Anybody accustomed to the ritual known as the State of the Union can also be accustomed to the actual fact it invariably ends with the exhortation “God bless America.” Few are in all probability conscious of the truth that the primary president to utter it was none aside from Richard Nixon, who “dropped the phrase throughout an try at injury management for the burgeoning Watergate scandal on April 30, 1973.” God did bless America on the time, if solely by ridding the nation of “Tough Dick.”
But it’s in all probability becoming that it was Nixon who first got here up with this phrase. Nixon represents one thing that’s basic to the human situation, at the least in its American kind: the drive to succeed, it doesn’t matter what, the drive of self-delusion (“I’m not a criminal”) and the elemental hypocrisy that’s central to the American expertise.
Nixon marks the origins of a lot of what’s fallacious right this moment in america. It was his so-called Southern technique — the attraction to the worst racist animus of white voters within the South — that not solely received him the election, twice, however which marked the Republican Get together for many years to come back. Donald Trump owes his victory within the presidential election of 2016 to a big extent to Richard Nixon — a victory that has poisoned the nation past restore.
How MAGA Sunk america
Trump’s callous response to a number of the worst calamities in latest historical past, from the disastrous influence of COVID-19 to the hellish wildfire inferno engulfing the western states, means that God has been trying lower than kindly on his “metropolis upon a hill” envisioned to signify a mannequin of Christian charity, as John Winthrop put it in 1630. Actually, one may even suspect that God has come to hate it — that he hates it a lot, actually, that he allowed for the election of Donald Trump, the worthy inheritor to Richard Nixon.
Nixon, after all, was a criminal. However in comparison with Trump, he was one in every of Woody Allen’s “smalltime crooks,” little greater than a minor league participant. On the similar time, nonetheless, he ready the bottom and paved the best way for the present president who has made the attraction to white anxiousness and resentment central to his administration. Trump, after all, has gone out of his option to invoke God’s blessing, waving the Bible (albeit the wrong way up) in entrance of a church “he not often attends and whose leaders and congregation work towards the insurance policies he trumpets,” in a craven try and play to his base: the dwindling variety of fundamentalist Christians who think about him their final bulwark towards an more and more discombobulating, if not threatening, actuality.
Strolling With Dinosaurs
Donald Trump is the epitome of the stereotypical American, boisterous and narrowminded (“nonetheless the best nation on this planet”), hypocritical to the max (waving a Bible whereas boasting that he can seize any lady by her non-public elements and get away with it), and utterly oblivious to how the remainder of the world regards the US nowadays (“we should always have extra folks from Norway” at a time when no Norwegian in his or her proper thoughts would wish to transfer to a “shithole nation” just like the US). On the similar time, he’s paying homage to the playground bully who runs away crying, like Scut Farkus’ toadie, Grover Dill, in “A Christmas Story” (“I’m gonna inform my dad”) — when any individual dares to face as much as him, notably if it’s a lady.
The USA remains to be probably the most (training) Christian nation amongst superior Western democracies. In the newest Pew survey on faith in America, round two-thirds recognized as Christians. To make sure, this was considerably decrease than only a decade in the past. But in comparison with Western Europe, it’s a remarkably excessive degree. This, nonetheless, is simply a part of the story. What’s significantly extra vital is the truth that a considerable variety of Individuals insist on taking the Bible actually, as absolutely the Fact, even when that reality runs towards not solely science however even frequent sense (who of their proper thoughts would consider that Jesus walked with dinosaurs?).
Now, one would count on that those that profess to be genuinely devoted Christians would observe what the great e book teaches. Primary exhortations akin to don’t lie, don’t cheat, be sort, compassionate and merciful towards your fellow sister and brother, unbiased of their ethnic background, financial circumstances or sexual orientation. And, above all, be humble and don’t take the ethical excessive floor with that smug self-righteousness, which is especially irritating within the eyes of the Lord, whom America’s devoted Christians declare as their final authority.
As is written in Isaiah 64:6, “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” Or as Jesus as soon as put it, “Choose not, and you’ll not be judged; condemn not, and you’ll not be condemned; forgive, and you may be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). For the self-righteous, such sentiments are alien. The self-righteous are hypocrites who condemn others to be able to present that they’re morally superior. The Pharisees are a main instance of this type of smug self-righteousness, which Jesus condemns in probably the most scathing phrases.
In america, the equal are TV “evangelists” akin to Pat Robertson, the host of the “700 Membership,” a Christian information and TV program with an viewers going into the hundreds of thousands. Or there are Christian “leaders” akin to Jerry Falwell Jr., the disgraced former president of Liberty College in Lynchburg, Virginia, whose sexual shenanigans have been an excessive amount of even for evangelicals who haven’t any qualms supporting a president who has boasted of getting away with … see above.
And there are TV and radio commentators akin to Tucker Carson at Fox Information, who remains to be making an attempt to determine find out how to discover his means out of Trump’s bottom, and Rush Limbaugh, well-known for dismissing COVID-19 as nothing greater than the frequent flu and, in a while, after tens of hundreds of Individuals had died from the respiratory illness, charging that following medical specialists and sporting masks was “un-American” and nothing “in comparison with the best way now we have overcome enemies and obstacles in our previous.”
It could be simple to dismiss the likes of Robertson, Falwell Jr. and Limbaugh as considerably picturesque if unhinged cranks have been it not for the truth that their influence on odd folks has been, and continues to be, much more pernicious than COVID-19 may ever obtain. There are good causes to suspect that the Trump administration’s place on COVID-19, world warming and local weather change, and white-on-black racism derives from a standard root: the idea that the top is close to. I’m not referring to the top of COVID-19, or the top of the American empire, however of the top of humanity — the top of the world as we all know it.
