Four years after running unsuccessfully for president, former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is back in the news cycle in yet another election year – this time for saying that God chose Donald Trump to become the Republican presidential nominee.
“God raised up, I believe, Donald Trump who was going to be the nominee in this election,” Bachmann told CBN, a conservative Christian network owned by TV preacher Pat Robertson, in an interview released Tuesday. “I don’t think God sits things out. He’s a sovereign God. Donald Trump became our nominee. I think it’s very likely that in the day that we live in, that Donald Trump is the only individual who could win in a general election of the 17 who ran.”
Bachmann, who’s currently an advisor on Trump’s Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, a group of right-wing evangelicals who back Trump, continues her streak of taking far Religious Right positions. She’s previously taken stances against LGBTQ+ rights and feminism and promoted Islamophobia.
“Maybe I'm wrong, I don’t know, but I do know that the Bible is true and that Daniel teaches the most high God, which is one of God’s names, is the one who lifts up who he will and takes down who he will,” Bachmann continued. “And so that’s why my prayers and my actions and my work on a daily basis is to make sure that Donald Trump becomes President Trump the first Tuesday of November this 2016.”
Bachmann is certainly entitled to believe that God, for whatever reason, is using a thrice-married nominal Presbyterian who has bragged about his affairs with married women as his instrument. The problem is, Bachmann couldn’t stop at trumpeting The Donald; she had to question the spiritual commitment of politicians who oppose him.
Narrow view: Bachmann sees religious freedom as it applies to her.
She cast doubt on President Barack Obama’s commitment to Christianity and inquired whether Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is even a woman of faith – despite the fact that Obama has been a member of the United Church of Christ for years, and Clinton has long been a Methodist. (Perhaps those denominations don’t count as “Christian” in Bachmann’s book, but most Americans would see them that way.)
“If you look at Barack Obama, by contrast, if you look at Hillary Clinton, by contrast, tell me where the strong people of orthodox Christian faith or orthodox Jewish faith who believe that the Bible is true, who believe that God is who He says who He is … I don’t know of any. Maybe [Clinton] has some, but I don’t know of any,” Bachmann rambled on.
Not only did she narrow America’s religious demographic to people “who believe that the Bible is true,” but her criticism of how religious Obama and Clinton are goes back to a point Americans United’s Executive Director Barry Lynn wrote in an op-ed this month.
“A politician's religious views have little or nothing to do with how he or she does the job,” Lynn wrote. He added that it only becomes an issue when far-right fundamentalists like Kim Davis become convinced that their faith gives them the right to refuse to do the jobs they were elected to do.
Instead of promoting her narrow version of Christianity as a qualifier for president, Bachmann would do better to look inwardly. It’s time for Bachmann and other Religious Right leaders to admit an uncomfortable truth: They’re willing to back any candidate who proclaims support for their right-wing political agenda, even if he has virtually no fealty to the faith they claim to treasure.