Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Evangelicals: Trump and "Antichrist"

by Michael Grosso:
Evangelicals in the USA are a key part of Donald Trump’s base—it’s hard to imagine a more unlikely conjunction.  What secret sympathy binds these strange bedfellows together?

The Book of Revelation is a favorite of right wing believers, in part because of the violent imagery that promises to wipe out all the bad guys.  The word love is nowhere to be found in this book.  If you go through the text in Greek, line by line (I have), you’ll find no words that refer to love or any of the reputed Christian virtues such as kindness, patience, or forgiveness.  That of course is consistent with Trump’s vindictive, loveless persona.

The word that does recur in this adored text is dynamis, or “power.” The Book of Revelation is not about love but power, which also says something about the affinity between Evangelicals and Donald Trump.  Evangelicals believe in the power of the Biblical deity to orchestrate the climax and final battle of human history.  In Donald Trump, Evangelicals have a man whose talk of using atomic weapons and obliterating whole nations suggests real apocalyptic potential.  Someone like Trump is necessary to proceed with the divine plan: according to which, we end not at the peace table but with Armageddon.  

Trump is enthusiastically pro-Israel, and evangelicals see Israel through a supernatural spy-glass--another link between our strange twosome. According to the Biblical endtime-plot, the people of Israel must re-occupy their homeland and rebuild the Temple before Armageddon may commence.  Everything must be in place before Evangelicals can believe that the Rapture and triumphant return of Christ are nigh. Trump feeds that psychopathic fantasy, which (it must be said) implies destruction for the majority of humankind—including all the unconverted Jews. 

Commenting on Trump’s Declaration of Jerusalem, evangelical John Hagee was more ecstatic than Netanyahu.  He alluded to the issue of last things, and said grandly:  “I believe at this point in time, Israel is God’s stopwatch for everything that happens to every nation, including America, from now until the Rapture of the church and beyond.”  Is this a voice of sanity and humaneness or a voice of madness threatening global catastrophe?
The president inspires hope among Evangelicals that their horrific end-time scenarios may be coming true.  For Trump, catering to Evangelical fantasies is just about clinging to his shrinking base.  So we have a partnership between fanatical over-believers and somebody who believes in nothing but the grandiosity of himself.   A perverted collusion such as this should make our hair stand up at attention.  Highly dangerous is the evangelical yearning for eschatological closure when combined with the bravado of a commander in chief with low impulse control.

Evangelicals eager for Armageddon should take a good look at Donald Trump.  Figures like Hitler and Stalin have served retroactively as iconic Antichrists.  More subtle versions make the Antichrist a great liar and hypocrite, a word that in Greek means “actor.” Who does that description fit? The real Antichrist is a fake prophet, a purveyor of fake good news, a pretender, not the real deal.

If I were an Evangelical who also had a conscience, the Donald would be my candidate for the “Antichrist” du jour.  The Antichrist is the arch deceiver, a megalomaniac who loves only himself.  He is also a vicious exploiter of fear and chaos. Trump entered politics on the back of a big lie about the birth of Barack Obama.  His lies are all on record, long, detailed, and damning.  A basic human respect for truth seems wholly lacking in the man, as is a basic human decency.

If I were a pious Evangelical, I’d be appalled at Trump’s cruelty and indifference to the poor, the helpless, the ordinary, average citizen—indeed, to whole countries he alludes to as “shitholes.”  I would be alarmed by him gravitating to dictators and murderers; his anti-Christian intention to expand our nuclear capabilities, and our being the leading arms sellers on the planet, in effect, promoting a nuclear reign of terror on Earth.

The worship of Mammon--the philosophy that Might Makes Right—the sexist, the racist--why do Evangelicals fail to see Donald Trump as he really is, a cartoon version of their “Antichrist?”

Evangelicals need to break the trance that Trump has induced in them. Let them wake up and see the nature of the beast they have embraced as their savior.

Exorcism by withdrawal of support is possible and urgently needed for the health of the nation.

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