[Disclosure – My religious upbringing was mostly conservative evangelical in theology and doctrine. As explained in other blog posts, my inclinations now lean much more liberal in worldview and political affiliation. Due to exposure to both right and left perspectives, I think I have become more circumspect and discerning in identifying where each has valid points. As in most conflicts between extreme views, the closest to “truth” in practical terms seems to be toward the middle of the spectrum. Even though I have personal biases which slant my tome, hopefully this series of posts will be relatively neutral in conclusions.]
Maybe my personal growth and exploration of alternate world view are responsible, but in the last few years the conservative and fundamentalist views seem far more extreme and self-defeating when applied to the challenges of modern life than I recollect from earlier years. American society seems even more polarized now than what I remember from childhood in the 1960’s and 1970’s, which included times of great turmoil and violence. Church groups that I was exposed to at that time often condemned these demonstrations of civil unrest as examples of unrestrained evil forces that predicted the end of the human race or at least civilization as we know it. There was also a climate of fear that was supported by constantly changing conspiracies about the evil secular forces that would impose the forced denial of cherished beliefs and persecution of believers. The hope of the faithful was the return of the Messiah and establishment of the Law of God (by force) on a new earth. (Apparently the irony that God was expected to use force to establish His Kingdom in the same way as the forces of evil were trying to do on this earth was seldom noticed.)
This fearful view of the end of times has become even more mainstream over time and has become entrenched in certain political agendas as well. Personally, I don’t believe this apocalyptic vision is genuinely embraced by most conservative politicians (who only espouse this world view to accommodate their constituents). It seems more likely to be a useful message for populist appeal rather than an intentional legislative agenda. In fact the actual legislation proposed and supported by conservative politicians (working in tandem with leaders of the religious right) is usually detrimental to the long term interests of their working class supporters. Of course, if many of their voters are not expecting this earth to last very long, then the long term is not a priority, so a short term (self-interested) political agenda can prevail.
The power of the political right, the religious right and ideological right coalition have been clearly demonstrated in the 2016 elections. Even knowing what I do about the religious right, it still is nearly incomprehensible to me that Christian relatives and fellow church goers who are generally intelligent, educated and moral people can embrace a President who is mostly reprobate in moral standards and actions. Of course in the 2012 election many of these same people supported a candidate from a religious faith that has been considered heretical to mainstream Christianity for as long as it has existed. So political expediency is not new for Christians once they are seduced by the possibility of political power.
There is another factor that I had not fully appreciated until mentioned by church friends, which is an alleged prophecy about the promise that God had chosen and would use the current President as a force for good in society. This promise was made credible, despite the obvious deficiencies of the man, by the prediction that God was able to turn his heart in a direction that would benefit our country in general and Christians in particular. This made opposition to the President on moral or political grounds equivalent to opposition to God’s chosen authority and therefore God himself.
Since this idea has become widespread, it fully explains why Christians who believed this prophetic message was from God would continue to support such a despicable human being as the leader of the free world. They have such confidence in God’s ability to save the human soul and transform the heart that they hold onto this earnest hope (against all evidence to the contrary) for the President. The outcome they expect is that when such a sinner is redeemed and transformed, God will get the glory for this miraculous event. The secondary benefit would be an advocate for their causes at the head of the US Government who would help usher in the Kingdom of God on earth.
While in years past this hope would have been a great comfort, it is now a frightening prospect. Having a good, just and free society led by good Christians seemed like a great idea. That is until I spent several years reading about the history of the idea of Biblical Law as the basis of civil law and justice as well as religious and secular leaders who now promote this position. When similar plans have been enacted in the past, the result has not been peace prosperity, tolerance and individual liberty as promised. Instead there was intolerance, repression, persecution of perceived enemies and loss of freedoms, which is exactly what the founders of this nation recognized. Once the religious groups gained power, the battle for dominance merely shifted from religious versus secular governance to turf wars between competing religious sects who wanted laws that would favor their group over all others. The establishment clause in the US Constitution was intended to prevent religious dominance over secular freedoms. With the example of suppression and intolerance of alternate beliefs that had been imposed under Roman Catholicism and the Church of England, they were very aware of what this clause intended to prevent.
Even some of the Christian prophecies alleged to support this President seem to predict the disastrous domination of narrow political and religious interests, which many nonreligious and liberal religious groups find very disturbing. And so do I…
While investigating the origins of some of the popular prophecy stories, I found some interesting information about prophecies related to President Obama as well, many from the right wing religious prophecy groups. Many of these did not happen by the way. Another post in this series will be delve into the large number and accuracy of the various Obama prophecies.
But the other take-away was the variety of Trump prophecies from various perspectives. In addition to Christian prophecies, there are prophecies thought to be supported by the Quran, by Jewish prophetic writings, by predictions of sociologists, political analysts, and even cartoonists. Quite a few of the right wing Christian prophecies portray Trump’s election as positive, while Muslims and Jews see this presidency as the event that precipitates the end of the world. Most secular predictions are not very positive either. It will certainly be interesting to see in the next four years which groups got it right!
Since this post is longer than expected, I’ll give links to referenced prophecies below as a preview, then comment further in the next post in the series.
Links to other articles in this series:
(To be added as completed.)
References to Trump Election in 2016
- Is Trump fulfilling Quranic prophecy? <http://religionnews.com/2017/01/31/is-trump-fulfilling-quranic-prophesy/>
- Jewish prophecy: Will Nova KIC 9832227 in 2022 herald the arrival of the messiah?
- 2017 Predictions: Nostradamus’ Prophecy for The Donald Trump Assassination, World War 3, and The Bible’S Antichrist End Times
- April 4, 2007 – <Redding, CA https://www.kimclement.com/prophecyview.php?id=11&search=> This is the original Kim Clement prophecy transcript.
- Mind Blowing 2011 Prophecy Details Out Trump as Next President and Much More <http://endtimesbeacon.com/mind-blowing-2011-prophecy-details-trump-next-president-much/>
- That Kim Clement “Trump Prophecy” <http://barthsnotes.com/2017/01/13/that-kim-clement-trump-prophecy/>
- How an obscure adviser to Pat Buchanan predicted the wild Trump campaign in 1996 <http://theweek.com/articles/599577/how-obscure-adviser-pat-buchanan-predicted-wild-trump-campaign-1996>
- Simpsons writer says President Trump episode was ‘warning to US’ <https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/mar/17/simpsons-president-trump-prediction-was-meant-as-warning-to-us>
- [02-06-2017] Spelling correction last sentence in paragraph six (“the” to “that”).