Roger Ailes, Donald Trump and Spiritual Warfare
Last weekend Donald Trump spoke at Liberty University, which is the largest Christian university in the world. Not long after that, he found himself facing the greatest crisis he’s faced since entering the election. I do not think this is a coincidence. I think that there are forces in play in our world that are not from our world. Powers, principalities, dominions. They are forces of accusation and expulsion. They play us, and they play for keeps.
Spiritual Attacks Don’t Absolve Responsibility
I think the attacks on Fox News are part of this pattern of spiritual warfare as well.
Now, when I say things like that, hard core Fox and Trump supporters want to stand up and yell, “Amen!” as if I’m blaming their problems on the devil. If that’s your reaction, then you are misunderstanding me. Spiritual warfare may involve an attack of the dark forces, but it almost always involves a failure on the part of those who are attacked. The Accuser is clever: he attacks where his targets are weak. He enters where he is permitted to enter.
I argued in my masters-level thesis that the spiritual warfare against Adam and his wife was successful because of the first failure of Adam in the Garden of Eden: Adam allowed the serpent into the garden in the first place. Adam failed to protect his wife from an act of spiritual warfare. The eating of the forbidden fruit was the result of earlier failure to protect and defend. The serpent should not ever have been in the garden!
It seems fairly clear that Fox’s top management, like Adam before, failed to protect “the woman” from predation. Fox rode culture war outrage about the War on Christmas … picked fights about coffee cups … built its market dominance on outrage about Bill Clinton’s pattern of sexual harassment — and most of that was delivered by pretty girls in very short cocktail dresses.
Like the DNC, Fox learned to avert its gaze away from sexual dissolution and abuse because the predator was a “winner.” Many Trump apologists did the same.
Is Fox a victim of spiritual warfare? Yes, I think it is. But that fact does not absolve Fox from responsibility. Adam and his bride were the victims of spiritual warfare from the serpent, but that did not absolve them of responsibility.
‘He Who Guards His Lips Guards His Life’
I see the same with Donald Trump. He could have spent his life learning to grow as a leader. Not a deal-maker, not a “winner,” but a leader. He could have mastered the book of Proverbs. My friend James Robison said (almost prophetically) before Trump’s latest scandal, that he wished Trump would Tweet Proverbs rather than his usual zingers. I think that James is right to focus on Proverbs.
During the election when Christians would tell me how much they like Trump because ‘He speaks his mind,” I would ask them if they’d ever read the Book of Proverbs. “He who guards his lips guards his life.” Trump is often the very opposite of the wise son in Proverbs. Speaking your mind is the habit of fools.
It is precisely this character flaw which has now left him open to assault. He is unable to guard his tongue. His long history of blurting things out has now come back to haunt him. For many early Trump supporters his lack of verbal discipline was refreshing, even cathartic. He was their primal scream. This was true for many evangelical Christians, which tells me that the state of Biblical ignorance among evangelicals in this nation is at crisis levels.
Now, I have friends — good friends — who endorsed Trump. I gave them no grief then, or now. I understand that he was the less bad of the two viable candidates. They knew his problems, admitted them, and cast an unenthusiastic vote for him.
I’m not talking about people like that. I’m talking about Christian leaders who helped him win the primary. I’m also talking about Christian leaders who had spent years banging on about Clinton’s sexual harassment, about the “death of outrage” and how “if his wife can’t trust him, how can America?” and “character matters,” who then were mute about Trump and O’Reilly’s history of predation.
In the Face of Spiritual Attack, Repent
Evangelical Christianity has become deeply intertwined with both Trump and Fox. That means we have pulled God’s name and His honor into this mess. Did we think He would just stand by and let these institutions, which cynically used His name and His people for wealth and power, continue to sully Him and us?
What’s the answer? Repent. I’m not talking about caving in to the forces of leftism: I’m talking about depriving them of ammunition. The Trump Administration needs to adopt a culture of wisdom, of verbal self-control, of humility.
Our conservative institutions need to repent of Don Draper conservatism, give women the respect and protection conservatism and Christianity demand. We need to repent of celebrity idolatry and stop defending the indefensible.
Repentance is a strong defense against spiritual warfare. I think it’s St. Theresa who said that you cannot be accused of that which you have already confessed to and repented of.
Originally published on Stream.org.