Rafael Cruz Preaching Dominion Theology About Transfer Of The Wealth Of The Wicked

Appearance by Rafael Cruz, August 26, 2012, at the New Beginnings Church of Larry Huch, in Irving, Texas. Dominion Theology starts with a scripturally incorrect premise, Postmillennialism, and then makes a drastic left hand turn into full-on heresy by attempting to create a theocracy in America. Thrown into this mongrel mess is the hellish teaching that there will be an ‘end times transfer of wealth’ from the wicked to the ‘righteous’. In short, it’s a big, fat pile of misapplied Bible doctrine wrongly divided, and completely out of it’s proper dispensation and context. READ MORE:https://www.nowtheendbegins.com/a-bible-believer-looks-at-the-christian-cult-of-dominion-theology/

The Roots of Josh Hawley’s Rage

Why do so many Republicans appear to be at war with both truth and democracy?

In today’s Republican Party, the path to power is to build up a lie in order to overturn democracy. At least that is what Senator Josh Hawley was telling us when he offered a clenched-fist salute to the pro-Trump mob before it ransacked the Capitol, and it is the same message he delivered on the floor of the Senate in the aftermath of the attack, when he doubled down on the lies about electoral fraud that incited the insurrection in the first place. How did we get to the point where one of the bright young stars of the Republican Party appears to be at war with both truth and democracy?

Mr. Hawley himself, as it happens, has been making the answer plain for some time. It’s just a matter of listening to what he has been saying.

In multiple speeches, an interview and a widely shared article for Christianity Today, Mr. Hawley has explained that the blame for society’s ills traces all the way back to Pelagius — a British-born monk who lived 17 centuries ago. In a 2019 commencement address at The King’s College, a small conservative Christian college devoted to “a biblical worldview,” Mr. Hawley denounced Pelagius for teaching that human beings have the freedom to choose how they live their lives and that grace comes to those who do good things, as opposed to those who believe the right doctrines.

The most eloquent summary of the Pelagian vision, Mr. Hawley went on to say, can be found in the Supreme Court’s 1992 opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Mr. Hawley specifically cited Justice Anthony Kennedy’s words reprovingly: “At the heart of liberty,” Kennedy wrote, “is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” The fifth century church fathers were right to condemn this terrifying variety of heresy, Mr. Hawley argued: “Replacing it and repairing the harm it has caused is one of the challenges of our day.”

In other words, Mr. Hawley’s idea of freedom is the freedom to conform to what he and his preferred religious authorities know to be right. Mr. Hawley is not shy about making the point explicit. In a 2017 speech to the American Renewal Project, he declared — paraphrasing the Dutch Reformed theologian and onetime prime minister Abraham Kuyper — “There is not one square inch of all creation over which Jesus Christ is not Lord.” Mr. Kuyper is perhaps best known for his claim that Christianity has sole legitimate authority over all aspects of human life.

“We are called to take that message into every sphere of life that we touch, including the political realm,” Mr. Hawley said. “That is our charge. To take the Lordship of Christ, that message, into the public realm, and to seek the obedience of the nations. Of our nation!”

Mr. Hawley has built his political career among people who believe that Shariah is just around the corner even as they attempt to secure privileges for their preferred religious groups to discriminate against those of whom they disapprove. Before he won election as a senator, he worked for Becket, a legal advocacy group that often coordinates with the right-wing legal juggernaut the Alliance Defending Freedom. He is a familiar presence on the Christian right media circuit.

The American Renewal Project, which hosted the event where Mr. Hawley delivered the speech I mentioned earlier, was founded by David Lane, a political organizer who has long worked behind the scenes to connect conservative pastors and Christian nationalist figures with politicians. The choice America faces, according to Mr. Lane, is “to be faithful to Jesus or to pagan secularism.”

The line of thought here is starkly binary and nihilistic. It says that human existence in an inevitably pluralistic, modern society committed to equality is inherently worthless. It comes with the idea that a right-minded elite of religiously pure individuals should aim to capture the levers of government, then use that power to rescue society from eternal darkness and reshape it in accord with a divinely-approved view of righteousness.

At the heart of Mr. Hawley’s condemnation of our terrifyingly Pelagian world lies a dark conclusion about the achievements of modern, liberal, pluralistic societies. When he was still attorney general, William Barr articulated this conclusion in a speech at the University of Notre Dame Law School, where he blamed “the growing ascendancy of secularism” for amplifying “virtually every measure of social pathology,” and maintained that “free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people.”

