Friday, August 28, 2015

Trump And The Hypocrisy Of The "Religious" Right

Sarah Posner writes in Religion Dispatches of the fascination for blowhard bigot Donald "Rump" Trump on the "religious" right:
Give Trump credit for one thing: exposing, in plain view, that much of the religious right is driven more by politics than by religion; that is, more by mythology than theology. The usual demands that candidates pledge their fealty to the Bible, to the Christian nation, to the idea that America is in decline because of secularism have been suspended for Trump. That’s befuddling many observers. But the Trump phenomenon exposes how the piety test is often a proxy for other, irreligious motives.
The New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, for one, was shocked by evangelicals whose support of Trump is antithetical to the sacred text they claim is the foundation of our country. As historian Kevin Kruse points out, though, the fact that Ronald Reagan was a divorced non-church-goer who once supported abortion rights didn’t stop evangelicals from supporting him, either.  (our emphasis)
One such prominent pharisee is the smarmy David Brody of CBN.  Ed Kilgore notes Brody's reaction to Rump's handling of Jorge Ramos recently:
That’s what voters want. They want a fighter. They want someone who is going to dish it back to agenda-setting reporters. You see, when it comes to the liberal mainstream media, conservative voters hold a true disdain for the lot of them but they don’t feel they have the power or bully pulpit to fight back against them. Trump is their bully pulpit. Trump is their voice. And that my friends, is the magic of Trump.
"Bully pulpit," indeed (and not in the Teddy Roosevelt sense).  So...  Christ- like!  Also, only the most delusional or meretricious fool (o.k., Brody) would detect a "liberal mainstream media."

The key point Posner makes is that the "religious" right isn't so much motivated by religion or religious precepts.  It's more of the same politics of inchoate grievance (Brody: "they don't feel they have the power or bully pulpit to fight back").  Rump pleases many of them because he is their angry id coming out in the most direct, hateful manner, always punching down at the less fortunate.  Unlike those one would normally expect to be the favorites of the "religious" right like Mike "Huckster" Huckabee, Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum, or even Ben "On Meds?" Carson, the very worldly Rump more satisfyingly broadcasts their hardly Christian, irrational anger over "those people" who are changing the face of America. 

BONUS:  Rump apparently hasn't cracked his self-proclaimed favorite book, the Bible.  To interviewers he says, "The Bible means a lot to me but I don't want to get into specifics."  That dodge spawned a few mocking tweets.

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