Last week I devoted my weekly Current column to the meaning of Christian baptism and the way the pro-Trump ReAwaken America tour was desecrating that sacred Christian rite. Today at Religion News Service, writer Jacob Lupfer tells us more about this Christian nationalist roadshow. Here is a taste:
Imagine a common enough scene: It’s Sunday morning in a white Pennsylvania suburb. A churchgoer joins his evangelical Christian congregation for hymn singing, Bible reading, a sermon and prayer. It’s unlikely that anything will be said about politics and elections. For many congregants, the service will be their only religious activity of the week. Others will have read the Bible or prayed daily (or as needed) throughout the week.
Now imagine the churchgoer’s last prayer was, “Father God, we’re asking you to open the eyes of President Trump’s understanding that … he will know how to implement divine intervention, that you will surround him with none of this Deep State trash, none of this RINO trash … in the name of Jesus.”
That line was an actual prayer given from the stage at a recent stop on the ReAwaken America tour, a Christian-inflected traveling roadshow featuring MAGA celebrities — “RINOS” are the other kind of Republicans — and drawing crowds in the thousands to venues across the country.
Inspired by conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 virus and the 2020 election, the two-day event has hit almost two dozen cities, with one more event scheduled in Branson, Missouri, before midterm elections on Nov. 8.
Though Trump rallies themselves have lately taken on a pseudo-evangelical character, complete with emotional music, hand-waving salutes and quasi-worshipful devotion to Trump himself, the ReAwaken events cost upwards of $250 per ticket and are akin to religious revivals. They feature clergy, overtly religious rhetoric and even baptisms.
The clown-show cast in Pennsylvania included amoral Trump-ally Roger Stone, discredited former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, incessantly obnoxious and overtly anti-Catholic Tennessee Pastor Greg Locke, Eric Trump and Trump-boosting pillow entrepreneur Mike Lindell.
Read the rest here.