How Conservative Christians Elected Donald Trump
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry once again. It is a great pleasure for me to share with you the unfolding spiritual and prophetic events that are taking this world by storm. And as they unfold, we must be ever more conscious that we are to live for Jesus and not engage in political movements. We must stay focused on Bible prophecy and its fulfillment and not come off our high platform of truth and righteousness.
Today, I’m going to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how conservative Christians put Donald Trump in the White House and their efforts to redirect America’s future. The only problem is that they do not understand that America’s future is already spelled out in the Bible. They are actually in the process of fulfilling Bible prophecy.
Revelation 13 tells us that America, the second beast, will enforce worship laws on the whole world. She will cooperate with the first beast or the Roman Catholic Church to accomplish this. And America will take on the characteristics of a dragon and will persecute those who do not go along with her worship demands and laws.
But, before I begin, I want to share with you that we have negotiated a special price with the publishers for our DVD series Prophetic Secrets of the New World Order. These DVDs will help you prioritize what you see in the news and understand them better. So, here is your chance to order them at a discount. The new price is $54.95. That’s more than a 20% discount. So take advantage of this special offer and use them to train yourself to think prophetically and educate others on fulfilling prophecy as well.
As we begin today, let us pray. Oh God in heaven, in Jesus name we come to You and ask that You will teach us today concerning what we cannot see. Show us what goes on behind the scenes and reveal to us what even most of God’s people have no idea about. Give us an understanding of our times like never before. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.
For a brief time after the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, the mainstream news media went into a bit of self-reflection. They could not understand how they could have missed or underestimated Mr. Trump’s election success. They were almost all predicting that their pet candidate, Hillary Clinton, would win whom they themselves had worked so hard to get elected. Yes, that’s right, the mainstream media was determined to make sure Hillary was the next POTUS. But something happened that was entirely out of their control, something that changed the course of the election and for that matter, the direction of the United States.
Most of us have no idea who George Barna is. Mr. Barna is one of the most respected Christian pollsters and researchers and runs the Barna Group. He has done research for quite a number of political candidates over the years, and has written many books. Barna has recently written a book entitled The Day Christians Changed America in which he gives insights into the secrets behind Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the U.S. elections in 2016. What I am going to share with you today is the dramatic story of the behind-the-scenes collaboration that was largely hidden from the American public, especially the mainstream media. I promise you, this is not about politics, though we will discuss some political things. It is all about fulfilling prophecy, as you will see.
Let us first read what is expected to happen to the United States of America from the Bible. Turn with me to Revelation 13:11. John the Revelator writes about his vision. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.”
In other words, my friends, the second beast, which is the United States, will cause the whole world to follow and worship the first beast, or the Papacy. Not only that, the United States will exercise “all the power” of the first beast. What kind of power is that? The Papacy, during the dark ages, had persecuting power. It was able to persecute all those who refused her Sunday worship or her other doctrines. If America is going to have that much power, she must become very great again. During his campaign Mr. Trump used a slogan that reflected on this principle. The “Make American Great Again” catchphrase inspired millions with the idea that America could be restored to her previous glory once again. But the Bible says that she will actually have so much power that she will be able to persecute those who refuse to obey her coming worship laws.
Who is going to bring in worship laws? That is what we are going to discuss today. Conservative Christians, we are told, will drive the new America to the depths of despotism by removing the religious freedom from some (namely Sabbath keepers) in an effort to bring America back into God’s favor. But this movement is really organized by the enemy to get America to support his own worship.
Listen to this from The Great Controversy, page 592, “The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet’s words: “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17.
Who are the dignitaries of the church? In the United States, these are the evangelicals or conservative Christians. They will invite Roman Catholic bishops and priests to join them in pressing for Sunday legislation. Notice the “political corruption.” That would be the so-called “swamp” in Washington, among other places, wouldn’t it? And also notice that it is about securing public favor. So, the public will demand a Sunday law, and legislators will comply to keep their support, which is a form of bribery. Liberty of conscience will be sacrificed on the alter of expediency, and men and women who keep God’s holy Sabbath will be brought into great trial and persecution. After all, the dragon, or Satan is wroth with God’s true church, the woman, because it keeps the commandments of God, particularly the Sabbath commandment, and has the testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of Prophecy. See Revelation 19:10.
So, we are coming up against a relentless enemy, my friends. We must be aware of his tactics. Unfortunately, many of God’s people are so passionate about the politics, that they miss the point of prophecy.
The roots of Mr. Trump’s stunning win go quite a ways back. After all, for nearly 40 years or more liberals in the mainstream media have been making steady progress on their agenda to change the culture of America away from conservative values into a bastion of cultural liberalism. They had made such steady progress that conservatives, in a way, had resigned themselves to tolerating the milder forms of liberalism and hope that it would not get worse. But that changed under President Obama. He pushed America so hard to the left that there was inevitably going to be a conservative reaction. And perhaps that was Mr. Obama’s miscalculation. That reaction is in play today.
