“Religious” Trump follows the global authoritarian playbook


He even got it right side up!

It was a striking moment: Donald Trump, Bible in hand, posing for photos in an apparent moment of political theater made possible by the dispersal of protesters through the use of tear gas.

The president’s visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church, known as “the Church of the Presidents,” came immediately after giving a Rose Garden speech framing himself as “your president of law and order” and threatening to send federal troops to “restore security and safety in America.” The next day, Trump made another high-profile visit to a place of worship, this time Washington’s St. John Paul II National Shrine…

When enough people perceive – or can be convinced – that traditional elements of the social fabric are at risk, religious signaling through the use of symbols and images can help would-be authoritarians cement their power. They present themselves as protectors of the faith and foes of any outsider who threatens tradition.

Useful, educational, thoughtful reflection on what is probably one of the oldest political hustles in the book.

4 thoughts on ““Religious” Trump follows the global authoritarian playbook

  1. Cassandra says:

    “I am not at all certain we will be able to conduct a free and fair election in November or have a peaceful transition of presidential power in January. We are edging toward a cultural civil war, only this time we are not lucky: Abraham Lincoln is not the president.
    Lincoln, in our darkest, most divisive hour, was able to dig deep into his soul and find the words “with malice toward none, with charity for all … let us strive on to finish the work we are in” and establish “a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
    Instead, we have Donald Trump, a man whose first instinct, when the country is being ripped apart, was to have peaceful protesters tear-gassed and shoved aside so that he could walk to a nearby church just for a photo op outside holding a Bible. He did not open that Bible to read a healing passage. He did not enter the church to host a healing dialogue. He posed for a photo op to drive up his support among white evangelicals. Trump was holding the Bible upside down.
    What to do? Where can we find the leadership needed to calm this situation, deal with its underlying causes and at least get us through the 2020 election?
    Three years ago, I might have hoped that Senate Republicans would step in and restrain Trump. But now we all know better. The Senate Republican caucus today is nothing but a political brothel.”
    Thomas L. Friedman New York Times Opinion Columnist June 2, 2020 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/02/opinion/trump-george-floyd-america.html

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