Many Religious Right leaders preach that Donald Trump was anointed by God and put in the White House by divine intervention, so perhaps it’s not so surprising that they are so willing to portray Trump’s opposition in starkly contrasting terms. Religious Right preachers and pundits spent 2018 telling their followers that opponents of Trump, his policies and his nominees are controlled by, or acting on behalf of, Satan and his demons.
Here’s a handy guide to some of the people and institutions that Religious Right figures portrayed as doing the devil’s work this year, some easier to predict than others:
If Trump is God’s chosen instrument to save America, as many Religious Right leaders say he is, why would anyone oppose him unless they were in league with the prince of darkness? Lance Wallnau, author and “prophet,” declared in April that God put Trump in the White House and that his opponents are being controlled by Satan:
“If you are outside of God’s authority,” Wallnau said, “you actually could be in the realm where Satan himself has access to your heart and to your mind, and that’s what I’m watching happen to millions of Americans now that despise what God has done.”
“If He puts Donald Trump into the White House,” he continued, “and you’re one of those people that actually has a visceral hatred of this man, if you continue to operate in this weird spirit, then what happens is Satan begins to take over more and more of your mind and more and more of your heart and you become more and more deranged. That’s what I am watching happen.”
Wallnau also hosted an emergency prayer session in which he commanded “the cloud that is over the president, this demonic collective composition of global witchcraft and curses” to be “blown back.” At the same time, Wallnau thanked God for “the grace and composure” that Trump has demonstrated and for “the self-restraint that he has put on as a guard against any impulsive acts.”
Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, called resistance to Trump “a diabolical movement” that is “motivated by the forces of evil.”
Religious Right activist and former Colorado state legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt said in August that people who experience anxiety over Trump—“people who have Trump Derangement Syndrome”—“may require an exorcism.” That “spirit of fear and anxiety and derangement inside of you” is “coming from the devil and the demonic spirit of fear inside of these people who have Trump Derangement Syndrome may require an exorcism.”
In March, Mark Taylor, the so-called “firefighter prophet,” told right-wing activists outraged about Trump signing an omnibus spending bill that they should remember that Trump is “surrounded by devils, literally.” He also referred to protests of Trump and his polices as “demon-strations.” (Taylor co-authored a book titled “The Trump Prophesies.”)
Taylor described FBI agent Peter Strozk, Hillary Clinton, and Trump opponents as “not human.” (Strozk was revealed to have exchanged texts disparaging Trump with a Justice Department colleague, Lisa Page.) Radio host Bill Deagle agreed, saying they had been “totally taken over by evil” and that when Strzok speaks, “we’re hearing a demonic entity talk through his mouthPastor Paul Begley declared that Strozk “is part of a vast secret society complexity, an Illuminati demonically-charged biblical beast called the deep state that was involved in hijacking this great nation of America and ultimately hijacking the world into a one-world government, a new world order.”
In June, right-wing pastor and conspiracy theorist Carl Gallups told TV host Jim Bakker that opposition to Trump is “very demonic, a demonic attack.” According to Gallups, Satan hates Trump’s support for Israel, which is why “Satan is raising up antagonism right here in America” against Trump.
Right-wing radio personality Jesse Lee Peterson told a caller that if he wasn’t willing to vote for Trump, “You are in a fallen state and Satan is your father, so your whole life is inconsistent.”
Opponents of Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation to the Supreme Court
Getting Religious Right-approved justices on the Supreme Court was a major reason that conservative evangelical leaders rallied around Trump and urged their supporters to back him. They have been ecstatic about the far-right judges Trump is filling the federal judiciary with, and they saw opposition to Brett Kavanaugh as coming straight from the pit of hell.
