Evangelicals should be deeply troubled by Donald Trump’s attempt to mainstream heresy By Michael Horton, Washington Post, January 3, 2017 The prosperity gospel may be our nation’s new civil religion.
‘Charlatan’ Evangelist To Pray With Trump At Inauguration by Sebastian Murdock, Huffington Post, 12/29/16 A televangelist who encourages her followers to get closer to God by sending money to her has been invited to Donald Trump’s inauguration. Paula White spent much of the 2016 presidential campaign convincing evangelicals to vote for Trump, assuring them that he “accepts Jesus as his Lord and savior,” she told Politico. Now she’ll be praying with Trump at his inauguration.
The Christian Left – January 2017 “Christian orthodoxy has never been a test for public office. But it is striking that Trump has surrounded himself with cadre of prosperity evangelists who cheerfully attack basic Christian doctrines. The focus of this unity is a gospel that is about as diametrically opposed to the biblical one as you can imagine.”
Is the “Prosperity Gospel” heresy? by Roger E. Olson, Patheos, February 7, 2012 ………. The essence of the movement is this: God promises that if you have positive faith and truly believe AND speak that faith with your mouth in positive affirmations (e.g., “God is my source of healing and prosperity; I am well and rich”) God is obligated to heal you and give you financial blessings beyond your wildest dreams. It isn’t always stated that baldly, but that’s the essence of it–especially as it is HEARD by its many adherents………
Religious Leaders Slam Paul Ryan For Distorting Faith To Promote Income Inequality by Jason Easley on A leading faith-based group is calling out Paul Ryan for warping the teachings of the Catholic Church to justify his economic agenda that benefits the rich and promotes income inequality. The group Faith In Public Life responded to Paul Ryan’s election as Speaker of the House by reminding the American people of how Ryan warps the teachings of his faith to promote income inequality:
As you know, all eyes are now on the new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, but Catholic bishops, theologians, nuns and faith-based social justice advocates have been watching him closely for years. Ryan frequently references the importance of his faith and has argued that his budget proposals find support in Catholic teaching.
Yet, Faith in Public Life thinks it’s interesting to point out that Catholic leaders have strongly challenged Ryan’s economic vision and pushed back on those claims. Ryan has also implied that Pope Francis, who urges political leaders to address what he calls an “economy of exclusion and inequality,” is naive.
There seems to be a disconnect between the faith Paul Ryan espouses and the public policy he supports…
Prosperity Pastors Agree: God Wants Us To Have Luxury Jets To Avoid Dope-Filled ‘Demon’ Passengers (video) By Thamiel Rosenkreuz, ifyouonlynews.com, January 1, 2016 …According to two prosperity gospel preachers, God told them to own private jets so they could avoid the ‘bunch of demons’ on commercial airliners…
Anointing Ted Cruz: The “End Times” Transfer of Wealth to the Righteous By Thom Hartmann, http://www.thomhartmann.com, Mar. 9, 2016
In Paul Ryan’s District, a Community Struggling by Greg Kaufmann “How do you take away half of our manufacturing jobs and then say poverty is some moral failing?”
