Faith News Politics

An unexpected president and the ‘hand of God’

Members of the clergy lay hands and pray over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, on Sept. 21, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Editor’s note: Since Donald Trump’s victory in last year’s election, many Christians became convinced he was chosen by God to be president even though he hardly fits their mold of a virtuous leader. In our “Hand of God” series, we take a closer look at the widespread belief that God intervenes in our nation’s political process. We profile three people who think that’s the case. And we analyze why they believe what they do, and look at the potential implications for American democracy.

Did God choose Trump? What belief in divine intervention really means

WASHINGTON (RNS) Democracy may be based on the principle of “one person, one vote,” but some people who supported Donald Trump believe the Master of the Universe cast the master ballot.

“God raised up, I believe, Donald Trump,” said former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann after he won the GOP nomination. “God showed up,” the Rev. Franklin Graham said to cheers at a post-election rally. [read more]

3 people who see God working through Trump

Anne Severance is a Christian living in Franklin, Tenn., where she works as a freelance editor and worships at the nondenominational New River Fellowship. Photo courtesy of Ann Severance

Anne Severance
Freelance editor
“I do believe that he (God) picked him. Because he puts people in office and he takes them out.” [read more]

Radio host Dr. Michael Brown. Photo courtesy of Dr. Michael Brown

Michael L. Brown
Radio host
“The odds of him becoming president were so overwhelming the only way he could have made it is with divine intervention.” [read more]

Corie Wilkins. Photo courtesy of the Pullman Foundation

Corie Wilkins
Master of Divinity student
I believe that maybe this was in God’s divine plan,” he said. “This is potentially God’s way of giving us a chance to repent for all the wrong we have done in the world. [read more]

About the author

RNS staff


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  • Romans 13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

  • Holy cow! Some reeeeeally dumb religious folks quoted above. Why did God allow Obama in in the first place he knew how awful things are going to be? Far more likely that there just is no God. Folks need to get used to that.

  • We all make our choices whether to honour the Lord or not. Mr. Obama had the opportunity to honour Christ, who put him in that position, and didn’t.

  • Wild! You actually buy that stuff? “No authority except from God.” So Kim Jong Un gets his authority from God?
    Curious, have you ever asked yourself why you think anything the apostle Paul wrote is the word of God? Do you have some reason for that? Just curious.

  • God appoints all leaders.
    I suggest you do a study on Paul and learn about him. Paul is not the topic.

  • Well, you cite him as an authority for governments authority. All the studying on Paul that I have done says nothing about why every word he wrote deserves to be deemed word of God. I mean, why not just an advisory opinion? ? Tough question for people who just assume Paul = God’s Word.

  • Sandi, you are using circular reasoning. Appealing to documents as authority for the authority of the documents. Why is Gala tians an authority for you? (Appealing to Tim’s ” all Scripture is inspired” won’t work. Is a very very serious problem for your religion. And one that they do not seem to be talking about very much. I consider that very unfortunate.

  • You will never understand, if you don’t belong to Jesus. Excuse, and reason after reason will draw you from the truth, if the scripture of 2 Timothy didn’t help you. On the chance though – Galatians 1:11 – 18. If that doesn’t convince you…I cannot help you. blessings

  • Sandi, it’s not that you can’t help me. I am open to good arguments. In fact, I study a lot of Christian philosophers. What bothers me is you seem not to understand that citing authorities that your opponent does not accept is really a useless form of argument. And when your opponent asks why you accept that authority, you reply by reciting more of that same authority. And, finally, when pressed, you accuse your opponent of making excuses.
    Thank you for this exchange, and I sincerely hope it will prompt some introspection on your part. You do indeed have a huge problem with your inability to answer the question why Paul is the word of God. It’s not your fault. Your religion has never been able to give it a good answer. Check it out, ask your pastor, go to the local theology library, and you’ll see what a problem this is.
    Thanks again. I wish you all the best.

  • In a general sense such an argument might have merit, but, in this case, it is the argument being made by christofascists for christofascism. Michael Brown in particular is very unprincipled liar associated with the weird Nut Daily conspiracy site. Moreover if anyone asserts God anointed Trump but not Obama the argument is revealed as the partisan posturing that it is.

  • You mean He puts the idea into someone’s head to vote for a particular candidate? So much for “free will”.

  • with his approval/endorsement/facilitation of immorality? You think so, eh?
    I’ll be honest. I did not like Bush at all, but I’m still not in agreement with you. They went from bad to worse.

  • If enough people do that, then “God’s Appointed” doesn’t get elected. Do you see where this is going?

  • Absolutely. WNot everyone is adverse to following the Lord, and, some may not even realize it is. We all have free will whether to follow the Lord’s leading or not. We are selfish people and like to think everything is our idea.

  • I don’t think you understand. You said:

    God appoints all leaders.

    That doesn’t square with the idea of elections, which is the ultimate exercise in “Free Will”. Unless your God is rigging elections for His own ends. If He is rigging things, no more “Free Will”.

  • Thank you. We always have free will – whether to listen to the Lord, or not.
    With King Saul…God did not want to give them a king, as He is their king, but they wouldn’t relent, so He gave them Saul as their king. He allowed them to have a king. I hope that helps.

  • James 1:17 – English Standard Version

    Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.