Many of President Donald Trump’s religious-right supporters, especially those from the dominionist “apostolic” and Pentecostal camp, have repeatedly declared that Trump was anointed by God and prophesied that he would win reelection. While Trump’s reelection prospects dwindled as vote counting continued this week, some of those leaders have insisted that evil forces of witchcraft and “demonic manipulations” are at work to thwart God’s will for Trump to stay in office, making it clear that many in this large and vocal portion of Trump’s base believe they are in a spiritual war between good and evil and will fiercely resist recognizing an electoral defeat.
“God’s decision has been made,” said White House aide Paula White on Wednesday night, adding that “the church must enforce some things in the realm of the Earth. We must take authority over every demonic spirit, every high thing.” At one point while someone else was speaking, White interjected, “No concessions!”
White was speaking at a two-and-a-half-hour prayer service at which she, her aide Todd Lamphere, and her son Brad Knight waged spiritual warfare on behalf of Trump’s reelection. Lamphere runs White’s One Voice Prayer Movement, which has functioned as an unofficial campaign arm of the White House and a platform for dominionist and Christian nationalist leaders.
White railed against “demonic wickedness” that evil spirits that she said have launched an attempt to “hijack the will of God, to hijack what God has already established in the Earth.” She called on God to “take vengeance” against demonic powers working to “weaken the position that you have put people in right now.”
Lamphere alerted attendees and viewers of Wednesday night’s service that he was going to be “a little intense.”
“When God said, ‘Earnestly contend for the faith,’ he was thinking of 2020,” Lamphere said. “He was thinking of today when he said that.” Lamphere mocked the image of Jesus as “some long-haired hippie living out in the desert in a VW van wearing a little toga with beads and incense.”
“Jesus Christ was a warrior. He’s a fighter. You need to understand something: The Christian life is a battleground and not a playground,” he said.
Lamphere built his remarks around a biblical reference to Shammah, one of David’s warriors who made a heroic stand against the Philistines in a field of lentils, which in Lamphere’s retelling became a “pea patch.” Lamphere said Shammah’s willingness to die for his pea patch was about “not giving any ground to the enemy.” He described family and freedom as “pea patches” that are at stake in the election—and for which Christians should be willing to die. He warned that churches will be forced to marry same-sex couples or go underground. And in talking about the kind of future being left to “our children and grandchildren,” he declared, “If you’re going to get them, you’re going to have to carry my body out from the patch.”
“The Bible says that the wicked return to the grave in all nations that forget God,” Lamphere said. “And let me tell you, we are now a country that elects to the Senate a transgender as a United States senator! We’ve forgotten God!” (Lamphere was wrong here on the facts; he may have been alluding to the election of Sarah McBride in Delaware as the first transgender state senator.)
But Lamphere was mild in comparison to White’s son, who has clearly internalized his mother’s belief that he is very, very special and has a special relationship with God. “I know I’m a David,” he said. “I’m your David ,and you’re my God,” he declared.
God, when you look at this nation, when you look at the nation, God, don’t look at it through the lens of 50 states, God, but focus on us right now, God, because we’re crying out to you and saying, “God, we represent you. We stand in proxy of America, we represent the future of this country. We represent the Apostolic.” We know you, God. God, there is no room for you to step out of character. There is no room for us to be mocked, for you to be mocked, for us to walk and say, ”Yes, this is the God I serve” and for people to say, ‘Where is he?’ and us to hang our head in shame, God.
Knight prayed for God to take action against opponents of Trump and White:
Right now, everything in opposition to that must fall. Everything in opposition to Paula White-Cain must fall. Everything in opposition to Bradley Knight must fall. Everything in opposition to this house and the people in it must fall. And God, we standing here knowing that it will, also speak against that which has risen up against America. And that everything that has come in opposition to the man that you have chosen, the man that you have elected, the man that your hand is behind, the man that you’re pleased with, the man that you pulled out of the midst of darkness and elevated, the man who made a mockery of the things of this world. And will do it again. God, we call you out now, and nothing against him shall prosper. Nothing that rises against him shall succeed.
At one point in his long sermonizing prayer, he declared, “God, I don’t even care about democracy, I care about you, God.” He thanked God in advance for “the victory of your will” and relished the idea of his opponents being “forced” to listen to the gospel in 2021:
And God, in this moment of crisis, in this moment of attack, in this moment of demonic false victories, God, in this three days, God, I thank you, that at the end of it shall be the victory of your son, Jesus Christ. I thank you that at the end of it shall be the victory of your people. I thank you that at the end of it shall be the victory of your will. I thank you that as we begin to walk through 2021, God, they will not be able to say “What happened to your God?” but they will be forced to listen to the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they will be forced to reckon with the force of prophecy, they will be forced to open up their ears, open up their hearts, and reckon with your word, reckon with your truth, reckon even with your love that they run from.
Knight declared with the “authority” of his “apostolic mantle” that Satan himself will not be able to change the outcome of the election.
And now I speak over this nation as the apostolic mantle that you’ve granted us, God, and a place of authority, God. I don’t doubt it. I’ll go so far as to say, if you’re gonna do it for anybody in this country, you’ll do for us. Because I know you, God, and you are a radical God that cares about his children more than anything else. Without faith, it is impossible to please you, and God, we have a lot of it. And we’re ready to please. So, God, bear your testimony to be true in America. And God, even where those representatives of that testimony falter and fail, even where Hezekiah is turned to you and you look at them, like “Who are you?”, God, you’ll remember your Davids. You’ll remember those of us who stood up and cried out to you, God, and I thank you now that no sacrifice can change the outcome of this election. That no wicked enterprise, no intellect, no media, no demonic proposition, no altar resurrected, no force of evil, God, not even a principality, God, and not even Satan himself can stop what you’ve determined to do God.
Like Donald Trump Jr., who took to social media to criticize Republicans who aren’t vocally defending the president’s false claims of election fraud, White and Knight slammed other Christian supporters of Trump who are not continuing to stand with him or are, in White’s words, “hiding in caves.”
On Wednesday night, Right Wing Watch tweeted two clips of Paula White from the service, and they have gone viral and inspired some creative people to produce entertaining mashups. The consequences of this kind of rhetoric, however, could be dangerous if they inspire more Trump followers to take their warfare beyond the spiritual and seek to “enforce” what they believe is God’s will.
White and her team were back at it Thursday night. More to come.