On first blush, many Americans would think any connection between Donald Trump and the religious right would be non-existent. After all, Trump has made it very clear that he is not a religious person and the idea of conservative Christians embracing the mean-spirited billionaire would seem remote at best. However, Trump garners more support from the religious right than his competition. In fact, despite what conventional wisdom dictates, the religious right is solidly behind Donald Trump; a man anyone would call a “casual or convenient Christian.”
The reason a non-religious extremist is gaining support from decidedly evangelical fanatics is very simple and it should be glaringly obvious to any American; “if any corner of America encourages arrogance and narcissism, it’s conservative evangelical Christianity,” and, it is something that Trump and the GOP are well aware of even though the Christian bible is rife with 32 verses that commands its adherents “as God’s chosen people, to clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” The Christian right in America has a forty-plus year history of encouraging arrogant, narcissistic, and intolerant ideology that Donald Trump is parroting to the delight of the righteous in the Republican ranks and among the establishment.
Obviously, like Donald Trump, the American religious right disobey the commandments to be humble as a matter of course, and besides lacking any sense of compassion, kindness or patience, they are inherently arrogant and narcissistic. In fact, anyone who knows of, or observes, the religious right understands that no matter how much they may feign Christian humility, they are dangerously arrogant exactly like Trump. It is why they revel in their self-professed religious right to trample the rights of other Americans, support killing innocents at home and abroad, and hate everything about America they cannot control.
The reason for evangelical arrogance is because only they understand their god’s plans for America and their elevated role as crusaders to advance his plan to fruition; the rest of the population and law of the land be damned. According to the religious right, Donald Trump can only “make America great again” with evangelicals executing god’s plan for America by evicting anyone who fails to embrace the evangelical vision of “America as a white Christian paradise.”
The late author Christopher Hitchens once summed up the conservative Christian arrogance while trying to appear modest in forcing their phony Christianity on all Americans and the government; “Don’t mind me—I’m only on an errand for God.” Donald Trump takes the arrogance to the next level and considers himself to be godlike; not unlike a great deal of the religious right acolytes.
Since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have convinced the religious right that their religion gives them a monopoly on morality no matter how barbaric or hateful they behave. In the same manner, religious people have taught their offspring that because they are evangelicals they are the center of the universe and can do no wrong because they are implementing god’s plan for the United States; it is a teaching that encourages arrogance, selfishness, and hate.
According to a relatively recent large study published in Current Biology; the more religious the child, the less likely they will ever behave altruistically and the more sadistic they are; like Donald Trump. In fact, the research shows that there is a strong correlation with selfishness and mean-spiritedness in children who have been indoctrinated in evangelicalism. The study relates an experiment where children were given stickers and instructed to share them with their classmates. Despite the instructions to share, religious children were opposed to, and did not, share their stickers.
There is a reason the religious right, like their hero Trump, will never abandon their intent to have it “my way” or not at all. they do not worship a god that comprises or negotiates. Their arrogance makes them believe that like their god and Trump, “they are all-knowing, all-powerful, infallible, and unquestionable;” it is precisely like Donald Trump’s mindset and why the religious right gives their undivided attention and support to Republicans; who, like their god, oppose compromise and negotiation.
Most reasonable people understand that there is no such thing as good governance without compromise and negotiation; compromise and negotiation require an acknowledgment that no one has the solution to all problems. Because evangelical Christians believe they are god’s representatives on Earth, and infallible, unquestionable, and all-powerful they naturally gravitate to arrogant extremist candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
The rise of the Donald, like the 40 year rise of the religious right, is the predictable outcome of Ronald Reagan “transforming the GOP into a vehicle for the self-promotion and theocratic advocacy of arrogant and narcissistic white evangelical Christians.” In order to appeal to evangelical voters, other Republican presidential candidates are going to start projecting more arrogance and narcissism. They are qualities Donald Trump has in spades and it is why he garners more of the conservative Christian support than the rest of the Republican field.
Trump is increasingly swaying more evangelicals to support him despite his lack of Christian bona fides because arrogant narcissists comfort and encourage each other. One might think Trump’s mean spirited attacks on anyone not elevating him to god status might cost him support among conservative Christians. Quite the contrary, it has made him more appealing to those evangelicals who believe they are god-special, and that those who fail to acknowledge their self-deification are inferior and need to be regulated.