By Lauren Markoe
(Editor’s note: Since Donald Trump’s victory in last year’s election, many Christians became convinced he was chosen by God to be president even though he hardly fits their mold of a virtuous leader. In our “Hand of God” series, we take a closer look at the widespread belief that God intervenes in our nation’s political process. We profile three people who think that’s the case. And we analyze why they believe what they do, and look at the potential implications for American democracy.)
WASHINGTON (RNS) Democracy may be based on the principle of “one person, one vote,” but some people who supported Donald Trump believe the Master of the Universe cast the master ballot.
“God raised up, I believe, Donald Trump,” said former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann after he won the GOP nomination. “God showed up,” the Rev. Franklin Graham said to cheers at a post-election rally.
For those who share this view, Trump’s victory was nothing short of miraculous, especially given that he beat out 16 others in the Republican primaries — some of them evangelical Christians with long political resumes.
“For me, that has to be providence. That has to be the hand of God,” said Paula White, an evangelical pastor Trump has tapped to pray at his inauguration.
While it is unclear how many people accept this version of events — polling organizations contacted by RNS didn’t have statistics on it — conservative Christians appear most likely to embrace it.
But taken to its logical conclusion, the belief that God is in control of earthly events leads to noxious moral positions and bad public policy, warns William Schweiker, an ordained Methodist minister and professor of theological ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
“It means it’s OK with you and it’s God’s will that millions of people starve to death because of our actions,” he says.
“We don’t need to worry about the nations going under water because of climate change.”