? How did nearly half of the US population of seemingly sane people lose all rationality and think that subverting an election is okay? What caused this mass insanity?

A commenter in a thread for a recent article here posted a link that might explain how this happened. It compares Trump to a longtime strongman and dictator of Spain, Francisco Franco.[ii]

Franco was, by any measure, a brutal dictator. From the linked article:

With Franco came the “Limpieza Social,” the cleansing of society, the purge of liberals and Spanish Republicans. No one is really sure how many died in those early years of the regime. Franco repressed all opposition, making Spain a one party nation, and sent tens of thousands of his political opponents to concentration camps. Forced labor and mass executions killed maybe 200,000 Spaniards. Murders, rapes, and beatings by the military and police under Franco were common. And worse, much, much worse.

Franco was sympathetic to Hitler and Mussolini, who had supported him during the Spanish Civil War. He famously met with Hitler in France to negotiate Spain’s incorporation into the Axis powers. [It never really happened, and Spain pretty much sat out the War.]

After the defeat of Germany and Italy and the coming of the Cold War, Franco presided over what would become known as the “Spanish Miracle,” a period of rapid economic and social growth. Franco mellowed a bit, allowing for some limited political opposition and increasing ties to the West, particularly the United States. After he died, a lot of older Spanish citizens were nostalgic about life under Franco. It wasn’t so much the brutal dictatorship they missed. It was the peace, the prosperity, and especially the order Franco imposed on the nation with an iron fist. The longer Franco was dead, the more nostalgic they were for that time.

What’s the message here? A brutal strongman who provides stability is remembered fondly by those he protected. If others were oppressed, their civil and human rights violated, oh well. He saved MY bacon!

I think this is the way many American view Trump. They don’t care about his obvious moral failures or disrespect for the traditions and laws of our government and society. If he panders to THEIR interests, saves THEIR bacon, they will condone anything and everything else.

A final observation: Many Trump supporters are devout Christians. Like the religious leader in the opening paragraphs, they yearn for an overriding authority that dictates what happens here, and everywhere else on the Earth. The notion of a secular, democratic government controlled by those unwashed heathens is anathema to them.

Is this is a fundamental flaw in the principle of government by the people? When the people care only about their own private interests, and do not acknowledge the needs, or even the rights, of all members of a society, then the warning from Alexander de Tocqueville comes back to haunt us.

Beware the tyranny of the majority.

[i] https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2020/11/09/megachurch-preachers-call-on-god-to-hold-another-election-so-trump-can-win

[ii] http://www.stonekettle.com/2020/11/siesta.html

 

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