Frank Amedia, former Trump campaign adviser and founder of the Trump-supporting “prophetic” network POTUS Shield, said on a prayer call in September that “Satan himself,” the “commander-in-chief of the evil kingdom,” was orchestrating opposition to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. At the same event, Alveda King said she believed that “the wicked witch of the East” is “driving and controlling a lot of this,” and she prayed that God would “bind that spirit of witchcraft” and “cancel those demonic contracts.”
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer also attributed opposition to Kavanaugh to demonic forces:
“I believe the demons of hell, under Satan’s direction, threw every single piece of weaponry, every single piece of firepower that they had, threw it into the battle to take out Brett Kavanaugh. They wanted him not just defeated, they wanted him destroyed.”
Fischer said Kavanaugh’s confirmation by the U.S. Senate “represented a victory of Jesus Christ over Satan and the powers of darkness and evil in the unseen world. … It was as if all the demons of hell had been summoned by Satan and ordered to attack this good man in a concerted effort to destroy him. And I believe, thanks to the faithful, committed saints who released the power of God against the powers of darkness through focused and persistent prayer, victory was snatched out of the jaws of defeat.”
Harry Jackson, an anti-LGBTQ activist and member of POTUS Shield, also claimed that opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination was being orchestrated by “demonic forces.”
“Hell is letting us know that it’s not pleased,” he added. “In the earth realm, heaven’s forces manifested through individuals and Satan’s darkness manifested through individuals rule the day. So the gatekeepers in the spirit realm have to be human; in other words, wizards, warlocks, demonically-inspired people, people with a Jezebel spirit in the Capitol Hill who are setting laws, all of these things, they are like gates. The Bible says, ‘The gates of hell will not prevail against the church.’ Well, the gates and the gatekeepers, in a sense, are humans who are demonically-influenced.”
Right-wing pastor Andrew Wommack also blamed demons for opposition to Kavanaugh: “I believe it is pure evil. There is evil fighting to destroy lives and stuff and I think that we’ve got people in positions of leadership that are demon-possessed.”
Televangelist Billye Brim told Jim Bakker about being invited by Sens. Mitch McConnell and Charles Grassley to pray against the demons leading opposition to Kavanaugh. “They were the two senators most active in this whole thing—Grassley and McConnell—they’re the two that had the authority, I would say, and they passed it over to us. And, oh my goodness, we’re sitting up there and I had my little hankie, looking down at the senators and my mouth is moving; I’m taking authority, I’m telling that devil what he can’t do. I’m taking authority over those demons because the young people down there, and the leaders, were definitely affected by demons.”
In a rant about the Democratic women senators who questioned Kavanaugh about sexual assault allegations, radio host Jesse Lee Peterson declared, “The Democratic Party is controlled by feminist women who hate everything that is good. Satan is their father.”
Religious Right activist and former Colorado legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt, said it was demons inside of Kavanaugh’s opponents that made them view him unsympathetically. “So, because of their own demons, the Democrats looked into his eyes, they saw the spirit of God and they called it a devil,” Klingenschmitt said. “They did the same thing to Jesus—the Pharisees looked at Jesus and they called him a devil. And it proves that the gift of discerning the spirits is not available to demonized people themselves; it’s only available to, in this case, Republican senators who are filled with the spirit of God.”
Opposition to Sam Brownback
Andrew Wommack declared that opposition to Sam Brownback’s appointment as U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom, like criticism of conservative Christians generally, is grounded in “a demonic spirit,” “the spirit of Antichrist.”
The Media—Especially CNN
Trump, of course, is fond of calling the media the “enemy of the people.” For Trump-adoring Religious Right leaders, that makes the media the handmaiden of Satan—especially frequent Trump target CNN.
Mat Staver, head of Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel, said in April that media criticism of President Trump is the same kind of “psychological warfare” engaged in by Satan in the garden of Eden:
That is psychological warfare that has been practiced even since the Garden of Eden. You remember, Satan himself in the serpent, when he approached Eve, said, ‘Has God told you that you can’t eat of any of the trees in the garden?’ Well, that was a lie right there, that was fake news, because God didn’t command them not to eat of any tree, just one specific tree. That is the tactic of the enemy. So today what we’re seeing is that same tactic played out in the area of politics and faith and values.
