Among the people mentioned in our recent report on the pro-Trump Pentecostal group POTUS Shield are former Trump campaign adviser Frank Amedia and Pentecostal media magnate Steve Strang. Yesterday, Strang published a post on his Charisma site about our report, and he and Amedia discussed it in a podcast.
The podcast is titled “The Attack on POTUS Shield,” but Strang and Amedia do not point to any inaccuracies in the report. In fact, they confirm that they believe what we said they believe—that God anointed Donald Trump as part of a new prophetic era that will unite the church as they “prepare the way for the coming of the Lord”—but they think we’re just too “bewildered about how the prophetic has now taken a position in the nation” to know that this is a good thing and not a bad thing.
In his blog post Strang says of our report, “It’s actually well-researched, but it’s as if he is presenting evidence to show why readers should be afraid of these people.” And on the podcast he describes our use of the term Christian Dominionism “as if that’s a bad word.”
Well, yes. When Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury,” and on the same day the Rev. Robert Jeffress declared publicly that God had authorized Trump to “take out” Kim Jong Un, I think that should indicate a clear danger in having religious leaders telling Trump that he was “God’s Chaos Candidate” and that he’s been put in power to carry out God’s will as they explain it to him.
I also think the idea of making the U.S. a “Christian nation” runs counter to core American values of religious pluralism and church-state separation, and I think the kind of policies that these dominionists would implement in their “Christian nation”—many of which President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress are now in fact delivering—are harmful both to people and to constitutional principles on which our free society rests. And as a gay man, I know all too well what they think of me and of the progress we have made toward full equality for LGBT people.
“The anointing that we announced that was on Donald Trump, a breaker anointing, continues to break,” said Amedia, “and the only thing that they can oppose it with is not the facts, they have to oppose it with their own opinions. Steve, who could argue that Donald Trump was miraculously elected?”
Amedia said that People For the American Way, in its mission statement, proposes that we “raise up a shield against the Right’s extremist Christians to protect the American country.” Well, not quite. PFAW’s mission statement does not use the shield imagery, but its website does include a quote from Sen. Elizabeth Warren saying “PFAW was created to be an important shield against the very right-wing extremism we’re now up against.” And, in its religious liberty work, PFAW has argued that the intention of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was to act as a shield to protect individuals’ exercise of religion, not as a sword against laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination.
Amedia says he spoke with Harry Jackson, an anti-gay activist who is familiar with Right Wing Watch, and they found spiritual significance in the dueling shield metaphors. Here’s Amedia recounting what Jackson said to him:
He said, ‘Isn’t that interesting. God has raised up the apostolic in our country as it ought to be, and the enemy of our souls has raised up his best apostolic to try and fight us shield for shield.’ And he said, ‘Battle on!’
Amedia said Trump and his children “have such a reverence for God,” and that anyone who has prayed with them knows that “the spirit of God is moving” and “there’s a true humility and a true serenity as they stand before men and women of God.” Ted Cruz is a faithful man, Amedia said, but because Trump is “taking it fresh” and “understanding that this is an assignment, then we’re receiving an emboldening in this nation that we’ve been crying out for and waiting for” and “yes, Right Wing [Watch], and yes, our liberal extremists, we do believe that ‘blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.’”
Strang also took the opportunity to plug his forthcoming book, “God and Trump,” which he said explains how God miraculously raised Trump up. Amedia told Strang that God “raised you up uniquely at this point in time to be able to historically codify what has happened.”
A press release sent yesterday promoting Strang’s book says it “will help readers understand who Donald Trump is, what he really believes, where his vision for America will lead us and where God is in all of this.” On his podcast, Strang said his book might even help us at People For the American Way “see God’s hand” at work in Trump’s election. I’ll let you know when I review the book in a few months.