With Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missing oral arguments this week as she recovers from surgery to remove cancerous tumors from her lungs, Religious Right activists are circling the Supreme Court like vultures, gleeful at what they see as an imminent opportunity to seal a solid far-right majority on the Supreme Court and fulfill their goals to overturn Roe v. Wade, eliminate legal equality for LGBTQ people, undermine separation of church and state and roll back decades of court rulings and federal programs protecting worker safety, public health, and the environment. Trump boosters have been praying since his election that God would “remove” Supreme Court justices, who enjoy lifetime appointments, so that Trump would be able to fill the vacancies.
Earlier this week, Jerry Falwell Jr. re-tweeted right-wing activist Charlie Kirk’s tweet mentioning Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer and calling it “Bad news for Democrats” that the “two oldest judges on the bench are radical liberals.” Gary Bauer noted Ginsburg’s absence at oral arguments and linked to a Daily Caller story about the White House making “quiet preparations” to fill a vacancy, which Bauer said “would be an incredible opportunity for a first-term president.”
Anti-gay activist Matt Barber tweeted last night that he was praying for Ginsburg “in her twilight time” that she would “accept Christ as her Lord & Savior & beg His forgiveness for the millions of innocent babies she’s helped to slaughter.”
I’m praying for #RBG, that, in her twilight time, she will accept Christ as her Lord & Savior & beg His forgiveness for the millions of innocent babies she’s helped to slaughter. Her eternity depends on it. #RuthBaderGinsburg#Ginsburg #JesusTheOnlyWay
— Matt Barber (@jmattbarber) January 11, 2019
Barber followed up by tweeting—with the caption “Warming up in the bullpen”—a photo of Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump-nominated federal appeals court judge who has been on his Supreme Court short list, and who has been declared God’s choice for the Supreme Court by dominionist “prophets” and Religious Right leaders.
— Matt Barber (@jmattbarber) January 11, 2019
Right-wing activists have long nursed a special animus toward the ground-breaking feminist Ginsburg.
In October, pastor and conspiracy theorist Pastor Rodney Howard-Brown, who has laid hands on and prayed over Trump in the Oval Office, guest-hosted The Alex Jones Show on Infowars, where he said that Ginsburg should be shot for treason. A few years earlier, Rick Wiles declared her to be “one of the most wicked, vile human beings on the planet.” A few weeks ago, Phyllis Schlafly Eagles distributed a 1993 Phyllis Schlafly attack on Ginsburg’s feminist philosophy. Liberty Counsel President Mat Staver has argued that Congress should have impeached justices who supported Roe v. Wade and Obergefell (the latter being the case that legalized same-sex marriage).
Trump’s promise to give Religious Right leaders the Supreme Court of their dreams was enough to overcome whatever qualms they may have had about his character and values, and they told their supporters that the chance to take control of the Court was more important than any other issue. Trump-supporting “prophet” Lance Wallnau has even said that God allowed the late justice Antonin Scalia to die before the 2016 election in order to motivate conservative Christians to vote for Trump.
The Religious Right was thrilled with Trump’s first nominee Neil Gorsuch and they rallied around his second nominee Brett Kavanaugh, though he was not the Religious Right’s first choice—that was Amy Coney Barrett, who they saw as more unquestionably committed to overturning Roe v. Wade. Dominionist Lou Engle’s TheCall said in a July newsletter that Coney Barrett “has the endorsement of heaven behind her.”
Just before Kavanaugh’s nomination was announced, Judicial Action Group President Phillip Jauregui, an allied attorney of the Alliance Defending Freedom, told 1,000 Intercessors for America prayer warriors that Amy Coney Barrett was God’s chosen candidate for the seat and that Kavanaugh had been revealed by God to be a usurper. He said that while Trump had a list of 25 potential nominees, God’s list had only one name on it, and Coney Barrett was “the anointed one.”
The American Family Association initially opposed Kavanaugh as a “bad nominee”—though they backed down quickly under pressure from Kavanaugh supporters. IFA similarly backtracked, and just a week after Jauregui’s declarations they shifted to praying for Kavanaugh.
But Religious Right leaders have continued to believe that God wants Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court. In September, “prophet” Cindy Jacobs said that God is preparing a woman to fill an additional vacancy that would be coming soon. Last August, after Kavanaugh was nominated, Engle described a prophetic dream involving Karen Pence that was had by Matt Lockett, executive director of Justice House of Payer DC and Bound4LIFE International:
Months before Kennedy announced his retirement, Matt Lockett received a prophetic dream that highlighted another potential choice. In his dream, Karen Pence – wife to Vice President Mike Pence – was summoned to say who she thought the next justice on the Supreme Court should be. However, she was unsure of who to recommend. In the dream, Matt grabbed her by the shoulders and said to her in very focused words, “Remember the name Amy Barrett.”
Imagine our excitement when it was reported in recent weeks that Judge Barrett was among the short list of potential nominees. Even though the president did not select Judge Barrett for the current vacancy on the court, it is our conviction that she must not be forgotten. Perhaps she will be raised up in the days ahead as a replacement for Ginsburg or someone else. We will continue to stand in faith and declare to the spiritual realm over the president, the senate, and all involved, “Remember the name Amy Barrett!”
Religious Right activists have tried to smooth the path for Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination by running a dishonest campaign intended to portray her as the victim of religious bigotry at the hands of Democratic senators who, at her appeals court confirmation hearing, questioned her about her writings on the topic of when a judge should recuse herself in matters of law that conflicted with her religious beliefs. IFA’s 2018 guide to prayer for the judicial system urged special prayers for her.
Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow John Malcolm told the Daily Caller this week that Trump would be under pressure to replace Ginsburg with a woman and named Coney Barrett as a likely candidate.
In addition to championing Coney Barrett, Trump-supporting dominionists have been waging “spiritual warfare” to maximize the number of vacancies Trump has a chance to fill.
Trump adviser Paula White told Jim Bakker’s television program in 2017 that Trump was under relentless spiritual attack because demonic spirits know that if he were given the chance to make more Supreme Court appointments, “we’ll be able to overturn demonic laws and decrees.” Anti-choice leaders joined dominionst “prophets” in an October 2017 rally on the National Mall asking God to remove more Supreme Court justices to create a “massive shift” on the Court. At that rally, Alliance Defending Freedom’s founder and recently retired president Alan Sears said it’s not over “until the gate of hell has been smashed open” and Roe v. Wade is no more.
Last February, Dutch Sheets led 1,300 prayer warriors at the Trump International Hotels prayed for the removal of justices not aligned with God’s purposes. After the 2018 midterms left Republicans with a larger and more right-wing Senate majority, Sheets urged his followers to tell God that they wouldn’t be content with just one more conservative justice, but that they want two or three more.
Engle has said he believes prophetic words that God will allow Trump to name five justices to the Supreme Court. Last summer he urged Americans to engage in three days of fasting and prayer over the Supreme Court. Earlier in the Trump presidency, Engle led prayers at a POTUS Shield gathering for God to “sweep away the judges” who support the right to abortion, explaining that when God had been ready to bring down communism, he had one Soviet Politburo member after another die until “God got his man Gorbachev.”
Earlier this month, Trump adviser Frank Amedia insisted that Chief Justice John Roberts has not proven to be sufficiently reliable to the Religious Right, meaning that God has to remove more justices so that Trump can fill the seat with another justice whose “values and morality” reflect a “kingdom enlightenment as to what is required by God to change the law of this land now.”