When Peter Manseau heard that a former student of his at Georgetown, Kayleigh McEnany, had been named the new White House press secretary, he felt compelled to write about it.His article, published earlier this month in the New Republic, is a warning in all but name, a American religious historian’s observations about the underpinnings of his former student’s worldview — an analysis one could read as sacrificial or suicidal.Manseau taught McEnany in an undergrad memoir-writing class — she was interning for President George W. Bush at the time — so his insight is perhaps unique among other professors.
Manseau places McEnany in the vein of conservative evangelicals whose embrace of Trump seemingly requires them to abandon core tenets of their faith. In McEnany, he writes, “a uniquely American strand of faith formed by ideas of religious persecution has found an opportunity for profound influence”: Christian martyrdom.
The evangelical Christians who infamously carried Trump to victory now surround him, insulate him, advise him and steer his policies.
There’s Pence, Pompeo and Perry, but also outside advisers such as Jerry Falwell Jr. and Paula White, the firebrand Florida pastor who has known Trump since 2002 and once called for “all satanic pregnancies to miscarry.”
They’re interested in reaffirming Christian control over America, embedding its tenets in laws, spreading evangelicalism through America’s foreign policy, and hopefully creating a world order wherein a final apocalyptic battle can be fought or else Christ returns to rule the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth,” Sexton said.