Did God Engineer Trump’s Win?

Political analysts have postulated a number of theories to explain the victory of Donald J. Trump in the presidential election: Hillary Clinton failed to energize the Democratic base, Trump tapped into a vein of hidden supporters, angry Rust Belt voters rose up, etc.

But some activists in the Religious Right have their own explanation: It was divine intervention.

The American Pastors Network (APN) issued an email press release Wednesday with the subject line, “No Other Explanation – God Worked a Miracle, as Christian Voters Spoke Loud and Clear.”

“When the polls are so off and the pundits get it so wrong and we can see no other explanation for a Donald Trump victory, we can rest assured that it is God who worked a miracle,” APN President Sam Rohrer said. “We knew and prayed that at the end of the day, a win – should God provide one – would be humanly impossible and all would have to thank God for His doing.”

It;'s likely that Donald Trump's election was brought about by mere mortals, not divine intervention.

Over at OneNewsNow, a site run by the American Family Association, a columnist named Michael Brown also pinned the Trump win on the deity.

“I believe Trump has been elected president by divine intervention,” wrote Brown, who is described as “a Jewish believer in Jesus…a biblical scholar, apologist, worldwide speaker, and activist.”

“I’m aware, of course, that some people believe that everything happens by the will of God, which means that whoever wins the presidency wins by God’s express will,” Brown continued. “Yet there are times when there are so many odds against something happening, when it so greatly defies logic, that it is easier to recognize God’s involvement. That, I believe, is the case with Donald Trump winning….”

Richard Land, former top lobbyist for the Southern Baptist Convention and now president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, stopped short of attributing the Trump win to God but did opine that the real estate developer’s unexpected victory has headed off divine judgment.

“As a Christian, I believe that God in His mercy has decided to postpone His judgment of America and give us a temporary reprieve to turn back to Him,” Land wrote. “I pray we will do so.”

And a Trump shall lead them?

Look, I don’t pretend to be a theologian, but I do know that Trump was victorious because he won more states in the Electoral College. I suspect swing voters in Pennsylvania and Michigan had more to do with it than the Almighty.

It’s possible, of course, that God chose a bombastic former reality TV star who boasts about sexually assaulting women as his instrument. He does work in mysterious ways, after all. But call me skeptical.

Americans United members belong to many faiths, and some are non-religious. When I’m out speaking to our members, I usually advise them to stick to church-state issues when they’re taking part in an AU activity. If they want to have a theological debate, there’s a bar or coffeehouse for that later.

I don’t want to start one of those debates here, so I’ll just say this: Many believers credit God when a good thing happens, while some non-believers ask why God did not intervene to stop a bad thing from occurring. For centuries, theologians and laypeople alike have grappled with questions about God's intervention in human affairs, the nature of free will and the role of suffering in human affairs.

Those are fascinating questions. We can and will continue to debate them. But let’s not stick God with Trump. The blame for that rests solely with the people who, for whatever reason, marked a ballot for him on Nov. 8.