Rude awakening for MAGA evangelicals

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As many of you know by now, I went down the evangelical road when I was a teenager and stayed there until my late twenties. From there I swung to virulent atheism for a while. The pendulum finally came to a rest at agnosticism. I just don’t know. Having studied physics and mathematics in college, I acknowledge that there is a magnificent beauty and subtlety to the universe that sometimes suggests to me a vast intelligence behind it all. If I could be said to have a religion it would be of the Einstein variety, a sort of awestruck deism, where I am willing to acknowledge that God started things but after that stayed completely out of human affairs.

That’s why it’s Sunday morning (as I write this) and I’m staying home. Just like convicted felon Donald Trump. I won’t be going to church and neither will he. But unlike Trump I’m honest about my philosophical underpinnings. Trump is not. Trump claims to be a Christian. Trump is in fact an atheist, and a recent Fox & Friends interview threw that disparity into sharp relief.

“What’s your relationship with God like, and how do you pray?” a viewer from Alabama wanted to know. “Okay, I think it’s good,” Trump began, “I do very well with the evangelicals — I love the evangelicals — and I have more people saying they pray for me. I can’t even believe it.” And so on. The usual Trump Gallop of word salad bullshit followed. I ended that particular quote with the revealing phrase, “I can’t even believe it.” Because he can’t.

It comes as no surprise to me that most evangelical supporters of Trump believe he’s a Christian. In my day, I was witness to fellow evangelicals who believed dumber things than that — but not by much. In their simple stupidity many of today’s evangelicals think Trump is a Christian because they desperately need him to be one. Besides, he says he is, more or less, and in their protected little worldview they actually think the convicted felon never lies.

In his memoir “Disloyal,” Michael Cohen tells a story of a time during the 2016 presidential campaign when Trump was visited by a contingent of evangelicals. After they “laid hands” on Trump, prayed for him and left, Trump turned to Cohen and said, “I can’t believe they actually believe that bullshit.”

Like I said, Trump is an atheist. The only time he’s ever inside a church is for political reasons, though I can’t think of a single time he ever did even that. I do recall the famous photo op with an upside down Bible he struck outside a church across from the White House in Lafayette Square, after having George Floyd protesters gassed and kicked away by the national guard.

Sundays are long run days for me, just as they are golf days for Trump. It doesn’t matter if you agree with his atheism or not. You tell the truth about it, I tell the truth about it, Trump lies.

I wonder what evangelicals would do if they knew — I mean REALLY knew — that convicted felon Donald Trump is an atheist. I suspect the answer is that most of them would go ahead and vote for him anyway. They would say that God can “still work through him.” They would have hope that one day he would see the Light. They would continue to pray for him.

I know their fantasy world from experience. I know that evangelicals never let reality get in the way of their delusions. That’s the intractable ignorance we face, and the only way to defeat them is at the polls. If there is a God, maybe just this once he’ll make an exception and help us out. Against ignorance like that we need all the help we can get. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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