President Obama’s agenda was to do all he could to take a chainsaw to the pillars of American society. With a supportive mainstream left-leaning media, President Obama relentlessly pursued his agenda to seriously bend America in a direction quite the opposite from its historical track. These things included changing the way America related to homosexuals and same-sex marriage, even bigger welfare programs including Obamacare and other socialist policies.
Whatever you think about the Johnson Amendment to the IRS code, which prevents tax-exempt organizations from using their funds to support or oppose political candidates, conservative pastors perceived or painted the amendment as a clamp on their free speech. By the way, in the intervening years, they had developed ways of promoting candidates anyway, by voter information campaigns. While careful to avoid endorsing candidates, they simply explained what the candidates believed and then educated their congregations on the moral issues involved. So, they had developed a legal work-around that would not jeopardize their tax-exempt status.
But eight years was just too short of a time to make all the massive changes President Obama attempted. And though President Obama’s term was soon to end, Hillary Clinton was the best candidate to carry on with his plans to erode the moral underpinnings of society.
While Mr. Obama was President, conservatives began to wake up and realize that America was being changed dramatically, and forever. They became especially angry at the social reconstruction that had taken place, and they were deeply disturbed by the bold and abrasive agenda that had struck at the heart of American morality.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party had a problem. It had a strong base, but no superstar to lead the party to victory. Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans had to deal with a variety of stubborn, ideologically driven, faith constituencies that had a very hard time working together. This cannot be understated. The fact that faith constituencies had a difficult time working together hampered the Republican Party’s chances of seizing the Presidency.
Those conservative faith communities had already figured out that President Obama was not in line with their thinking, and they couldn’t seem to understand how Mrs. Clinton, who claimed to be a Christian, could justify her stance on key moral issues, like abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. In fact, she angered conservative Christians by saying, “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” That was in reference to supporting so-called “reproductive rights” for women. But the Republican Party had to balance the need for support from the faith communities while appealing to the less religious voting public – a difficult proposition.
The presumed nominee for the Democratic Party was Hillary, in spite of Bernie Sanders and other factors working against her within the party. But on the Republican side, it seemed as if every Republican politician with a pulse decided that 2016 was their year to gift the American people with their candidacy for President. No less than 17 individual candidates threw their hat into the ring. And it was a free-for-all. The consummate wild card among them was Donald Trump who had no political track record and no consistent ideological history. Yet the billionaire dramatically altered the tenor and focus of the contest. Political leaders, celebrities, mainstream media pundits, all of them, were convinced that it was impossible for a man like Donald Trump to win the election.
Speaking of the mainstream media, it wasn’t long before it was clear that they had stripped off the veneer of journalistic objectivity and were campaigning for Mrs. Clinton. They treated her as the winner-in-waiting, and Mr. Trump as the “hapless loser,” driving the “clown car” of the Republican Party. The Republican Party, for its own part, had a difficult time rallying behind Donald Trump, first because he was so abrasive, and second because the faith constituency also had a hard time with his lifestyle, brash ways, and secular mindset. He just wasn’t their candidate.
And as for the other 16 candidates, well-meaning as they might have been, none of them had what it took to defeat Hillary. Nor did they have what it would take to deal with the liberal left who were aggressive, determined and unrelenting. Only “The Donald” could stand up to her political power and the fine-tuned campaign machinery and at the same time deal with the hostile and hard-hitting left-stream media. Mr. Trump’s unshakable confidence in himself, and his pension for a brawl, for better or for worse, was and remains the key to returning America back to its conservative and, I might add, to its religious and prophetic destiny.
Remember that the United States will enforce worship on the rest of the world. That means that the United States has to become much more religious than it currently is, and be able to enforce religious worship laws on its own citizens before it can enforce a universal worship law on all other nations. This suggests that America’s destiny is not leftist, but rightist. And the liberals are having a fit that this prophecy is being fulfilled. Most of them have no interest in Bible prophecy, so they do not understand what is coming upon us all. They think they can carry on with their plans to make America more and more liberal and lock faith inside America’s church buildings and no longer stands in their way in the marketplace. They hope America will swing back to them. So, they keep up the fight.
But the election hinged on something else, something that most political observers ignored, misunderstood, or under-estimated; the role of America’s conservative faith groups. They had written them off because historically, though they had spurts of fervent political activity, they were largely a dormant, sleeping “basket of deplorables” as Hillary called them. Incidentally, as it turned out Hillary’s comment played a big part in settling the minds of those on the fence in favor of Donald Trump. But the role of conservative religious people in the election results was nothing short of decisive. Religious conservative voters knew they had to do everything they could to make sure that Hillary didn’t get elected, or else she would continue the high-speed leftist trajectory that President Obama had begun.
Underneath conservative faith group’s anxiety about Hillary was fear, fear of losing religious freedom (which many perceived was already under way), fear of laws that eliminate the sanctity of life and family (which had been going on for more than 40 years), fear that the Supreme Court would continue to get liberal judges, fear about how changes would irredeemably destroy the very nature and fabric of the nation. Conservative parents hoped that public schools might once again support, or at least tolerate, the values they were trying to ingrain in their children at home. Churches and individual Christians hoped to be saved from the injustice of a wave of laws that would limit their speech and behavior that was consistent with their biblical principles. They hoped that laws limiting abortion would be strengthened. They hoped that America would be protected by a new leader, instead of apologizing and appeasing America’s enemies. Lastly, there was also hope that perhaps there would be a candidate that would restore fundamental truths, principles and institutions that had made America so compelling and successful in first nearly quarter of a millennium.
