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As the inevitability of President Trump’s loss became apparent even to his acolyte Kellyanne Conway in recent days, his supporters increasingly pinned their hopes for a second term on a last-ditch appeal, not to the Supreme Court, but to the one power that can outvote it: God.
It has long been an article of faith among right-wing evangelicals that Republicans were the party of God, while Democrats were on, well, the other side, succinctly identified by Franklin Graham as “almost a demonic power.” The inescapable conclusion of televangelist Pat Robertson followed: “Without question” — and also without polling — “Trump is going to win the election.” After the election, the “Friendly Atheist” blog posted a 24-minute video of prophecies of Trump’s certain victory, which assorted preachers passed along, having heard it directly from God himself. “So God said to me, in November, there is going to be an overwhelming number of white liberals who talk like they hate the president publicly, but in the secrecy of the ballot box, God says, I’m gonna work a miracle,” predicted Francis Myles, senior pastor of the Lovefest Church in Tempe, Ariz. “I’m gonna cause the eunuchs to throw off the spirit of Jezebel and they are going to vote massively for the president.”
It is in the nature of prophecy that it can never be disproven by empirical events, so when the Associated Press proclaimed Biden the winner of the election, that didn’t change many minds on the evangelical (or, for that matter, the secular) right. Michele Bachmann, the former Republican congresswoman from Minnesota who made a brief run for president in 2012, was especially eloquent on this score, posting a video on Nov. 9 calling on God to use his “strong iron rod” to “smash the delusion” that Biden had won the election, along with several other political developments she found disconcerting, such as the Democrats retaining control of the House of Representatives and the possibility that the two U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia could put Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in control of the Senate.
By this week, though, Bachmann seemed to acknowledge that Biden’s apparent victory was more than a mere “delusion,” declaring that God needed to take a more active role in delivering a victory to Trump and also to various down-ballot candidates she favored. “We seriously, sincerely cry out to you,” she prayed. “We ask you, O God, for deliverance, that our country may continue to know freedom. Would you deliver these races in Georgia, O Father? Would you deliver various local and state races, Father … and O God, I personally ask, for myself, Michele Bachmann, Lord, would you allow Donald Trump to have a second term as president of the United States?”
To those not steeped in evangelical culture, delivering “various local and state races” to Bachmann’s preferred candidates — she didn’t specify who they were, but presumably they are all Republicans — may appear a somewhat parochial request of the creator of the universe. But the stakes are existential in the view of many of her fellow believers, including author and radio host Eric Metaxas, who phoned Trump during his show to declare himself “happy to die in this fight. ... This is God’s battle even more than it is our battle. God is going to do things. … We’re all going to be shocked.”
As more and more states certify their results, and the date approaches when the Electoral College is expected to hand Biden the 306 votes that will secure his election, God is running out of time to change the outcome for Trump, even assuming he really does favor a Sunday-morning golfer over a devout church-going Catholic. Nor is it clear what form his intervention might take, since the courts have been virtually unanimous in dismissing the Trump legal team’s increasingly desperate and far-fetched challenges. Yet Metaxas, speaking on a national prayer call Wednesday evening, urged Christians not to “look in the natural” to keep Trump in the White House but trust that “God is going to do something.”
If he does, then the nation will have no choice but to heed the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, who in his second inaugural address declared, “as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said, ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’” Disappointing as it may be to Democrats, or the substantial majority of the country that voted for Biden for president, turning it over to God might be preferable to following the advice of Gen. Michael Flynn, who also spoke on the prayer call, and has recommended that Trump declare martial law and seize a second term by force of arms.
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