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I hear he speaks eight languages

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And has degrees in both law and medicine.

Here are the blurbs for a new book entitled “The Faith of Donald J. Trump:”

“David Brody and Scott Lamb show you a side of Donald Trump that has never been fully explored before. The spiritual journey of our 45th president is a riveting narrative that every student of history needs to understand to get a complete picture of one of the most dynamic Americans to ever lead our nation.” (Newt Gingrich)

“David Brody is among the best reporters in Washington, D.C. and the country. He has had unique access to President Trump and possesses the background necessary to understand and explain the 45th president’s beliefs and to accurately and completely recount –in the round– Donald Trump’s past and present religious convictions, and perhaps predict as well as anyone not named Trump what those beliefs and convictions will mean for the country in the years ahead. If you are serious about understanding President Trump, read this book.” (Hugh Hewitt)

“David Brody and Scott Lamb have put together a concise, deep-dive look at our 45th president in a way that has never been done before. If you want to understand Donald Trump’s inner religious DNA and the Judeo Christian worldview that accompanies it, you’ve found the right book. Clever insight and exclusive interviews for the book with President Trump and Vice- President Pence give this literary work the gravitas that it deserves.” (Sean Hannity )

“Why do evangelicals have unprecedented access to this president? What explains the high number of Christian cabinet members and appointees in this White House? Read The Faith of Donald J. Trump to find out. Brody and Lamb reveal new material drawn from exclusive interviews with President Trump and evangelical leaders. The result is fascinating and important.” (Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, president and CEO, National Religious Broadcasters)

“David Brody and Scott Lamb hit the mark as they take you inside Donald Trump’s spiritual journey, dating back from his childhood and all the way to the White House. President Trump’s desire to ‘Make America Great Again’ is rooted in his fervent belief in the Judeo-Christian history of our country. Brody and Lamb provide the crucial link that gives clarity to one of the most transformational figures in American history.” (Pastor Robert Jeffress, First Baptist Church Dallas).

Although I suspect I won’t be able to force myself to read this thing absent a court order, I’m also consumed with morbid curiosity.

Consider that, in the context of contemporary American evangelical Christianity, “faith” means something very specific: a belief in the tenets of contemporary American evangelical Christianity. The mainline Protestantism into which Trump himself was at least putatively born doesn’t count, let alone any trafficking with Catholicism or a flat-out heretical cult like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (The weasel phrase “Judeo Christian” in the blurbs references both a theological and sociological absurdity).

So the question that interests evangelical Christians — who naturally consist of 99.5% of the potential audience for this sort of book — isn’t whether Trump has any genuine religious beliefs. This seems like a really easy question to answer, even when phrased in the most catholic fashion. The question that interests its potential readers is an even more preposterous inquiry: whether Trump is “born again,” accepts the Bible as the literal inerrant word of God, rejects the heresy that good works have salvational value etc.

In other words this seems analogous to writing a book intended to pin down Trump’s views on poststructuralist literary theory or the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis or the Chinese room thought experiment.

This whole project exists — apart from the obvious economic motive — because the will to rationalization is an incredibly strong force in human psychology. Voting for Donald Trump because he seems like the lesser of two evils to a sufficiently reactionary evangelical could be justified in various dare I say jesuitical yet not completely dishonest ways. Voting for him because you believe that deep down somewhere he’s a man of genuine religious faith merely demonstrates that if a pious Donald Trump did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.

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