Watch How These Televangelists Use God To Defend Their Luxurious Private Jets, 2015 thebeststuffonline.net Have you ever wondered why these “prosperity preachers” you see on television need fancy cars, mansions and private jets? Well, you are about to get your answer, and you are probably not going to like it…
Politics, the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ and why so many Americans believe they are #blessed The Conversation, Apr 1, 2016 …[Kate] Bowler recently wrote a book – Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel – that has been hailed as the first monograph tracing the history of the prosperity gospel in America. The prosperity gospel, Bowler explains, is “the belief that God grants health and wealth to those with the right kind of faith.”…
Watch This Religious Scholar Obliterate Charlatan Joel Osteen and the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ Fraud! (Video) Rika Christensen, The Raw Story in AATTP, August 6, 2014 …The prosperity gospel comes from greed, and is likely one of the roots of the religious right’s ridiculous favoring of the wealthy, and condemnation of the poor. http://aattp.org/watch-this-religious-scholar-reza-aslan-obliterate-charlatan-joel-osteen-and-the-prosperity-gospel-fraud-video/ references The Worst Ideas of the Decade – The prosperity gospel by Cathleen Falsani, Washington Post, December 2009
For some — not all — American evangelicals, free-market capitalism is a matter of religious principle just as much as opposition to abortion is. Dan McKanan, Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School (HDS),
Bible barons: How the GOP uses religion to keep voters captive to corporate ideology by CJ Werleman, Salon.com, Mar 4, 2014
The Worst Ideas of the Decade – The prosperity gospel by Cathleen Falsani, Washington Post, December 2009 …The “prosperity gospel,” an insipid heresy whose popularity among American Christians has boomed in recent years, teaches that God blesses those God favors most with material wealth.…Nowhere has the prosperity gospel flourished more than among the poor and the working class. Told that wealth is a sign of God’s grace and favor, followers strive for trappings of luxury they can little afford in an effort to prove that they are blessed spiritually. Some critics have gone so far as to place part of the blame for the past decade’s spending binge and foreclosure crisis at the foot of the prosperity gospel’s altar…
Let There Be Markets: The Evangelical Roots of Economics By Gordon Bigelow, Harper’s Magazine, May 2005
How Christianity Became a Lucrative Brand By Sarah Banet-Weiser, New York Press, posted on Alternet.org, December 17, 2012 Prosperity Christianity, or what some call “health and wealth” religion…is the adoption of the logic of free enterprise and branding as a way of understanding, experiencing, and proselytizing Christian religious values.…. As a set of religious teachings and training, the theology is centered on the notion that God provides material wealth—prosperity—for those individuals he favors… the teaching that believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth and that they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and the ‘sowing of seeds’ through the faithful payments of tithes and offerings…
The Religious Right’s War on Progressive Economic Policy by Rachel Tabachnick, Talk to Action, Feb 01, 2011 Tea Party ideology is not new but taps into decades of Religious Right instruction on “Biblical Capitalism.”… “Biblical Capitalism” or the belief that unregulated capitalism is biblically mandated. The Religious Right is well known for its regressive social activism, but less publicized is the role it has played in the war against progressive economic policy, labor unions, the regulatory structure and social safety net. The sacralizing of laissez-faire capitalism predates the Tea Party movement and has been a major theme of fundamentalist textbooks for more than three decades…
How Big Business Invented the Theology of ‘Christian Libertarianism’ and the Gospel of Free Markets By Kevin Kruse / AlterNet, June 1, 2015 Excerpt – The inside history of how Evangelical preachers were used to infuse society with the economic dogma that plagues us today.…During the Great Depression, big business needed rebranding. Blamed for the crash, belittled in the press, and beset by the New Deal’s regulatory state, corporate leaders decided they had to improve their image, and soon. “The public does not understand industry,” an executive complained, “because industry itself has made no effort to tell its story; to show the people of this country that our high living standards have risen almost altogether from the civilization which industrial activity has set up.”
… corporate leaders launched a public relations campaign for capitalism itself… received lavish financial support from corporate leaders… In a 1939 address to the US Chamber of Commerce, H.W. Prentis of the Armstrong Cork Company proposed the way forward. “Economic facts are important, but they will never check the virus of collectivism,” he warned; “the only antidote is a revival of American patriotism and religious faith.” … promoted heavily in the Wall Street Journal and broadcast live on both ABC and CBS radio, promised that business’s salvation lay in “a strengthening of the spiritual concept that underlies our American way of life.”
Accordingly, corporate America began marketing a new fusion of faith, freedom and free enterprise. These values had been conflated before, of course, but in the early 1940s they manifested in a decidedly new form. Previously, when Americans thought about the relationship between religion, politics and business, they gave little thought to the role of the national state, largely because it was so small it gave little thought to any of them. But now that the federal government had grown so significantly, corporate leaders sought to convince Americans that the New Deal threatened not only the economic freedoms of business leaders, but the religious and political freedoms of ordinary citizens as well. They worked tirelessly throughout the 1940s and 1950s to advance a new ideology that one observer aptly anointed “Christian libertarianism.”
… business leaders should “enlist large numbers of clergymen” to “act as minutemen, carrying the message upon all proper occasions throughout their several communities.”
Over the second half of the 1940s, corporate leaders lavishly funded new organizations of ministers who would make their case for them…The Pew family’s contributions to the organization averaged more than $300,000 a year for twenty-five years.
