Trump supporter wearing a "MAKE AMERICA PRAY AGAIN"

An attendee wearing a "MAKE AMERICA PRAY AGAIN" hat sits in the audience and waits for the arrival of Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. President Donald Trump, to speak during the 2024 NRB International Christian Media Convention on February 22, 2024 in Nashville, Tennessee.

(Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

Theocratic Trump Tells Right-Wing Christians They Will Have Power at 'Level You've Never Used Before'

"Christian nationalism is an extremist ideology at odds with the fundamental pluralism of American life," warned one progressive journalist.

Just ahead of his headline spot at the CPAC convention in Virginia and the South Carolina primary on Saturday, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump delivered a speech to right-wing broadcasters Thursday night in which the former president vowed to hand power over to the Christian nationalist movement on an unprecedented scale.

Trump said during his speech at the annual conference of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) in Nashville, Tennesse that he would defend "pro-God context and content" on the nation's AM radio stations as he told the audience that religion is "the biggest thing missing" in the United States and warned, without evidence, that Christian broadcasters were "under siege" by the left and a "fascist" Biden administration.

"Trump's true sin is not hypocrisy but theocracy."

"We have to bring back our religion," Trump declared. "We have to bring back Christianity."

Striking a Christ-like pose at one point with his arms outstretched as if on a cross, Trump mentioned his legal struggles, including multiple criminal indictments and civil judgements, and said, "I take all these arrows for you and I'm so proud to take them. I'm being indicted for you."

As Common Dreamsreported earlier this week, right-wing Christian Nationalists operating in Trump's inner circle are quietly preparing for the prospect of his possible reelection.

In his speech Thursday, during which he also promised to close the Department of Education so that Christian fundamentalists could take over school policy at the state level, Trump said, "If I get in, you're going to be using that power at a level that you’ve never used before."

Reflecting on Trump's speech at the Washington Post, columnist Philip Bump argued that above all else the former president is a salesman selling a product to a key voting bloc in this year's election, in this case right-wing Christians.

The former president, writes Bump, is "telling a group that feels as though it is losing cultural power that it is right and that he will ensure that it doesn't."

"It worked in 2016 and 2020," he wrote, having noted that Trump won the large majority of those voters previously. "Why shouldn’t it work now?"

Writing in The Nation on Friday, Jeet Heer warned that a key feature of Trump’s current presidential campaign "is that he is now in open alliance with Christian nationalists—a faction markedly more radical and opposed to democracy than the mainstream evangelicals he courted in previous elections."

While many have tried to drag Trump for his overt hyprocrisy when it comes to religion or moral piety, Heer says that is a mistake.

"Trump's true sin is not hypocrisy but theocracy," Jeer wrote. "Christian nationalism is an extremist ideology at odds with the fundamental pluralism of American life. It poses a threat not just to secular people but also to the vast majority of religious people whose faith does not entail using the state to impose theology."

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