I REMEMBER THE EXACT DAY I discovered that some conservative Christians are not all that into democracy. It was 20 years ago. My daughter asked me for help with her social studies homework. I discovered that her Christian school taught a neo-Puritan civics curriculum, which proclaimed that God’s design for human government is rule by “godly Christian men” applying scripture under the sovereignty of God. I was shocked.
In the Trump era, we again witness a conservative Christian flirtation with authoritarianism. These conservative Christians compare Donald Trump to Cyrus of Persia—both authoritarian rulers, both “friendly” to but not part of God’s people, both supposedly used by God—and Trump is lauded as the president of divine providence in shlock films such as Liberty U.’s The Trump Prophecy.
Meanwhile, a quote attributed to Russian Orthodox priest and monarchist St. John of Kronstadt that “in hell there is democracy, in heaven there is a kingdom” is making the rounds on social media, occasioning much comment leaning in the direction of authoritarian rule. John of Kronstadt died in 1908 before the Russian revolution and likely associated democratic tendencies with atheism.