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On Michele Bachmann and her view of Trump’s godliness

Former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, speaking recently on a radio show called “Understanding the Times,” said, referring to the current incumbent in the White House:

“He is highly biblical and I would say to your listeners [that] we will, in all likelihood, never see a more godly, biblical president again in our lifetime.”

Bachmann, whom I covered often during her extremely godly and biblical political career (except when she was yelling at and threatening a young Republican woman who was insufficiently supportive), knows the Bible much better than I do. But I did wonder, when I read that quote, what her position was on the current status of the seventh commandment, which frowns on adultery. (In biblical times, the punishment was death.)

Here’s Right Wing Watch, which wrote a more thorough piece on Bachmann’s discussion of President Trump’s biblical godliness, and if you go there, you can listen to it.

I got nostalgic for the days when I covered Bachmann, for the Strib when she was in Congress and for MinnPost when she ran for president. So I dug up this column, from her brief but glorious candidacy for the presidency, where she gave a mostly secular talk to a mostly secular but far-right audience, and then strangely, told the Old Testament story about Jonathan (son of King Saul, best friend of future King David, who, with the help of only his unnamed “armor bearer,” defeated an entire Philistine army).

It didn’t go over well with the Philistine voters, and Bachmann ended up dropping out of the presidential race right after the Iowa caucuses, where she finished sixth out of seven contenders (even though she was from neighboring Minnesota and was an Iowa native).


Comments (52)

  1. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/17/2019 - 09:21 am.

    I can’t help but wonder if Michele Bachmann has ever actually read the Bible. I’m sure Trump hasn’t.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/17/2019 - 05:05 pm.

      Classic Comics, maybe?

    • Submitted by Misty Martin on 04/18/2019 - 10:41 am.

      Mr. Holbrook:

      I’m sure Trump hasn’t read the Bible either – and if he did, which is highly doubtful, it sure didn’t stick with him. I get why people think that VP Pence has Christian values, even if I disagree with him on some things, but how in the world could you portray Trump as a godly man? Those aren’t Bible verses he’s tweeting when he’s insulting/demeaning people! I’ll say what I’ve been saying all along to my fellow Christians who are Trump supporters: when Trump has an honest-to-goodness “road to Damascus” experience that Saul of Tarsus had when he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus that converted him to being the Apostle Paul, I’ll be more willing to accept Trump’s Christian values, if I see the change in Trump that the Apostle Paul had. Aside from that, Jesus Himself pointed out that we’d know them by their fruits – I don’t see any good fruit coming out of the White House myself. Do you?

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/18/2019 - 03:47 pm.

        Frankly, I don’t think Trump has the attention span to read a menu, let alone the Bible. I’m positive his pious message last Easter was carefully written for him.

        I don’t think there is much religiosity in Trump. Those of his supporters who profess and all themselves Christians, would do well to meditate on Matthew 22:39, literally half of the commandments on which all the law and the prophets hang, if we acknowledge the words of Jesus.,

  2. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/17/2019 - 09:39 am.

    Seems the god on your side meme is a double edged sword, there is/has been a good list of corrupt ugly movements with “god on their side”, ISIS, Boko Haram, Jim Jones (Jonestown), branch Dravidian, etc.

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 04/17/2019 - 09:47 am.

    Michele Bachmann. In all her wisdom has said, “God picked Trump”. I believe she is right. God did it to punish the dysfunctional Republican Party. Even God has tired of the Republican fiction blitz, inconsistency and undiscernible Republican positions. Not even God could tell you what the Republican Party stands for. Now she says, “Trump is very biblical.” I’m not sure what bible Trump and Bachman’s get their guidance from. It has to be from the alternative universe they live in. Bachmann is obviously trying for a position in Trump’s 2020 campaign. All you need to do to get a position is “Compliment Trump”. The threshold to qualify for a job is extremely low to nonexistent.

  4. Submitted by Brian Simon on 04/17/2019 - 09:55 am.

    That’s the thing with religion, you basically get to make up whatever you want to believe. In Rep Bachmann’s mind, Pres Trump is the mostly godly, biblical, whatever President ever. The rest of us get to decide whether we share her faith, or interpret the world differently.

    • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/18/2019 - 01:00 pm.

      That’s the thing with religion, you basically get to make up whatever you want to believe.

      That is somewhat true for Protestants, and certainly true for the “run what ya brung” church’s that the left has created, but for Catholics, that is certainly not the case.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/18/2019 - 04:11 pm.

        I’ve heard the phrase “cafeteria Catholics”–does that speak to your claims ?

        And isn’t there somewhat of a split between those who thought Ratzinger was the cat’s meow, and who believe the way of Bergoglio is more biblical?

        …..Of course, the pope said, people naturally are afraid of what they don’t understand and of strangers who speak another language and have another culture. The Christian response is not to play on those fears, but to educate people and help them turn strangers into friends.

        “We are called to overcome fear and open ourselves to encounter,” he said. “The encounter with the ‘other,’ then, is also an encounter with Christ. He himself told us this. It is he who knocks on our door hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick and imprisoned, asking to be met and assisted.”

        Pope Francis asked Catholics who have had “the joy” of assisting migrants and refugees to “proclaim it from the rooftops, openly, to help others do the same, preparing themselves to encounter Christ and his salvation….

        That is the leader of the Catholics today…do you agree?

        • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/18/2019 - 05:51 pm.

          You can call yourself a canary, but unless you have wings you won’t fly.

          You can call yourself a Roman Catholic, but unless you subscribe to the Apostles creed and adhere to the dogma of the Church, you’re not.

          That’s true of apostate parishes like the leftist one in Minneapolis as well as the ultra conservative Pius X Society.

          • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/19/2019 - 09:57 am.

            So, is the current pope an apostate, under your definition of Catholicism?

            Otherwise, how can a Catholic live in opposition to migrants when the pope says they are a manifestation of Jesus and are to be welcomed?

            You know, that kind of goes to the “cafeteria” comment–“my” doctrine is correct and “yours” isn’t. “I” choose what to do, and will not be instructed by “others”.

            • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/19/2019 - 02:24 pm.

              The Pope has as much right to an opinion as any other Catholic. His opinions only matter to the Church as a matter of the Magisterium.

              That being said, there are some that claim some of his observations regarding homosexuals tip toe around the edges.

              Wouldn’t be the first time a Pope has gone off the rails, probably wont be the last.

              • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/20/2019 - 10:15 pm.

                So, …The encounter with the ‘other,’ then, is also an encounter with Christ. He himself told us this. It is he who knocks on our door hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick and imprisoned, asking to be met and assisted.”…is a matter of opinion ?

                Thanks for the theology tip.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/18/2019 - 05:41 pm.

        Yeah, you just outsource the thinking to the Vatican.

        • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/19/2019 - 02:28 pm.

          That’s a really bigoted, and highly offensive statement, friend.

          The Pope has jurisdiction over the day to day running of the Church. He also councils the faithful, but we are in no way obliged to blindly accept his observations.

          This Pope has recently made several statements that the vast majority of Catholics do not agree with. That doesn’t make him an apostate, nor does it make those who disagree with him faithless.

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/19/2019 - 05:01 pm.

            Mr. Senker is 100% correct. This is a very bigoted statement, to suggest that Catholics are not thinking.

            The Church teaches the truth, and we are all free to accept or reject that truth.

            • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 04/23/2019 - 02:50 pm.

              Here’s a gem from the Catechism. Good luck finding this philosophy in any Republican platform or spoken by any Republican politician.

              “VI. LOVE FOR THE POOR

              2443 God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them: “Give to him who begs from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you”; “you received without pay, give without pay.”232 It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones.233 When “the poor have the good news preached to them,” it is the sign of Christ’s presence.234

              2444 “The Church’s love for the poor . . . is a part of her constant tradition.” This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus, and of his concern for the poor.235 Love for the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working so as to “be able to give to those in need.”236 It extends not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty.237

              2445 Love for the poor is incompatible with immoderate love of riches or their selfish use:

              Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.238
              2446 St. John Chrysostom vigorously recalls this: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.”239 “The demands of justice must be satisfied first of all; that which is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity”:240

              When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.241
              2447 The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.242 Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.243 Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:244

