Last week, evangelical leader Franklin Graham gave an interview that gained quite a bit of attention, mainly for the fact that he reinforced a popular narrative within far-right pro-Trump Christian circles: namely the idea that philosophical and moral opposition to President Trump is not just a matter of political ideology, but a struggle between good and evil in spiritual terms.
“What do you think of what is happening now?” Christian author and radio host Eric Metaxas asked Graham. “I mean, it’s a very bizarre situation to be living in a country where some people seem to exist to undermine the president of the United States. It’s just a bizarre time for most Americans.”
“Well, I believe it’s almost a demonic power that is trying…” Graham said before he was interrupted by Metaxas.
“I would disagree,” Metaxes said. “It’s not almost demonic. You know and I know, at the heart, it’s a spiritual battle.”
“People seem to have devolved to a kind of moralistic Pharisaism,” Metaxes continued. “And they say, ‘How can you support somebody blah, blah, blah,’ and then go on to cite how he’s the least Christian—you know, they go on and on, and I think these people don’t, they don’t even have a biblical view when it comes to that—you know, that if somebody doesn’t hold to our theology, that doesn’t mean they can’t be a great pilot, or a great doctor or dentist. I mean, it’s a bizarre situation that we’re in, that people seem only to have these standards for the president somehow.”
Graham then responded by stumping for Trump’s alleged Christianity.
“I believe that Donald Trump believes—he believes in God. He believes in Jesus Christ. His depth—he doesn’t, you know, he went to churches here in New York; he didn’t get a whole lot of teaching.”
Writing for The Atlantic, Peter Wehner says that Graham and Metaxes aren’t simply making an argument that Trump’s critics are wrong. They’re accusing said critics of being under the influence of demonic forces, “which for a Christian is about as serious an accusation as there is.”
“There is no biblical or theological case to support the claim that critics of Donald Trump are under the spell of Satan,” Wehner writes. “It is invented out of thin air, a shallow, wild, and reckless charge meant to be a conversation stopper.”
Wehner points out a key contradiction in Graham’s logic. In the interview, the preacher and son of the legendary televangelist, Billy Graham, somewhat misleadingly praises the alleged strength of Trump’s economy over former President Obama’s.
“Yet even if the economy were ‘screaming forward’ in the way Graham claims, this problem would still remain: During the second term of Bill Clinton’s presidency, when the economy was in many respects stronger than it is today, Franklin Graham wasn’t defending Clinton’s moral and ethical transgressions based on the economy growing at 4 percent annually, which might translate into more tithing and church-building projects. He didn’t overlook Clinton’s affair with an intern because we had a budget surplus,” he writes.
Wehner then pointed to an op-ed Graham wrote in The Wall Street Journal during the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal where contends that God “says that what one does in private does matter.”
“If he will lie to or mislead his wife and daughter, those with whom he is most intimate, what will prevent him from doing the same to the American public?” Graham wrote, referring to the marital transgressions of Bill Clinton.
Now in the age of Trump, Wehner says Graham’s “spiritual vigor seems to have waned a bit.”
“Graham and Metaxas appear to believe that they, along with Donald Trump, are part of a holy crusade to rid the world of evil, wickedness, and demonic powers. What they are saying in their interview is that you either stand with them, or you stand with the forces of Satan.”
Read Wehner’s full piece here.
SNL imagines Alan Dershowitz and Mitt Romney in hell during impeachment trial sketch
NBC's "Saturday Night Live"
The skit began with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) meeting with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) about impeachment.
They were then joined by Alan Dershowitz, who spoke of his previous clients, Jeff Epstein, O.J. Simpson and Claus von Bülow.
But Dershowitz suffered a heart attack and met the devil in hell, where he was reunited with Epstein.
McConnell then showed up and thanked the devil for teaching him "that thing with Merrick Garland."
CNN’s Don Lemon collapses on his desk in laugher as guests Rick Wilson and Wajahat Ali dunk on Trump
CNN anchor Don Lemon was infected with a case of the giggles Saturday night while discussing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Lemon was joined by two hilarious guests, New York Times contributing op-ed writer Wajahat Ali and Rick Wilson, the author of the bestselling 2018 book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever and the new book Running Against the Devil: A Plot to Save America from Trump -- and Democrats from Themselves.
The three were discussing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s interview with “All Things Considered” host Mary Louise Kelly, where he reportedly demanded she point to Ukraine on a blank map.
Amy Klobuchar wins endorsement in first in the nation primary from the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) received a big endorsement on Saturday evening when her 2020 bid was endorsed by the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper.
"If there is to be any realistic challenge to Trump in November, the Democratic nominee needs to have a proven and substantial record of accomplishment across party lines, an ability to unite rather than divide, and the strength and stamina to go toe-to-toe with the Tweeter-in-Chief," the newspaper wrote. "That would be U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. She is sharp and witty, with a commanding understanding of both history and the inner workings of Capitol Hill."