Among the Christian conservatives there was a largely unheralded group known as SAGE Cons. They were the ones that pushed the Trump-Pence duo to the victory. SAGE Cons is an acronym for Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservatives. Did you get that? SAGE-Cons are Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservatives. They received no attention from the media, pollsters, or political pros. Yet despite their political invisibility, SAGE Cons tipped the balance to the Trump side. Initially, they were not interested in Trump. In fact, his character issues and lack of policy wisdom repulsed them.
SAGE Cons had their concerns about Mr. Trump. Though he described himself as a “strong Christian,” he certainly wasn’t in danger of getting a church attendance pin, or being accused of biblical scholarship. His views on his own need of repentance and his idea that he was going to heaven because he was a good person that didn’t really need grace, was not satisfying to them. “Why do I need repentance,” he said, “or ask forgiveness, if I am not making mistakes? I work hard, I’m an honorable person.” Mr. Trump obviously does not understand Christianity. He understands the dog-eat-dog business world. And he uses his business mentality to run the government.
Some Christian leaders knew they had to meet with Mr. Trump to help him to protect their interests in the Christian community and lay out their worldview to him. So, about 40 of them met with Mr. Trump at his home in Trump Towers early in the campaign. Led by Paula White, the group included David Jeremiah, Jan Crouch, Robert Jeffress, Kenneth Copeland, Darrell Scott and Clarence McClendon. This opened the door for continuing conversations with the group. Eventually, Mr. Trump said or did enough to make James Dobson feel justified in saying he was “born again,” and that he was a “baby Christian.” In the end, he as much as admitted that Mr. Trump wasn’t all that was envisioned, and even though “he doesn’t have a clue about how believers think, talk and act. All I can tell you is that we have only two choices, Hillary or Donald. Hillary scares me to death.”
Friends, do you see what was happening here? Conservative Christians wanted someone in the White House who was one of their own, but since they weren’t getting a really good one, they had to find a way to justify their votes for a man that they did not really respect as a Christian. On the other hand, the SAGE Cons and their constituencies could not have carried the day without the less religious groups in the republican side of the political spectrum. So, they had to accept someone that was less than ideal, but then train him to think like them. And Mr. Trump’s political realities dictated that he listen to them, while his character inadequacies appealed to the more secular voters that were also concerned about the American slide to the left.
America was and is ripe for an evangelical political revival in which conservative Christians would become engaged in the political power centers of American politics. But how did it come about that Evangelicals, who are not a homogenous group that think alike or engage in politics collectively, going to unite around a man like Donald Trump?
The mainstream media seriously underestimated the SAGE Cons, perhaps because they had been dormant for most election cycles. But as it turned out, what was really important to the election was what the SAGE Cons were doing. And the mainstream media wasn’t paying any attention to them. These people were influenced greatly by Tony Perkins, the head of American Family and David Barton, the noted historian who has construed American history to reflect evangelical values.
Who are these SAGE Cons? Their median age is 60 and they have incomes above $60,000 annually. Nine out of ten attend a Protestant Church. Nine out of ten of them are married and have been for decades, while few of them have children still at home. They are upscale and spend time with their grandchildren. They are deeply immersed in the pursuit of a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and have a biblical world-view, which means that they are very impressionable especially by their pastors.
While you have perhaps never heard of them in the mainstream media SAGE Cons are a larger voting block than blacks, Hispanics, gays, college students or any of the other smaller segments that the liberal media tend to highlight and exaggerate.
The mainstream media focus on the left, meant that they did not do deeper research on conservatives. They summarized them all based their understanding of the visible evangelicals. Meanwhile the SAGE Cons, who did not want to waste time in conflicts with the mainstream media, tasked themselves with directly educating, motivating and activating their own constituency. The mainstream media was not going to help them with that. So they had to find alternative means to engage their base and prepare them for electing Donald Trump, once the Republican convention confirmed his nomination.
The 2016 presidential race provided evangelicals with a wealth of great options to choose from, and therein lay the problem. The process of negotiating a unified front suffered from too much take and not enough give. Everyone wanted their candidate of choice to become everybody’s candidate of choice. All attempts at unity behind one conservative or evangelical candidate failed. That was the opening Donald Trump needed to make his White House ambitions reality. The “Quack from Queens” as some called him, somehow pieced together enough disgruntled white, middle class voters to take the lead in the race. A survey by the Barna Group concerning the Republican presidential race showed that Trump was favored by 33% of Republican voters while Cruz was a distant second at 19%, then Rubio at 16%, Carson, who was the only other candidate in the double digits was at 11%.
Mr. Trump’s support base, early on, did not include evangelical Christians. They were split between Cruz and Carson, and Trump was barely on their radar. Non-evangelical Christians found Trump to be their man. But his most solid base was among people who claimed to be Christians, but only had a loose commitment to the Bible and religious activity. These are known as notional Christians.
