FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fake News? Or Fake Faith?

A scrutinizing media is President Trump’s greatest threat because he is a documented pathological liar who has much to hide.  One would think that the demand for transparency also would come from one’s god, as religion requires soul-searching.  But Trump says he has “a great relationship with God,” and also “with evangelicals,” and has little need for forgiveness.  (“Trump on God: ‘Hopefully I won’t have to be asking for much forgiveness,’ “ By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, June8, 2016)  So no demand for soul-searching from God or most evangelical Christians.

In fact, President Trump has fostered a symbiotic-like relationship with many white evangelical Christians especially, which is authoritarian in nature.  He is their “great White hope,” promising bans, barriers, bombs and bargains to make “America First” again – for them.  Finally, a strong white leader, who is not “politically correct” who tells it like it is, i.e., like “it” was for them and should be again.  “It” is authoritarian: seen in their unreflective, enthusiastic support of Trump’s verbal aggression against protestors and critics and countries, his lies about the (black) president he succeeded, his stereotyping of whole groups of people as The Other, his narcissistic anti-introspective self-adulation, and his ethnocentric promises to restore America’s greatness and superiority.

President Trump and his supporters are bonded.  Together in what often appears to be a symbiotic relationship.  With Trump falsely promising them great jobs, wonderful healthcare for everyone and “winning,” enthralling his audiences.  Spinning lies about himself and others that have become applause lines.  Branding his opponents with abusive name-calling to the delight of his supporters.  Spouting “politically correct” patriotic pronouncements about “American first” and its greatness that brings his supporters to their feet, clapping and roaring in unison.  Telling his base whom to hate, especially the media, with audiences, responding in lockstep, gleefully “booing” and “hissing” those reporters present.

President Trump’s symbiotic embrace of his base is revealed in a televised news conference in which he called the major media “the enemy of the American people” because of the media’s “dishonesty,” which “is out of control.”  Proof is when he watches television or reads newspapers and sees only “chaos” being reported.  But he knows that “this administration is running a fine tuned machine.”  (“Trump calls the media ‘the enemy of the American people,’ “ By Jenna Johnson and Matea Gold, The Washington Post, Feb. 17, 2017) So don’t believe all the “fake news” the media are falsely spouting about his “machine.”

Actually, the “machine” backfired early on when national security advisor Michael T. Flynn was fired for lying to Vice President Pence about having a conversation with the Russian ambassador regarding U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia for meddling in the presidential election in support of Trump.  The “machine” continues to sputter in its attempts to replace Obamacare with, in Trump’s words, “a great health care plan” – a plan that is actually the real enemy of millions of the American people.  And the “machine” is now stalled, with emails disclosing Donald Trump, Jr. saying, “I love it” when a Russian government representative offered to share “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. (“Russian Dirt on Clinton?  ‘I Love It,’ Donald Trump Jr. Said,” By Jo Becker, Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, The New York Times, July 11, 2017)

These malfunctions demanded the “machine” receive additional religious tune-up.  Thus President Trump spoke at a Fourth of July Weekend faith and freedom rally, thrilling his evangelical supporters in declaring that America worships God and not the government, and that he is taking the power seized by Washington and giving it back to the people, and reminding his devoted audience that “the fake news tried to stop us from going to the White House,” and failed. (“ ‘I’m President and They’re Not’: Trump Attacks Media at Faith Rally,” By Michael Shear, The New York Times, July 1, 2017)

In addition, evangelical Christian leaders have come to President Trump’s rescue.  They responded to his invitation to join him in the Oval Office for prayer.  Thus we have photographs of faith leaders encircling Trump in prayer, with their hands on his shoulders and his head bowed.  What better way to transcend the catching of his son’s hand in Russia’s cookie jar than by surrounding himself in prayer with godly people.  As Johnnie Moore, one of the faith leaders present, said about the president: “He was as strong and focused as I have ever seen him.  He was entirely above the fray.” (“Trump seen bowing in prayer during Oval Office session,” By Dan Merica and Kevin Liptak, CNNPolitics.com, July 13, 2017)

Johnnie Moore, “a former senior vice president” at large evangelical Liberty University, was also quoted as saying about the evangelicals praying with President Trump: “We similarly prayed for President Obama but it is different with President Trump.  When we prayed for President Trump, we are praying within the context of a real relationship, of true friendship.” (Ibid)  Moore is not quoted as saying what he meant by “the context”.  Did it have anything to do with color?

Power is corrupting, as is access to power.  The evangelical Christian leaders’ blessing of a psychopathic president with Divine legitimacy is enough to lead one to ask, “Fake news”?  Or fake faith?

In time, reality and moral truth will catch up with President Trump and his administration.  Sadly, it will take the suffering he and his administration will inflict on many that will force them – and others – to confront his false promises, delusions of grandeur, pathological lies and destructive impulsivity.  In time, the evangelistic Christians’ “Faustian bargain” with Trump – giving up their moral integrity in exchange for his appointment of a pro-life Supreme Court Justice and his promise of “religious freedom” to discriminate against LGBTQ persons – will come back to haunt them and many other Americans.  Jesus’ warning is timely here: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothes, but inwardly are ferocious wolves.  You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7: 15-17)

Scrutiny is the critical mission of the media in the service of democracy.  Similarly, soul-searching is a major emphasis of religious faith.  Self-scrutiny that leads to integrated self-understanding, which, rather than casting the first stone, enables people to open their hands in empathy and solidarity.

More articles by:

Rev. William E. Alberts, Ph.D., a former hospital chaplain at Boston Medical Center, is both a Unitarian Universalist and United Methodist minister. His new book, The Counterpunching Minister (who couldn’t be “preyed” away) is now published and available on Amazon.com. The book’s Foreword, Drawing the Line, is written by Counterpunch editor, Jeffrey St. Clair. Alberts is also author of A Hospital Chaplain at the Crossroads of Humanity, which “demonstrates what top-notch pastoral care looks like, feels like, maybe even smells like,” states the review in the Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling. His e-mail address is wm.alberts@gmail.com.

September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail