By Candida Moss, The Daily Beast—
In the early hours of Aug. 21, President Trump approvingly tweeted the words of Christian convert and radio host Wayne Allyn Root. The tweet compared Trump to “the King of Israel” and described him as being akin to “the second coming of God.” It went on to criticize “American Jews” who don’t like and support Trump.
As a number of commentators have noted, the tweets are wildly anti-Semitic: By definition, Jews don’t recognize Jesus as God or the Messiah. Expecting them to jump on board with the notion that Trump is “like Jesus” or “the Second Coming” is truly offensive. But anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism aside, this statement and Trump’s approval of it displays a mind-boggling ignorance of Christian theology that borders on blasphemy.
This isn’t the first time that Trump has been compared to a biblical hero. Pro-Trump Christians have been using the “King David” defense to excuse the president’s personal shortcomings for years. According to the Bible, David was chosen by God to lead his people. His elect status continues even though David had lusted after Bathsheba, seduced her, and engineered her husband Uriah’s death when she became pregnant. Despite it all, however, David remained chosen and was a man “after God’s own heart.” A sinner—but a powerful, divinely ordained sinner.
The shocking thing about this reading is that the strategy works: The David defense has seen Trump through no shortage of scandals, from the Stormy Daniels affair, to accusations of sexual assault, to his crude attacks on his opponents. In 2016, GOP donor Foster Friess said, “throughout history, God has harnessed imperfect people to fulfill his perfect will.” Pro-Trump Christians already have a framework through which to view and, if necessary, ignore Trump’s behavior. Continue Reading…