'An amped-up War on Christmas': Why Trump's evangelical fans think God wants them to defy lockdowns
Many of President Donald Trump's evangelical Christian supporters believe that it is their God-given duty to defy lockdown orders during the coronavirus pandemic, as they believe obeying restrictions will result in the establishment of an anti-Christian dictatorship.
Daily Beast columnist Eleanor Clift writes that pandemic restrictions have become yet another heated culture war for evangelicals who distrust scientists and who believe it's part of a broader conspiracy to take away their religious freedom.
"This is an amped-up version of the War on Christmas theme that conservatives trot out every year," Clift explains. "Trump gave voice to it recently when he said without any evidence that Muslims celebrating Ramadan, which which begins on Thursday, would not be facing the same restrictions that Christians did on Easter."
In fact, notes Clift, Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Matt Staver this week compared Christians living under stay-at-home orders to Jews living in Nazi Germany.
"This happened before in history," he said. "We’ve seen people being targeted with a particular symbol that you have to wear. And then you get targeted with your business, you get terminated from your job, and eventually you get ghettoized."
Peter Montgomery, a senior fellow at People for the American Way, tells Clift that Trump-loving evangelicals see Trump's potential loss this fall as an existential threat to their livelihoods, and they want to do everything in their power to deflect attention from his bungling of the crisis.
"They’re concerned about this crisis and his mismanagement of it and they’re going to do everything they can to support his efforts to deflect attention from his failings, to smear his critics and shift blame to governors and elsewhere -- and re-elect the guy God put in charge for this moment," he said.