But when SAGE Cons woke up to the fact that Mr. Trump was likely to emerge as a serious threat for the nomination, their favorability ratings surged from 45% to 52% during the four months between September of 2015 and January of 2016. Though they were hoping for someone of their own like Carson, Cruz, Huckabee or Rubio, they increasing were faced with the relentless and formidable Mr. Trump.
While Ted Cruz took Iowa, Mr. Trump came in a fairly close second. It was a harbinger of what was to come. Trump took New Hampshire, then South Carolina. Then on Super Tuesday (when 10 primaries took place on the same day), Mr. Trump won seven of them.
That’s when the candidates started to thin out. One by one they withdrew from the race, especially as Mr. Trump continued to win more and more primaries. But as Mr. Trump got closer to the Republican nomination, the SAGE Cons gave him less favorable ratings. Yet, they also saw that they had no real good alternative. The Democratic nominee-in-waiting was far worse than Trump in their minds. Trump had won the primaries, but not the hearts of Christian conservatives. Nevertheless, they saw that without their backing the Republican Party didn’t have a chance of putting a candidate in the White House. Hillary was a non-starter for them. They would rather consign their wives and children to Genghis Kahn than to Hillary.
SAGE Cons were on the horns of a dilemma. They strongly opposed Mrs. Clinton, but they couldn’t stomach Mr. Trump either. He was everything they despised, egotistical, foul-mouthed, irreligious, a bully, a pretender, a womanizer, a New Yorker and a policy lightweight with ambiguous positions on key social issues.
In the end, this was an advantage in some ways because SAGE Cons could then shape Mr. Trump’s thinking. This would lead to their consolidation of power in the Trump administration. But that was later.
Besides, some key leaders were starting to come out against Trump, like beloved-by-many Pastor Max Lucado and Russell Moore, the Southern Baptist spokesman for everything cultural. Theologians Stanley Hauerwas, Michael Horton and John Piper all complained about Mr. Trump being unfit to lead the nation. Only a very few religious conservative leaders supported Mr. Trump. Perhaps they can be counted on one hand. Jerry Falwell Jr. for instance, and the Dallas megachurch pastor, Robert Jeffress. But who else? Maybe a few less known leaders, but the big evangelical names were standoffish.
Something dramatic needed to happen. And it did. It was an event that nobody saw coming. The reality for the Trump team was inescapable. He had to woo the conservative religious groups or he would not make it to Casa Blanca, or the White House.
SAGE Cons were feeling sick to their stomachs. The math was brutally clear. If they refused to “suit up” and play hard for Mr. Trump, Hillary Clinton would waltz into the end zone untouched. And Hillary was banking on it. But these SAGE Cons saw they were in difficulty. They did not want to lose their ministry support base, which was a very likely outcome, if they came out in favor of Mr. Trump. If donations decline, how then will they carry on their own work? They were caught between the proverbial devil and the deep blue sea.
At this point, a couple of conservative leaders had the same idea and they managed to talk about it together. Their plan would be to hold an “invitation-only” gathering of the nation’s top conservative Christian leaders to hear from the two major-party candidates. They’d start with Donald Trump, hoping he would clarify his intentions on issues of importance to evangelicals, while at the same time perhaps understand what it would take to throw their weight behind Mr. Trump. They intended to invite Mrs. Clinton to a subsequent gathering to talk to conservative religious leaders, but her campaign never responded. And after hundreds of phone calls, the event with Mr. Trump was on.
Sponsored jointly by United in Purpose (UiP) led by Bill Dallas and My Faith Votes, led by Ben Carson, “A Conversation about America’s Future” was quickly organized for June 21 at the Marriott Marquis in mid-town Manhattan. The organizers originally wanted 200 open-minded leaders to show up. Why only 200? They knew that among conservative Christians, Mr. Trump was as popular as a pork chop at a bar mitzvah. But if they could lure these 200 key leaders to the Marriott, they could potentially influence their followings, a few million people. Meanwhile, though Mr. Trump may have bushwhacked himself to the party’s presumed nomination, he wasn’t picking up any momentum as the countdown to the convention ticked away.
But word spread among conservative Christian leaders about the event and a tidal wave of interest exploded. By the day of the event, just over 1000 religious leaders were personally invited to the no-media event and the anticipation was palpable. Many of these leaders and the 18 sponsoring organizations were expecting to advance their understanding of the cause of Christ.
The organizers planned a 7-hour day with talks by Ben Carson, George Barna, Ralph Reed and Eric Metaxas. Others leading prayers, presentations and other interactions were people like Ken Blackwell, Marjorie Dannenfelser, Jerry Falwell Jr., Mark Gonzales, Franklin Graham, Jack Graham, James Robison, Lila Rose and Rick Scarborough. But the heart of the day was to be the planned 45-minute chat session with Donald Trump. A group of hand-picked leaders would ask a series of carefully developed questions.
For Mr. Trump, it was make or break. The leaders who packed the ballroom had direct influence on 60 million potential voters. And though few of those leaders entered the room supporting Mr. Trump, they hoped to be able to find a justification to support him.
