Vengeance is mine, says the Lord (Rom. 12:9). Unless it is China.
Court evangelicals want Trump to punish China for spreading the coronavirus to the United States.
Here is a taste of Gabby Orr’s piece at Politico:
Others said Trump’s No. 1 priority — besides containing the virus inside the United States — should be forcing the Chinese regime to take responsibility for the global pandemic.
“From the time he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower, President Trump made clear there would be a new sheriff in town when it comes to dealing with China,” said Ralph Reed, co-founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition.
“China lied about the genesis of the virus and under-reported their own cases. These are actions that cannot be ignored and for which China must be held responsible, and I think taking action to do that only serves to deepen the president’s commitment,” Reed added.
The push for retaliatory measures by some of Trump’s leading Christian supporters underscores the dicey position in which he finds himself as the 2020 election closes in: forced to determine whether a laundry list of accomplishments, such as an intact trade deal with China, will carry him to reelection or if the deciding factor will be how voters score his handling of Covid-19. Part of that rests on whether his response to the Chinese government satisfies conservative evangelicals, a demographic that comprises much of his political base and which the Trump campaign has sought to grow in recent months.
“People don’t want China to get off scot-free,” said Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn. “I think it’s important to realize there are lots of people who are very concerned with what has transpired, so of course they want China to be held to account.”
In an interview, the Tennessee senator said Trump needs to maintain a “working relationship” with Beijing as efforts to contain Covid-19 continue in the U.S. But she added that Trump cannot let China escape culpability for under-reporting domestic cases of the virus and inflicting damage on the global economy as a result of its cover-up. Blackburn has proposed legislation to reduce America’s reliance on China for pharmaceutical supplies.
“The ironic and disgusting thing about China is they get to both create demand and then fulfill demand,” said Gary Bauer, a Christian activist who was appointed by Trump to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
And then there is pastor Mark Burns‘s strange reference to the Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence:
“I agree with Sen. Graham,” said Mark Burns, a South Carolina pastor and top Trump surrogate who wants the president to lead a coordinated international effort to hold China accountable for its Covid-19 response.
“It’s similar to when our founders began drafting the Declaration of Independence and they felt that Thomas Jefferson should write most of it because he was from Virginia, which at the time was the strongest and most powerful colony. President Trump should lead this response and rally other nations who have been greatly affected by the virus to challenge China on a major scale,” Burns suggested.
Read the entire piece here.
Why are the court evangelicals so concerned about China?
First, Christian Right politics always needs an enemy. People like Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, and Mark Burns see themselves as perpetual victims. In the forty-five years after World War II, evangelicals had an ever-present enemy in the “godless communism” of the Soviet Union. Some conservative evangelicals even believed that the flouridation of the American water supply was part of a communist plot to poison Americans. Now those on the Christian Right believe that the Chinese (or perhaps Kim Jong Un) are trying to kill us with coronavirus.
Second, the court evangelicals seem to be linking their concern about persecuted Christians in China with the spread of the virus. I am not sure how these two are related, but as long as China is punished for something, the court evangelicals will be satisfied.
Third, Christian Right politicos believe that if Trump punishes China for the coronavirus it will translate into conservative evangelical votes in November.