              He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise.245 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.246 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?247
              2448 “In its various forms – material deprivation, unjust oppression, physical and psychological illness and death – human misery is the obvious sign of the inherited condition of frailty and need for salvation in which man finds himself as a consequence of original sin. This misery elicited the compassion of Christ the Savior, who willingly took it upon himself and identified himself with the least of his brethren. Hence, those who are oppressed by poverty are the object of a preferential love on the part of the Church which, since her origin and in spite of the failings of many of her members, has not ceased to work for their relief, defense, and liberation through numerous works of charity which remain indispensable always and everywhere.”248

              2449 Beginning with the Old Testament, all kinds of juridical measures (the jubilee year of forgiveness of debts, prohibition of loans at interest and the keeping of collateral, the obligation to tithe, the daily payment of the day-laborer, the right to glean vines and fields) answer the exhortation of Deuteronomy: “For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in the land.'”249 Jesus makes these words his own: “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”250 In so doing he does not soften the vehemence of former oracles against “buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals . . .,” but invites us to recognize his own presence in the poor who are his brethren:251

              When her mother reproached her for caring for the poor and the sick at home, St. Rose of Lima said to her: “When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.252”

  5. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/17/2019 - 10:59 am.

    Ms. Bachmann is reading from an edition of the Bible that I don’t have, and have never seen – not “Good News;” and certainly not King James. It leaves me wondering in what universe Mr. Trump, his language and his behavior would qualify as being “Biblical.” Or, I suppose, if it all IS “Biblical,” what version of the Bible that might be, and why it is that that particular version is apparently read and appreciated only by a very narrow segment of the population whose beliefs, actions and language are more or less in opposition to the New Testament I’m more familiar with. Just curious…

  6. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/17/2019 - 12:02 pm.

    Well, many of the old-time biblical patriarchs were shown as very flawed people (incest, adultery, murder, lies, ignorant, foolish etc), so I guess Trump would be very “biblical”. However, were we supposed to be warned from that behavior, or regard that behavior as a sing of God’s favor–redemption stories (a turn from evil to good) or celebration stories (what an admirable person) ?

    Now whether he is furthering Gods’ work that is a different question.

    I find it illustrative that Christianity has fewer and fewer people identify with a Christian religion the more that the loudest Christian voices are raised in opposition to the written texts of what Jesus spoke of.

    Do you think there could be a decline of organized religion in correspondence with the self-serving and destructive outlook of fundamentalists who claim the loudest that they speak for God?

    Old time saying ,”Do not take the Lord’s name in vain”–which doesn’t real target swearing, but instead warns of appropriating God’s name in the service in your own narrow game.

    Who really is driving people away from a relationship with God?

  7. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 04/17/2019 - 12:30 pm.

    I go to your column every day, Eric, but why even acknowledge any statement by that nut case, let alone this one? No wonder organized religion is declining. Not sure with the tact his worshipers will come up with as the rest of us are still guffawing. “Oh, ya, what about those Muslims?” is a possible line.

    • Submitted by Roy Everson on 04/18/2019 - 08:46 am.

      Can’t speak for Eric, but MB’s views have been on “Understanding the Times” for years now (weekly on the Patriot), and the gist is that God chooses flawed characters to do His work such as putting far-right hardliners on the courts and standing up for Us vs. Them, who are usually dark skinned with anti-god religions. It’s a handy guide to interpreting current events in light of end-time prophesy (and no, Trump for inexplicable reasons is not the anti-Christ — yet), thus a new thrill for those brought up on Star Wars or Harry Potter, but at the same time chilling to think of how many people justify their political views with this entertainment.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/18/2019 - 10:25 am.

      Like it or not, the former Representative from Sycorax still has a considerable following, and that following is influential in the current political comment. If she tells her followers that Trump is godly, she can count on that sentiment being repeated and used to reinforce their continuing violation of the First Commandment.

    • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 04/18/2019 - 03:50 pm.

      I enjoy the folly of those who believe that Muslims are not good people. My reading of the book from which Muslims base their life provides that the only Christians and Jews The Prophet Muhammad directed his forces to war against, as seen in Sura or Chapter 8, were the “ungodly” among those two communities.