When Mr. Trump arrived Ben Carson took the stage to set the tone. He spoke on the “Power of Unity” and suggested that by uniting together, the evangelical leaders gathered in the room could change America, bringing it back to its Christian roots.
Listen to some of Dr. Ben Carson’s words. “Here’s a person who, it seemed like every week, the pundits were saying, ‘That’s it – he’ll never recover from that. It’s all over.’ And then he’d go up in the polls. What that says to me is that God has something to do with what is going on right now.”
Fancy Ben Carson saying that God was responsible for Mr. Trump’s success. While that may be indirectly true, it is Mr. Trump’s candidacy that has led us right to the brink, to the very precipice of major changes in religious liberty, not only in America, but around the world. While Dr. Carson and these religious leaders were thinking about their political success, there is only the possibility that God has allowed it to happen so that end-time prophecies can be staged according as the Bible as explained. But these evangelical leaders do not understand the truth concerning Bible prophecy and what it says about their own destiny. Remember, America is going to become much more “religious” than it is now, so much so, that it will be able to enforce worship laws on the nation and other countries around the world.
Ben Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist, apparently doesn’t understand the trajectory of prophecy and its fulfillment either. He even used precipice imagery in his presentation. “The ship is about to sail off Niagara Falls, full of passengers,” he said, “and everybody’s about to be killed. You know what we have to do? We have to stop the ship – number one. Number two, we have to turn it around. And number three, we have to sail in the other direction.”
While it is true that America needs to return to its conservative roots, it is also true that doing so will not stop with just bringing the country back to center. Evangelicals, once they have power, will inevitably take the country to the opposite extreme and eventually push for restrictions on religious liberty.
The enemy set this up, my friends. In the name of doing good, and bringing America back from its liberal direction, he has created circumstances that will eventually be used to remove any remembrance of the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments and replace it with Sunday worship. It is classic Hegelian dialectic that is invisible to those who cannot see it. Push America way to the left, and the reaction will bring America back beyond center to the right. Remember that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Ben Carson also appealed to the sensitivities of the evangelicals about religious liberty as they define it. To them it is all about religious liberty in the market place, in politics and in social interactions. They are not thinking about the consequences of their intentions and what will develop down the line. “It should be very apparent who is interested in religious liberty and who is interested in taking those things away from us,” Carson concluded. “But we are the ones who make the determination. It’s time for us to put the stake in the ground, and not sit down and shut up like they want us to do, but to stand up for our faith.”
Then Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham and head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as well as Samaritan’s Purse was introduced. He described the leaders God chose to lead his people and pointed out that Abraham was a liar, Moses was disobedient, David an adulterer and murderer, obviously suggesting that Mr. Trump may not be what they would have wanted, but that is who they got. He also pointed out that the disciples turned their backs on Jesus. He described himself as a sinner in need of God’s grace. “There’s no perfect person,” he said, “there’s only been one… and he’s not running for president of the United States this year.”
He then concluded with a prayer in which he said, “And, Father, we pray that each one here today will leave this room with a new appreciation of this man and his family.”
Jerry Falwell Jr. then took the stage. He emphasized how bad Hillary Clinton would be as president. Speaking of his now deceased father back in 2006 when there was first talk of Hillary running for president, his father said, “I hope Hillary is the candidate because nothing will energize my constituency like Hillary Clinton.” Then he added, “If Lucifer himself ran, that wouldn’t work as well.” Then he said, “we have the chance to make sure that [Hillary] goes out of politics.”
After a few more positive remarks about Donald Trump, he said, “to me this election is very simple. We have an election between someone who promises he will support issues important to us as Christians, including appointing justices to the Supreme Court who would make us all proud. That’s Donald Trump. And someone who promises she will do just the opposite. That’s Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump is a breath of fresh air in a nation where the political establishment of both parties has betrayed their constituencies time and time again with broken promises and a continuation of the status quo. Mr. Trump is a bold and fearless leader who will take the fight to our enemies, and to the radical Islamic terrorists…”
Falwell then introduced Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump took the empty chair on the stage opposite of Mike Huckabee, the moderator, who would field the prepared questions to Mr. Trump.
Huckabee set him at ease by saying “One of the things I’d say to all the people here: My conversations with Paula (White)… are a great reminder to me that you [Donald Trump] are willing to listen to spiritual counsel from people you know and you trust.”
Huckabee’s remark may well have been the first thought, for many in the room, about how conservative Christian leaders could shape the future president’s thinking about conservative issues.
Huckabee went on to say, “I don’t think anybody here expects you to be theological today. I want to put you at ease. Because I don’t think anyone’s here thinking we’re interviewing your to be our next pastor. This is not a pastoral search committee.”
Trump loosened up. The more he relaxed, the more he seemed to enjoy the exchange. As the chit chat unfolded, those in the room could understand, without media filtering, exactly where Mr. Trump stood on their issues of greatest interest. Listen carefully. Mr. Trump said exactly the things these evangelicals wanted to hear. Mr. Trump attacked the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits political endorsements by tax-exempt organizations. He also promised to end the politically correct speech that prevents people from praying or using religious expressions in public.
