“A lot of people are going to think it’s laced with hypocrisy,” he said. “They say one thing and do another. And that the faith is not transformative, faith is just a proxy for political tribalism. It doesn’t transform lives in the way it should.”
.. Andy Crouch wrote about the danger of evangelicals’ attraction to celebrity power.
.. “Megachurch pastors have the temptation of being a celebrity of sorts and have an aura around them,” Thumma said.
.. When the Catholic sex-abuse scandals emerged in the United States, part of the larger outcry was how the church hierarchy was involved in covering up cases. In evangelical circles, where churches are often nondenominational or loosely connected to each other, the lack of hierarchy can cause a different set of problems, said Heath Carter, a professor of history at Valparaiso University.
“In the evangelical world, the independence of evangelical leaders and … lack of authority structure mean they can go on for a while and then explode when they come to light,” Carter said.
Why Donald Trump’s biggest Christian champions love him so much.
Observers have characterized evangelical support for President Trump as reluctant yet highly durable. But this depiction ignores Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians who, from the beginning, have been largely enthusiastic Trump supporters.
Sixty-one percent of Pentecostal pastors surveyed in 2016 planned to vote for Trump, and they are a force on Trump’s “evangelical advisory board.” And notably, the Pentecostal-Charismatic media consistently gives the president favorable coverage. Unlike the evangelicals who see Trump as a necessary, but distasteful, conduit for their policy preferences, sincere theological conviction drives many Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians to see the president as a prophetically foretold leader.
.. he uncannily demonstrates deep affinities with certain Pentecostal-Charismatic subcultures. Here are five historic subcultures and theologies that explain why some Pentecostal-Charismatics proudly support Trump.
1. Pentecostal-Charismatic celebrity culture
Trump has cultivated support among Pentecostal-Charismatic celebrities such as Jim Bakker, Paula White and Mark Burns, who, like the president, are media moguls with scandalous histories. These televangelists attain authority as Pentecostal-Charismatic leaders through celebrity culture over (and in some cases, against) traditional qualifications for the ministry, such as ordination or seminary education.
.. the general public historically viewed tongue-speaking, emotive Pentecostals — who burst onto the 20th century American religious scene with a black leader (William J. Seymour), interracial services and female preachers — as delusional or even dangerous.
.. as the movement grew, presidents seemingly warmed up to Pentecostal-Charismatics — even the televangelists. Televangelist Oral Roberts met with Kennedy, Nixon and Carter; in 1985, Ronald Reagan gave a very friendly interview to Charismatic Baptist media mogul Pat Robertson.
.. Trump’s invitation to Charismatic televangelist Paula White to deliver an inaugural prayer alongside evangelical legacy Franklin Graham — a role traditionally performed by respectable religious leaders from mainstream and mainline religious organizations — reflects the changing terms of politics and religion in the U.S. It is a cultural coup to promote White, seen in more traditional evangelical quarters as a “heretic” and “charlatan,” into these honorable ranks.
.. 2. Prosperity
Engaging with devotees of the “prosperity gospel” — whose believers celebrate overt displays of wealth as clear signs of God’s favor (see: the cast of Preachers of LA) — makes sense for the wealthy, celebrity-friendly Trump. His prosperity theology, coupled with his unabashed embodiment of conspicuous consumption, resonates with Pentecostal-Charismatics, who are leading creators and purveyorsof this much-maligned theology.
.. 3. Lowbrow know-how
Pentecostal-Charismatics hail from a long line of anti-institutionalists.
.. Some present-day Pentecostals perpetuate this anti-authoritarian stance, preferring (by wide margins) common sense to intellectual know-how, and viewing cultural elites with deep suspicion and antipathy. Trump’s repeated rejection of scientific consensus regarding climate change and his rowdy approach to foreign policy resonate with Pentecostal-Charismatics. In their view, educated elites don’t faithfully describe the world as Pentecostal-Charismatics know it, and those elites sure don’t know how to fix it.
Like many evangelicals, especially those who identify as fundamentalist, Pentecostal-Charismatics have been steadfast, passionate supporters of Israel, an integral part of their beliefs about “the end times.”
.. Trump’s moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, therefore, is not just fulfilling a campaign promise; to many Pentecostal-Charismatics, it’s fulfilling God’s plan for the end of days. The value of this move can’t be overstated, because it confirms and gives physical reality to Pentecostals’ mystical perceptions of Trump as more potentate than president — a ruler in the order of the biblical kings of Israel.
.. 5. Monarchy
.. For Pentecostals, how America’s democratic government works in tandem with God’s monarchy isn’t always clear. But for most, “the people” don’t ultimately decide the fate of the United States or the world. God decides the future and “brings it to pass” through his own means.
.. When he disregards conventional wisdom, they see someone who, like themselves, goes against a coercive mainstream intellectual grain. When he supports Israel, they see a king, however flawed, and an instrument for the purposes of God. When he moves his embassy to Jerusalem, they see verification of their sacred narrative.
.. When Pentecostal-Charismatic advisers to Trump talk about their role in this divine drama, it is as godly intercessors on the president’s behalf.
