Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

As Washington sat transfixed before the image of former FBI Director James Comey spilling some beans on the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump went to work. An expert in creating crises, Trump is not the kind to let his handiwork go to waste.

At a conference of mostly evangelical Christians convened in Washington, DC, by Republican political operative Ralph Reed, Trump reminded attendees of the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual Road to Majority conference of their agenda and his. If he made any reference to the drama unfolding before the Senate Intelligence Committee, it was this: “As you know, we’re under siege; you understand that,” the president said. “But we will come out bigger, better and stronger than ever — you watch.”

Expressing his appreciation to members of the Faith and Freedom Coalition for their work on his behalf during the 2016 presidential race, Trump cited some 22 million pieces of mail sent, 16 million videos shared, 10 million phone calls made and 1.2 million doors knocked on “in the key battleground states.” He quoted the Book of Isaiah from the teleprompter.

He went on to recount what he had already delivered for his religious supporters: a drastic reduction in illegal crossings on the southern border; the appointment of Neil Gorsuch, a foe of abortion rights, to the Supreme Court; an “executive action” on religious freedom, a withdrawal of aid to overseas humanitarian groups that dare to speak of abortion, and withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. That last one elicited a raucous and sustained cheer from the assembled, seeing as how its very name combines two mutually repugnant ideas: the fact of climate change and a city in which people speak French.

Without naming it as such, Trump noted the leaked draft of a rule revision, dated May 27, under consideration at the Department of Health and Human Services that would appear to definitively permit religious orders that run hospitals and social service agencies to flout the current mandate that employer-provided health insurance include coverage for prescription contraceptives. “The Little Sisters of the Poor,” Trump said, referring to a Catholic religious order that brought a lawsuit against the Obama administration that challenged the mandate, had just won big with his executive actions on behalf of “religious freedom.” The president pointed at two nuns in the audience. “Stand up,” he instructed them. “You don’t mess with the Little Sisters,” he quipped. Never mind that the nuns obediently standing were from an entirely different order (the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist); they were old women in habits. They would do. The optics worked.

He went on at length to describe his instruction to the IRS to refrain from investigating houses of worship for political activity that would threaten their non-profit status as an unleashing of free speech from the pulpits of the nation.

The audience then received an accounting of the agenda yet to be undertaken—the part that requires legislation by Congress. Trump came to Road to Majority to set its army of socially conservative, mostly white churchgoers to work on Capitol Hill, lobbying senators and members of the House, as many groups do during national conference. But few get their marching orders directly from the president, even if not said in so many words.

First on the president’s list was the health care bill that is currently stalled in the Senate.

“Restoring freedom and opportunity also means repealing and replacing the disaster—known as—” He put his hand to is ear.

“Obamacare!” the crowd shouted.

“That was easy,” Trump replied. “Something—I hope great—is going to come out through [Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell in the Senate.”

The next big item was tax reform—“the biggest tax cut ever,” he said. But sadly, Trump added, they would have to pass each of these measures without a single Democratic vote, because Democrats are obstructionists who are “bad, right now, for the country.”

“The entrenched interests and failed bitter voices in Washington will do everything in their power to try and stop us from this righteous cause—to try to stop all of you,” Trump said. “They will lie, they will obstruct, they will spread their hatred and their prejudice, but we will not back down from doing what is right. Because, as the Bible tells us, we know that the truth will prevail, that God’s glorious wisdom will shine through, and that the good and decent people of this country will get the change they voted for, and that they so richly deserve.”

He patted himself on the back for deporting people he deemed “gang members” and “drug dealers,” and characterized his “summit” with Saudi leaders as a blow against global terrorism.

He made a call for unity, noting that “whether we are black, brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood.”

In America, he said, “we don’t worship government; we worship God.”

The speech, delivered at the conference luncheon, was well-received. Afterward, attendees boarded busses headed for the Capitol—the Senate’s Dirksen Office Building, to be exact. There they would be treated to a town hall-style meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republican lawmakers. The meeting was closed to the press.

Once it concluded, members of the group would lobby the senators from their respective states.

Milling outside the hearing room where the town hall would take place, Rebecca Clutter, a woman who looked to be in her 50s or 60s, offered her assessment of the president’s speech. “[I]t was amazing and awesome and it hit all the points,” said Clutter, who had traveled to Washington from Ohio, where she had knocked on doors during the campaign under the aegis of Women for Trump.

Casey Matta, a student at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, also loved the president’s speech, naming as his favorite points Trump’s anti-abortion rhetoric and “something about the Paris [climate accord].”

Asked how the US withdrawal from the climate accord agreement fit in with the religious purpose of the Faith and Freedom Coalition event, Matta thought a minute. “Well, I think it’s like a Republican religious convention so when he brings that kind of stuff for conservatives … I agree with that.”

What did he make of the probe of Russian meddling in the US election, and contacts between Trump campaign figures and Russian officials? Matta said he didn’t believe that Russia had intervened in the election. By his lights, it was all a put-up job by Democrats.

“I think [Trump] definitely is being targeted, with the Democrats and everything. I mean, they need to cool it,” he said. “Give him some time to worry about what he’s got to worry about now.”

Right now, Trump is worrying about, among other things, getting a legislative win. And Casey Matta, Rebecca Clutter, and hundreds of others came to the nation’s capital to help him get it, all in the name of God.

Adele M. Stan is a weekly columnist for The American Prospect. Follow her on Twitter @addiestan.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

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23 responses to “Trump Brings Out The Bible For Faith And Freedom”

  1. dbtheonly says:

    trump plays to his base while trying to distract from the Comey testimony.

    What makes any of these pious people believe that trump won’t sell them out when convenient?

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    • dpaano says:

      They’re idiots and they’ve been totally brainwashed not only by their church, but by this pretender to the throne of the presidency!!!