Speaking of the Johnson amendment to the IRS code for tax-exempt organizations, he said. “It’s taken a lot of power away from Christianity and other religions… I think maybe my greatest contribution to Christianity – and other religions – is to allow you to go and speak openly. If you like somebody and you want somebody to represent you, you should have the right to do that.”
Later he said, “We’re becoming so politically correct that we can’t function as a country anymore. We’re going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas” again, and we’re going to be saying a lot of other things. When coaches aren’t allowed to pray on the field with their team, going into battle, that’s a disgrace, and that’s gonna change. And not everybody has to pray if they don’t want to, and that’s fine. But when a coach has a team and they’re going into battle and they’re restricted from praying, and they fire the coach – those days are over.”
Then came one of his most important comments from a prophetic point of view. “This is such and important election,” he said. “And I say to you folks, you have such power, such influence. Unfortunately, the government has weeded it away from you pretty strongly. But you’re going to get it back… You probably have something like 75 or 80 percent of the country believing. But you don’t use your power. You don’t use your power.
“Just remember this: You are the most powerful group in this country. But you have to realize that. You have to band together. If you don’t band together, you’re really not powerful. You have a powerful church. I see it. I see some of these incredible pastors and ministers and people that speak so brilliantly. But they’re great within their audience but then outside they don’t have it. And if you do that, you will bring [America] back like nothing has ever been brought back.”
Those words were inspiring to the participants. They could see that by putting aside their ideological differences, they could make a huge difference on America concerning their common core principles.
Mr. Trump also promised to nominate U.S. Supreme Court Justices who would honor the Constitution. He also played on the fear of hunger that has been so prevalent in all communist countries. “If Hillary gets in, we know what she’s going to be putting in there. We know exactly what’s going to happen. We’re going to end up being a different world, a different country. We’re going to end of being a Venezuela if she gets in, for a lot of different reasons. You see what’s going on in Venezuela right now, where they’re fighting each other, killing each other over a loaf of bread. We’re going to have a lot of problems in this country.”
“I’m putting pro-life judges on my list [of prospective nominees],” Mr. Trump said. “You can look at their names, we have them posted.” The alternative [by Clinton] is the opposite. There won’t be any pro-life judges put on there. They will be all pro-choice… When we get down to the Supreme Court you’re talking about religious liberty, freedom… And if it’s my judges, you know how they’re going to decide. And if it’s her judges, you also know how they’re going to decide.”
Then he discussed the military. “Our military is so badly depleted. And we fight all over the place. We fight in little pockets here, there. WE don’t win anything. We don’t fight to win. Nobody knows why… I just want the greatest fighting force in the world. And I never want to have to use it. I want to have it so that when people look at us, they say, ‘OK, we’re not going to play games.’ That’s the way I feel.”
Mr. Trump also proclaimed himself to be 100% for Israel. This is based on false assumptions and false prophecies that keep evangelicals thinking that Israel is still God’s church. They forget that Jesus rejected Israel as His church after the stoning of Stephen, and that those who are Israel now are those who are Christ’s. For Jesus said, through Paul, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29.
Mr. Trump also promised to address urban challenges through economic solutions based on job opportunities and training. He condemned NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement). He promised he would support law enforcement agencies. And he famously promised to control borders by building a wall between the United States and Mexico. And lastly, he promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, which is a thorn in the flesh to many conservatives throughout America.
Instead of the planned 45 minutes, Mr. Trump had been on stage for two hours. During the course of those two hours, the mood in the room had changed from doubt and skepticism to optimism and hope. Christian leaders left the Marriott Marquis on June 21 seeing a future quite different from when they came into the meeting. Many leaders declared that they had seen the light and now supported Mr. Trump. Others were more cautious and had to think about their plan of action and still others shifted from “undecided” to being secret Trump supporters. Many shifted their position to “Clinton is untenable, Trump is imperfect, but we have to choose somebody, and Trump is the logical choice.”
The growth in Mr. Trump’s SAGE Con support was quickly discernable. It jumped up to 70%. But religious conservatives had been burned so many times by politicians who used them and lied to them and disappointed them that they were understandably skeptical. But with Mrs. Clinton as the only other realistic option, “The Donald” began looking better every day, plus he was at least receptive to the conservative Christian agenda.
Now it was Hillary’s turn to have a problem. She seemed to have difficulty sparking the public’s imagination like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump had done. Early predictions of a 20-point lead or higher margin of victory for Clinton evaporated. Mr. Trump also hammered Hillary by saying that she was underperforming.
During the Republican convention, the policy wonks came up with a party platform that was widely regarded as the most conservative platform adopted by a party in at least the last half-century. Those who drafted the document were men like Tony Perkins, David Barton, Len Munsil, and Mike Mears.
The platform reflected distinctly evangelical views, including support for “natural marriage” between a man and a woman, condemnation for the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, calling for the repeal of the Johnson Amendment, and support for a First Amendment Defense Act, which would ban discrimination against individuals or businesses that act in harmony with their beliefs. It also supported voluntary school prayer, the Bible in public school literature and displaying the Ten Commandments on public property.
