Belief that Donald Trump was 'anointed by God' increases among American Christians

David Platt prayed over Donald Trump at his church near Washington, DC

Donald Trump was "anointed by God" to his position as the United States president. This is the belief of a growing number of American churchgoers, according to a new report.

The new report, title "Trump the Anointed?", published by Religion in Public, found belief that Trump was anointed by God had increased to 49.5 percent, up from 29.6 percent who believed this in 2019. The survey polled white Protestants who attended church at least once a week.

This year's survey was conducted in March 2020, and was compared to a similar survey that collected data in May 2019. Led by researchers Paul A. Djupe of Denison University and Ryan P. Burge of Eastern Illinois University, the statistics compiled also showed that there was a general strong belief among white Protestants that all presidents are anointed by God. This wider belief is held by regular and less active white Protestant churchgoers.

Looking at white Protestants who rarely attend church, the 2020 survey found that 11 percent believed God anointed presidents. This was up significantly from 2019, when only 4.3 percent believed this statement.

Among white American Protestants who attended church a few times a month, the recent survey found 31.2 percent believed that Donald Trump specifically was anointed by God to be president. This again was a sharp increase from 2019's survey, when only 13.6 percent of this demographic believed this statement.

Djupe and Burge have said, "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."

However, the belief in presidential anointments is not only held by white Protestant worshippers. The survey found that in a general sample in each level of religious practice, there was a significant belief. Among weekly churchgoers, 49.1 percent of those categorized as "Other" Christians believed Donald Trump was anointed, which is very much in line with the 49.5 percent of white Protestants who believe this.

In addition, among Christians who attend church a few times a month, 31.3 percent of the "Other" category believed Trump was anointed, compared to 31.2 percent of white Protestants.

Djupe and Burge explained: "In the top two attendance categories, the level of belief is effectively identical between the two groups. This is a phenomenon that is sweeping American religion."