April 2020 – Earlier this year, author Stephen Strang released God, Trump, and the 2020 Election, his third book on the president. Strang is editor of Charisma magazine.
As guest host of The Awakening with Bishop E.W. Jackson, a noon talk-show on the AFR network, Alex McFarland interviewed the author January 21.
In the interview, Strang characterized President Trump as a “disrupter” – disrupter of the political status quo and the nation’s moral bankruptcy. The following condensed Q&A format hits some highlights of their spirited and insightful radio dialogue. Hear the entire interview at afr.net. Click on “Podcasts” and scroll down to The Awakening.
Alex McFarland: What prompts you to write about President Trump?
Stephen Strang: I wrote God and Donald Trump, my first book, because when he was elected, it was a miracle. We [evangelicals] took a chance with Donald Trump, and he exceeded all expectations. I felt the spiritual aspect needed to be told. The next book, Trump Aftershock, is an analysis of his first two years in office.
Then, I felt that [God, Trump, and the 2020 Election] needed to be written ahead of the election because it is so important.
AM: You mentioned a spiritual aspect of the president; tell us more.
SS: Something began to happen to him in the early two thousands. He became more interested in spiritual things, started listening or watching Christian television.
The president meets with [Christian] leaders, and somebody will pull out a cell phone and take a picture of them all gathering around and praying for him. They’ll take a little video and put it on YouTube. This president likes to be prayed for. I think he’s spiritually sensitive.
AM: Does that sensitivity not weaken him as a politician?
SS: He’s also tough as nails, you know. He does not back down, and he’s become a champion of people like you and me, because the people who hate Donald Trump, by and large, hate you and hate American Family Radio, everything we stand for. This unlikely person has become a champion of Christian issues.
AM: There are, even in the evangelical community, some who are “Never Trumpers.” How do you explain that?
SS: Yeah. It’s hard to understand, and I’m not going to demonize them. On the other hand, [in a recent commentary] Mark Galli, former editor-in-chief of Christianity Today was demonizing people who support Trump.
He [indicated] the ones he knows haven’t finished college, and they work for minimum wage. That’s just very demeaning.
AM: Why would we be so bold as to say there’s a spiritual dynamic that’s part of the DNA of America?
SS: The English, when they landed at Plymouth Rock, held services dedicating this new land to the Lord. And I believe that there’s spiritual significance to that. And then with the Pilgrims, our Pilgrim fathers – they were God-fearing people. They came here for religious freedom. My own ancestors came from France to America for religious freedom. It was in the late 1600s.
AM: How does that spiritual DNA work out in American culture?
SS: America has always welcomed people who wanted to worship as they choose. And then of course, after we won our independence from England, most of the framers of the Constitution were God-fearing people. And they put in liberty so we could worship God as we choose.
We are not a theocracy. None of us want a theocracy, but America has a plan and purpose. America has been a shining light to the world. We’ve saved America for democracy at least twice with World War I and World War II.
Also, because of the prosperity of America, because of the Christian people who give, we’ve been able as private citizens – not the government, of course – to spread the gospel around the world.
And I go into this in God, Trump, and the 2020 Election. I even quote people saying they believe God still has a plan for America, and really it is to continue to spread the gospel.
AM: Does that plan still resonate with people in our contemporary culture?
SS: There’s already proof there are forces at work to try to take away our religious freedom. You know, this nice sounding “equality act” was voted on in the House of Representatives by every single Democrat. It sounds nice, but basically it enshrined the radical gay agenda as the standard, and anyone who deviates from that will be in deep trouble.
Christian people tend to be a little bit passive, you know – gentle as a dove. But the Bible says we also need to be wise as a serpent, and we need to see what’s going on. And this has been going on a long, long time.
I was pretty young, but here in the South we would stand and repeat the Lord’s Prayer before we went to lunch at school. And, we do want a separation of church and state. I don’t want the state to force me to be Mormon or Catholic or even Protestant, you know, but we need to have freedom to serve God.
AM: What dangers do our religious freedoms face?
SS: There are forces that are anti-God, and we need to understand [the situation] for what it is. Now, most people boil it down to political things. In fact, there are a whole lot of moral issues that become politicized, and the Left kind of tells the church, “You can’t speak on that because it’s politics.”
Abortion is a good example. That’s an issue of life and death. It is a moral issue. The whole issue of the value of life is a moral issue that comes to us from the Bible through Judaism and Christianity.
But [our culture says], “Oh, it’s a political issue. You Christians can’t talk about it, and now it’s the law of the land. You can’t talk about it.”
AM: How does the president’s position impact his opponents on such issues?
SS: Donald Trump has been a disruptor. That’s what a lot of people don’t like about him. He’s disrupting a lot of things, including the Republican Party, including the deep state, including some of our trading partners.
After World War II, with the kindness of America based on our Christian heritage and being concerned for others, we rebuilt all of these economies … to get them on their feet.
Guess what! They’re on their feet. And yet, a lot of great deals are still in their favor against us. Donald Trump is changing all of that. And he doesn’t get very much credit for it at all.
I document these things and much more in the book … all from a spiritual perspective.
One man’s conclusion
Maybe you’re not a Christian conservative, and maybe you’re not a Republican or a Democrat. But you’ve got to read God, Trump, and the 2020 Election. I don’t think people can adequately understand the spiritual dynamics at play in our political, social, and cultural contexts today unless they read this book.
I believe Stephen Strang is better than any other scholar I’ve read on the subject. He understands U.S. history, the nature of the Constitution, and the past 30-40 years of conservative-versus-liberal politics. And he sees it all through the lens of the spiritual dynamics that are going on.
Alex McFarland (alexmcfarland.com)
Co-host of Exploring the Word on AFR
Director of Truth for a New Generation events