The platform also unambiguously supported protecting the lives of unborn children, condemned Planned Parenthood for its abortions, opposed government support of transgenderism, condemned persecution of Christians and other religious minorities around the world, and supported educational choice. Most American’s have no idea what this document says, but it is a very important guide for the direction of the country once Mr. Trump was in the White House.
But perhaps the one event that pushed evangelicals over the edge in support of Mr. Trump was his choice of Mike Pence as his running mate. Pence was raised a Roman Catholic, but converted to Evangelicalism. He had established his conservative evangelical credentials as Governor of Indiana, and was widely respected. A striking two out of three SAGE Cons admitted that placing Pence on the GOP ticket gave them more confidence in a Trump administration and therefore, they were more comfortable in voting for him.
Mr. Trump had famously labeled mainstream media “fake news.” And research revealed that conservative Christians were not getting their news from CNN and other mainstream media sources. They no longer trusted them because it was obvious that the mainstream media was pushing Hillary so hard – too hard, perhaps – that it was impossible to get unbiased information from them. SAGE Cons believed that the mainstream media was unfair and biased. They were fed up with them. So, they took matters into their own hands and developed their own conservative news sources. They turned to sources that were already talking to conservative Christians, like Tony Perkins (radio host of Washington Watch) and publishers of newsletters through the Family Research Council, Tim Wildman president of the American Family Association and host of a daily radio program and publisher of its large-circulation newsletter, Glen Beck, an independent online and radio broadcaster, Janet Parshall, syndicated Christian Radio host and Fox news commentator Todd Starnes were also sources of news for them. SAGE Cons were not about to be manipulated by the media, who in their almost universal estimation were dedicated to an agenda that had nothing in common with the best interests of America. People hate to feel used. And millions of voters felt that the media was manipulating them. They resented being lied to by Hillary and her media minions. Mr. Trump had an uncanny sense of how to expose the underpinnings of the Clinton campaign.
On Election Day, even SAGE Cons left the polls thinking that Hillary would win, but they turned out in massive numbers and voted for Mr. Trump anyway. And to the shock of the liberals, the mainstream media, and even to the SAGE Cons themselves, Mr. Trump won the Electoral College.
Think about what Mr. Trump was up against and it will give you some insight into the deep-seated animosity to the Obama administration by conservatives.
First, Mr. Trump was facing an opponent with decades of experience, a deep network of contacts, universal name recognition, campaign infrastructure, party backing, and a sitting president who invested himself and his team in support of her election.
Second, Mr. Trump lacked any political experience.
Third, Mr. Trump was outspent by approximately a 2:1 ratio.
Fourth, Mr. Trump’s campaign had virtually no “ground game,” which is an effort by local staff and volunteers to identify supporters and turn them out to vote.
Fifth, Mr. Trump was constantly misrepresented and often abused by the major media. And Mr. Trump called them out for it. No previous candidate in the history of American politics dared attempt this as it would have killed their campaign.
Sixth, Mr. Trump was regularly accused of things that were subsequently proven to be false.
Seventh, Mr. Trump was proven to have said and done things that were immoral and inappropriate in his life, which would normally be harmful to someone running for the highest office in the land.
Eighth, the Republican establishment abandoned Mr. Trump.
Ninth, two out of three Americans believed he was unqualified to serve as president. And he had the lowest favorability score of any presidential candidate since polling began.
Tenth, foreign leaders mocked him as unworthy of leading the country, much less influencing global policy.
Eleventh, national polls consistently showed him losing the race.
Twelfth, political analysts and pundits universally agreed that he was incapable of winning.
But in spite of all that, on November 9, Donald Trump claimed victory while Hillary Clinton was in seclusion, trying to understand what just happened. Mr. Trump’s victory almost defies explanation; it makes little sense from a rational, empirical point of view.
So, how did it happen? We’ve seen how the Marriott meeting had a major impact in changing the minds of evangelicals about Mr. Trump. But that was only the beginning. There was still much work to do before the election. And the evangelicals went into action.
While some of them were uncomfortable partnering in the past, working through the United in Purpose events and connections made cooperation more palatable. For instance, one UiP closed-door, invitation-only meeting in Dallas in April 2016 brought like-minded ministries together to strategize and partner for the election.
UiP and the Barna group provided research to partnering organizations and ministries about the language and messages that arrested the attention of voters and that could persuade them to view the election from a religious point of view. Notice that, my friends. That’s ominous. Think about what could happen when Sabbath/Sunday issues mature.
UiP’s tech team also researched and identified partnering organizations that had existing connections to people who were registered to vote in previous elections but had not bothered to do so. They then used those partner organizations to reach out to those registered non-voters to engage them in the election.
Conservative ministries communicate regularly with their followers. Once the message was sorted out, engaging conservative Christians was easy through ministries with which they were familiar. To understand the magnitude of this activity, let me give you one unique detail. Between social media postings, emails, and website listings that included articles, videos, and blogs, the partner organizations initiated just shy of one billion unique digital contacts with targeted voters. That’s almost a billion contacts, my friends. That was no small accomplishment, when you think about it.
