Trump Vows to Empower Political Pastors on Christian Nationalist Broadcast
In an interview on a Christian nationalist broadcast, Donald Trump vowed to empower religious leaders politically, by permanently ending restrictions against churches that weigh in on elections. “They’ve silenced you,” said Trump. “Christianity, I believe is being hit much harder than any other religion is.”
In his comments, aired Tuesday night, Trump blasted the so-called Johnson amendment, which dictates that nonprofits, including churches, lose their tax-free status if they weigh in directly on politics. “We never enforced it. We essentially ended it,” Trump bragged of his time in the White House, adding with regret, “I wasn’t able to finish it. But I’ll finish it this time.”
Just as notable as the former president’s comments was the venue. Trump’s interview aired on Flashpoint, a rising media platform for Christian nationalists. A twice-weekly news show — Flashpoint mimics the production values of a Newsmax, One America News, of other Fox News wannabes. But Flashpoint touts that its programming brings “a prophetic perspective” to the news.
The outreach to Flashpoint marks the latest example of Trump embracing the ascendant Christian nationalist movement as he seeks a return to the White House. This End Times movement seeks to impose a fundamentalist, “biblical” order in the United States. Adherents want to align government and popular culture with scripture — “on Earth as it is in Heaven” — convinced that doing so will hasten the Second Coming of Jesus. Trump has previously called into the Flashpoint program, but this marks the first time the former president has appeared on-camera, blessing the show with his audience.
The 45th president has also turned Pastors for Trump into the evangelical adjunct of his campaign to become the 47th. That group is led by Christian nationalist Tulsa pastor (and former GOP senate candidate) Jackson Lahmeyer. The thrice-divorced Trump — now facing criminal charges related to his payoff of a porn star — may seem an unlikely frontman for those seeking to merge church and state. But these evangelicals view Trump as a favored heathen, a fallible human actor through which God is working His will, in a spiritual war between righteous right-wing believers and demonic Democrats and RINOS.
Flashpoint is a project of Kenneth Copeland ministries. Copeland, for the uninitiated, is a mega-preacher who learned his craft from Oral Roberts, a Charismatic Christian preacher and the OG televangelist. Based in Texas, Copeland is controversial and flaunts his wealth. He has justified his travel in a private jet because commercial flights would leave him locked in “a tube with a bunch of demons.” (Copeland is also popularly known for a May 2020 sermon purporting to “cast judgment” on Covid-19; it proved more effective in launching viral videos than curbing the spread of the virus.)
The host, who traveled to Mar-a-Lago to interview Trump, is the sunny, well coiffed Gene Bailey. Bailey is Senior Executive Pastor at Copeland’s Eagle Mountain International Church, outside Fort Worth. Many consider him the heir-apparent to the empire of the 86-year-old Copeland. He is himself an unabashed Christian nationalist, saying in past broadcasts that he wants to see Christians “take over the world.”
Flashpoint first aired late 2020, in the heat of the post-election period, and popularized false prophetic visions that God would return Trump to the White House. As a news program, Flashpoint calibrates its coverage to offer viewers “encouraging evidence that God is indeed working to bring about His plans and purposes during these turbulent times.” But the program’s bread-and-butter is a panel discussion, often stocked with leading Christian nationalist prophets and “apostles,” including Lance Wallnau (he of the Seven Mountains Mandate — a blueprint for Christians to take over the country) and Dutch Sheets, who similarly preaches a divine mandate for America.
Under the same Flashpoint branding, Bailey has also ginned up a traveling road show — seemingly inspired by the success of the ReAwaken America Tour. Flashpoint’s “Truth and Freedom Tour” features many of its TV panelists. An upcoming Nashville spot also features MyPillow frontman Mike Lindell. Past live events have also featured big-name politicians. At an arena event in Georgia last summer, Bailey, Wallnau, and Sheets prayed over avowed Christian nationalist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom Sheets insisted was “covered in the blood of Jesus.”
In its rise to prominence, Flashpoint has largely operated in an insular religious bubble, preaching to the choir. But in recent weeks, the programming has been crossing over in the mainstream of the American right — including by interviewing Chaya Raichik of Libs of TikTok and Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Ironically, this ascendant media property was among the first to break the news of the former president’s reaction to the decline at a mainstream competitor. Flashpoint broke off a piece of its interview early to air Trump’s “very sad” thoughts on the departure of Tucker Carlson from Fox News: “Certainly,” Trump said, “it’s not a good thing for Fox.”
In the end, Fox’s loss may equal Flashpoint’s gain.
The program closed Tuesday night with a fervent prayer for “President Donald J. Trump” from panelist Mark Burns, a conservative pastor from South Carolina. He called on God to deliver a nation of “religious liberty without the tyranny of a government destroying our voice.”
“This is a Jesus nation. This is a Christian nation,” Burns insisted. “And we give it back to You.”
