An increasing number of American Christians believe that Donald Trump was "anointed by God" to become the President of the United States, according to a new study.
Religion in Public's new project "Trump the Anointed?" discovered that belief amongst American Christians that Trump was picked by God for the highest office in the land increased to 49.5 percent among white Protestants, up from 29.6 percent who held the belief in 2019.
Researchers Paul A. Djupe of Denison University and Ryan P. Burge of Eastern Illinois University say that the belief among white Protestants that every president is somehow anointed by God for the job remains strong. "Believing that all presidents were anointed also increased over the past year," they noted, before highlighting that there are still many who go further and say that Trump, specifically, was raised up by the Lord to be president.
They wrote: "It is also clear that there remains a gap in believing that all presidents are anointed versus whether Trump was, though it is now much smaller. In 2019, the gap was nearly 40% across attendance categories, though by 2020 the gap was closer to 15%. The religious significance of the presidency is spreading."
The researches added that Protestants "are NOT distinctive in their beliefs in Trump’s anointing," noting that, according to their study, many others from different segments of American religious society appear to hold the same view. "This is a phenomenon that is sweeping American religion," they wrote.
The study also looked at the impact of a meme depicting Trump sitting at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. The image shows Jesus stood behind the president, guiding his hand to sign a document.
"Does incidental exposure to the association between Trump and Jesus influence beliefs in his appointment?" the researchers asked.
They added: "Yes, but the effect is not widespread. Evangelicals are more likely to believe that Trump is anointed across the partisan board. But the meme has no effect on Democrats or Independents.
"Only among Republicans can we see an effect, but it too is limited to evangelicals. Evangelical Republicans who were exposed to the meme boosted their belief that Trump was anointed by God. The effect is about 8 percentage points, shifting from a bare majority (52%) to 60%."