On the Alan Colmes Show in June 2016, televangelist Frank Amedia, then the Christian outreach coordinator for the Trump campaign, refused to denounce his candidate’s birtherism because determining whether or not President Barack Obama was born in Kenya was “above my pay grade,” he said.
Colmes, who was a liberal political commentator and radio host until his death earlier this year, then pressed Amedia on Trump’s lies and whether he was pandering to evangelicals, a large and powerful voting bloc, for votes. Instead of answering Colmes’ direct questions, Amedia vouched for Mr. Trump’s Christianity:
When I had those moments, and I just had one again where I can look across the table and [Trump] looks at me with compassion in his heart … he begins to be concerned about the things that I’m concerned about, that we’re concerned about not only as Christians, but as compassionate [people].
God, Amedia claims, speaks to him—in fact, they converse. And God told him to form a group called POTUS Shield. According to the numerous online videos, blog posts, and interviews Amedia has done, the night of the election, God came to him in the middle of the night and told him to gather to POTUS Shield prayer warriors and prophets, in order to cast a protective shield to surround Donald Trump. Their efforts began with a public prayer on Inauguration Day, asking “Father God” to safeguard Trump. The president, it turns out, was chosen by none other than God himself.
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Along with Amedia, POTUS Shield is populated by right-wing religionists like Alveda King, Lou Engle, and Jerry Boykin. Its followers believe a Trump presidency has a holy mission: to pave the way for the second coming of Jesus Christ.
POTUS Shield is a unique gathering of key players in anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ, and “religious freedom” politicking of the last two decades. Groups like Engle’s “The Call Ministries” and the Family Research Council (FRC), where Boykin sits as executive vice president, have influenced national, local, and international political policies from a strictly Christian worldview—including abstinence-only “education,” virulently anti-choice protests, and the deadly anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda. As the director of the anti-choice group Civil Rights for the Unborn, meanwhile, King uses her Uncle Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights legacy to flog anti-choice rhetoric that abortion providers are specifically targeting Black communities.
The POTUS Shield website has a “donate” button where the faithful can give to the cause. Although POTUS Shield is registered in Ohio as a nonprofit organization, it does not appear to have a record of federal tax filings as such, which makes it difficult to track where its funding is coming from. Inquiries to POTUS Shield representatives about the group’s nonprofit status were not answered.
Some individuals in the group adhere to a religious doctrine of “Seven Mountains,” a term popularized by member Lance Wallnau, who was one of a few evangelicals to predict Trump’s election. Seven Mountains’ strategic goal is for Christians to seize control of all aspects of civil and political society by whatever means necessary. This includes the media, arts, education, government, religion, business, and family. Once these believers secure all of these “seven mountains,” Christ will return. And for POTUS Shield, Donald Trump is the guy to do it.
According to Right Wing Watch, God told “prophet” Frank Amedia:
“This man is going to win the nomination and I want you to be ready to serve my cause when I call you”…. In this instance, it’s not because Donald Trump has heralded his faith or the name of God, but the Lord has put his favor upon him. And how amazing it is that the favor of God can overcome so many mistakes, so many bumbles, so many things that otherwise we would think would destroy somebody in business, destroy them in politics, destroy them in relationships.
Trump’s arguably un-Christian history of alleged sexual assault and harassment, questionable business dealings, multiple marriages, and general vulgarity are of little apparent consequence to POTUS Shield, since God put his favor on him. Recently, however, it seems POTUS Shield and other conservative Christians found a way to make Trump palatable to those less zealous among them—Trump is just a means to an end. Trump as president, right-wing evangelicals suggest, is akin to a latter-day Constantine. Constantine was the initially non-believing Roman Emperor who nevertheless converted the Roman Empire to Christianity. Viewed through this lens, Trump is still a tool of God and washed clean of his obvious “sins.”
Fortunately for the people of POTUS Shield, there is always true believer Mike Pence. Members of POTUS Shield (and other evangelicals) refer to Pence as a “covenant man.” This designation places the right-wing former Indiana governor in league with Bible heavyweights Moses, Jacob, and Noah. Lengthy videos by POTUS Shield and adherents explain a covenant man is obedient to God despite a corrupt and sinful culture.
Two weeks before the inauguration, God again spoke to Pastor Amedia:
The Lord showed me the vision three times of bugging. I saw the vision of a ghost-like figure running around the White House and putting pins in things. It came three nights in a row at three o’clock in the morning. I said, “What is it?” [God] said, “They’re bugs.” I said, “Bugs?” “Yes.”
Amedia says he told Vice President Mike Pence the White House was bugged and must be swept three times to remove them all. According to Amedia, Pence told Trump and the CIA a week after his inauguration. As of March 2017, Amedia said, in videos and interviews, “One week after the inauguration, the president’s office received it along with the CIA, and they’ve received two of them,” seeming to suggest that two of the sweeps had been initiated. “There’s a third one yet that needs to be discovered and uncovered.”
Pence has not responded to requests for comment from Rewire as to whether he spoke to Amedia or swept for “bugs.”
It is easy to write this kind of proclamation off as unhinged but ultimately harmless. What possible danger could a man claiming he literally converses with God be to any one of us, really?
Potentially a lot. Amedia has, at least in the past, had access to Trump. Trump, along with Don King, appeared at an event co-hosted by Amedia at an Ohio church in late September 2016. According to several reports, including one in Time, Amedia brokered meetings between Latinos—a coveted political demographic—and Trump himself:
While Trump did not say he would revisit any of his policies, he signaled an openness to continue the conversation, [evangelical pastor Mario] Bramnick said. “We didn’t get into specifics other than that he wants to work with us, work with the Hispanic community, Hispanic leadership on substantive policy regarding immigration,” said Bramnick, who leads the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition, a subsidiary of the NHCLC, and New Wine Ministries, a 300-member congregation in Fort Lauderdale. Televangelist Frank Amedia, pastor of Touch Heaven Ministries and the Trump campaign’s new “liaison for Christian policy,” arranged the meeting, Bramnick says.
After the inauguration, the group had its first convocation at Amedia’s church in Canfield, Ohio. According to event postings on the group, these gatherings are where new messages from God to one of the POTUS Shield “prophets” are revealed to those in attendance, and new prayer orders are given regarding the administration.
In Ohio this spring, the directive was to pray for the federal courts—specifically, according to Amedia, praying for three seats on SCOTUS to be filled by Donald Trump. With the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch, there are just two seats to go, and “prayer warriors” were instructed to pray for Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Amedia was told, again by God, to pray for Sotomayor to have a change in heart, some sort of conversion on the bench that would swing the court to reestablish America as “one nation, under God”.
The next convocation is slated for August in South Carolina.
Whether or not Amedia actually passed information about “bugs” to Pence, or whether Pence believed him, is unknown. But even Trump’s contact with Amedia in the past is enough to raise alarms. That kind of access and radical ideology only deepens the already catastrophic start to the Trump administration. And it also means things could get a whole lot worse—depending on what God whispers in Pastor Frank’s ear.
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