Trump: An Apocalyptic Messenger for the Christian Right
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Dec 10, 2015 at 02:23:29 PM EST
We stand in the overflow crowd of some 300 in the small town of Tyngsborough near the New Hampshire border. Several thousand people are inside a local elementary school. The crowd is excited. Here is Donald Trump in Massachusetts in October of 2015. "Why do they always say a Republican can't win in Massachusetts?" we hear Trump say over the loudspeakers set up outside the school.

One woman we meet at the Massachusetts Trump Rally is Joan. A mature White woman who works three jobs to make ends meet. Joan believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and warns that the United States will soon be judged because events in Israel reveal that we are in the seven-year countdown to the apocalypse and Armageddon.

Many Christians in the United States think President Barack Obama maybe the Antichrist of Biblical prophecy about the apocalypse to which Joan is referring. Joan supports Trump because he "tells it like it is [and says] to us that we can do something." She despises Planned Parenthood and worries about our youth.

Joan wears a Trump hat and T-shirt, and carries a Trump sign. Trump supporters wear everything from business suits to blue jeans. Pickup trucks carry signs for carpenters, plumbers, and contractors. The crowd cheers Trump's anti-immigrant jibes demeaning Mexicans. A handful of reproductive rights protesters are kept far away.

Not long after the Trump rally we attended we are driving through mid-state New Hampshire on Halloween. The second Republican debate has included Christian Right firebrand Ben Carson. Along with ubiquitous pumpkins we see dozens of campaign signs for Ben Carson which have sprouted up overnight like mushrooms--evidence of an angry protest vote from right-wing Christian evangelicals who once again want the Republican Party to give them a platform that honors their rank as one of the largest voting blocks in the Republican Party. Carson's campaign has largely collapsed and much of his constituency seems to have shifted to Trump.

There is something ugly going on here--and it is tapped into by Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again." The people who want this greatness in Trump's crowds are overwhelmingly White, middle class and working class, and pissed off. They are listening to the rhetoric of right-wing populism. Two key components of right-wing populism are apocalypticism and conspiracy theories about subversion from above and below.

If you are reading this essay, you are almost certainly one of the people they resent. That's because for most of us, we live in information silos.

Folks we talk to at the Trump rally keep citing Fox News as a source of reliable information. There are hundreds of other news sources for this constituency. Some of these media cater to Free Market supporters and sell books by Ayn Rand. Some seek to attract White men who believe that women and people of color are discriminating against them. And some promote the ideas of Christian Right icon Tim LaHaye who has predicted the imminent apocalyptic end of time for decades.

Millions of voters who are part of the Christian Right voting block look for the "signs of the times" for the battle of Armageddon in which godly Christians battle the forces of Satanic darkness. A scary number of them believe our President, Barack Obama, is an "End Times" agent of the evil Antichrist--Satan's agent in the End Times according to one reading of the Bible's Book of Revelation. Some think Obama is the Antichrist: Satan's rabble-rouser during the apocalyptic confrontation between good and evil after which Godly Christian rule a cleansed and purified Earth.

Tim LaHaye's non-fiction and fiction books appear to be the most significant source of Christian Right apocalyptic expectation in the United States.

A September 2009 poll in New Jersey found that 14% of Republicans believed that President Obama was the Antichrist. Another 15% thought it might be possible. The results across political allegiances, however, were also troubling; with 8% of respondents statewide saying they thought Obama was the Antichrist and 13% stating they "aren't sure". The poll also found that "21% of respondents, including 33% of Republicans, express the belief that Obama was not born in the United States". According to the pollster, Public Policy Polling, these are "eye popping numbers."

These apocalyptic Christian Right voters shifting to support Trump will live on a much less populated Earth--since only Godly Christians survive the apocalyptic victory. This is because the aberrant version of LaHaye's Christian Right theology storyline goes like this:

Before Jesus can return and trigger the apocalypse, Jews must control Jerusalem for Jesus to return. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear causing wars and rumors of wars and other strife. Then there is a huge "End Times" battle in near what is now Mount Megiddo in Israel. The forces of evil being battled are basically Muslims and the governments of Iraq and Iran. After God's victory, most Jews (and all other non-Christians) are slaughtered by God like the "grapes of wrath" in a gigantic wine press until our blood flows through the valley of Armageddon about knee high on horse.

As a Christian I find this version of biblical prophecy to be an appalling literal interpretation of the metaphors in the Bible's book of Revelation. Most Christian around the world reject this horror story. Only in America do so many Christians obsessed with Triumphalism pray for confrontation, war, and genocide as the acceptable price for running God's Kingdom on Earth.

=====

An excellent commentary by Deborah Caldwell at Fortune online offers a different and informative perspective on this same issue: Why People Love Trump's Apocalyptic Vision of America




Display:
4 times married and divorced Hal Lindsey states that Obama wants to make the United states a Muslim nation.
     Trump seems to be the sum total of Atwater, Rowe, and Reagan's push- the- right- buttons form of consumerism.  It is whatever sells as justification for the product.  His ethic seems to be based on the bottom line.
    Lindsey Graham telling him to go to hell is the conflict of the soul of a GOP who does not like seeing what they always rode into town on.  A horse that often used the Wallace and Nixon theme, which was "holler niggar and promise them the moon."  Carter admits to such.    I trust Trump will be no more dangerous than Reagan.
     Father Coughlin said there are only two options, Fascism and Communism.  I choose Fascism.  There were and still are many more options and I still think and hope Trump falls into one of them and will mellow out.  Math is an exact science, the numbers prove he is the GOP and represents what they are.  Now, they do not like what they see, it is the mirror they are looking into.

by wilkyjr on Fri Dec 11, 2015 at 03:02:20 AM EST
Reagan was a professional politician, having been a SAG union rep and then a state governor. Trump is a complete amateur, never having had to work with a legislature on a long term basis. Trump does not give any evidence of understanding the limits and compromises of politics. I think that he could be extraordinarily dangerous, and I cringe at the thought that he would be entrusted with the "Nuclear Football" (the nuclear launch phone that travels with the President). He also doesn't seem to have any other motivation than feeding his ego. He doesn't come from a public service tradition / "noblesse oblige". He has plenty of money already.

by NancyP on Fri Dec 11, 2015 at 11:43:36 AM EST
Parent

Just ask the survivors of the proxy war massacre at El Mozote, if you can find any.

by nogodsnomasters on Sat Dec 12, 2015 at 02:54:02 PM EST
Parent



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