Evangelical scammers praise Trump for hastening the end of the world. Are they on to something?
Mother Jones reporter Stephanie Mencimer has produced a good read on the "End Times" evangelicals who support Donald Trump because they believe, truly and sincerely, that Donald Trump will bring about the end of the world and they are extremely looking forward to that. It's worth the read.
To be fair, a great many of us are convinced at this point that Donald Trump will bring about the end of the world. Fewer of us are pleased about this, but there has always, and we can underline that always, been a contingent of Christianity not too interested in the peace-and-love nonsense but extremely invested in the idea that God himself is going to come down and murder their neighbors outright while they, the Chosen Ones, sit back in heavenly recliners and laugh as they watch it all unfold. But there's a divide here, and one worth pointing out.
The "Left Behind" base may truly believe that the End of the World is Nigh. Preachers have been screaming that one since before there was a word for "preaching," and the market for it has been high in every culture and on every continent. In the United States the "End Times" movement has been confidently predicting the end of the world was at hand for our entire lifetimes. For as long as post-WWII Israel has existed, a subset of American "evangelicals" (cough) has been giddy over the prospect of the Middle East finally once and for all getting absolutely leveled by war because that means, they believe, Jesus would be coming to kick some non-evangelical ass.
“They don’t necessarily want violence, but they’re eager for Christ to return and they think that this war with Iran and Israel has to happen for their larger hope to pass,” a religious historian tells Mencimer. That's being very, very charitable: It doesn't take long to find, on the internets, American religious zealots who absolutely want violence, and are looking forward to the violence, and are so excited over the bloody cleansing of the not-them that they are forever circulating photoshops of nuclear bombs and Jesus flying in on a heavenly hovercraft and the rest. They want it. They need it.
But that's not quite the crowd that Trump is surrounding himself with, as he hoovers up far-far-right evangelical leaders and poses for laying-of-hands-on meetings with the class of God-lovers who own their own "church" jets. Trump does not give a flying damn about evangelicalism, or the End of the World, or be able to tell you the difference between Gog, Magog, and eggnog, but he does understand grifters, con artists, tax cheats, and transactionalism.
If the crookedest, most dishonest supposed "preachers" in America want to shake his hand and sing his praises to rooms of the, quite literally, most gullible people in America, by God he is up for as much of that as they can fling his way.
So there's a disparity here. To be sure, other Republican leaders have given at least lip service to End Times "theology," as practiced by people with books to sell and whose sermons come with 1-800 numbers to most efficiently separate out who is getting into heaven and who is a dirty filthy pagan. Some Republicans may genuine believe it, the far larger majority is playing to a crowd. But Trump neither knows the details of evangelical schisms nor gives a flying carob-coated damn; as a malignant narcissist, Trump requires only praise and attention, and is willing to dispense out only whatever best gets him that praise and attention.
He's surrounded himself with End Times grifters because End Times grifters are the people who are most eager to sell themselves to him. He'll listen to anyone about bombing anything if the requester has something to offer him.
It's a good read, and a reminder that everything is terrible in every possible way and that the comparisons of conservatism and cult cut considerably closer to the bone than most of the press is willing to grapple with. At its heart, though, it remains a story of insincerity, organized fraud, and grifting. To that crowd, Trump must really look like their Chosen One.