Evangelical leader’s fundraising pitch for Trump: He points to the sky for Jesus

Donald Trump is the most transparently irreligious candidate to win a major party nomination in the modern era. He doesn’t claim to attend church often, is clearly uncomfortable with religious terminology and can’t name a favorite Testament — to say nothing of a favorite Bible verse. Not to mention the fact that he’s a thrice-married egomaniac who has spent his entire life exaggerating his wealth and sexual exploits.

The only thing that would make Donald Trump less of a Christian is if he sacrificed a goat in front of a golden statue of himself (perhaps with horns) in front of Trump Tower.

Trump’s clear disregard for the core tenets of his self-professed faith stand in stark contrast to Hillary Clinton, who will be the most religious Democratic nominee since at least Jimmy Carter. There is one committed Christian in this race, and it isn’t the Republican.

And yet, the Evangelical Christian community nevertheless feels the need to speak in some rather strange tongues in order to justify their support for the Republican nominee. As Bloomberg is reporting today, Trump has begun reaching out to Evangelical leaders in an attempt to raise a hefty sum of money for his presidential bid — since now that the Republican primary is over, he no longer feels the need to “self-fund,” whatever that meant. Despite the fact that he has no sincerely-held religious beliefs, they’re going to go out of their way to play along:

At one recent meeting with Trump, evangelical leaders noted how he often flashes a signature hand gesture, with a thumb out and a finger point to the sky, as he enters and exits rallies.

“You see athletes do it all the time and it’s their chance to point to the sky, to thank God for their success,” said Pastor Mark Burns, CEO of a Christian television network based in South Carolina. “Trump does this all of the time, too. He’s giving reverence to the man upstairs.”

“Even with Mr. Trump’s billions of dollars, he too still submits himself to God,” said Burns, who has become a top Trump surrogate and a staple on the campaign trail, frequently introducing the candidate at rallies. “We should all chip in to help him out. You know, even a billionaire needs some cash flow.”

This sounds positively bonkers, but it’s a fairly standard trick in industrial Christianity. These folks can take pretty much anything and spin it into a sign from God that means you should give them and their friends — who just so happen to already be rich, in accordance with the Lord’s will — a sizable chunk of your money.

Still, this is pretty impressive even by their standards. Think how hard you have to dig to find a religious justification for picking Trump over Clinton in order to land on “he points to the sky a lot.”

Just so we’re clear, this is the gesture Burns thinks is drawn from divine inspiration:

Trump pointing his tiny sausage finger to the sky "in reference to the man upstairs," apparently.

Trump pointing his tiny sausage finger to the sky “in reference to the man upstairs,” apparently.

Trump makes that gesture all the time. It’s one of his rhetorical tics. It doesn’t look at all like he means anything by it, unless you choose to believe he means exactly what you want him to mean.

And if you choose to believe that Donald Trump hearts Jesus because he points upward a lot, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, perhaps you don’t deserve the $20 you send him anyway.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • Dean Wormer

    ISIS militants point to the sky too.

  • BillFromPA

    To be fair, Trump does treat women as chattel just as is the norm in the Old Testament.

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  • You should click the link I included in that sentence.

  • Glen Thompson

    Hillary a Christian? Oh Jon, I love your sense of humor.

  • Duke Woolworth

    It’s all showbiz, baby.

  • Duke Woolworth

    Holy crap.

  • “Industrial Christianity.” I’m gong to steal that.

  • Don Chandler

    Hillary has made a huge mistake not debating Sanders in California.

  • Wow they really are stretching to find some religion in him. He’s not religious. He almost never goes to church. Two Corinthians? If Hillary had said that we’d never hear the end of it.

  • Randy Riddle

    He’s just trying to make his hand look bigger.

  • Blogvader

    It’d be nice if we as a country could get to a point where we don’t give a f*** about a candidate’s religion. Nearly all of our politicians are Christian, which means the horrible things they do are owned by Christians

  • Sally

    Gee, I think he makes that gesture, because the one he wants to make, second finger up, won’t get printed in the newsblogs.

  • The_Fixer

    Drumpfo der Clown is no more genuine in his religious beliefs than the guy who just called to tell me that my computer has a serious virus (yes, a scammer – I told him I don’t have a computer).

    And why would he be? Drumpfo is the most important being in the universe, a God would have to play second-fiddle to him. To say that he is expressing reverence for that God by pointing skyward is really the most ridiculous justification for supporting a person so at odds with their professed values as I’ve ever heard.

    Evangelical pastors have an uncanny extra sense – the ability to smell money. They sense that there’s a lot of cash to be collected form the average Drumpfo supporter, so they are validating that support in order to remain in the “Cash Zone.” Surely anyone who is dumb enough to have faith in Drumpfo is equally dumb enough to toss cash at a church that also supports him.

    These “pastors” are every bit the confidence men as my caller with the foreign accent. They smell cash, and dad-gummit, they’re gonna get some. All they have to do is to pretend to like Drumpfo for a little while.

  • Yeesh… That gesture isn’t pointing to God or Jesus or whatever. That’s the gesture an impatient person makes to say, “Shut up, I’m about to talk at you for a while here.”

    There have been many revelations (no pun intended) this election cycle, but one I think many have seen is just how truly hypocritical and insincere the so-called “social conservative” groups are and what their priorities truly are. All along, they’ve been claiming they just want us all to give ’em room to have their “deeply held religious beliefs” — which not coincidentally take the form of treating other people like crap, with rudeness and disrespect and bigotry.

    I think we’ve learned the whole of it is just the bigotry. Nothing more complicated than that. For generations, these folks had their special privileges to be bigots and not be called out on it, and now they want all that back. Saying it was because Jesus said it was more important to hate LGBT people or oppress women than to treat others with kindness, dignity, and respect was just the “appeal to irrefutable authority” excuse.

    Now we’re seeing what happens when the facade is torn down: There really wasn’t anything involving “deeply-held sincere religious beliefs.” It was only bigots wanting to be free-range bigots, but pretend to the world and to themselves their position wasn’t motivated solely by hate and fear.

  • MoonDragon

    Hillary Clinton has deeply held religious beliefs, many of which coincide with the religious right, but she is disinclined to allow them to impose those mutually held beliefs on others. The Donald doesn’t give the southern end of a north bound rat for anything related to faith, but he will tolerate, or even encourage the actions of the purity posses in afflicting the rest of us with their narrow, obtuse, and self-serving interpretation of their faith. The Evangelical Christian movements are sell-outs to those who enable their most venal proclivities. He gives them the bloodlust orgasms she never can.

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