Ecumenical Pro-Trump Cult of Personality Brings Extremism to National Mall 

Eric Metaxas emceed a pro-Trump "prayer rally" on the National Mall Dec. 12, 2020.

Organizers of Saturday’s pro-Trump “Let the Church ROAR” rally on the National Mall—also referred to as the national “Jericho March”—were proud of the fact that the event’s organizers represented different strands of conservative Christianity. Jericho March, which has been encouraging activists to hold daily rallies at state capitols—was created by Rob Weaver, a Pentecostal Christian, and Arina Grossu, a Catholic. Both have worked for the Trump administration.

The Pentecostal wing of Trump’s movement, which includes the dominionist “apostles” and “prophets” associated with POTUS Shield and the New Apostolic Reformation, was represented by speakers like Lance Wallnau, Cindy Jacobs, and emcee Eric Metaxas. The Messianic Jewish wing, which overlaps others, was represented by speakers like Curt Landry and End-Times author Jonathan Cahn.

Right-wing Catholics were represented by Ed Martin, whose Phyllis Schlafly Eagles was an event sponsor, along with far-right Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a priest specializing in exorcism and “deliverance,” and “traditionalist” Catholic author and podcaster Taylor Marshall, who figured prominently in Kathryn Joyce’s Vanity Fair article “Deep State, Deep Church: How QAnon and Trumpism Have Infected the Catholic Church.” Marshall’s book “Infiltration,” which purported to expose a decades-long plot by communists and Freemasons to take over the Catholic Church as a means to achieving world domination, was a bridge too far even for many conservative Catholics.

George Michalopulos, who blogs at Monomakhos and has promoted debunked conspiracy theories about how the election was “stolen” from Trump, represented the Trumpist corner of the Orthodox wing of Christianity. “I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees,” Michalopulos told the crowd. “On November 3, Donald J. Trump won the most resounding reelection victory in history and is in fact the duly elected president of the United States.” He called Biden a “usurper.”

Michalopulos recently admiringly reposted a comment from Roosh V’s blog calling on Trump to refuse to step down, use the military to “crush his enemies,” and “use his authority under the Insurrection Act to arrest and/or kill everyone who participated in this plot.” (Roosh is a former pick-up artist and alt-Right blogger who now runs an online “forum for Christian men.”)

“It really says it all, doesn’t it,” Michalopoulos wrote of the call for Trump to arrest leaders of the Democratic Party and Big Tech and “everyone of significance in the mainstream media.”

Michalopulos began promoting Jericho March and “Let the Church ROAR” in November, warning, “We have a Jericho within our midst … Behind its walls are people who are plotting to destroy this country and rebuild it into something of their own making, for they have no god. It grows like a cancer and it is evil. Their tentacles run deep and are stifling our very way of life in an effort to snuff it out completely.”

“They have closed our churches and forced us into hiding,” he wrote, “Were it possible, they would burn this country to the ground and have said so many times. But God can be trusted. He has sent us a “commander of the army of the Lord to deliver Jericho into our hands and we are His army.”

“Let the Church ROAR” also represented another kind of ecumenism, the kind on which adoration of Trump has brought together elements of overlapping right-wing movements in the United States. Also speaking from the stage were conspiracy-theorist extraordinaire Alex Jones and anti-government extremist Stewart Rhodes, leader of Oath Keepers, who warned that if Trump didn’t use his powers as commander-in-chief to defeat his opponents, it would be up to right-wing militias to do so in a “more bloody war.”

Even some conservative Christians were appalled by the display on the National Mall.

“This is a grievous and dangerous time for American Christianity,” wrote conservative writer and Trump critic David French. “The frenzy and fury of the post-election period has laid bare the sheer idolatry and fanaticism of Christian Trumpism.” French warned that the kind of language used by Metaxas and others “embody a form of fanaticism that can lead to deadly violence.”

“We’re way, way past concerns for the church’s ‘public witness,” French wrote, adding, “A significant movement of American Christians—encouraged by the president himself—is now directly threatening the rule of law, the Constitution, and the peace and unity of the American republic.”

Writer and culture-warrior Rod Dreher, who frequently lambastes the left, was also appalled. He wrote about the rally and his reactions to it at The American Conservative:

I watched because I wanted to see how far the Christian Right — for the record, I am an Orthodox Christian, and a conservative — would go to conflate Trump politics and religion. Pretty far, as it turns out. Right over the cliff.  You had to see it to believe it.

Yes, it is bonkers. All of it. But you would be wrong to make fun of it and blow it off. This phenomenon is going to matter. Divinizing MAGA and Stop The Steal is going to tear churches to bits, and drive people away from the Christian faith (or keep them from coming in the first place). Based on what I saw today, the Christians in this movement do not doubt that Trump is God’s chosen, that they, by following him, are walking in light, and whatever they do to serve Trump is also serving God. They have tightly wound apocalyptic religion to conservative politics and American nationalism.

Popular Baptist author and speaker Beth Moore denounced Trumpism on Sunday as seductive and dangerous, adding, “This Christian nationalism is not of God.” Moore’s comment drew plenty of blowback from Trump’s supporters, including one from pastor, White House guest, and online angry man Greg Locke, who responded to Moore by telling her she had  “lost her mind.” and should  “SIT DOWN.” Jenna Ellis, the Trump attorney and Rudy Giuliani sidekick who was just the recipient of a glowing profile from Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, responded with an “AMEN” and thanks to Locke. Trump “prophet” Lance Wallnau also slammed Moore, as did musician-politician Sean Feucht.