Christian nationalists’ acceptance of President Trump’s spectacular turpitude these past four years was a good measure of just how dire they think our situation is. Even a corrupt sociopath was better, in their eyes, than the horrifying freedom that religious moderates and liberals, along with the many Americans who don’t happen to be religious, offer the world.

That this neo-medieval vision is incompatible with constitutional democracy is clear. But in case you’re in doubt, consider where some of the most militant and coordinated support for Mr. Trump’s postelection assault on the American constitutional system has come from. The Conservative Action Project, a group associated with the Council for National Policy, which serves as a networking organization for America’s religious and economic right-wing elite, made its position clear in a statement issued a week before the insurrection.

It called for members of the Senate to “contest the electoral votes” from Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and other states that were the focus of Republicans’ baseless allegations. Among the signatories was Cleta Mitchell, the lawyer who advised Mr. Trump and participated in the president’s call on Jan. 2 with Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state. Cosignatories to this disinformation exercise included Bob McEwen, the executive director of the Council for National Policy; Morton C. Blackwell of The Leadership Institute; Alfred S. Regnery, the former publisher; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Thomas Fitton of Judicial Watch; and more than a dozen others.

Although many of the foot soldiers in the assault on the Capitol appear to have been white males aligned with white supremacist movements, it would be a mistake to overlook the powerful role of the rhetoric of religious nationalism in their ranks. At a rally in Washington on Jan. 5, on the eve of Electoral College certification, the right-wing pastor Greg Locke said that God is raising up “an army of patriots.” Another pastor, Brian Gibson, put it this way: “The church of the Lord Jesus Christ started America,” and added, “We’re going to take our nation back!”

In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, a number of Christian nationalist leaders issued statements condemning violence — on both sides. How very kind of them. But few if any appear willing to acknowledge the instrumental role they played in perpetuating the fraudulent allegations of a stolen election that were at the root of the insurrection.

They seem, like Mr. Hawley himself, to live in a post-truth environment. And this gets to the core of the Hawley enigma. The brash young senator styles himself not just a deep thinker who ruminates about late-Roman era heretics, but a man of the people, a champion of “the great American middle,” as he wrote in an article for The American Conservative, and a foe of the “ruling elite.” Mr. Hawley has even managed to turn a few progressive heads with his economic populism, including his attacks on tech monopolies.

Yet Mr. Hawley isn’t against elites per se. He is all for an elite, provided that it is a religiously righteous elite. He is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School and he clerked for John Roberts, the chief justice. Mr. Hawley, in other words, is a successful meritocrat of the Federalist Society variety. His greatest rival in that department is the Princeton debater Ted Cruz. They are résumé jockeys in a system that rewards those who do the best job of mobilizing fear and irrationalism. They are what happens when callow ambition meets the grotesque inequalities and injustices of our age.

Over the past few days, following his participation in the failed efforts to overturn the election, Mr. Hawley’s career prospects may have dimmed. Two of his home state newspapers have called for his resignation; his political mentor, John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, has described his earlier support for Mr. Hawley as “the biggest mistake I’ve ever made”; and Simon & Schuster dropped his book. On the other hand, there is some reporting that suggests his complicity in efforts to overturn the election may have boosted his standing with Mr. Trump’s base. But the question that matters is not whether Mr. Hawley stays or goes, but whether he is simply replaced by the next wannabe demagogue in line. We are about to find out whether there are leaders of principle left in today’s Republican Party.

Make no mistake: Mr. Hawley is a symptom, not a cause. He is a product of the same underlying forces that brought us President Trump and the present crisis of American democracy. Unless we find a way to address these forces and the fundamental pathologies that drive them, then next month or next year we will be forced to contend with a new and perhaps more successful version of Mr. Hawley.

What is a Post-Jesus Christian?

 

Post-Jesus Christians are “Christians” who have decided to postpone following Jesus’s teaching until Jesus returns and ushers in 1000 years of peace.

Post-Jesus Christians hold that Jesus’s teachings do not need to be followed in our present era if they are a hindrance to obtaining the power they fear they need to help usher in the Kingdom of God.

Post-Jesus Christians (privately) hold that Jesus’s teachings are a nice thing to follow when dealing with the in-group of their fellow PJCs but may be disregarded when dealing with non-PJC neighbors.

Prophecy: What God Can Do For You

Post-Jesus Christians talk a lot about about prophecy, and unlike the Biblical Prophets, when they do, they punch down, rather than up:

You will know them by their fruit, because they only have one key message – God is going to “enlarge your tent” and “expand your influence“, he’s going to “give you great favor” and “bless you mightily”.

