Sunday, November 13, 2016

Is Trump God's anointed?

I'm going to comment on a post by Michael Brown:

I’m aware, of course, that some people believe that everything happens by the will of God, which means that whoever wins the presidency wins by God’s express will.

In the predestinarian sense, yes. Of course, that's different from the notion of special divine intervention. 

I believe Trump has been elected president by divine intervention.

I don't. 

Yet there are times when there are so many odds against something happening, when it so greatly defies logic, that it is easier to recognize God’s involvement.

I agree with the principle, but not his application. 

Just think of the obstacles Trump overcame, including: 1) The massive baggage of his past, including the release of a vulgar video with his tremendously offensive sexual comments along with numerous women accusing him of sexual assault (as reported by no less than the New York Times); 2) his myriad campaign errors, with enough misstatements and inappropriate remarks to sink several candidates; 3) a very strong Republican field, including governors like Bush, Christie, Kasich, Huckabee and Walker, senators like Cruz, Rubio and Santorum, and outsiders like Carson and Fiorina; 4) the massive power of the Clinton political machine; and 5) the overwhelming collusion of the mainstream media.

1. I agree that Trump's upset victory was remarkable. As Gene Veith noted on his own blog, "He raised little money, ran few ads, had no ground game to get out supporters, dispensed with the high-tech lists and analysis that was supposed to be the hallmark of a 21st century political campaign."

That said, I don't attribute Trump's victory to God parachuting in at the last moment to save his bacon. 

i) Trump was able to bypass some of the ordinary prerequisites due to the power of celebrity. Free media. Near universal name-recognition even before he threw his hat into the ring. 

ii) His reputation preceded him. There are voters who actually like the bad boy pose. And because he's infamously venal and crass, there wasn't much the media or the Hillary campaign could throw against him that wasn't already known by many voters. 

iii) To a great extent, Hillary's odiousness canceled out Trump's odiousness. 

iv) Trump tapped into a neglected demographic niche.

v) Many voters were fed up with 8 years of Obama's heavy-handed social engineering, mirrored in blue states.  

vi) Many voters rightly felt Hillary posed dire threat to their liberty and livelihood.  

vii) Although Trump's ground game was weak, the RNC had a ground game for Congressional candidates and local races that may have benefited Trump by getting out the vote for Republicans in general. 

2. If Trump is the best that divine interposition can muster, omnipotence doesn't seem to be all it's cracked up to be. Or perhaps the Almighty's timing is off. If only that had happened during the primaries, to elevate a better candidate. 

Yeah, the way I say that sounds a mite sacrilegious, but Brown's appeal invites that response. 

3. However, here's what most interests me. Brown is a freewill theist. So in what sense, consistent with the libertarian freedom of human agents, does he think God was able to throw the campaign for Trump? Did God override the will of voters? Did God engage in subliminal messaging? Did God plant a subconscious, irrepressible urge to vote for Trump? Did God take control of their bodies and make their hand involuntarily push the button for Trump, then cause them to experience amnesia? Did God make voting machines switch votes? Did Hillary really win, but God caused an optical illusion so that we perceive tallies that aren't really there?  

If God has raised Trump up for certain divine purposes, it behooves us to ask what those purposes are — and to pray for divine restraint on his life.

How does Brown propose that we discern God's purposes in that respect? Indeed, if Trump is our leader by divine interposition, isn't opposing Trump tantamount to opposing God? I'm afraid Brown's position on this issue reflects the excesses of his charismatic theology. 

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