First up from the God Machine this week is a story about Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump continuing to focus attention on the religious right movement as Election Day draws near.
The GOP nominee has already appeared at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, which axed
an anti-Trump piece from the student newspaper this week, and today, the candidate will appear at the other major university founded by a Virginia televangelist: Regent University, created by TV preacher Pat Roberson. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is returning to Virginia this weekend for a rally at Regent University in Virginia Beach, the strongest signal yet that his campaign has not given up on Virginia.
The rally at the Christian university is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, according to Trump’s official schedule.
It's not clear what role, if any, Pat Robertson will play at the event, but the radical televangelist has made no secret of his support for Trump. As Right Wing Watch explained
, "Robertson has emerged as one of Trump’s most stalwart defenders on the Religious Right, claiming that the business mogul is facing satanic attacks
and dismissing the tape of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women as simply 'macho
It may seem odd to think prominent evangelical leaders from a social-conservative movement would be so enthusiastic about a secular, thrice-married adulterer and casino owner who'd never really demonstrated any interest in, or knowledge of
, matters of faith. But Robertson has long prioritized partisan politics over theological principles. In fact, in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, the TV preacher threw his support behind Rudy Giuliani -- another
secular, thrice-married adulterer.
There is, however, a generational problem that's emerged this year between the religious right movement's politically connected elite -- Robertson, Falwell, Tony Perkins, et al -- and many principled, rank-and-file evangelicals who have no use for partisan expediency.
The fissure has already emerged as a problem
at Liberty University; it'll be worth watching to see if a similar dynamic unfolds at Regent University.
Also from the God Machine this week: read more