(Flickr/Jeff Gates)

The effort to turn Trump into a makeshift white messiah must be stopped

Bigots have long weaponized God against people of color. It’s time to learn this history and take God back from those who seek to oppress.
(Flickr/Jeff Gates)

A second coming has arrived. Trump supporters haven’t been satisfied with their feeble attempts to make America great again. They’re hell-bent on transforming the former president into a deity — a white supremacist Jesus.

His allegedly divine appointment didn’t come out of nowhere. Western Christianity justified slavery, and the Ku Klux Klan bastardized Christian theology to provide infrastructure for its satanic organization. Those repugnant attitudes remained just beneath the surface in white America until it became clear that Barack Hussein Obama could be elected.

Overt racism, which the media disguised as fear and white marginalization, built steadily during the Obama administration. A sign in Whiteside County, Illinois sticks in my mind: “One Big Ass Mistake America.” Some white neighbors firmly believed only white people, particularly white men, were meant to occupy the White House.

Those neighbors tried legitimizing their racism by repackaging bigotry as policy priorities and a platform for a political apparatus — the Tea Party. Black and LGBTQIA+ people, for example, were transformed from human beings to issues this modern-day White Citizens Council could run against. Yet try as it (and, interestingly enough, Donald Trump) might, the Tea Party couldn’t weaken this nation’s desire for change.

There’s no question that change brought in an administration that, like all administrations before it, was not committed to peacebuilding through a nonviolent approach. That reality doesn’t diminish, or nor should it be used to excuse, the vitriol — the verbal and visual violence — aimed at Obama simply because he didn’t look like the other 43 presidents.

His leadership was delegitimized in some conservative Christian circles (who continue using sacred text to dehumanize Black people) before he set foot in the White House. Many of those conservatives have convinced themselves that being a conservative Republican is a spiritual practice.

So, while a non-Black liberal Commander- in-Chief like Bill Clinton could simply be written off as a sinner, Obama upset the allegedly ordained world order. And the Tea Party became something a far cry from its originator — the Moral Majority. Or was it?

The late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s efforts to fight the integration of Liberty University reportedly propelled him into politics. However, he understood building political capital with racism was a non-starter. That’s when he and his ilk became obsessed with abortion and theologically torturing LGBTQIA+ people. The Moral Majority wasn’t pro-life. It was pro-Christofascism with a side of homophobia and racism.

So, the Moral Majority’s evolution into the Tea Party shouldn’t have surprised so many white liberals and progressives. But they weren’t paying attention, or else simply mocked the people pledging to end Roe v. Wade. Similarly, many of them chose to mock and dismiss the man who became our immediate past president, when he came down the escalator.

Yes, Russian interference may have paved his way to the White House, but racism justified by false Christianity helped galvanize his base. That false Christianity kept them galvanized enough to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. They’ve transformed a literally and figuratively bankrupt political leader into a makeshift messiah, whom they hoped would make their Handmaid’s Tale dreams come true in the name of a white Republican Jesus.

While welcoming a biracial man to the White House lit their flaming cross, the continued diversification of the United States has kept it burning. Some of his supporters used the flame to light the tiki torches they paraded through Charlottesville. Their hatred of the other has only grown since then. It nearly rivals the racial hatred coursing the veins of many British people.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; former President Barack Obama; and former First Lady Michelle Obama have something in common — they must all deal with racist venom on an international scale. President Obama and the Duchess also share a biracial identity that opens them up to ridicule from bigots who believe “critiquing” half-white people isn’t racist.

It’s a manifestation of the belief that one drop of Black blood ruins something. (More than one drop of Black blood hasn’t ruined this biracial man or anyone else.) Black blood and Black people being seen as “less than” in the United States and the United Kingdom, in particular, is grounded in a twisted Biblical narrative — the alleged curse of Ham.

Actually, Noah cursed his grandson, Canaan, rather than Ham.

Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers. Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! Let Canaan be his slave. May God expand Japheth, so that he dwells among the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave. (Genesis 9:25-27)

Bigots have claimed that God ordained the dehumanization, demoralization, and even destruction of people of color, particularly Black people. In reality, they only put Noah’s words in God’s mouth. In a similar vein, another strain of bigot — homophobes — put the Pharisees’ words in God’s mouth.

It’s past time we take back God, who’s known to us by many names and worshipped in many ways. God said or the Bible says has been weaponized to disenfranchise and oppress so many, from Indigenous people to people from the African diaspora to women to LGBTQIA+ people.

Nearly all that disenfranchisement and oppression has supposedly been done in the name of God — or sometimes in Jesus’ name. But whose God or Jesus? Too many people intent on oppressing others are intent on creating God or Jesus in their own image.

A photoshopped God or Jesus has caused irreparable harm to our society.

This story was produced by Fellowship Magazine

Since 1918, the Fellowship of Reconciliation has published the award-winning print magazine Fellowship. It is also now online, offering original grassroots analysis, movement research, first-person commentary, poetry and more to help people of faith and conscience build a nonviolent, compassionate world.

Waging Nonviolence partners with other organizations and publishes their work.