So President Trump is not a king, but perhaps his spiritual influence is far greater.
RELIABLE SOURCES , CNN, Dec 1 2019
SECRETARY OF ENERGY, UNITED STATES: Mr. President, I know there are people that say, you know, you said you were the chosen one. And I said, you are.
MIKE LINDELL, CEO, MY PILLOW: As I stand before you today, I see the greatest president in history, of course, he is. He was chosen by God.
host BRIAN STELTER : Angela, these recent clips, Rick Perry and others, what do they signify?
ANGELA DENKER, JOURNALIST: Just the extent to which the American church has lost the gospel of Jesus and has become caught up in a gospel distortion over Christian nationalism, which says that our God is no longer the God of the Bible, but a God who makes America strongest.
STELTER: And you found that in your reporting across the country?
DENKER: I did. Yes. You know, people -- I heard that from a Southern Baptist pastor. His name is Dean (INAUDIBLE). He told me in the Washington D.C. at the march for life. He said, there's a gospel distortion happening particularly in the Southern Baptist Convention. But I found this in country in churches from Appalachia to Orange County, that pastors, in particular, have failed to teach the actual teachings of Jesus, which were not about power or wealth or money, but about loving one another about giving your money to the poor.
And instead, American churches have become caught up in wealth and power and has led American Christians to be so entirely focused on our own power and our own money and, of course, has led to a president who exemplifies many of those things.
STELTER: And the faith in Trump that you found in your reporting, is that probably why he's brought in Paula White the televangelist as a religious advisor?
DENKER: Yes. I attended Paula White's church and met with her after the service in Florida. And Paula White is an example of somebody who really believes that following the gospel of Jesus is about power and is about money. And she has become close to Trump because her ministry was built on some of the same things Trump's prestige has been built on which is television, which is celebrity.
And as the American church has embraced a lot of these things, starting with mega-churches where I served in Orange County, California, that has led to American Christians becoming enamored in the same way outside the church, with celebrity and power and money over the story of Jesus.
STELTER: Now, let me ask you. I only have about 30 seconds left, but the most important factor, the most important part of the religious beat that the national news begins to pay attention to, what do you think it is?
DENKER: I think the national news media needs to more deeply understand the actual story of Jesus and who Jesus really is. Jesus was somebody who was not at all like an earthly king. And God sent Jesus to remind the people of Israel that an earthly king was not what God intended. And Americans are getting caught up in the same kind of traps that the Hebrew people the Old Testament were which is waiting for an earthly king to bring us power. And that is not the story of Christianity. And I think a lot of religion journalists are missing that part.