With this generous funding, ministers in these organizations spread the arguments of Christian libertarianism. “I hold,” Reverend Fifield asserted, “that the blessings of capitalism come from God. A system that provides so much for the common good and happiness must flourish under the favor of the Almighty.” But concern for the “common good” was uncommon in their arguments, which tended instead to emphasize the values of individualism. In their telling, Christianity and capitalism were indistinguishable on this issue: both systems rested on the fundamental belief that an individual would rise or fall on his or her own merit alone. Just as the saintly ascended to Heaven and sinners fell to Hell, the worthy rose to riches while the wretched were resigned to the poorhouse.
Any political system that meddled with this divinely prescribed order of things was nothing less than a “pagan” abomination. Indeed, they argued, the welfare state stood in direct opposition to the Ten Commandments…The welfare state…violated the eighth and tenth commandments by encouraging the poor to covet what the wealthy had and “forcibly taking the wealth of the more enterprising citizens for distribution to others.” …they introduced tens of thousands of clergymen to the work of prominent libertarian thinkers including Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Percy Greaves, George Koether, Garet Garrett, Henry Hazlitt, Frank Chodorov and Clarence Manion, presenting their originally secular arguments in a new sanctified light. Spiritual Mobilization went further, proselytizing the general public over the radio. Corporate sponsors, such as Republic Steel, secured airtime for its weekly program “The Freedom Story” and spread its warnings about “creeping socialism” over more than 800 radio stations nationwide.
Spiritual Mobilization’s greatest success came in 1951, with a coordinated series of celebrations for the Fourth of July arranged by its Committee to Proclaim Liberty… they advanced a series of coast-to-coast celebrations on the new Christian libertarian slogan of “freedom under God.” … In 1949, for instance, businessmen banded together to form the Freedoms Foundation… promoted “a better understanding of the American way of life” and the central role played by “the American free enterprise system” in making the nation great…While these corporate leaders and like-minded conservatives sat on the board, Dwight D. Eisenhower set the agenda… and even helped articulate its central arguments. “The Credo of the American Way of Life” … these political and economic rights rested on a pedestal of “Constitutional Government designed to Serve the People.” That, in turn, stood on a more substantial foundation: “Fundamental Belief in God.”
For the Freedoms Foundation, the Credo of the American Way of Life was more than a list of political and economic rights. It was rather, as its name indicated, a creed—a statement of religious belief and commitment to a sanctified cause. … Organizers believed their work had transformed the nation. “Now,” one noted in 1951, “teachers, preachers, business men, citizens at work everywhere have the task of building an understanding of our free-market capitalistic system based on a fundamental belief in God, on Constitutional government designed to serve and not to rule the people, and on our indivisible bundle of political and economic rights, or surrender to statism.”
Beyond the Freedoms Foundation, the Credo of the American Way of Life played a prominent role in the presidential campaign of 1952…Eisenhower …the Republican nominee noted, would honor the American ideal of “permitting the creative spirit of man made in the image of his Maker to reach its highest aspirations.” … its message still spread widely in a massive get-out-the-vote campaign coordinated by the Freedoms Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America. …the incoming president urged the crowd and the country to embrace spiritual renewal. In the key passage, he called their attention to the invocation of “the Creator” in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence. He then insisted, in what quickly became a famous line, that “our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is.”… appreciated the power of appeals to piety and patriotism… heard Eisenhower talk about the foundational role of religion in American life, they believed Christian libertarianism had finally come into its own. The new Eisenhower administration, they assumed, would use that religious rhetoric to roll back the regulatory state. They were wrong.
When he took office, Eisenhower parted ways with his earlier allies. Although the president was personally sympathetic to their complaints, he concluded that “the mass of the people” disagreed. And so, to the consternation of Christian libertarians, Eisenhower gave a bipartisan stamp of approval to the New Deal and, indeed, even expanded its reach over his two terms in office…Eisenhower had incredible success with one of the goals he had shared with these supporters: promoting the politics of piety and patriotism. Uncoupling their religious rhetoric from its origins in the fight against the New Deal, he broadened its appeal considerably and helped usher in a national religious revival that was embraced across the political spectrum. He introduced new religious rituals to American politics, ranging from the ritual of prayers at Cabinet meetings, the State Department and Pentagon to annual rites like the National Prayer Breakfast. He inspired others throughout government to inaugurate new religious symbols and ceremonies of their own. Most significantly, Congress added the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 and made “In God We Trust” the country’s first official motto in 1956.
Unlike the Christian libertarians, who presented God and government as rivals, Eisenhower managed to fuse the two together into what the first National Prayer Breakfast hailed as a wholesome “government under God.” The American nation was now officially suffused with religion, and so it would remain.