But whatever the word means, I'm pretty damn sure that Donald Trump doesn't have any sort of genuine spirituality -- unless we twist the definition of that term to include incessant lying, habitual displays of egotism, and insults directed at minorities, women, political opponents, and anybody else who incurs the Wrath of Trump.
So when I came across a story in TIME magazine, "Meet the Pastor Who Prays With Donald Trump," I was curious to learn more about Trump's personal brand of religiosity/spirituality.
First, I was surprised that he even has a relationship with a pastor, Paula White.
I'd figured that he started talking about the Bible only after he decided to run for President, realizing that in these excessively religious United States, people are more likely to vote for a Muslim than an atheist.
However, Elizabeth Dias reported otherwise.
The spiritual life of the Republican nominee has been something of a mystery this election season. Trump describes himself as a Presbyterian, a “Sunday church person,” and he has been known to bring his childhood Bible to rallies. But his religious expressions have often been uncertain. He publicly doubted whether he deserves evangelicals’ support, claimed he has never sought forgiveness from a higher power, and muffed a Bible citation, quoting “Two Corinthians” instead of “Second Corinthians.”
But Trump’s relationship with White isn’t an overnight conversion; it’s born of a longer courtship. The two friends met in 2002, after he watched White deliver a televised sermon on the value of vision. A longtime fan of televangelists David Jeremiah, Jimmy Swaggart, and Billy Graham, he cold-called White to introduce himself. Later he asked if she would attend the first season finale of his reality show, The Apprentice. Before the live taping, she prayed for the cast and crew.
OK, naturally I don't believe that prayer does anything, since almost certainly there is no God or other higher power able to hear prayers. But Pastor White's conception of prayer is even weirder than than of most Christians.
Eric Trump is not the only member of his family who has come to rely on White, 50, a popular televangelist who believes that intercessory prayer can have an immediate impact on shaping events. After she saw Eric, she went to her room in the Trump campaign’s Cleveland hotel, where she spent the next four hours praying for Donald Trump as he prepared for his prime-time convention address. Then at the candidate’s invitation, she met the Republican nominee, his wife Melania and 10-year old son Barron for another circle of prayer in their room.
“I do remember asking God to give him his words and his mind, and to use him—that it would not be his words but God’s words, that he would just really be sensitive to the Holy Spirit,” White recalled in an interview with TIME weeks later. “I probably [interceded] against any plot or plan or weapon of the enemy to interfere with the plan or the will of God.” That evening, White rode in Trump’s car with his family to the arena.
Plot or plan or weapon of the enemy? What the #@$%? White must be referring to THE DEVIL. Unless she means Hillary Clinton, who many Republicans view as one and the same.
Wondering what causes Trump to be so attracted to Pastor White (aside from the obvious), I had the bright idea of Googling "Pastor Paula White prosperity gospel."
And yes indeed'y, up popped a bunch of references to her peculiar take on Christianity. Like a Washington Post story, "How the prosperity gospel explains Donald Trump's popularity with Christian voters."
The key bulwark of faith-based Trumpism is the prosperity gospel — a movement rooted in Pentecostal preaching that holds that God directly dispenses divine favor in the capitalist marketplace to his steadfast believers. Trump assiduously courted the leading lights of the prosperity faith well before his presidential run got serious enough for him to make the obligatory rounds at hard-line evangelical gatherings, such as last month’s Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference.
Last year, he hosted a conclave of three dozen leading prosperity preachers at Trump Tower, and his effort promptly netted him the vocal support of prosperity televangelist Paula White. Indeed, White is reputed to have presided over Trump’s born-again conversion.
So like everything else in Trump's wacko view of reality, it all comes down to money. If you're rich, this shows how much God favors you.
It's no wonder Trump embraces Pastor White. Her bizarre theology fits right in with Trump's greed.