Later Craig Greenfield writes:

In Biblical times, there were two types of prophets.

  1. Firstly, there were those who feasted at the King’s table because they had been co-opted to speak well of evil leaders (1 Kings 18:19). They were always bringing these smarmy words of favor and influence and prosperity to the king. And the king lapped it up. Like a sucka.
  2. Secondly, there were those who were exiled to the caves, or beheaded (like John the Baptist) because they spoke out about the injustice or immorality of their leaders (1 Kings 18:4). The king didn’t like them very much. He tried to have them knee-capped.

An Inversion of Ben Franklin’s Morality

While many Post-Jesus Christians appeal to a historical “Christian Nation” , Post-Jesus Christians appear to be an inversion of founding father Ben Franklin, who in historian John Fea’s description, wanted to discard Jesus’s Divinity but retain and celebrate his ethical teachings.

Examples:

So what does this look like in practice?

Below are public quotations from prominent Court Evangelicals.  These quotations are less extreme that I would expect to hear in private.  A friend of mine speaks to supporters in private.  He reports that they would (privately) celebrate the stuffing of election ballots in favor of their preferred candidate as a righteous act.

1) Court Evangelical: Anti-Sermon on the Mount


John Fea wrote about a conversation he had with Rob Schenck  for the “Schenck Talks Bonhoeffer” podcast @ 19:27.  Here’s a quote from Schenck talking about a conversation he had with a prominent evangelical at the Trump Inaugural Prayer Service:

I must tell you something of a confession here. I was present at the Trump Inaugural Prayer Service held at the National Cathedral — not the smaller one held  at  Saint John’s Episcopal church across from the white house, but the one following the inauguration at the National Cathedral and I saw one of the notable Evangelicals that you’ve named in in our conversation. One of them, I won’t say which and we had it short exchange and I, I suggested to him that we needed to recalibrate our moral compass and that one way to do that might be to return to The Sermon on the Mount as a reference point. And he very quickly barked back at me. “We don’t have time for that. We have serious work to do.”

2) Jerry Falwell Jr:  Anti-Turn the other cheek

John Fea writes:

We have blogged about Liberty University’s Falkirk Center before.  The more I learn about this center the more I am convinced that it does not represent the teachings of Christianity.   Recently someone on Twitter pointed out this paragraph in the Falkirk Center mission statement:

Bemoaning the rise of leftism is no longer enough, and turning the other cheek in our personal relationships with our neighbors as Jesus taught while abdicating our responsibilities on the cultural battlefield is no longer sufficient. There is too much at stake in the battle for the soul of our nation. Bold, unapologetic action and initiative is needed, which is why we just launched the Falkirk Center, a think tank dedicated to restoring and defending American ideals and Judeo-Christian values in all aspects of life.

John Fea’s Update:

Several smart people have suggested that I may have misread Liberty University’s statement.  They have said that the Falkirk Center was not denying that Jesus’s call to “turn the other cheek” is “insufficient” for individuals.  Instead, the Falkirk Center is saying that we should not “abdicate” (the key word here) our responsibilities to engage on the “culture battlefield.”

I think this is a fair criticism, and I indeed may have misread the statement.  For that I am sorry.  But I don’t think I want to back away too strongly from what I wrote above.  While several have correctly pointed out that Liberty University is not saying Jesus’s command to “turn the other cheek” is “insufficient” for individual Christians, the Falkirk Center does seem to be suggesting that it is “insufficient” for culture engagement.

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Trump Warned Evangelical Leaders of What Would Happen if He Lost the Midterm Election

President Donald Trump delivers a private, prophetic warning to Christian leaders about what’s happening in the country and how the midterms are going to be a referendum on your religion.

Christians are so fragmented and scattered we don’t have a coherent mechanism for sharing messages like the left has. That needs to change! We must spread the word, and take over these midterm elections.

The ‘Seven Mountains’ prophecy

There’s a plan to seize control of every aspect of the US; government, law and media. And it’s based on the bible’s Book of Revelation.

Morrison emphasises his values in first major speech

The Dark Ages have a certain appeal to some. It was a time when good and evil was white and black. Church overruled state. And the word of priests was as law.

It was when the Roman Catholic church effectively ruled the whole of the Western world. Under idealised eyes, it controlled every aspect of civil life. Parish priests held sway over small towns and communities. Cardinals and Popes could bend kings and nobles to their will.

