Author and speaker Rachel Hamm set off a social media debate about theology and politics over the weekend after saying President Trump was the “best thing” to happen to Christians in the United States “since maybe Jesus.”
Hamm made the comments during an appearance on Newsmax’s American Agenda show, which was examining a Vox article that argued the Trump presidency was a “catastrophe for American Christianity.” The Vox story was based on an interview with conservative writer and Trump critic David French.
Hamm said she read French’s article and thought it was “ridiculous.”
“President Trump was the best thing to happen to the Christian church in America since maybe Jesus,” she said.
Newsmax guest: "President Trump was the best thing to happen to the Christian church in America since maybe Jesus" pic.twitter.com/0m10LFMeZE— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) February 5, 2021
A tweet with a video of her appearance on the program drew more than 1,000 comments.
French “is not in touch with what the evangelical church thinks at all,” Hamm said.
Hamm addressed some of the article’s contents. French, in the article, argued that “most evangelicals are not getting their information” on politics “from the pulpit” but instead “are getting catechized in politics through conservative media, through Fox News, through talk radio.” Many evangelicals, he said, have “politicized their faith.”
“We ask God things and He tells us things,” Hamm said. “In fact, in the Bible it says, ‘I am the Good Shepherd and my sheep know My voice. They listen to me. I speak to them.’ And God has spoken to us. He's spoken to us very clearly. ... Donald J. Trump is who He anointed to be president, and he anointed him to be president for two terms.”
Later, when Hamm said Trump was the “duly elected president” in 2020, Newsmax host Heather Childers interrupted her, saying, “We'll see what happens as we move towards 2024 and if he runs again.”
Dominion Voting Systems has threatened legal action against Newsmax for its reporting on the 2020 election, including its reporting about Dominion. In a Dec. 19 article, Newsmax said it had “no evidence” that “Dominion or Smartmatic used software or reprogrammed software that manipulated votes in the 2020 election.”
The Vox story was inspired by a French column in December, “The Dangerous Idolatry of Christian Trumpism.”
“A significant segment of the Christian public has fallen for conspiracy theories, has mixed nationalism with the Christian gospel, has substituted a bizarre mysticism for reason and evidence, and rages in fear and anger against their political opponents – all in the name of preserving Donald Trump’s power,” French wrote.
French wrote the article before the Jan. 6 attack on the capitol. Comments by some Trump supporters, he wrote, “embody a form of fanaticism that can lead to deadly violence.”
“There isn’t a theological defense for it. Indeed, its fury and slander directly contradict biblical commands,” he wrote. “When core biblical values are contingent, but support for Donald Trump is not, then idolatry is the result.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Al Drago/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.