A clip of a Trump attendee babbling about the presence of Satan in America is reminiscent of the religious fanaticism of the followers of a fictitious president in Octavia Butler’s Parable series. Framed as rallies to “Save America,” some attendees seem to believe they are on the right side of a battle of good vs. evil.
Footage from a right-wing media outlet shows a Black woman Trump supporter being cheered on by a white crowd as she claims the current system is a “satanic system” and that “Satan is on his J-O-B.” She concludes by saying the country needs to be taken back for God. In Butler’s novel, the followers of a presidential candidate affiliated with a Christian Fundamentalist organization call carry out atrocious crimes all in the name of taking the country back.
Like the fanatical followers in Butler’s book, Trump’s followers are being primed to help overturn lawful action taken against what they believe is God’s will. With each appearance, Trump-fueled extremism grows stronger.
As reported by CNN, Trump signaled support for the Jan. 6 insurrectionist. after doubling down on previously debunked claims about the 2020 election cycle and his definitive loss. Many of those involved in the attack on the Capitol have said they thought their actions were what Trump wanted after losing the November 2020 election and the Senate losses in Georgia on Jan. 5. Trump suggested he would pardon insurrectionists if he is elected president in 2024.
During the rally he also called for supporters to rise up if either of the criminal investigations against him moves forward. Trump is the subject of two criminal investigations in New York City and Atlanta related to his dealings with his corporation and trying to change the Georgia election.
It is easy to dismiss this type of rhetoric as simply fringe or even deranged. But Trump’s rallies pose a continued threat to the country and the fragile shell of what remains of American democracy. An entire ecosystem of disinformation built around the Trump brand and Christian nationlist groups and congregations are using it for their agenda.
But just as there is a continued pro-Trump religious fervor, there is a concerted effort to rebuke what many congregations view as a distortion of the Christian faith. NPR previously reported that 24,000 religious leaders signed a statement denouncing Christian Nationalism.
“Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy,” read the statement. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation.”
As with distortions of information and facts, the distortions of religious faith in support of white supremacy pose a deeply concerning shift in the country’s sociopolitical landscape.