      Later, in Sura/Chapter 22, he directs his people to war only when attacked and only if they attack you because you are Muslim (he doesn’t say; “go to North America with planes destined for buildings,” or wear explosives, or behead people or cut off their hands or fingers, or form terrorist groups to decimate non-Muslims and Muslims in hospitals and schools).

      Most of what Ms. Bachmann and her husband say about varying forms of sexuality is based on one or two lines in The Old Testament, not in the New Testament. She remains a mystery to anyone who can read and put together a logical and “godly” statement.

  8. Submitted by Charles Thompson on 04/17/2019 - 01:44 pm.

    The girl with the faraway eyes sees things we can’t?

  9. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 04/17/2019 - 01:45 pm.

    I guess that says something about Michelle Bachmann’s god. But now that she’s no longer representing us, I’m not sure it merits our attention.

  10. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/17/2019 - 02:43 pm.

    “I’m reluctant to comment on another person’s faith,” Buttigieg said, “but I would say it is hard to look at this president’s actions and believe that they’re the actions of somebody who believes in God.”

    I am reluctant to comment on the Mayor of South Bend and his views of the Old Testament, New Testament and God as well.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/17/2019 - 05:20 pm.

      Given that you support a thrice-married adulterer as President, your reluctance is well-considered.

    • Submitted by Nick Foreman on 04/19/2019 - 10:27 am.

      Need to read some more about the Bible. Much difference between the Old and the New. Neither mention anything good about the rich and Wall Street

  11. Submitted by ian wade on 04/17/2019 - 03:13 pm.

    Bachmann is Example A of why so many people think that religion is BS and evangelicals are hypocrites. Listening to her desperately attempt to portray a person that exemplifies the exact opposite of the Christ’s teachings is nauseating.

  12. Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/17/2019 - 08:27 pm.

    She got jealous because people have been comparing Ilhan Omar to her.

  13. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/18/2019 - 08:32 am.

    The South Bend Mayor running for President recently stated….

    “I’m reluctant to comment on another person’s faith,” Buttigieg said, “but I would say it is hard to look at this president’s actions and believe that they’re the actions of somebody who believes in God.”

    It seems everyone wants to comment on the faith of Donald Trump. I wonder if Mr. Black has any comment or questions about the actions and faith of Buttigieg?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/18/2019 - 09:49 am.

      Mayor Buttigieg is a regular churchgoer, and has been married only once (faithfully, as far as anyone can tell).

      If you think your allusions to his homosexuality are in any way sly or subtle, you have another think coming.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/18/2019 - 10:39 am.

      I’d say that Buttigieg is a far better Christian than Trump or Bachman. That is if you pay attention to Christ, and not the cruel perversion of Christianity that people like Bachman push.

      • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 04/18/2019 - 04:14 pm.

        Thomas Jefferson, our third U.S. President, and a man complete in his assessment of the irrational notion that anyone should consider one or another religion of philosophy as more important than any other commented that what other people believe is of no consequence to him.

        Jefferson, in case anyone has forgotten, was the brainiac who penned the Declaration of Independence while serving as Ambassador to France.

        Jefferson, whose letters and essays I have been reading, was a deist, and reviewed not only the Old and New Testament, but also the Quran — as now MN Attorney General Keith Ellison can attest, as he swore an oath to serve the United States of America on Jefferson’s copy of the Quran during his ceremony acceding to his role as U.S. Member of Congress.

        With that in mind, and having read the holy books and philosophies of many organizations around the world, I believe, as a second rate historian, that Jefferson also considered the teachings in the Quran, which talks about being brotherly, sincere, kind, PEACEFUL, and faithful, as notions compatible with the development of our State’s and Nation’s fundamental views toward humanity.

        Ms. Bachmann has likely never read the Quran — nor is it likely that our current president of the nation which he has been elected to serve, can write more than the length of a tweet…or anything which is intended to promote the COMMON good and the wealth of our nation (including the air we breathe and the water we drink.

        Far off from this is the fact that even Saudi Arabia is divesting itself from the use of oil, and turning to wind an solar energy (given that Albert Einstein’s notion that silica would eventually prove to be purified — as it has now been brought to >90% purified by our current science — to serve as sound energy.

