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Donald Trump as Jesus? Why he casts himself as a martyr, and why fans go along

Mod: Trump is the opposite of anything Jesus Christ taught, but will that mean very much to people who know nothing? 

Donald Trump as Jesus? Why he casts himself as a martyr, and why fans go along (The Washington Post link): When Donald Trump’s civil trial on fraud allegations began in Manhattan last week, some of his most avid fans pictured him sitting alongside the archetypal martyr, Jesus. Trump quickly circulated the faux courtroom sketch to his social media followers.

At rallies, in fundraising letters and wherever he can find an attentive listener, the former president — who faces 91 felony charges, four criminal trials and, in the New York civil case, the prospect of a court-ordered dismantling of his financial empire — has taken up a new mantra: “They’re not after me; they’re after you,” says the headline plastered across the top of Trump’s campaign website this week. “I’m just standing in the way.”

At a Michigan rally two weeks ago, Trump told striking autoworkers, “Now I put everything on the line to fight for you. I’ve risked it all to defend the working class from the corrupt political class … I never heard of the word ‘indictment;’ now I get indicted like every three days.”

Trump’s use of religious imagery has not persuaded many devout Christians that he is one of them; rather, many evangelical leaders who have been supportive of Trump say that although he is a flawed person, he is valuable to their cause because of his willingness to break norms and ally himself with conservative Christian policy preferences, including by installing three conservative justices on the Supreme Court.
Some on the Christian right reject Trump’s use of religious analogies. “For Republicans, [Trump’s indictment] means admitting that even if Trump is preferable to Biden (or any Democratic candidate), he is far from the martyr he so often paints himself to be,” Daniel Bennett, a political scientist at John Brown University, a Christian college in Arkansas, wrote in Christianity Today.
But to many followers, Trump’s presentation of himself as a strongman who stands up to the nation’s elites on behalf of the common folk feels emboldening and empowering.

At far-right roadshow, Trump is God's 'anointed one,' QAnon is king, and 'everything you believe is right' (Los Angeles Times link): Between rows of portable toilets, a line of strangers waited to be baptized in an aluminum horse trough. One by one, they emerged from water heated all day by the Nevada sun, united in purpose as new soldiers for Donald Trump.

Nearby, Christian rock blared from a large tent where pastors standing before the main stage prayed and laid hands on attendees of the ReAwaken America Tour, a far-right religious roadshow now in its third year.

Helmed by retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn — a supporter of the former president and a key figure in efforts to overturn the 2020 election — and Clay Clark, an Oklahoma entrepreneur and podcaster, the whirlwind event melds the MAGA movement, election denial, QAnon conspiracy theories and doomsday prophecy.

The two-day church revival held in August just outside Las Vegas featured nearly 70 speakers who preached that vaccines are poisonous and will bring about the end of the world, that a cabal of global leaders is engaged in child sex trafficking and that the 2020 election was stolen.

Through it all was an apocalyptic drumbeat that the country will be destroyed if Trump doesn't become president again. God wants him to win in 2024, speakers proclaimed to their audience, and as Christians they have been called upon to ensure he does.

"We know the one in charge up above, and I can tell you that I believe that he has his hand now on Donald Trump, that no weapon formed against him shall prosper," Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, told the crowd. "God is a part of this race. I'm telling you guys this. I feel it deep down inside."

Mod: America is under a massive wack-o assault. More at the links.

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