Can you see what can happen when conservative Christians unite around a given cause? They can really do anything, including enacting legal worship laws, if they want to. Put not your trust in the arm of flesh, my friends. That’s what these people are doing and it will eventually lead them to do things that are currently unthinkable.
Traditional media also got into the action. The National Religious Broadcasters became heavily involved in the effort to elect Mr. Trump, by developing and promoting a campaign called “Christians Vote,” which it sent around to its over 1000 member stations nationwide. Many of these Christian broadcasters also crammed their programming with discussions on the issues and the importance of election participation.
Print publishers, television networks and other Christian media outlets joined in the effort as well. Evangelical favorites like Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Newt Gingrich, Tony Perkins, Bob Vander Plaats, Cindy Jacobs, David Barton, Jim Garlow, Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed and others became tireless advocates, doing stump speeches at thousands of events and church services nationwide to promote voting one’s faith values in November. And these big names had a massive impact.
Prolife groups were more active than ever. Family defense groups like Wisconsin Family Policy, Minnesota Family Council, the Family Leader, and Family Talk run by James Dobson, promoted family values. They also developed videos and an extensive international prayer network around the election. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council went on a 22-state “Your Values, Your Vote, Your Future” bus tour and spoke day after day to Christians wrestling with the Trump campaign. They also used digital media to target and motivate its constituency. In fact, if there was a medium available, FRC used it.
American Family Association, Wallbuilders, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and others all got into the act. Franklin Graham embarked on a 50 state “Decision America” bus tour to stump for Trump and pray with as many as 10,000 conservative Christians in every state capitol. While Graham never publically endorsed Mr. Trump (which would have been illegal due to the Johnson Amendment), he often said, “We have an opportunity to make a difference in this country. Let’s start a movement across this country to turn this country back to God. Vote for candidates that stand for biblical truth and biblical principles… Elect men and women to office who will lead this nation back to ‘one nation under God’… Let’s take this country back.” Again, that is very ominous. While well-meaning, it is laying the foundation for the religious persecution that the Bible declares will overtake American politics.
Most people don’t realize the behind-the-scenes efforts of evangelicals to get Mr. Trump elected. It was massive. And the mainstream media ignored it to their own embarrassment. In fact, their behavior made it clear how opposed to general biblical values the mainstream media really is. And once they added their opinions to the journalism (the who, what, when, where and why), the floodgates were open for today’s juggernaut of media manipulation and propaganda, including “fake news,” as Mr. Trump so famously called them.
Conservative Christians would have none of it. Think about it. While the mainstream media continues their barrage of opinionated non-journalistic and sometimes savage attacks on Mr. Trump, it creates an environment that actually keeps these conservative Christians close to him. They love him because he continues to try to fulfill his campaign promises. He invites them into the White House. They are given opportunities to shape his thinking and consequently his policies both foreign and domestic.
Mr. Trump established a Faith Advisory Board with many key SAGE Cons to guide him as he navigates the presidential issues he and his staff face. They influence his thinking about issues that are important to them. They are consolidating power in government, which will eventually lead to the fulfillment of Revelation 13 in which the 2nd beast, or the United States, becomes so powerful and religious that it begins to persecute those who do not worship in the legal way. This is hard for many people to understand.
How will it be that America will become that strong? Only by uniting church and state, only by giving church leaders influence over the state, can America become so great that it will force all nations to comply with its policies, particularly its worship policies. This is happening under our noses, my friends, as evangelicals take on more governing power.
Though Mr. Trump overcame enormous odds in becoming the “miracle president,” as some would say, yet no candidate would more suitably set the stage for end-time events. Many of God’s people become passionate about politics. They defend their favorite politician and criticize others. They become so blinded by the play and counterplay of politicians that they fail to see the larger prophetic issues.
My friends, let us remember that we are living in the last days when every Bible prophecy will be fulfilled. We are on the precipice of massive changes in terms of religious liberty. In the name of religious liberty, America will eventually seek to take away the very liberties that have made it great. If evangelical leaders become entrenched in government, do you think they will not touch religious freedom?
Most of these religious leaders are Sunday keepers. They are all very committed to Sunday worship. When there have been enough devastating disasters they will say that God is punishing America for its sins. Some of them are already saying that in the aftermath of three devastating hurricanes, shocking wildfires, and other natural disasters. What is to prevent them from taking the next step and advocating that everyone must go to church on Sunday?
It’s not difficult to see where this is headed. We must watch and pray, that we may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. Luke 21:26. Friends, the end is near. Please don’t let political matters consume you. Let Jesus have His full authority in your life.
Let us pray. Our Father in heaven, we see the signs of the times rapidly unfolding around us. We realize that at some point You are going to allow the final movements to unfold. Please help us see our true condition, and give us the experience we need to be like Jesus. He is coming soon. Please prepare us for the coming crisis. I pray that You will send Your Spirit into our hearts that we may reflect the loveliness and purity of our Savior. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer, in Jesus’ name, amen.