    • Submitted by Brian Gandt on 04/18/2019 - 01:24 pm.

      Get to the point Ron. Are you asking because you think that being gay is incompatible with the teachings of the Bible?

    • Submitted by ian wade on 04/18/2019 - 03:47 pm.

      Brushing aside your obvious attempt to belittle Buttigieg’s sexuality, I’ll say this, unlike Trump, his faith is real.
      The “president” completely manufactured his Christianity in order to garner votes and the unwavering support he has received from supposed religious people just validates how morally vacuous most of them are.

      • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 04/18/2019 - 04:21 pm.

        While talking about Mr. Trump a year or so ago, a friend of mine found quotes in two major publications, years before he publically set out to run for President of the United States of America, saying in one, “[that] if I ran for president, I would likely run as a Republican, as they will buy [into] anything,” and, elsewhere, something to the effect that were he a Christian, he wouldn’t have gotten to the heights of success he believes he enjoys, as Christian are “…too ethical.”

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/18/2019 - 09:33 am.

    The fact that Bachmann is a moral and religious imbecile shouldn’t surprise anyone.

    What is worth noting in my view, is the fact that while imbeciles like Backmann spend decades proclaiming their moral and religious “leadership”; the “good” Christians didn’t raise their voices in protest… they just let Evangelicals have the floor for the most part. And now they wonder why religious institutions have been losing credibility?

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/18/2019 - 09:46 am.

    Of course the truth is, what kind if any Christian Trump may be is actually irrelevant. That might be something that guys like Buttigieg should remember.

    The problem with religious qualifications is that there is no arbiter that can issue a final ruling. God would be the only one capable to deciding who is or isn’t a good “whatever” but God’s not talking. So religious people argue with each other and start issuing their own judgments as if they’re Gods judgments and if we’re lucky they don’t start killing each other over this crap. Whatever.

  16. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 04/18/2019 - 10:48 am.

    Trump worships the Golden Calf. For him, money in his bank account comes before all other considerations. For evangelicals, their focus is equally selfish. For many, it appears that the only part of the Gospel that resonates with them is salvation. Stuff like loving your enemy – the level of hate they carry around says it all. Calling them Christian is a stretch – salvationists would be more accurate. Bachmann is the epitome of them in her cluelessness.

  17. Submitted by Kris Troske on 04/18/2019 - 11:29 am.

    The only way her take makes sense to me is if by “Biblical”’ she means the Antichrist or a plague, and by “Godly” she means Baal or another pagan god.

  18. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/18/2019 - 12:53 pm.

    Mueller report is released; Trump is strutting; more frothing and screeching on the left. What to do?

    “I got nostalgic for the days when I covered Bachmann…”

    That seems funny to me because I really don’t detect much difference between the BDS leftists were suffering then and TDS they are suffering now, other than volume.

    • Submitted by Tim McCarthy on 04/18/2019 - 05:02 pm.

      Nice squirrel! Look, it’s fluffy and has no relation to the subject matter.

    • Submitted by Roy Everson on 04/19/2019 - 02:43 am.

      The main cause of “BDS” was a war on Iraq that led eventually to the deaths of over a million innocent people, not to mention a few taxpayers’ dollars and wasted American lives, a war based upon and sold under faulty intelligence along with a fear-mongering campaign and led to horrible consequences to our nation’s soul and backlash expressed in ghastly terrorism, and a war once supported by many everyday Americans who much later voted for the candidate who repudiated that same war (see Trump, 2016, when he lied about having opposed it in 2003). Trump’s own BDS ignited his vaping of Jeb Bush, a big step on his road to the White House.
      Perhaps in referencing what was originally a political slur from the right (equating the loyal opposition with mental illness) it’s time to admit that if a few hundred thousand more voters had been infected with “BDS” in 2004 we could have at least minimized the planet’s world of hurt.

  19. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/18/2019 - 04:59 pm.

    Trump and Bachmannn are proof that G_d has a sense of humour.

  20. Submitted by Mark Gruben on 04/19/2019 - 08:48 pm.

    Excuse me, but Michele Bachmann’s opinion of how “biblical” Trump is – or is not – is relevant…, again? And interviewing her on the radio serves a purpose…, again?

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