Like a lot of evangelical Christians, Energy Secretary Rick Perry believes in a God who gets involved in every aspect of our lives – including the election of Donald Trump as President.
“I’m a big believer that the God of our universe is still very active in the details of the day-to-day lives of government,” Perry told Fox News in remarks aired on Sunday.
“You know, Barack Obama doesn’t get to be the President of the United States without being ordained by God. Neither did Donald Trump.”
Perry went on to say that being God’s instrument on Earth doesn’t mean that Trump is a perfect person. Echoing the argument of other white evangelical Christians, the Texas Republican went on to cite several biblical figures, including King David, whose private lives didn’t always align with biblical standards.
Perry is just the latest evangelical Christian in the Trump administration to say they believe the President is divinely ordained.
In February, former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that God “wanted Donald Trump to become president and that’s why he’s there.” A month later, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined the chorus, saying it’s possible God raised Donald Trump to be President in order to protect Israel from Iran.
Perry, who has announced plans to leave his post in December, said he and other evangelicals in the Trump administration have tried to minister to Trump – even handing him a Sunday School lesson of sorts.
“I actually gave the President a little one-pager on those Old Testament kings about a month ago,” Perry told Fox News.
“I said, ‘Mr. President, I know there are people that say – you know, you said you were the chosen one.’ And I said, ‘you were.’ I said, ‘if you’re a believing Christian, you understand God’s plan for the people who rule and judge over us on this planet in our government.’”
Perry said he told Trump that he wanted the President to read the list of Old Testament kings and “absorb that you are here at this chosen time because God ordained it.”
Many other white evangelicals likely agree with Perry, Sanders and Pompeo. According to a 2017 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, more than half (57%) say God played a “major role” in the 2016 presidential election.
But other Christians, particularly those from more liberal traditions, disagree with that idea.
Ekemini Uwan, a public theologian and a co-host of the podcast “Truth’s Table,” told CNN in February that Trump’s election was not exactly an answer to her prayers.
Uwan said she believes that God is supremely in control of the entire universe, from the smallest atoms to American politics.
“We can’t say that it’s not God’s will for Donald Trump to be president, because he is the president,” she said.
But the theologian draws a distinction between God’s sovereignty and God’s approval. That is, what God allows to happen is not the same thing as what God wants to happen.