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REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE COURTS TELEVANGELISTS


No surprise here.

Politico reports today that Donald Trump is courting prosperity televangelists in an effort to “keep his momentum from ebbing.” The subtext of the Trump televangelist outreach is that despite the polls, the only kind of evangelicals who really like Trump are those who love mixing not just religion and politics, but religion and money:

Roughly three-dozen leaders attended the two-and-a-half hour meeting at Trump Tower, including televangelists Gloria and Kenneth Copeland and Trinity Broadcasting Network co-founder Jan Crouch, who is also the president of a Christian theme park in Orlando.

As it came to an end, televangelist Paula White said Trump wanted them to pray for him. Trump nodded, and the faith leaders laid hands on him and prayed.

Many evangelical leaders look askance at the crowd the businessman is courting. “The people that Trump has so far identified as his evangelical outreach are mostly prosperity gospel types, which are considered by mainstream evangelicals to be heretics,” said outspoken Trump critic Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant denomination at 16 million members.

Now let’s be honest here. Cast your eyes to the right of this text and you’ll see a link to my 2008 book, God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters. That book is about how the GOP, despite the fact that many mainstream evangelicals consider the prosperity gospel to be heretical, has long courted televangelists in the quest to consolidate the conservative Christian vote. Although the televangelists are primarily focused on the health-and-wealth gospel (sow your seed into my ministry and God will bless you with a hundred-fold return!) they have long been coveted politically for their influence over their audiences and their history as loyal foot soldiers in the culture wars.

Don’t read too much into Politico’s assertion that the televangelists would be “less turned off by his brash style and history of socially liberal positions,” or by the suggestion that Trump, by this meeting, has somehow stepped outside the typical Republican boundaries for courting the evangelical, Pentecostal, and charismatic Christian vote. Trump is following a GOP playbook established in the 1980s, and followed by his current rivals, and in particular, by one current rival’s family. Indeed Trump himself followed the playbook during his unsuccessful 2012 presidential bid when he met with televangelists.

See full article with video (which is priceless!) HERE

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