EVANGELICALS: AFFINITY FOR FANTASY - 4 minutes read
Holiday season, 2019, one news item which struck me to my very core as well as dredged up a conflicting memory came from the news program, "Democracy Now!". Documentarian Michael Moore had a conversation with Amy Goodman. He predicted the 2020 election, "Trump will be reelected, his base is even more rabid." Moore further added, "the problem is, if the voter would vote today, I believe Trump would win the electoral states he would need because, living out there I will tell you his level of support has not gone down one inch."
Evangelicals of Protestant faiths and Independent churches make up a large segment of Donald Trump's base. From 2015 to 2020, seven-in-ten white evangelicals living and practicing their faith in the U.S. come to 25.4%. With the majority of these believers following well known Televangelists who make close reference in their fury of sermons of Donald Trump being God's won vessel for this time in history.
The memory that came rushing back as I listened to Moore brought in clear disturbing feelings I thought had been buried for good. In 1998 in the middle of summer, my mother pleaded with me to take her to a Benny Hinn "Miracle Crusade" in Downtown Indianapolis. The stadium venue was perfect for the thousands that would show up ready for this charismatic televangelist. In my mother's weakened shriveled up physical condition, I agreed despite my inner dread. As I wheeled her into the packed stadium, the stage had been converted into a modern-day, "Holy Of Holies" with tall Royal Palms flanked around the podium where the beloved Hinn would bring forth his message.
We were seated almost a mile in the back of the stadium. Mom whispered into my right ear, "see, I was right. We should have left Anderson in the morning!"
Before the singing got underway, I looked to our left and right, then to our back, finding many stricken children sitting in wheelchairs and other laid out in gurneys. The singing went on for what seemed like hours. A spotlight hit the podium to find the man with the golden plan for everyone's infirmities. He wore his dark hair in an elaborate and ridiculous looking comb-over. He was clad in a single breasted blazer, Tasmanian virgin wool chalk stripe jacket. His matching dress pants were creased to perfection, possessing the same thin chalk stripe.
His slight accent did not deter his clear and impressive command of the English language. After a thirty minute firey sermon, there was a call to all who wanted a healing. I practically had to pick up my mother from her seat as we struggled to make our way out of our row to join those in a gigantic winding line to the stage. Theatrical gestures went on with each hopeful follower getting close to the pastor. He did not touch the believer, but put out his hands and shouted some platitude, then the person would fall backwards onto the cloth-covered stage. Mom told me that was, "falling out in the Spirit". I did not answer back, remembering those many times I saw this at the Glory Barn where Mom and I would attend so many years previous. I thought, I don't believe now, I didn't believe then.
She was so hopeful until her legs were about to give way, We were only a half a mile from the steps leading to where Hinn stood when she began to cry, "I'm in so much pain. Let's get back to our seats!"
Sitting for a while, Mom nudged me to leave. She couldn't take any more. I looked behind us, those children were in the same condition as when I saw them two hours before. On the drive home, I thought, "Why didn't they deserve a way up to the stage? The only ones who made it to the stage were the ones who could get there on their own volition."
Well known Televangelist James Robison in December of 2019 had a conversation with Chad Prather on Blaze TV. In his sermons, Robison has compared Trump to biblical figures. Prather mentioned how he initially didn't support Trump for president because he didn't think the then-candidate was "the moral man America needed" as a leader. He told Robison he eventually came around. Robison brought up Peter the Apostle and compared this account to Trump, "Donald Trump's done a lot of things awful, but Peter or Simon Peter being one of closest disciples to Jesus...denied him three times."
Every day Trump lies, he constantly defies the "Rule Of Law". Knowing the evangelical community as I did in my teenage years and beyond, I see the affinity Trump and the Evangelicals share. Knowing what I know in the current climate, I am extremely worried for the future of Democracy in this country.