President Donald Trump recently held a rally in Florida. By all accounts it was similar to rallies held by presidential candidate Donald Trump. That is to say…well, raucous. During the campaign Trump regularly trumpeted his rallies. Even seeming to compliment and encourage his rowdy crowds.
For one Florida pastor it simply went too far, however.
Joel Tooley, lead pastor at Melbourne First Church of the Nazarene in eastern Florida, who attended the President’s rally with his 11-year-old daughter was quite disturbed at the scene he witnessed. According to Tooley, “demonic activity was palpable.”
Tooley described the atmosphere at the rally during a rendition of “God Bless America”. Via the Washington Post:
People were being ushered into a deeply religious experience and it made me completely uncomfortable.
I love my country; I honor those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom and I respect our history and what we stand for, but what I experienced in that moment sent shivers down my spine. I felt like people were here to worship an ideology along with the man who was leading it. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the song per se — it was this inexplicable movement that was happening in the room. It was a religious zeal.
Scholars studying political polarization have noted that rising levels of polarization amongst the American electorate have highlighted and created fissures in American society. Peoples way of life in the United States and what they believe the United States government should do in order to encourage (or not) a specific way of life is largely divided according to partisanship. No longer is this sorting the sole purview of religion.
Throughout the presidential campaign many Republicans, and others, were concerned about Trump’s perceived lack of religiousity and faith. In a party in which religion and faith play a large role, the potential head of that party seemingly had no religion.
They were, however, concerned that Donald Trump seemed to inspire a level of idolatry among his supporters and among those who supported the candidate simply out of political strategy. For many this was a troubling development. A presidential candidate lacking a defined religious faith was inspiring a popular revolution.
This sort of idolatry is evidenced by Tooley’s account, by video evidence of Trump rallies as well as by how quickly congressional Republicans have fallen in line behind the administration’s nominees and policies. Radical support without question.
As Tooley describes, “I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that it would not have taken very much for him to have called this group of people into some kind of riotous reaction.”
During his campaign Donald Trump promised a revolution. This type of rhetoric has continued since President Trump took office. And as the rally in Florida demonstrates, many appear all too eager to take part. This is a chilling reality for those who oppose the President or at least fear the power he may gain.
Of course, this is a tremendous development if Donald Trump is really the preeminent Christian.
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