Religious Right radio host and failed political candidate E.W. Jackson said in November that he does not believe anything CNN reports because there is an “anti-Christ anointing” on CNN, which is in league with Satan.
End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles defended the White House pulling press credentials from CNN’s Jim Acosta by saying that Trump is fighting “demonic powers” and said “CNN is consumed with the spirit of rebellion and sedition, which is witchcraft.”
Alex Jones, who runs the Infowars conspiracy-promoting platform, started the year railing against CNN media reporter Brian Stelter, who he said was “literal demon spawn of the pit of hell.” Ranted Jones,
He runs your kids, he runs the schools, he runs the banks—this guy. This spirit. This smiling, leering devil that thinks you can’t see what he is. He is your enemy, period, all the narcissistic devil-worshiping filth. I see you, enemy. I see you, enemy. Enemy! Enemy! You are my enemy and I swear total resistance to you with everything I’ve got. Disingenuous, fake, false, broke-back, twisted, a defiler, a betrayer, a back-stabber. A devil.
Democratic/Liberal Candidates Running in the Midterms
Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) participated in a pre-election prayer call sponsored by Trump-boosting Intercessors for America, during which Bost said that the conservative base is motivated by fear that a government controlled by Satan would take away people’s freedom to worship and praise God. He prayed that God would “take total control of these elections” and call up people who would vote “to stop and block any of Satan’s work, any of his demons’ work…”
Former Rep. Michele Bachmann appeared at a dominionst prayer gathering on the eve of the midterms; she got on her knees to pray for God to intervene in the elections, praying:
You have a purpose and a plan for the United States of America. And we say nothing will thwart your plan for this country. And that’s why we come before you and say, ‘Satan, you will be bound in Jesus’ name. You will be bound, you and your minions, and you will not prevail in this election.’ …
We are reclaiming this nation for the kingdom of Almighty God. We reclaim this kingdom. You cannot have this kingdom, Satan, this is God’s kingdom. And we preach that into every voting booth in this nation. That is not your territory, Satan. Get your hands off of every ballot and every voting booth!
The American Family Association’s magazine, AFA Journal, warned in its September issue that “conservative Christians must mobilize” for the 2018 midterm elections; Walker Wildmon urged Christians to stop engaging in “friendly fire” regarding evangelicals’ support for Trump, saying “the last thing we need to do is shoot at each other while Satan, the true enemy, advances on our position.”
“Apostolic leader” Robert Henderson urged people to pray every day in the month before the midterm elections that God would use the elections to give Trump a Congress filled with people who will help him carry out his divine mission. That required repentance, because “we have granted the devil the legal right to possess these seats in the spirit world.” In the text of a prayer posted on his website, Henderson wrote, “let the court of Heaven be seated and let this demonic powers’ rights be taken away and destroyed.”
After the election, E.W. Jackson complained at Democrats’ plans to change House rules regarding headwear to accommodate newly elected Ilhan Omar, a Muslim who wears a religious headscarf, fuming that “I believe that Democrats and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer would just as soon this be a satanic nation, as long as they’re in charge of it. Now I mean that. I think that’s how obsessed with power they are, that they wouldn’t care if everybody worshiped the devil, as long as they were in charge, as long as they were the devil’s chief lieutenants, that’s OK with them.”
Deep State (and Hillary Clinton)
In a podcast featuring conspiracy theorist Sheila Zilinsky, Pat Holliday of Miracle Internet Church said that if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 presidential election, witchcraft-controlled government officials would have implemented a plan to launch a world war that would have killed 90 percent of the world’s population and then “come out of their underground cities and rule the world with Satan.” The plan was foiled because God “intervened” in the election, Holliday said.