From this vantage point, it hardly matters whether Trump behaves morally, won the popular vote or even colluded with Russia. Trump is not just a leader selected by the people: he is an intervention — God’s anointed, divinely elevated ruler. Actually, the sheer unlikeliness of Trump’s win fits the Pentecostal-Charismatic imagination for miraculous intervention, and moves Trump far above the reach of critique.
Wynn expressed optimism about Cruz’s chances within the crowded GOP field. Wynn then lambasted Trump, the frontrunner at the time, castigating the real-estate mogul’s record as a “businessman” and “casino owner.” Wynn snickered about how Trump’s Vegas property stood pitifully far from the Strip, the stretch of land coveted by any hopeful casino or hotel owner in the city. “He was just clowning on him,”
.. So when, on the eve of Trump’s decisive victory in the Nevada caucus two months later, the candidate touted his support from none other than Steve Wynn, Cruz’s camp was stunned. Wynn, standing alongside fellow casino mogul Phil Ruffin, beamed from the crowd.
.. In the space of a year, Wynn would become a member of the president’s cadre of informal advisers, his hand-selected finance chair of the RNC, and as such, an indispensable fundraiser for the party.
.. Multiple Republican sources say Wynn’s retreat from the political scene will have a lasting and negative impact on the GOP’s fundraising prowess. “No small number of GOP lawmakers have stayed at Wynn Resorts in the last two years and relied on him for donations,” the Republican strategist Steve Schmidt said. “This could be devastating.”
.. not one seemed to think that the president would simply sever ties with Wynn.
.. The initial bout of friction between Trump and Wynn dates back to the 1990s, when the two engaged in a vicious legal battle over Wynn’s efforts to expand to Atlantic City that included allegations of fraud, money laundering, perjury, and even claims that an investigator working on behalf of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. had become a mole for Wynn’s Mirage Resorts,
.. “They hate each other’s guts. It’s like poison,”
.. The president still nurses the wound of those years and the insults Wynn lobbed at him
.. “It was always just billionaire ego bullshit,” said one Trump campaign official who witnessed their exchanges. “Like, ‘Haha, my building is a couple feet taller than your building.’ That kind of thing.”
.. Yet far from keeping Wynn at a distance, Trump seemed insistent on tightening their relationship. “They became pretty close,”
.. the president took great pleasure in how their roles had reversed.
.. During the transition, Wynn bordered on “sycophantic” in his outreach .. particularly on the topic of China.
.. Wynn, who runs a massive casino operation in Macau, often urged Trump to reconsider his pledge to be “tough on China.”
.. Wynn then volunteered to arrange entertainment for Trump’s inauguration
.. Not even Wynn’s extensive rolodex of celebrities could help him nab the artists he wanted most, including Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Elton John. “As soon as he’d get close to bringing one on, word would leak out, and they’d immediately deny,” the source said. “Steve got very frustrated. He was clearly upset.”
.. it raised a record-breaking $107 million in the first three quarters of 2017
.. “He’s been a bigger success as a fundraiser than people thought he would be,
.. Wynn spoke with no notes, “as he’s mostly blind.” (Wynn suffers from a degenerative eye disease.)
.. The Wall Street Journal reported that Wynn hand-delivered a letter from the Chinese government urging the return of Miles Kwok, the Chinese businessman who fled the country, seeking asylum in the U.S.
.. But one source directly familiar with the matter remembered notably how Wynn was able “to work Trump up into a tizzy” over the situation, playing into the president’s well-known desire “to get the bad guys out” of the country.
.. “The president will want to keep Steve around him. He likes him—he’s gonna be last to throw a rock at a buddy of his.” Which means that Wynn’s access to Trump could very well continue unfettered—in the shadows, off the schedule, as it largely has been until now.
It should not surprise us that Roy Moore fans are treating the Washington Post story as a personal attack upon themselves; on some level, it is. The article asserts, in effect, “the man you thought of as a good man for all these years was, at least in the late 70s and early 80s, not a good man. Your judgment and ability to assess others’ character is faulty.” This fact is true of all of us, but no one likes being confronted with it.
I would argue the solution for this is simply to stop seeing public figures — whether political figures or celebrities — as role models and stop putting them up on pedestals. The ability to win elections, perform well on camera, perform great athletic feats, or other extraordinary traits is not synonymous with good character.
.. then later saying, “I don’t remember going out on dates. I knew her as a friend. If we did go out on dates then we did. But I do not remember that.” If they did indeed go on dates and Moore simply doesn’t remember it, then the allegation isn’t “completely false, false and misleading.”
.. David Brooks asks an extremely important question, one that I suspect many of the most prominent media voices of 1998 will want to avoid confronting. [T]he uncomfortable thing for a lot of progressives, frankly, is how much did the Clinton thing create this whole environment? How much did tolerance of Bill Clinton create the environment in which the rest of this was given permission?
.. Gloria Steinem responded to the allegations against Bill Clinton with a position some characterized as a “one free grope rule”: if a man backs down after making one undesired sexual advance, he has done nothing wrong.
.. By the very fact of having spent time alone with him, they have, in the eyes of rigorist teachings of Islam, violated the rules of modesty that women are required to follow