June 2019 Church & State Magazine | Editorial

The idea that President Donald Trump was ordained by God to run America is growing in popularity among some Religious Right leaders and Republican Party political operatives.

As noted elsewhere in this issue of Church & State, the concept of a divinely ordained Trump has been embraced by two of the president’s most vociferous evangelical defenders, Franklin Graham and Paula White. Lesser-known figures have also promoted it.

The idea is also popular among Trump’s inner political circle. In February, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s press secretary, told TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), “I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times, and I think that He wanted Donald Trump to become president. That’s why he’s there, and I think he has done a tremendous job in supporting a lot of the things that people of faith really care about.”

A few weeks after that, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo likened Trump to Queen Esther, a character from the Hebrew Bible.

Pompeo was asked by CBN correspondent Chris Mitchell, “Could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?”

Pompeo, who was visiting Israel at the time, replied, “As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible.” (The Esther story concerns a young woman who uses her beauty to gain power over a king and foil a plot by one of his advisers to slaughter the Jewish people.)

Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, is the latest to join the pack. On April 30 he tweeted, “There has never been and probably never will be a movement like this again. Only God could deliver such a savior to our nation, and only God could allow me to help. God bless America!”

The idea of Trump as God’s chosen leader probably alternately amuses and horrifies atheists, but the people it really ought to alarm are Christians. The claim verges on blasphemy.

It’s also dangerous. After all, if Trump is God’s vessel, how dare we mere mortals criticize him, his policies or his actions?

The phrase “God works in mysterious ways” is not found in the Bible. It’s apparently taken from a Christian hymn text written in 1773 by William Cowper called “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” Regardless of the phrase’s origins and its veracity, one thing should be pretty clear: A god who would anoint someone with the morals of Trump to be his representative isn’t just “mysterious.” It is offensive to believers and non-believers alike.