President Trump attended church at the International Church of Las Vegas while barnstorming through the West this weekend. During the service, he received a prophetic word from Pastor Denise Goulet. “We’re going to ask God to remove evil from our nation,” she said. “We forbid for the demonic plans of the enemy to come to pass, and we break forth the plans of God to make America great again, to bring righteousness and justice in our nation.” Her husband, Pastor Marc Goulet, introduced Trump as “family” because this was his third time to visit the church. Pastor Denise then described an early morning encounter with God, “At 4:30, the Lord said to me, ‘I am going to give your president a second win.’”
The Pew Research Center is tracking a strong shift in the way white Evangelicals are approaching the presidential election. This year, a majority are excited to get behind Trump, rather than being primarily motivated by a distaste for his opponent. Among white evangelical Trump supporters, most characterize their vote in 2020 as “for Trump” (57%) and not “against Joe Biden” (20%). Last presidential election in 2016, white evangelicals voting for the Republican were more likely to say their vote was “against Clinton” (45%) than “for Trump” (30%).
Southern Baptist theologian Owen Strachan has stirred up quite a controversy by suggesting that churches or pastors that “teach or promote wokeness” should be disciplined in accordance with what he sees as the guidelines of Matthew chapter 18—that is, they need to be confronted, rebuked, and called to repentance and, if resisted, excommunicated from the church or denomination. Wokeness refers to an awareness of racial prejudice that runs through American culture and Christian institutions. “The church has tolerated the spread of wokeness too long. It is time for a line in the sand.” So said Stachan recently at a Bible conference in Minnesota. Wokeness is associated with, among other things, the Black Lives Matter movement and has challenged Southern Baptists themselves to address their own history of racism.
Catholics and Jews are pushing back against new restrictions on worship caused by a resurgence in the COVID virus. The Diocese of Brooklyn filed a lawsuit in federal court against the state of New York, charging that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new orders reducing church capacity violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion. “The executive orders this week have left us with no other option than to go to court,” Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said in a statement. Some Catholic parishes in the Brooklyn Diocese are being forced to reduce capacity to a maximum of 10 people inside at one time, others to a maximum of 25 people; many others are limited to 50% capacity. Orthodox (especially Hasidic) Jews have likewise expressed disapproval of the new restrictions, coming as they did just hours before the celebratory holiday known as Simchas Torah. “We’re an easy target. The last remaining group that it’s acceptable to target and vilify are Orthodox Jews,” said their representative.