Religious blather is part and parcel of politics, unfortunately. Christians everywhere have a fucking fit if “god” isn’t mentioned enough, or christianity, or the big book of bloody tales. Normally, all of these mentions in Trump’s inaugural speech would not be remarkable, but in the case of our wannabe emperor, it pays to think things through a bit more.
Let’s set aside for a moment the historical fact that patriotism has long been co-opted as a tool for prejudice, and focus on how Trump is referencing Psalm 133 here. His broader point—that societies function better when people are unified—makes sense generally. But things take a sharp turn when grokking what Trump is communicating theologically.
Take Trump’s use of “God’s people.” He didn’t have to use this phrase, since it varies depending on the Biblical translation— it’s “God’s people” in the New International Version, but others read “kindred” (New Revised Standard Version), “brethren” (King James Version), or “brothers” (English Standard Version). It’s also not clear if he or his speechwriters understand the original Old Testament/Hebrew Bible meaning of the term, which was specifically referencing the Jewish people.
Regardless, Trump parrots “God’s people” anyway, implying that all Americans — or at least all Christian Americans — are somehow chosen by God. And more importantly, he intentionally conflates the spiritual unity of “God’s people” with patriotism, merging commitment to country with a devotion to the Almighty.
“Let your favor be upon this one nation under God,” White prayed, referencing the Pledge of Allegiance. “Let these United States of America be that beacon of hope to all people and nations under your dominion, a true hope for humankind.”
This interlacing of nationalism and faith was quickly flagged by experts. Peter Manseau, author of “One Nation, Under Gods: A New American History,” told the Washington Post that Trump’s inauguration rhetoric reflected a “desire to fuse the languages of faith and nation.”
But another paragraph of Trump’s inauguration speech hints that he and his advisers are crafting a new version of this America-focused Christianity—one that keeps Trump at the center.
After suggesting there should be “no fear” while he is in office, Trump assured Americans they will be safe because they will be protected by the military, law enforcement officials, and God.
It’s not uncommon for presidents to praise the might of the American military, which is, without question, the most powerful fighting force in the world. Nor is it unusual for people of faith to implore God to protect the United States and its citizens—both liberal and conservative religious groups pray similar orisons each week.
But Trump drags both concepts into a very different—and highly unusual—theological space: he appears to be arguing that America will be protected by God because he is president.
But Trump, flanked by his menagerie of loyal faith leaders, is already preaching a nationalist gospel from the largest of pulpits. And while the exact parameters of this developing theology remain to be seen, it’s clear a revival of American Christian nationalism is on the horizon—with Trump as its high priest.
It’s hardly a secret that the religious reich has been salivating over the prospect of a brutal and bloodthirsty theocracy for a very long time. I highly recommend reading the full article. This is yet another facet of the new fascism to be very worried about.
Full article at Think Progress.