In reality, things rarely worked out that way. But it was the accepted doctrine of the times.

Now, some evangelical groups want that all-encompassing power back.

They call themselves Dominionists.

Their declared goal is to take control of society. And the US government is in its sights.

It wants ‘One nation, under God’ … their god.

Only once this is achieved, followers believe, will Jesus return in the Second Coming, initiating the End of Days and the prophecies of the Book of Revelation.

It’s a cross-denominational movement which appears to have been born among television and radio evangelists in the 1970s. They cite one passage, Genesis 1:28, as justification:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

It is interpreted as being God’s mandate for his followers to control every aspect of life.

Now new apostles are preaching a message which puts church above state, and their interpretation of Christian lore above secular law.

And they have a plan to have this enforced.

An artist’s interpretation of a passage from the Book of Revelation, which refers to a ‘seven headed beast’.

An artist’s interpretation of a passage from the Book of Revelation, which refers to a ‘seven headed beast’.Source:Supplied

SEVEN HEADS ARE SEVEN MOUNTAINS

The argument goes something like this:

The long-awaited Second Coming has not yet happened as the criteria outlined in the Bible have yet to be met. Christians have not been taking part in their communities. Instead, they’ve been huddled in their own churches. This has exposed the very pillars of society susceptible to the influence of the devil.

It’s up to believers to change this, they argue, by seizing control of key institutions.

Some evangelical movements believe this is demanded by prophecy. They argue the Bible verses of Isiah 2:2-3 instruct their followers to take control:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.”

It argues there are seven such ‘mountains of the Lord’.

The key to this thinking is Revelation 17:1-18, which hinges on verse 9:

And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains

The prophetic passage talks of an evil woman ‘drunken with the blood of the saints’ who rides a beast of ‘seven heads and 10 horns’. It ends telling how this beast will be turned against the woman, destroying her.

Most theologians see the reference to ‘seven’ as being Rome — famously built upon seven hills

But some evangelicals argue this beast — and its seven heads that are mountains — represents the structure of society itself.

“So this is now called the Seven Mountain Prophecy,” says advocate David Barton. “If you’re going to establish God’s kingdom, you’ve got to have these seven mountains, and again that’s family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government.”

RELIGION: “With a plethora of categorised religions around the world, it’s the Church’s responsibility to reach the lost with the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ, and expand the Kingdom in ministerial efforts, both nationally and internationally.”

FAMILY: “God is calling fathers and mothers (both spiritual and biological) to bring order to the chaos that the enemy has unleashed against families in America.”

EDUCATION: “A reintroduction of biblical truth and Bible-centric values is the key to renewal and restoration in America’s failing educational system.”

GOVERNMENT: “We must see a shift in this arena in order to preserve the Christian heritage that America was founded upon. The goal is to put in place righteous political leaders that will positively affect all aspects of government.”

MEDIA: “ … the arts and entertainment industries wield significant influence. The body of Christ needs powerful, righteous men and women who are not afraid to take their God-given talent into the arts and entertainment arenas.”

BUSINESS: “We believe it is the Lord’s will to make his people prosperous and that He desires for His Church to use its wealth to finance the work of Kingdom expansion. Simply put: Prosperity with a purpose.”

‘Seven heads are seven mountains’ … a phrase being used to justify an evangelical push to dominate US government.

‘Seven heads are seven mountains’ … a phrase being used to justify an evangelical push to dominate US government.Source:Supplied

SEVEN MOUNTAINS MANDATE

White Christian evangelicals in the United States remain a powerful voting bloc. Though they are a diminishing group.

In the 1990s, they represented about 27 per cent of the total US population, Now, they amount to some 15 per cent.

And that loss of prominence has proved galvanising.

Dominionist thinking is becoming mainstream among this minority group, and Seven Mountains is regarded by many as a road-map to ‘regain’ control of the country.

The idea first emerged In 1975 when Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission (YWAM), had what they describe as a miraculous revelation. Both had been given a dream by God, they declared. Its message revealed the need to dominate the Seven Mountains (or Spheres) of influence.

Since then, the theology has been pushed into political circles through media events, youth movements and campaign activities.

Central to its teachings is that members must build the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. And that starts with turning the United States into a Christian state.

The movement first met with some sympathy under the Presidency of Ronald Reagan.

At the 1980 Republican National Convention, attended by some 17,000 evangelical Christians, Ronald Reagan famously declared: “I know you can’t endorse me, but … I want you to know I endorse you and what you are doing.”