Success of Prophecy
In my former life, I had the chance to spend a yr as an alternate pupil with a “fundamentalist” Christian household in Texas. They have been a number of the most beneficiant folks I’ve ever had the chance to come across. They lived their religion, and it confirmed. The additionally launched me, a Bavarian Catholic who had spent the previous eight years of his life in a Catholic boarding faculty, to a world largely knowledgeable by the scripture’s teachings.
For the primary time, I used to be confronted not solely with a number of the main Outdated Testomony prophets akin to Daniel, but additionally with the E book of Revelations and its exegesis. Right here, an important e book on the time, at the least amongst true believers, was Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Nice Planet Earth,” which bought hundreds of thousands of copies. The e book was very a lot knowledgeable by the Chilly Warfare. In Lindsey’s exegesis of the Revelations, Gog and Magog, the “forces” from the north threatening Israel, is the Soviet Union attacking Israel with Mi-24 helicopters (John’s large locusts). After Gog and Magog’s annihilation, there shall be a warfare “between the Western powers and the Chinese language, which is able to culminate ultimately of the world in a thermonuclear blast.” A lot for Hal Lindsey.
Nonetheless, the e book was was a movie, with Orson Welles, of all folks, serving because the narrator. Each e book and film are based mostly on John’s Apocalypse, which tells of the tribulations visited upon humanity heralding ultimately of the world, the final judgment. True believers, after all, most of them Individuals, have been spared the ache. They have been snatched from the earth in a technique of divine kidnapping that swept them up into heaven from the place they might gloat — the rapture. Evangelical writers, all the time desirous to make a buck from the gullibility of true believers, turned the narrative right into a sequence of books, “Left Behind,” which scared the daylights out of lukewarm believers and turned the authors into millionaires. This may sound humorous, ludicrous, kooky, off the deep finish have been it not for the truth that it seems to tell main figures in Trump’s inside circle.
One of many central dogmas amongst those that consider within the reality as revealed by John within the Apocalypse is that the top of historical past — and the return of Christ — is contingent on the Jews rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. For a very long time, this was inconceivable, given the truth that the positioning of the temple is occupied by two of Islam’s holiest shrines, the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque.
Till Trump, American presidents have shied away from sanctioning Israel’s declare to all of Jerusalem. Diehard evangelicals have lobbied for many years that the American authorities do no matter doable to hasten the method. Presumably, this might permit the Jews to rebuild the temple. This, presumably, would entail destroying the Muslim shrines, which, most likely, would set off an all-out confrontation with the Muslim world.
However within the self-contained world of American “dispensationalism,” Trump’s 2017 resolution to maneuver the US Embassy to Jerusalem was due to this fact broadly seen as a success of biblical prophecy. Trump himself acknowledged that the transfer was largely “for evangelicals” quite than Jews who gave the impression to be quite unenthusiastic about it. However then why would they, given the destiny that based on evangelicals awaits lots of them throughout the time of tribulations? Trace: a big quantity shall be “purged out and eliminated” — a euphemism, I assume, for saying they’ll go straight to hell.
With Donald Trump, staunch believers in this type of apocalyptic tales have assumed influential positions within the administration, above all Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Housing Secretary Ben Carson, who’s a Seventh-day Adventist, a Christian sect that holds that “virtually all evangelical Christians will quickly be a part of with Devil to oppose Jesus Christ.” It stands to purpose that their views on historical past and actuality have had some affect on coverage. Take, for example, the setting. In line with “rapture theologists,” the earth was given to humanity for its use. Due to this fact, environmentalism is nothing however “blasphemy.”
In line with one of the vital influential “theological” voices within the White Home, people is not going to destroy the planet as a result of God will “regularly renew the face of the earth till He types a brand new heaven and a brand new earth ultimately occasions.” In any case, given the upcoming strategy of the top of the world, the destruction of the pure setting is hardly of significant concern.
In an identical vein, Trump’s lackluster response to the coronavirus pandemic may need one thing to do with the truth that amongst evangelicals, COVID-19 has been seen as a boon. As a number one contributor to the Trump marketing campaign has put it, “The dominion of God advances by means of a sequence of wonderful victories, cleverly disguised as disasters.” In response to the pandemic, “hundreds of thousands of Individuals” have been turning to Jesus Christ, within the course of augmenting the pool of doubtless Trump voters.
In lower than two months, the American voters goes to vote for the nation’s chief. Evangelicals shall be a serious drive; so shall be different Christians, together with Latino Catholics. Because it stands now, there’s a probability that Trump will get reelected in consequence. Evangelicals shall be voting for Trump, however not as a result of they consider that he’s mannequin Christian. Fairly the other. They may vote for him as a result of they consider that he’s “God’s software.” Within the aftermath of the 2016 election, polls revealed substantial numbers of white Protestants believing that Trump was “anointed by God.” In addition they revealed that solely a really small minority thought he was elected as a result of God accepted of his insurance policies.
Given what the Gospels must say about Christ’s positions, it’s pretty unlikely that God would approve of Trump’s “huge, lovely wall” or his roughly tacit help of racists and conspiracy theorists. This leaves just one various: God selected Trump to punish America for its blatant hybris, hypocrisy and self-righteousness. The Gospel tells us that God “so liked the world, that he gave his solely Son, that whoever believes in him shouldn’t perish however have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Right now, plainly God hates America a lot that he introduced Donald Trump down upon it in order that it understands the complete extent of his wrath. Overlook about God blessing America. He has higher issues to do.
The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Honest Observer’s editorial coverage.