Donald Trump is chosen by God. His powerful friends in The Family have decided. Other influential Christians, like the odious Franklin Graham, have endorsed it. Trump himself made reference to it in a speech recently. He claims this was a joke, but we know what’s said about words spoken in jest; the Donald believes what his Christian chums have told him.
Evidently Trump cannot have been chosen by God when there is no God to do the choosing. Nor does Trump’s behaviour indicate that he’s God’s man. He is ignorant, self-obsessed, spiteful, vindictive, boorish, narcissistic and cruel. Not only is he ignorant generally, he is ignorant about the bible, has no idea about what being a Christian entails and is unable to answer any questions about his supposed faith.
Why then do Christians of all stripes claim he is specifically chosen by God to be president? How do they know? Allowing for a moment that there is a God, the notion that he chooses his agents here on Earth is fraught with insurmountable problems. That he predetermines who will serve him or even who is saved is an insoluble paradox that I’ve written about before, here and here.
No, Christians who say Trump is God’s Chosen are convinced of this only because he supports and implements their agenda; he is anti-abortion, anti-gay and anti-immigrant. He favours guns, white people, Israel, the wealthy and evangelicals. This is why Christians like him, why The Family says he is chosen by God, because these are their priorities and therefore, they conclude, they must be God’s priorities too.
For any Christians reading, particularly in the U.S., the process goes something like this:
1. You decide what is important to you.
2. You find support for your priorities in the bible (because support for just about anything can be found somewhere in the bible. Alternatively, you can just say what you believe is in the bible. Nobody’s checking.);
3. You disregard any apparent contradiction in the words attributed to Jesus;
4. You tell yourself that because God supports your agenda somewhere in the bible, this must therefore be his agenda also;
5. You exercise cognitive dissonance, a.k.a. dishonesty, to enable you to conclude that any influential agent who is prepared to support your priorities must therefore be chosen by God.
Naturally your agent need not demonstrate any other traits that might reasonably be expected of a God-follower (humility, love, hospitality, treating others like they themselves like to be treated and so on.) These things are unimportant so long as the agent is carrying out your agenda.
6. You tell others only of point 5, thus furnishing the entire process with a high-sheen spiritual gloss;
7. You accuse anyone who doesn’t support your agenda and your Chosen One of betraying God.
A good deal of self-deception and deceiving of others is required to pull this off, but Christians are more than up to the job. That’s why Trump is in the White House and why his Christian fixers are never far from his side.