*The Atlantic* Asks: “Why is Trump suddenly talking about God?”

Here is a taste of writer David Graham’s piece:

Donald Trump is finding religion. Or at least, religion is finding its way into his remarks and his campaign’s rhetoric to an unprecedented extent.

On Thursday, the president celebrated the National Day of Prayer at the White House, and he said the Almighty had helped him persevere through the ordeal of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“People say, ‘How do you get through that whole stuff? How do you get through those witch hunts and everything else?’” Trump said, turning to Vice President Pence. “And you know what we do, Mike? We just do it, right? And we think about God.”

In a variation on his claims about a “war on Christmas,” Trump also claimed that Americans are referring to the Divine more frequently.

“One of the things that Mike and I were discussing just a little while ago—people are so proud to be using that beautiful word, God, and they’re using the word God again, and they’re not hiding from it,” he said. “They’re not being told to take it down, and they’re not saying we can’t honor God. In God we trust. So important.”

Read the entire piece here.

A few quick thoughts on this piece and Thursday’s National Day of Prayer in general

  1. Trump is talking about God because he is required to do so at the National Prayer Breakfast.  This is a day to keep his conservative evangelical base in line.
  2. I disagree with Graham about the “unprecedented extent” in which Trump is now talking about God. He’s been doing this since the campaign.  There is little about what he said on Thursday that is new.  He has been throwing bones to the court evangelicals and their followers since 2015.  This, of course, is all chronicled in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.
  3. Actually, if you compare what Trump said about God on Thursday with what Barack Obama said at national prayer breakfasts during his administration you will find that Obama’s remarks are deeper, more profound, and more seriously Christian than Trump’s. It is true that Obama did not always give the National Day of Prayer the kind of attention that Trump gives it, but Obama did offer statements about prayer and religious freedom that, at least to me, seem more fitting for a president of the United States.

4 thoughts on “*The Atlantic* Asks: “Why is Trump suddenly talking about God?”

  1. Jeff,
    Obama and all presidents have a bevy of speechwriters. Interestingly, Obama even took one or two of them with him into his post-presidential role. I understand that Ronald Reagan would occasionally write significant portions of his speeches but that might have been part of the lore which grew up around him.

    In any case every modern White House staff has teams of “interest group” specialists. If Obama (or any other President) were scheduled to speak to a religious group, you can bet that the speech was thoroughly massaged before it went onto his TelePrompTer.



  2. “He [Trump the Elder] is a 21st Century secularist whose life and policies clearly reflect that bias.”

    I assume that you are referring to the “life and policies” sanctified and worshiped by his Court Evangelicals and their followers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I personally don’t think that Trump is any less or more religious than he was in 2016 as a candidate. In my opinion, he has a vaguely positive view of Christianity, Judaism, and certain other faith traditions but does not necessarily practice his beliefs. He is a self-reliant man who relegates religion to a particular drawer of his life but definitely not one of the top drawers.

    As far as President Obama’s remarks at a past prayer breakfast, they were undoubtedly penned by one of his speechwriters to convey the desired political message. Like Trump religion is not the central focus of his existence. He is a 21st Century secularist whose life and policies clearly reflect that bias.


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