Mechanical podium, playfully dubbed 'explodium,' aims to even B.C.'s political field – Times Colonist
VICTORIA — It was a sizable British Columbia political issue that called for a one-size-fits-all solution, says Premier David Eby, who at six-foot-seven is the province’s tallest leader.
The tall and the short needed evening out as matters of perception and fairness, he said.
Eby towers over most people at news conferences but is juxtaposed with Selina Robinson, minister of post-secondary education and future skills, who at four-foot-11 often needs to stand on boxes to reach the microphone.
The solution: a mechanical podium, which debuted shortly after Eby took office late last year. It can be moved up or down with the flick of a switch to suit the size of the person delivering remarks at a political event.
“You might describe me as an unusually tall person, or disturbingly tall person to some people,” Eby told reporters last week. “My colleague Selina Robinson is a much tinier person and we have a whole range of people in between, so the podium moves up and down to accommodate everybody’s ability to speak.”
The premier said people have expressed surprise — and thanks — as the podium lifts or lowers to accommodate their height.
One such person was Tracy Redies, chief executive officer at Vancouver’s Science World, who joined Eby for a news conference last month where the province announced $20 million to repair the iconic domed building’s leaky roof.
“This pulpit’s amazing,” she said. “The science, the technology.”
Eby said the podium, which has gained the nickname “explodium” at the legislature, is a functional success.
“It’s an important innovation in B.C. where we are never short of innovations or remarkable ways to solve problems,” he said with a chuckle. “When we go to events around the community, it does draw attention from speakers who aren’t used to it, especially when it moves unexpectedly. I think everybody enjoys it. It’s fun and it works.”
But, some concerns about the podium have been raised by the Opposition BC United and a communications expert who suggests the structure reinforces old-school political traditions.
BC United finance critic Peter Milobar said the Opposition has questions about the cost of the podium, but the government hasn’t provided answers.
“We all understand the premier is tall, but the fact we need these extra-wide, telescopic-type podiums just seems to be a potentially expensive thing for the taxpayer,” he said.
Milobar said it appears the podium is more of a political prop used to enhance Eby’s image.
“It’s fair to say I’m not an average-sized person, but I’m not too worried about which podium I’m standing behind to make important political announcements,” he said.
While Eby’s podium is not the biggest news story at the legislature, it symbolizes the stereotyped visual culture of politics, said David Black, a political communications expert at Victoria’s Royal Roads University.
“I think the podium, where you want to adjust for a tall person like David Eby or a shorter person like Selina Robinson, is all about just creating this necessary visual conformity so that no one is stepping on the message,” he said.
B.C.’s development of a podium that fits all sizes is a metaphor for a political culture that is resistant to change, Black said.
“When you break the visual code or political style or tamper with conservative visual culture when it comes to politics, you step on the message,” he said. “It becomes, fairly or not, read as a gaffe, sometimes a career-ending gaffe.”
Former Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day was widely criticized more than two decades ago for arriving at a B.C. lakeside news conference riding a Jet Ski, Black said.
Former U.S. president Barack Obama faced fierce criticism for wearing a tan-coloured suit, he said.
“He wore a tan-coloured suit and it was the end of American democracy,” Black said.
But federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s backyard neighbourhood video statements are signs of a politician looking to break visual codes, as was former Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s “everyman” appearance, said Black.
“My question is, in some sense, do we need to rethink the language of politics, the visual style of politics, because is it exhausted?” he said. “Is it obsolete? Has it exhausted its reassuring quality?”
Robinson said she’s pleased with the fairness of the podium, especially after years of standing on crates to raise her profile.
“Having a podium that actually fits me is great, and one that fits the premier is great,” she said.
“This is an accessibility piece of furniture and I think it works the way it’s supposed to. It’s recognizing we all come in different shapes and sizes and having furniture that fits us regardless of how tall or small we are is a good thing.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2023.
Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
Trump, DeSantis battle for Republican nomination turns race into political trench warfare – The Globe and Mail
It’s bombs away in the American presidential race.
There was no pause for mobilization, no early ceasefire, no “phony war,” in the struggle for the Republican campaign for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination. In only a few days’ time, the battle between former president Donald Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis has developed into total warfare.
For months, the two shadow-boxed with each other – Mr. Trump lobbing talking-point grenades into the DeSantis camp; the Florida chief executive ignoring them, as if the attacks lacked the potential to detonate.
That phase is over now, with – if you permit the expression – a bang.
The pins have been pulled, the two sides are engaged in explosive exchanges, and the political landscape of the Republican Party – as recently as two decades ago resembling nothing so much as the manicured green of the 13th hole at the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the fabled Masters Tournament – has been transformed into a battlefield.
It is well to recall that the Iowa caucuses, the first tests of the campaign, are seven months away.
And yet the campaign rapidly has assumed the character of trench warfare. Mr. Trump’s high command is accusing the DeSantis camp of political plagiarism, stealing the main themes of the 45th president. The DeSantis campaign is arguing that Mr. Trump’s time has passed and that, in any case, he failed to pass into law the principal elements of the new Republican agenda.