Reagan won in a landslide, primarily attributed to a ‘Moral Majority’. And his governance has since been called ‘the God strategy’ after evangelicals were appointed as Secretary of the Interior, Surgeon General and to the Department of Education.

But, under the Bush Republican presidencies, evangelical influence waned.

The Seven Mountains movement’s leaders felt they had been betrayed. Despite encouraging words during their campaigns, Presidents George H. Bush and George W. Bush just did not follow up with the desired appointments.

President Trump, however, represents a new opportunity: an opportunity that has been delivering.

US President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with people who loudly profess their faiths. Picture: AFP

US President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with people who loudly profess their faiths. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

THE KING CYRUS FACTOR

The Seven Mountains movement experienced something of a revival in the early 2000s under evangelist Lance P. Wallnau and political activist David Barton.

Wallnau is one of the theology’s most vocal prophets. He is a forceful advocate of the need to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’.

But, now that only a few remote tribes in South America’s Amazon and the Bay of Bengal’s the Andaman Islands have not been ministered to, Wallnau is endorsing a broader interpretation of the passage. He sees it as an instruction to inject his version of Christianity into the way societies are run.

And President Trump is the vessel for such change.

Wallnau has declared Trump has a ‘Cyrus anointing’ upon him — a reference to the ancient Persian King Cyrus who, despite being no friend of Israel, defeated the Babylonians and set that nation free. Cyrus was therefore blessed by God for doing his work.

In the modern context, the ‘anointing’ of Trump means evangelical Christians can also set their religion ‘free’.

To that end, Wallnau boasted to fellow evangelical leader David Barton that he had ‘ninja sheep’ working with activists, politicians — and members of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team.

Seven Mountains advocates say they have infiltrated government with their ‘ninja sheep’ and ‘underground’ agents. Picture: AFP

Seven Mountains advocates say they have infiltrated government with their ‘ninja sheep’ and ‘underground’ agents. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

OF ‘NINJA SHEEP’ AND ‘UNDERGROUND’ AGENTS

Wallnau asserts Satan is in control of academia, entertainment, politics and business: “Our real enemies are the ones that are shaping laws, shaping media, and shaping the next generation.”

To fight them, he’s promoting what he calls the ‘7M Underground’ — an affiliation of producers, directors, attorneys, politicians and economists.

“We should be moving to the top of these mountains,” Wallnau said. “Christians are called to go into proximity to the gates of hell. That’s why they’re showing up in government. They should be showing up in journalism …

“I’m working with believers that I call ninja sheep — those are believers that are actual believers but have to maintain discretion with their public profile.

“And what we want to do is we want to reinstall a culture that honours God and that revives again a morality that’s essential to the survival of America as a Christian-influenced nation.

“So the underground is where we meet and we basically have now mobilised nationwide believers to intercede pray and be informed and then show up at the decisive flashpoints in culture where there can be a presence behind what Trump’s assignment is. So it’s pretty exciting.”

Barton seized upon the Seven Mountains as the logical outcome of his controversial (but incorrect) belief that the Founding Fathers of the United States were all born-again Christians. This means, he says, that the Constitution should be interpreted through Christian — not secular — eyes. This can be done through the Seven Mountains.

“ … those are the seven areas you have to have, and if you can have those seven areas, you can shape and control whatever takes place in nations, continents, and even the world,” Barton said in a 2011 radio interview. “Now that’s what we believed all along is you got to get involved in this stuff. Jesus said ‘you occupy ‘til I come.’ We don’t care when he comes, that’s up to him. What we’re supposed to do is take the culture in the meantime, and you got to get involved in these seven areas.”

President Trump greets preachers at a recent formal dinner held for evangelical leaders. Picture: AP

President Trump greets preachers at a recent formal dinner held for evangelical leaders. Picture: APSource:Supplied

‘TAKE BACK THE COUNTRY FOR CHRIST’

Separation of Church and State is enshrined in the US Constitution. Though this has always been an intense arena of dispute.

It’s intended to prevent the repeat of the crises many fled during the founding of the United States: combinations of individual churches and states that oppressed other faiths.

The Constitution itself specifies “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States”.

The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Seven Mountains and Dominionist evangelicals don’t see this as a problem. The United States is a Christian country, founded by Christians, they argue, so the Constitution should be interpreted through a Christian perspective. The Country’s motto is ‘In God We Trust’, after all.

“We realised that it only takes 3-5 per cent of a leadership operating at the top of a cultural mountain to shift the culture’s view of an issue,” the promotional page of an upcoming 7 Mountains ‘International Culture Shapers Summit’ declares. http://www.7culturalmountains.org/

Under Trump, they’ve been getting more than that.