  2. dtgraham says:

    I’m still trying to figure out the attraction of Trump to the evangelicals. Was it the hiring of Russian hookers to pee on each other, or the mocking of a disabled reporter, or the groping women comments, or urging his supporters to physically “knock the crap” out of his political opponents, or being proven guilty in court of lying and defrauding Trump U students? There are so many options.

    The right-wing evangelical churches must like Trump because he also spreads lies, suppresses the truth, owns plenty of land, supports cruel political policies, and dodges taxes. That’s all I can figure. Maybe they were also impressed when Donald told them that God may have created the world in 7 days, but it would have only taken him 4 or 5.

    Like I recently told one right-wing poster, Trump’s supporters may regret it when he changes “in God we trust” on the money to, “grab them by the pu$$y.” Then again, probably not.

    Remember, when you suffer from extreme religious hypocrisy, ask your doctor about Covfefe. Covfefe — for when you have faith, but nobody knows why.

    • delete your account probably says:

      Maybe you shouldn’t have helped him win then, self-righteous racist dude.

      • dbtheonly says:

        One of these days we need to sit down & figure out to what extent we can dismiss those to the left of us & still have a reasonable shot at winning elections.

        What’s past is past and we need to move on. Together.

        • delete your account probably says:

          How is this guy – a racist stalker that STILL posts Clinton Cash conspiracy theories – “to the left” of me, or anyone else?

          • dbtheonly says:

            Reading dt’s posts. It’s apparent to me that he’s rather to the left of both of us. Clinton’s “Corporate Whoredom” was use daily by both TPR and TPL.

            As we watch the Republicans fracture into immobility; I don’t want to see the same thing happen to the Democrats.

          • delete your account probably says:

            Again, racist authoritarians who willingly spread right-wing smears that they know are not true ARE NOT IN ANY SENSE LEFTISTS.

            In addition, there’s NO FREAKING WAY that I am going to let someone be racist just because of their supposed politics. Jesus Christ.

          • dbtheonly says:

            Did you see Trump’s Cabinet meeting today? Were they speaking of Trump or Kim Jong Un?

            I kept waiting for the SNL lead in.

            Never saw dt being racist, but I haven’t followed all your run ins.

        • delete your account probably says:

          I’m also not particularly interested in normalizing racism, but thanks for the advice.

  3. Lynda Groom says:

    Trumps wants a legislative win. Which is more import just getting a win, or getting one that is correct?

  4. bojimbo26 says:

    Well , the Orange Blob IS a born again Christian ( when there are votes involved ) .

    • dpaano says:

      He had the read the scripture part of his speech from a teleprompter because he screwed up the last time with “two Corinthians.”

  5. harleyblueswoman says:

    the Pope has a much different tune than Trump….why are the Catholics not listening to him instead of Trump???? Why are they so blinded by this dude? Actions speak louder than words….Trump hasn’t done anything so far…just words on paper….false promises….the art of the con….um, deal…..

    • dbtheonly says:

      Politics has trumped religion for some 40 years now.

      The question of how Jesus would deal with modern society has also been the subject of much debate.

      I’ve asserted that Ayn Rand’s Libertarianism is the most anti-Christ philosophy out there. Several friends have agreed.

  6. rednekokie says:

    P. T. Barnum was absolutely correct. There’s a sucker born every minute. And these gullible fools certainly played into his hands. Stand by for the rebound — they won’t like it at all when it comes flying back to splat them right between the eyes.

  7. True to form, Trump seeks out anyone or any idea to further himself. Since when did Trump show an interest in Religion until now? Clearly, this overture in just a variation on what partisan politicians, especially among Right Wingers, will do in order to give the impression that they adhere to religious principles, when in reality it’s a tiresome ritual of using Religion to further one’s personal agenda, or group’s, when otherwise, Religion would be ignored.

    To put this manipulation of Religion to advance Trump’s self in perspective, we need to reflect on what Muhammad referred to as “Corruption of the Text”, as cited in the Qur’an 2:79.

    The verse is this: “So woe to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.”

    When Muhammad revealed this, He was reprimanding the early Christian and Jewish clerics in the Hijaz region who would sell interpretations of the Texts for a fee; Jesus had earlier chided the Jewish clerics in the marketplaces who would sell interpretations of the Talmudic texts for a fee. Later, the Muslims would incorrectly take this verse literally, thinking that the Jews and the Christians were practicing forgery by literally rewriting the Books. Baha’u’llah would correct this gross misconception of the Muslims in His “Kitab-i-Iqan”, in which He states that “Corruption of the Text refers NOT to rewriting the Books, but means to misinterpret, and misuse the Book(s) to advance one’s personal goals to gain an advantage over others.

    This is what Evangelicals, Jihadists, Muslim fanatical clerics, etc. have been doing, and are now doing—distorting Religion and its meaning and practice for political gain in the case with Trump’s gestures towards Christian clerics and groups in America.

  8. dpaano says:

    Trump, bringing God and the Bible into any conversation, is a joke! Jesus is probably rolling over wherever he might be right now! Trump and the evangelical Christians have so f….ked up the Bible and what it means that it’s not even funny any longer! As a Christian myself, they embarrass me with their total lack of compassion for people in third world countries by taking away birth control and pretty much “forcing” them to have more and more children who will end up dying from hunger and disease (another item that Trump has taken away from them with his cutting back on social programs)! Where does this come up in the Bible? I don’t remember seeing this anywhere, but I DO remember the part where Jesus kicks the money changers/lenders out of the marketplace!!! And I remember many parts of the Bible that preach that we need to have compassion for those who have less than us, and we need to step up and help others at all times. At least this is what I learned in church…..apparently, it’s not the same church that these idiots attend!!

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