How to Break the Republican Lock on God

Timothy Egan in The New York Times:

These days, no less an authority than Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said recently that God “wanted Donald Trump to become president.”

She offered no sourcing for this assertion, as is the case for vaporous claims that rise from the rot of the Trump presidency on a daily basis. But in blaming God for Trump, Sanders echoed a widespread Republican belief that the most outwardly amoral man ever to occupy the White House is an instrument of divine power. He’s part of the master plan. Mocking Sanders and the many Ned Flanders of the G.O.P. team is unlikely to make much of a dent. Nearly half of all Republicans believe God wanted Trump to win the election. To them, secular snark is a merit badge on the MAGA hat. But there is a better way to sway the electorate of faith, as the rising Democratic stars Pete Buttigieg and Stacey Abrams have shown us. They apply something like a “What Would Jesus Do?” test to rouse religious conscience on the political battlefield.

Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., is a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, a Rhodes scholar, married to a junior high school teacher. He’s gay and, more surprising for a modern Democrat, he is an out Christian, as quick to quote St. Augustine as Abraham Lincoln. On Sunday, he is expected to formally announce his run for president. Like Abrams and Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete says his faith made him a progressive. Scripture directs him to defend the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the societal castoffs.

But Buttigieg goes much further than mere Bible-citing. He’s taking it directly to Trump and to Vice President Mike Pence, who flashes his piety like a seven-carat diamond on his pinkie finger. It’s hard to look at the actions of President Trump, Buttigieg said, “and believe they are the actions of somebody who believes in God.”

More here.

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