Paula White arguably little known to the British Public, is Trump’s spiritual advisor. A concept that seems far-fetched, the democratically elected leader of a country being guided by a non-elected official that has a direct line to God. Seems worryingly undemocratic! In contrast to the UK, where the beliefs of the Prime Minister are his own and should be kept that way. I remember being shocked when David Cameron declared himself a Christian. That was his own private business, and there was no need to air it to the rest of the British public, 42% of whom class themselves as Non-Religious, (Shown in the most recent ONS statistics).
Paula White rose to greater prominence in the days after the election with her now-viral video in which she called for divine intervention to secure Trump’s position in the White House. I also mocked the video, why wouldn’t you? It’s a hilarious video in which a woman speaks in nonsensical tongues calling for the aid of Africa and South America to get Trump re-elected. However, Paula White embodies a dangerous precedent for Trump and more widely the far-Right; a group who aim to use their connection with God and through this his Divine will to fundamentally attack democracy and their opposition. Paula has claimed to hear God’s word since her conversion to Christianity at the age of 18 when she opens her mouth; she is able to save people but those who don’t recognise her Gospel will fall into darkness. God has called to her to preach the Gospel, as such her words are his.
The Gospel that Paula White preaches is one that would appeal directly to Trump. White is a preacher of ‘Prosperity Theology’, the idea that monetary wealth is a sign of God’s blessing upon them. The Bible is a contract, and that following the agreement will lead to riches from God. It is no wonder with Trump’s all-consuming focus on the accumulation of wealth as a sign of winning that this would appeal to him. He credits White with his rebirth as a Christian. Perhaps they also bonded on their shared instances of Bankruptcy? Which surely would be a manifestation of breaking the covenant? Oddly not discussed by Paula as to why God lost faith in her in that instance. Through this theology, White gained thousands of followers some high profile, such as Tyra Banks raising her profile and the righteousness of money in the eyes of God.
The dangerous legitimacy that Paula White and having a spiritual advisor gives to the Trump administration is through the promotion of an allegiance with Christian fundamentalists and the Right. The conservative nature of White’s political beliefs is unsurprising. She is anti-abortion, anti-adultery and anti-immigration and has repeatedly been described as a Christian Nationalist. Through her ‘Connection to God’ she has claimed that all those that oppose Donald Trump “operate in sorcery and witchcraft” and that they will be dealt with by the “superior blood of Christ”. If that doesn’t sound like a call for a Christian war against minorities in America if Trump doesn’t win, I don’t know what does. Further through her declaration that anyone that questions her beliefs does so in an attempt to hurt the President, solidifies Trump’s collusion in the division of America between good Christians and the threatening other.
The separation of America along Christian and other religious lines was seen in White’s call for the miscarriage of all “Satanic Pregnancies”. In this case, Satanic would be any of those who didn’t believe in Trump’s divine power or who were opposed to Christianity. Again, the clear emphasis is that those who do not fit with the Trump administration or Christian America should be removed, and through death if necessary. This statement had to be defended by White who claimed it was adapted from a Bible passage. I don’t remember being taught that part of the Bible.
White’s role in the Trump administration provides a dangerous legitimacy for racism and violence through a connection with God. The manner in which her rhetoric manipulates Christian teaching to make the Bible a contract of money must have appealed greatly to the unsuccessful businessman that is Donald Trump. His presidency has made it clear that Trump cares little for anything outside power, and Christianity within America provides this. White with her connection to the Christian Right, allowed Trump to recruit a willing band of far-right racists who through a tirade of lies in a Christian package have conceived of a fake validity to treat those who oppose Trump as foes of God and traditional America. Whilst Trump can rely on pastors such as White to give legitimacy to his racism, the threat of violence in America based on religion will be a very real threat.