His Vice President, Michael Pence, is an outspoken evangelical. The former conservative talkback radio host has even been declared a ‘covenant man’ — putting him alongside the likes of Moses, Jacob and Noah — for his apparent obedience to God in a corrupt and sinful political arena.

Trump’s new Attorney-General, Matthew Whitaker, once proposed banning non-religious people from being appointed to the judiciary. He also said judges needed a ‘biblical view of justice’: “What I know is that as long as they have that worldview, that they’ll be a good judge. And if they have a secular worldview, that ‘this is all we have here on Earth’, then I’m going to be very concerned about how they judge.”

The President regularly trumpets the Christian character of his cabinet.

His first Chief-of-Staff, the since-sacked Reince Priebus, was a devout member of the Greek Orthodox Church. Ousted Adviser Steve Bannon came from an Irish-Catholic background, as did disgraced National Security chief General Michael Flynn. Former Attorney-General Jeff Sessions is a Methodist, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is Presbyterian. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos belongs to the Christian Reformed denomination. Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was born into a Sikh family but converted to Christianity and now attends a Methodist congregation.

That’s just a sampler.

But Trump’s even given an evangelical group open access to the White House — Capitol Ministries — to conduct bible study groups.

This is why — despite the never-ending cloud of controversy surrounding the president — his support among evangelical leaders has remained steadfast.

An American flag waves outside the United States Capitol building. The debate about the separation of church and state is heating up. Picture: AFP

An American flag waves outside the United States Capitol building. The debate about the separation of church and state is heating up. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

Charismatic, Pentecostal and Evangelical Christians are among President Trump’s most devoted supporters. And he knows this.

He won 81 per cent of their vote in 2016. A poll published shortly before the 2018 midterm elections by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 72 per cent of white evangelical Protestants still had a favourable opinion of him.

And Trump continues to tell them what they want to hear.

In a closed-door meeting with more than 100 evangelical leaders in August, President Trump said he had repealed a law preventing them from preaching politics from the pulpit. He hadn’t, though it is something he sometimes talks about.

He also said he had dismissed a law that prevents US religious and other tax-exempt institutions from endorsing political candidates. He hadn’t, though he has signed an executive order smoothing the way for religious groups to engage in politics.

It was enough to motivate the religiously conservative groups focused on abortion rights, a conservative majority in the Supreme Court, and support for Israel, to back his midterm election campaigns.

But US progressive churchgoers are increasingly bristling at Trump’s brash character, and divisive approach to race, immigration and women.

They’ve started to push back.

Among those raising their voice in opposition is Anglican bishop Michael Curry, who officiated at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. He’s pushing a manifesto — Reclaiming Jesus — and warning of a “dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches”.

The manifesto rejects white nationalism, calls out political exploitation of racial bigotry, denounces misogyny and sexual misconduct, defends immigrants and refugees — and advocates renewed focus on the poor.

“Representatives of Christianity were buying into political agendas that very often do not reflect the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth,” Bishop Curry said.

But the religious right is showing little sign of being moved.

And Trump’s keen to keep them on side.

Elections, he warned, were “a referendum on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment.”

“We’re going to protect Christianity,” Trump declared. “I can say that. I don’t have to be politically correct.”

Trump’s Terrible Year

Trump’s Terrible Year

A Christian Nationalist Blitz

the mission has little to do with what most Americans would call religious freedom. This is just the latest attempt by religious extremists to use the coercive powers of government to secure a privileged position in society for their version of Christianity.

.. The idea behind Project Blitz is to overwhelm state legislatures with bills based on centrally manufactured legislation. “It’s kind of like whack-a-mole for the other side; it’ll drive ‘em crazy that they’ll have to divide their resources out in opposing this,” David Barton

.. more than 70 bills before state legislatures appear to be based on Project Blitz templates or have similar objectives.

..  allows adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate on the basis of their own religious beliefs. Others, such as a Minnesota bill that would allow public schools to post “In God We Trust” signs on their walls

.. The first category consists of symbolic gestures, like resolutions to emblazon the motto “In God We Trust” on as many moving objects as possible (like, say, police cars).

Critics of such symbolic gestures often argue that they act as gateways to more extensive forms of state involvement in religion. It turns out that the Christian right agrees with them.

“They’re going to be things that people yell at, but they will help move the ball down the court,” Mr. Barton said in the conference call.