Tuesday, June 18, 2024

the last book I ever read (The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism by Tim Alberta, excerpt six)

from The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism by Tim Alberta:

Might Jeffress at least entertain other explanations? Was there no truth to the idea that evangelicals had taken their eye off the ball? Could he not see how the fixation on this world had created a barrier to entry for those seeking knowledge about the next? Jeffress shook his head. Most of the work he does, he insisted, has nothing to do with societal skirmishes or upcoming elections or anything else found outside the Bible. He said the caricature of him doesn’t align with reality.

Glancing to my right, his left, I took note of the irony. The corner of Jeffress’s office was a shrine—his secretary used that specific word to describe it—to President Donald J. Trump. There was an eight-foot-tall poster memorializing the “Celebrate Freedom” concert in D.C. (the one where the choir sang “Make America Great Again”). There were boxes of Trump cuff links and a golden Trump commemorative coin. There were dozens—dozens—of framed photos of Jeffress and Trump: praying over him, talking with him, shaking hands with him, giving thumbs-up with him, walking alongside him, speaking in front of him, standing dutifully behind him. (There were also a few photos of Jeffress with Mike Pence, and one, seemingly misplaced, of him with right-wing pundit Ann Coulter.) In the sweep of my reporting on the former president and his many sycophants, I had never seen such a temple to Trumpism. Anything that carried the man’s distinctive Shapie signature was framed: news articles, White House proclamations, email correspondences, even printed-out tweets.

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