As we all know by now, if the religious right had put its money where its mouth was after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tapes, Donald Trump’s candidacy would have gone down in flames. Instead, they persuaded over 81 percent of white evangelicals to break for Trump. Now, it looks like the religious right thinks it’s starting to collect on that debt. Apparently they think they have already put their stamp on national policy.
Trump garnered some of his staunchest evangelical support from leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, an overtly fascist offshoot of the religious right that thinks it can bring about the Second Coming by taking over the world. Early on, he got the support of one of the most prominent “prophets” of that movement, Rick Joyner. Well, it looks like Joyner is already cashing in. He revealed that he had already put his stamp on the incoming administration. How? By shaping Trump’s approach to immigration.
You may recall that before the election, Joyner had a chat with Trump. According to Joyner, Trump almost broke down at the thought that his original, heavy-handed immigration policy could potentially destroy families. Joyner told fellow “prophet” Michael Brown that he was a member of an ad hoc committee that crafted what is supposedly a more compassionate plan. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Joyner said that Trump charged the committee with creating a plan that had two elements–“compassion” and “getting everybody legal.” The immigration plan that Joyner helped craft supposedly meets that standard. While Joyner didn’t go into details, he said it would be “amazingly kind and gentle and compassionate.” While those here illegally would have to pay a “reasonable penalty,” there is still a “really quick” path to citizenship.
So how does that square with Trump’s xenophobia on the trail? Well, Joyner said that Trump was taking the same approach that he took in “The Art of the Deal.” Supposedly, Trump’s original proposals were so outlandish that “it makes what you really want seem so reasonable, you win.”
Even with my ingrained distrust of anything coming from a Christianist, I would have liked to believe this was true. But more likely than not, it isn’t. According to the man who actually wrote most of “The Art of the Deal,” Tony Schwartz, Trump’s idea of truth is “whatever he is saying at any given moment.” So for all we know, while Joyner and friends believed Trump had given his stamp of approval to their policy, he may have actually been conning them.
Let’s assume, though, that Joyner is right, and Trump really did have a change of heart on immigration. As a longtime watcher of the religious right, I wouldn’t be popping any corks even if this were the case. After all, we’re talking about a guy who openly admits the kind of government he wants to set up would look a lot like a dictatorship. We’re talking about a guy who thinks that nothing short of a military takeover will save this country. And we’re talking about a guy who laughed–that’s right, LAUGHED–at how the Northeast was suffering from Hurricane Sandy.
But first and foremost, we’re talking about a guy who believes that Christians must take over the world and violently suppress anyone who stands in their way before Jesus can come back. To that end, Joyner and his cronies think that Christians must take over the seven forces, or “mountains,” that influence our society–business, education, entertainment, media, education, the family, the church, and especially government–before Jesus can come back. But don’t take my word for it. Take the word of another NAR “prophet,” Lance Wallnau. Watch here.
In other words, even if this policy really is more compassionate than the one Trump pushed on the trail, we have to ask, “At what cost?” At best, it’s roughly akin to how the FBI brought down the Boston Mafia with the help of Whitey Bulger. But it came at a very high price–allowing Bulger to continue on a path to becoming one of the most powerful crime bosses in the nation.
This is no different. If Trump really wanted to change his approach on immigration, he surely could have done so without allowing a borderline fascist to put his stamp on national policy. But knowing what we know about Trump, it’s far more likely that Joyner and his colleagues were but the latest people to be conned by a man who has managed to con his way to the White House.