- 21 Sep 17
The Armagaddeon-obsessed fundamentalist Christians among Trump’s supporters fear the end is nigh – and they’re not the only ones…
Donald Trump couldn’t have been elected without the support of evangelical Christians. Yes, he was supported by other alt-right constituencies, including white supremacists, American nationalists and neo-Nazis, but his MAGA (Make America Great Again) campaign was based on the twin bedrocks of disillusioned rust-belt workers and Christian fundamentalists.
Bizarre as it might seem in Europe, evangelicals constitute almost 30% of the US population, more numerous than Catholics (22%) or mainline Protestants (16%). They have a literal belief in the Bible and the Gospels, whether that’s the creation of the world or the life and death of Christ. They are pretty engaged with politics too, and are more prepared to campaign and organise. For at least three decades, the US Republican Party has pandered to them.
Fundamentalist evangelicals place their trust in the Word, believe in the ‘End of Days’, and that they will be among the chosen. They believe in the Rapture. Actually, they’re not alone there. One study by Pew Research suggests that an astounding 40% of Americans believe in the Rapture. Pew canvassed “Protestant, White Evangelical, White Mainline, Catholic and Unaffiliated” in 2010. As you might have guessed, those with only high school qualifications are three times more likely to believe in the Rapture than are those with a college qualification. And, while less than a third believe it in the east and mid-west, that rises to six out of ten in the south and west.
Well, as they look out their windows in Texas, and now Florida, at the mass destruction being wrought by Storms Harvey and Irma, not to mention the extremely dangerous escalation of tension between the US and North Korea, it must seem as though their dreams are coming true. Of course, there’s an entirely different take on the storms. Texas and Florida supported Donald Trump in the US election. So maybe it’s some kind of karma – punishment visited on them by an Earth growing ever-more weary of the stupidity of climate-change deniers.
Okay, probably not. But it’s a lot more likely than the Rapture. On Hog Heights, we believe in neither rapture nor karma, but we know a telling coincidence when we see one. Texas produces an awful lot of oil. While the storms are not entirely caused by global climate change, huge levels of fossil fuel greenhouse gases are certainly a major factor. So, karma or not, it’s indeed a kind of payback.
But, as Trump said, recovery is going to be expensive. It is. And there’s a big problem. The super-rich oil barons and oligarchs won’t be paying the bills because tax is for little people. The burden will fall on ordinary working American taxpayers.
Storms and floods are not the only threat. There are droughts afoot too. Montana is dried out and burning, literally. As for famine, six million people in Sudan have had no rain for two years. They’re starving. And there’s a human-made, war-caused famine in Yemen. Over eight million need humanitarian assistance in Nigeria where another famine is imminent. As for pestilence, there’s cholera in Sudan and Yemen…
There’s war in Yemen, in Syria, in Nigeria and Sudan; war crimes in Myanmar against the Rohingya; and the threat of war in dozens of locations around the world, most particularly between the United States and North Korea.
Trump and Kim Jong-un have been likened to two spoiled overweight brats, schoolyard bullies, unstable bigmouths with little grasp on reality, taunting one another. We agree, but it doesn’t help. The crazy fucks could actually tip us all into catastrophe.
Many of those who voted for Trump wanted to reverse America back to the simpler gingham world of the post-World War II era, the suburban oasis of the 1950s and early 1960s. Of course, the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 hosed down that particular idyll. But the dream remains.
That crisis was really the last time the world teetered on the brink of atomic warfare. Now we’re back and the evangelicals have already got what they were looking for: a potential Armageddon.
Fundamentalists and apocalyptics have a great regard for the Book of Revelations and the image of the four horsemen being released and bringing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death and Destruction. Yet, even non-believers can hear the echoes.
By coincidence, one of the clan here on Hog Heights played Barry McGuire’s 1964 hit ‘Eve Of Destruction’ a few days ago. It’s pure doggerel of course, yet it captured the paranoia and fear triggered by the Cuban crisis and has a renewed, if still hoary, resonance today.
“Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave…”
It was written by PF Sloan who was born in New York City to an American father and a Romanian-born mother. More or less the same as Trump’s sons. His family moved to California in 1957, where his father, a pharmacist, changed the family surname from “Schlein” to “Sloan” after repeatedly being denied a liquor license for his store. How very Trump-American.
These days Barry McGuire is born again, so presumably he’s on message about destruction and death and the rapture. As for Trump, he goes to Texas just to be seen, with his dead-eyed Slovenian wife alongside rocking a Top Gun ensemble, her status as First Lady of the United States emblazoned on her cap: FLOTUS.
Oh dear. That would be low rent at the best of times, but given the near-pun, as they visited a flood-ravaged State, it was truly gross.
What comes next is anyone’s guess. It’s a bizarre nightmare when you can foretell Atlantic storm activity with greater accuracy than you can predict the brainstorms of the most militarily powerful man on the planet, especially when so many around him are in thrall to the notion of the end of days.
Fasten your seatbelts…