Evangelicals Voted In Record Numbers For Donald Trump. Were They Trying To Elect A Savior Or Demon Bent On Destroying The World?
Americans are less religious today than at any time in our history. Mainline denominations have been in decline for decades. Now even Southern Baptists and their evangelical cousins are feeling the squeeze of shrinking attendance. And there seems to be a correlation between the shedding of faith and the radicalization of the remaining religious right. No longer a majority, white evangelicals are increasingly turning to politics, in and out of the pulpit, trying to maintain an ever more tenuous grasp on the nation’s definition of what constitutes both gods and monsters.
Prior to the surprise election of Donald Trump, many believed the ‘born-again’ would never vote for someone so seemingly antithetical to their articles of faith, family and fundamentalist fervor. Yet they did, and did so in a big way. Self-identified ‘born-again’ men voted 80%, and women at 75% for the unthinkable, unpalatable and unapologetic Trump. In the contest between gods and monsters, clearly they believed Hillary Clinton was the monster to be feared, and the President-elect a god to be revered.
Of course Clinton spoke of her faith, family and love for the nation. But the fervently faithful needed monsters more than gods. Chants of “lock her up” and “burn the witch!” were staples at every Trump rally. A virtual return to our puritanical roots, these spectacles were the post-modern version of the hysteria that swept colonial America in the Salem witch trials centuries ago. Men traded purity dances for tee shirts saying, Trump can grab my daughter’s p*ssy!
Among the faithful, cognitive dissonance pales in comparison to the black-and-white choice between gods and monsters. There is no disconnect when the she-demon wears pants or rides a broom or has the audacity to sit in the White House Situation Room.
In the struggle for the soul of the nation, Make America Great Again, isn’t just a political slogan. It’s a moral imperative for white evangelicals. With gays gone wild, gender fluidity and black lives beginning to matter, if Manifest Destiny had a chance of survival, it was going to take a strong man to restore the country to its natural state. And a man of wealth and power who refused to cower to minorities, wasn’t afraid to put women in their place, promised to rule with an iron fist, frankly, was a prayer answered tenfold.
The swaggering surety of his completely non-gay bromance with Russia’s Putin made it a two-for-one deal. Obama’s nemesis, taunting alongside Trump, America’s godless left…the optics were irresistible and undeniable. Cold Wars be damned, Putin had become an ally in the war between gods and monsters. When doing the work of the Lord, my enemy’s enemy is indeed my friend. The Palestinians, I.S.I.L., the Clintons were monstrous enough, and in these end-times, God grants amazing grace to those who truly believe.
Now with the Inauguration and the apocalypse at hand, it’s time for our gods and monsters to meet in one last epic battle. Only this isn’t a video game, Bible story or role play fantasy of Dungeons and Dragons. In one of the first official acts of the incoming administration, America is moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with Israel’s blessing, making any two-state solution virtually impossible. This needless provocation will heighten tensions in an already unstable Middle East to previously unseen levels. But when you’re trying to bring about the end of the world because you can’t tolerate the one the rest of us live in, that’s entirely the purpose of merging your gods and monsters.