Half of evangelicals think Trump is anointed by God

27 May 2020

(Credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

The belief that President Trump is “anointed by God” has increased considerably among church goers, and now stands at 49.5%. The data has been presented by professors Paul Djupe and Ryan Burge in a new report titled “Trump the Anointed?” that was published by Religion in Public.

“We were quite surprised by the result that 49 percent of those frequently attending worship services believed that Trump was anointed by God to be president,” Djupe and Burge told Fox News in an interview.

Religion in Public reports:

Last fall, we wrote about the extent to which white Protestants believed Donald Trump was anointed by God to be president of the United States. Just 21% believed this, but evangelicals were more likely to believe it (29%), and pentecostals were the most likely (53%). This belief didn’t come out of nowhere, it was making the rounds of conservative media, with figures such as Rick Perry suggesting that Trump is “the chosen one,” a label Trump embraced and used (while pointing toward the clouds) in an August 2019 presser. Others used variations on the theme; he was compared to King Cyrus; “God was behind the last election;” and Trump is the “King of Israel,” and the “second coming” according to Wayne Allen Root.

We ran another survey in late March, 2020, and asked the same questions of a sample of American adults quota-sampled to match the nation in gender, region, and age. The 2019 sample was only of church-attending Protestants, so we subsetted the 2020 data to match. In 2019, among white Protestants who attended church weekly or more often, 29.6 percent believed Trump was anointed by God to be president. But by March 2020, that figure had climbed to 49 percent. It was up across the board, though none so dramatically as among the regular attenders.

Before we isolate this as a phenomenon of white Protestants, we should compare them to the rest of the sample in 2020. The figure below shows unequivocally that white Protestants are NOT distinctive in their beliefs in Trump’s anointing. In the top two attendance categories, the level of belief is effectively identical between the two groups. This is a phenomenon that is sweeping American religion.

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  1. Whether out of ignorance or intellectual disingenuity, it is a matter of general Christian principle that "for there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God" – Romans 13:2. The verse and the immediate scriptural context seems quite politically naive, at best, especially since it was written by one who would have been aware of Caligula's mad tyranny, just 15 – 20 years prior to the epistle. However, there are other passages that condition this principle. And the principle is intentioned, I believe, to retain rule of law orderliness and protect the reputation of the faith.

    Therefore, divine anointing, even if through secondary means (i.e. popular government), is hardly novel nor, in of itself, an indication of a fawning for the current president. It is a matter of theological orthodoxy.

    That being said, there is a difference between the general rule, and some special "anointing" as Cyrus the Great, (which is ironic considering that it is the Persian King who is the father of cosmopolitanism, not the Hellenists/Greeks) or Constantine. If God "anointed" Trump especially, I believed, with blog entries to verify, it was a divine means to discredit the Charismatics, since Evangelicalism has failed to govern their own.

    It proves to be not ultimately productive to engage in polemical war by shortchanging the truth, or to be seen as shortchanging the truth. I believe that the continued rule of Trump will be abetted by his cultural and sociopolitical adversaries getting into the mud wrestling ring for which Trump is evidently expert.


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