President Donald Trump was in an even more cantankerous mood than usual at the beginning of his reelection rally in Orlando, Florida Tuesday. Evangelist Paula White, Trump’s “spiritual advisor” was also on hand to warm things up with an opening prayer that decried the “demonic networks” working against Trump. She urged God to hand the president a victory “in the name of Jesus.”
Then Trump launched into an angry, combative and fear-mongering speech, declaring that Democrats are “driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage.”
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“They want to destroy you, and they want to destroy our country as we know it,” he raged.
Trump seemed to be taking a page from Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress. Last week the pastor declared that the left “hates the direction the president is taking this country.” He added the dire warning that if the left gains control, “it’s going to be the end of America as we know it.”
During her prayer, White asked the audience to “go there” with her, The Washington Post reports.
“Let every evil veil of deception of the enemy be removed from people’s eyes, in the name which is above every name, the name of Jesus Christ,” she said. “So right now, let every demonic network that has aligned itself against the purpose, against the calling of President Trump, let it be broken, let it be torn down in the name of Jesus!”
She didn’t elaborate on what “demonic networks” Trump was up against. But histrionics like this seem to be White’s trademark. The wealthy and controversial televangelist has shored up support among the Trump faithful for his hard-line immigration policies and has seemingly convinced her three million Facebook followers that God has blessed their president’s plans.
As Trump reiterated his calls for mass deportation, White seemed to echo his message.
“I declare that no weapon formed against [Trump], his family, his calling, his purpose, this counsel will be able to be formed,” she said in the opening prayer.
Not content to leave it at that, she soldiered on:
“Now I declare that you will surround him and protect him from all destruction. Let the angel of the Lord encamp around about him, around his family …”
And she rounded that out with:
“I deploy the hand of God to work for him in the name of Jesus,” she continued. “I secure his calling, I secure his purpose, I secure his family, and we secure victory in the name which is above every name, the name that has never failed, for this nation, and for my life, the name of Jesus Christ.”
White’s prayer drew the attention and approval of The Washington Times opinion editor, Cheryl Chumley. She lauded White in her column.
“And with that,” she wrote, “the spiritual battle lines have been drawn.”
White and her Christian right colleagues continually tell their followers that Trump has God’s stamp of approval and divine intervention is the reason for his presidency. And anyone who opposes him is part of Satan’s dark crowd. This is why Trump enjoys a groundswell of support among evangelicals. It can be likened to a growing thunderstorm that will continue, like Trump himself, to fulminate until the 2020 election rolls around.
But White, with her so-called “prosperity gospel,” which teaches adherents that those who follow God and donate to religious causes will be rewarded in this life with wealth has also created divisiveness among Christians. Some associate “prosperity gospel” with heresy, because they are dismayed by the increasingly aggressive requests for donations by evangelists who practice this.
In 2018, White herself encouraged her followers to donate a month’s salary (as she does) to Paula White Ministries. She promised a large reward from God if they did this. If they didn’t, she warned they may risk God’s “consequences.”
That’s the caliber of the person who’s leading Trump’s supposed spiritual awakening. It’s a fortunate thing that many Christians can see through this. We can hope 2020 comes with an awakening of another sort. One that leads the U.S. out of the dark place it’s currently occupying now.
Featured image courtesy of the video above