Two researchers have published the results of surveys they conducted among Christians in the United States. What they found is as unsurprising as it is depressing.
They have found a sharp increase in the belief by some Christians that Donald Trump was anointed by God to be president.
They conducted a survey in March 2020, and compared the results with the results of a similar survey they conducted in 2019.
What they found was that among Protestants who attended church weekly or more in 2019 about 29.6 percent believed Trump was anointed by God. In March 2020 that number had climbed to 49 percent.
The researchers, Paul A. Djupe of Denison University and Ryan P. Burge of Eastern Illinois University, looked at some of the factors that contributed to the increase.
One of the contributing factors was what members of the clergy were saying and, unsurprisingly, this had a big effect on Republicans. Anointment beliefs among Democrats and Independents were unaffected.
Another factor was whether they believed that Democrats would take away their rights if they were to gain power. Interestingly, both Democrats and Republicans were more likely to increase belief in Trump's anointment, although Republicans were much more likely.
According to the researchers, "We are not the first to note that right wing media are having a profound effect on public opinion, serving to insulate Trump supporters. But we are some of the first to document how this is built and sustained from the bottom up. That is, political churches, among Republicans especially, reinforce the argumentation that is also coming from above."
They continued, "It is this combination of forces that suggests traditional measures, such as campaigns, that can broaden the discourse and pull in new constituencies will likely be ineffective. But it is important to see that this is not just an evangelical Republican problem.The religious significance of the presidency is swelling across the board for the religious, indicating further polarization along religious and partisan lines is continuing."
As the country continues to face the challenges imposed on it from the COVID-19 epidemic, in addition to less extreme threats, it is more important than ever that we find ways to collaborate. Unfortunately, too many people are brainwashed by their religious beliefs and the propaganda their religious leaders are filling their heads with.