George Soros and the Global Elite
Many right-wing activists are obsessed with the QAnon conspiracy theory, nursed by a group of online believers responding to cryptic hints supposedly being released from deep within the deep state, which postulates that Trump and Robert Mueller are secretly working together on “The Storm”—an investigation and mass-arrest plan that will bring down a satanic global pedophile ring of world leaders. Liz Crokin suggested that fashion designer Kate Spade’s death from suicide may have been a way to escape jail time for being involved in a satanic pedophilia ring.
End Times pastor Perry Stone said in a sermon that many world leaders, especially in Europe, are “Luciferians” who pray to Satan before dinner in the hopes that he will bring them power and money.
Of course, the right wing nurtures special hostility toward progressive philanthropist George Soros. Conservative actor James Woods tweeted that Soros “is satanic.” Rudy Giuliani retweeted someone calling Soros the “anti-Christ.” Radio host Sandy Rios said of “Jewish atheist” Soros and others she accused of promoting communism, “Their father is the father of lies, and that really describes Satan.”
Pastor Paul Begley, host of the “Coming Apocalypse” program, said on a podcast that First Lady Melania Trump had ordered the White House to be “completely exorcised” before she moved in. Begley said that when the Obamas lived in the White House, it was filled with “all kinds of idol gods and images and all kinds of artifacts in there that were demonic.”
Islam and Catholicism
Mike Gendron appeared on VCY America’s Crosstalk show in May where he warned about the danger of Catholicism merging with Islam to create the false one-world religion warned about in the biblical book of Revelation. Both religions, he said, worship the God of the world, who is Satan. Crosstalk previously warned about “Chrislam” sneaking into American churches via the “satanic strategy” of interfaith dialogue.
Liberty Counsel attorney Mary McAlister said in a radio show appearance that sex education programs in public schools are “absolutely evil.” Said McAlister, “God has made us all in his image, he has set out for us rules for living that enable us to live rich and full and healthy lives and all of this that is going on now is directly aimed at tearing all of that down. Well, we know who does that. That’s the enemy; that’s Satan and his minions.”
Klingenschmitt warned that TV producers, actors, and writers are “demonic recruiters” who write scripts with the explicit purpose of recruiting people into sin so that “the demons that are inside of them will come through that television set and you will invite them into your home, into your house, into your body. Do you really want the devil coming out of them and coming into you?”
Jesse Lee Peterson responded to Rosie O’Donnell leading a protest outside the White House by calling her an “evil woman.” Said Peterson, “She tends to go down to the gates of hell and she oils up and gets her demon instructions and then she comes out and she puts hell out on earth, and then she goes back underground into hell and then she comes back.”
Alex Jones’ Teen Temptresses
During an “emergency” live-stream session in the spring, Jones claimed that when he was 13 or 14, a series of rich and “hot” 17-year-old girls tried to tempt him into Satan worship to prevent his future self from starting Infowars. (Bonus Alex Jones: Satan is an incel.)
Mike Shoesmith, executive editor of PNN News, said that the devil and demonic forces kept physicist Stephen Hawking, who died this year, alive with ALS for decades in order to promote atheism: “I believe that it was the demonic realm that kept this man alive as a virtual vegetable his entire life just so he could spread this message that there is no God.”
Cards Against Humanity
Tradition, Family and Property, a far-right Catholic group, slammed the popular and irreverent Cards Against Humanity party game as “perverse and blasphemous” and “Satanic.” TFP asked people to sign a petition asking Target stores to stop selling the game.
Yes, Bigfoot. Family Research Council fellow Tim Dailey told radio host Janet Mefferd that Bigfoot and UFO sightings are the work of Satan, calling Bigfoot sightings “a demonic virtual reality.” Dailey explained, “It’s part of the devil’s modus operandi. He has always used this kind of phenomena to, once again destabilize, to engender fear, to open us up to the possibilities of other realities and other beings and then we begin getting involved with demonic spirits.”