If Donald Trump gets a little bored on his flight home from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he can always page through a book handed to him by a delegate not long after he arrived: “God and Donald Trump.”
The volume, written by Stephen Strang, a leading Pentecostal figure and the longtime publisher of Charisma magazine, is an easy read—part spiritual hagiography, part Fox News bulletin and part prophecy. It ultimately says far less about Trump than about the charismatic Pentecostals who were some of his earliest religious supporters and who now view his election as the fulfillment of God’s will.
The genre of spiritual hagiography last flourished during the presidency of George W. Bush, who was the subject of four books about religion and one documentary (“George W. Bush: Faith in the White House”) during his first term alone. In Bush, authors had something they could work with. He had a much-documented mid-life experience of being born again, was a regular church attender in Texas, and spoke about God and Jesus in ways that sounded natural.
Nevertheless, writers like David Aikman often resorted to intuiting Bush’s faith and presenting as evidence of his deep spiritual commitment his fondness for healthy food and exercise (does the Bible not direct believers to treat the body as a temple for God?) and the behavior of White House staff (“though manners are not specifically connected to George W.’s personal religious faith, it was as though the discipline he brought to his own life of prayer and Bible study filtered down into the work habits of everyone who worked with him.”)