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Is Trump A Christian Nationalist Savior Or Faithless Imposter? The Press Can’t Decide

On Tuesday, Politico ran a story depicting the election of Trump as the election of ‘Christian nationalism.’

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Is Donald Trump a Christian nationalist preparing to transform America into a biblical theocracy or a twice-divorced, perverted heretic as far away from Jesus as Jeffrey Epstein? The press can’t decide.

On Tuesday, Politico ran a story depicting the election of Trump as the election of “Christian nationalism.” The Beltway magazine warned that Trump’s return to the White House would trigger a sort of religious revolution at the highest levels of government, ushered in by the president’s closest advisers. Recall that eight years ago, as Trump sought to court evangelical voters, Americans were inundated with endless headlines about how Trump was “not Christian” and was religiously apathetic. Now Politico says Trump’s triumph would be a “Christian nationalist’s” dream.

“An influential think tank close to Donald Trump is developing plans to infuse Christian nationalist ideas in his administration should the former president return to power, according to documents obtained by POLITICO,” the paper reported. “Spearheading the effort is Russell Vought, who served as Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget during his first term and has remained close to him.”

Politico’s evidence for an incoming army of “Christian nationalists” is mainstream conservative public policy proposals that reject the radical secularization of American politics and culture.

“Christian nationalists in America believe that the country was founded as a Christian nation and that Christian values should be prioritized throughout government and public life,” wrote Politico. “As the country has become less religious and more diverse, Vought has embraced the idea that Christians are under assault and has spoken of policies he might pursue in response.”

It’s not just an “idea.” The FBI under President Joe Biden was caught in a “widespread” effort to target traditional Catholics as domestic extremists. In Biden’s America, Christians dare not pray at abortion mills either. In January, Paul Vaughn was one of a handful of pro-life activists convicted for the crime of praying at an abortion facility. If his appeal fails, Vaughn, a father of 11, could face 11 years in prison and fines up to $260,000.

According to Politico, however, Trump’s commitment to fighting this religious persecution is simply evidence of an incoming theocracy.

“In a December campaign speech in Iowa, he said ‘Marxists and fascists’ are ‘going hard’ against Catholics,” wrote Politico. “‘Upon taking office, I will create a new federal task force on fighting anti-Christian bias to be led by a fully reformed Department of Justice that’s fair and equitable’ and that will ‘investigate all forms of illegal discrimination.'”

What a horror that Trump might reform the Department of Justice that’s been corrupted by Washington elites cracking down on political dissidents.

But the media can’t get their stories straight. While Politico stokes hysteria over Trump being a “Christian nationalist” leader, Christians — particularly the much-maligned “white evangelicals” — have long been mocked for supporting Trump as a strong candidate to preserve religious liberty. Tim Alberta, then a national political reporter at Politico, wrote in 2017 that the “casting of Trump as a great champion of the faithful, engaging the forces of secularism on behalf of a beleaguered religious right, is essential to understanding his appeal among evangelicals.”

“Of course, the core premise of their alliance — that America has turned menacingly against Christianity — is disputable,” Alberta added.

In 2018, the late Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson published an article in The Atlantic (Alberta’s current paper) calling “the loyal adherence of religious conservatives to Donald Trump” one of the “most extraordinary things about our current politics.”

“Really, one of the most extraordinary developments of political history,” Gerson wrote in the piece titled, “The Last Temptation”:

Trump supporters tend to dismiss moral scruples about his behavior as squeamishness over the president’s ‘style.’ But the problem is the distinctly non-Christian substance of his values. Trump’s unapologetic materialism — his equation of financial and social success with human achievement and worth — is a negation of Christian teaching. His tribalism and hatred for ‘the other’ stand in direct opposition to Jesus’s radical ethic of neighbor love. Trump’s strength-worship and contempt for ‘losers’ smack more of Nietzsche than of Christ.

So, what is Trump? A faithless religious imposter or a Christian nationalist savior?

Eight years ago, the press displayed some of the same fearmongering as now when Trump recruited Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to join him on the Republican ticket. According to The Intercept, Pence would “Be The Most Powerful Christian Supremacist In U.S. History” because he was “a reliable stalwart in the cause of Christian jihad — never wavering in his commitment to America-First militarism, the criminalizing of abortion, and utter hatred for gay people.”

None of the media’s “Christian jihad” hand-wringing came to pass in 2016, and none of it will materialize if Trump wins again in 2024. It’s all hyperbole, and if the lying media claim both of two extremes — that Trump is a disgusting anti-Christian and that he’s a Trojan horse for Christian nationalism — the truth is somewhere in the middle. Trump is a defender of Christians, if not a Christian himself, which is exactly where conservative Trump voters have staked their electoral claim for the past eight years.


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