And like the fixed battle positions of the First World War, the two sides are settling into a situation where they may be engaged in an endless set of explosive exchanges. In terms of ideology, it resembles a race to the right. In terms of manners, it may be a race to the bottom.
Mr. DeSantis accused Mr. Trump – who, in three presidential campaigns and four years in the White House, has cultivated the Republican right – of abandoning his onetime political profile. “It seems like he’s running to the left, and I have always been somebody that’s just been moored in conservative principles,” he said.
A Trump spokesman, Steven Cheung, referred to Mr. DeSantis’s botched Twitter Space campaign debut, saying, “He can’t run away from his disastrous, embarrassing, and low-energy campaign announcement. Rookie mistakes and unforced errors – that’s who he is.”
And so it went in the first days of this new phase in the campaign.
Never in contemporary American politics has a nomination race devolved into so much bitterness so quickly.
Republican Senator Bob Dole of Kansas barked at Vice-President George H.W. Bush, demanding, “Stop lying about my record,” but that outburst occurred after the 1988 New Hampshire primary, not months before it.
Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a navy veteran of the Vietnam War, once warned that the Democrats should not nominate Bill Clinton in 1992 because the Arkansas governor had manoeuvred to avoid the draft in those years; Mr. Kerrey said the Republicans would “open him up like a soft peanut” – a tough riposte, but it didn’t occur until the last week of February, not, like the Trump-DeSantis fray, in May the year before voters get into the act.
“You can thank social media for this atmosphere,” said David Carney, a veteran Republican strategist not affiliated with either campaign and with deep roots in New Hampshire, site of the first presidential primary. “It’s easy to do, it gets coverage and it fast-forwards a back-and-forth that in other times would take a few weeks to conduct. Candidates today think they will be rewarded for this, but undecided voters are not watching Twitter.”
All this raises two vital questions: Can these two keep up the passion and decibel level of their confrontation for several more months? And will the hostilities between them create an opening for another contender, or maybe two?
If, for example, the bombardment between the two candidates leaves one of them mortally wounded, nature (and the nature of American presidential politics) abhors a vacuum. One of the other candidates – perhaps one of the South Carolinians, former governor Nikki Haley or Senator Tim Scott, or perhaps one of the sitting governors who has not declared a candidacy, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire or Glenn Youngkin of Virginia – might emerge.
And a contest that is marked by bombast and explosions might welcome the entry of former governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, famous for his debilitating attack on Senator Marco Rubio eight years ago, when he accused the Florida lawmaker of being the practitioner of a “memorized 25-second speech” that was “exactly what his advisers gave him.”
Mr. Sununu has a touch of the caustic in him, as he once said of Mr. Trump, “I don’t think he’s so crazy that you could put him in a mental institution. But I think if he were in one, he ain’t getting out.” No one wonders whom former governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas was speaking of when he said the GOP needs “somebody that brings out the best of our country and doesn’t appeal to our worst instincts.”
And in a contest where the charges of plagiarism are being tossed around – charges that forced Joe Biden out of his 1988 presidential race before the first contests of the political season – Mr. Youngkin has the moral high ground. It was his 2021 gubernatorial campaign that pioneered the notion of “parental rights” in public schools that now is part of every candidate’s portfolio.
Analyst says pressure is on Kevin McCarthy to deliver. Hear why – CNN
Analyst says pressure is on Kevin McCarthy to deliver. Hear why
CNN’s David Gergen and Manu Raju say that the pressure is on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to deliver a divided Republican conference to support an agreement on the debt ceiling.
Luxe $9m South Yarra sanctuary for sale with six-car basement garage – realestate.com.au – realestate.com.au
Ford’s Deal To Use Tesla Charging Connector And Superchargers Could Kill CCS – Forbes
Mechanical podium, playfully dubbed 'explodium,' aims to even B.C.'s political field – Times Colonist
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Search for life on Mars accelerates as new bodies of water found below planet’s surface
Art21 hours ago
The best AI art generators in May 2023
Health14 hours ago
3 tick-borne diseases, mpox added to list of notifiable diseases, illnesses in N.S. – CBC.ca
Art15 hours ago
Soaring value of Maud Lewis works invites fraud, art experts say – CBC.ca
Tech16 hours ago
Asmongold claims he was "kicked out" by Redfall's developers after he called the game a "boring looter-shooter with no imagination" – Sportskeeda
Art15 hours ago
Couple May Need to Pay $250,000 to Have Banksy Mural Removed from Their Home – ARTnews
Real eState15 hours ago
Downtown real estate and commercial buildings are struggling. Why won't landlords lower the rent? – Slate
Health13 hours ago
Meet Dr. Medhi Aloosh, Windsor and Essex County's new medical officer of health – CBC.ca
Art15 hours ago
Newmarket's Riverwalk Commons filled with art for Night Market – NewmarketToday.ca