Biden wins, Trump whines, pastors prophesying

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Fola Ojo

My youngest son is a musicologist. He loves combing through the Nigerian gospel world in the cyberspace for sonorous voices of comfort bellowing in adoration of our God; and magic fingers fluttering on stringed instruments. Three weeks ago, after his rummage odyssey, he barnstormed into my study with his iPhone in his hand.

“Dad, Nigerians are celebrating Donald Trump. Look, dad; everybody is on the street dancing and singing.”

My son played a video where a church somewhere in Nigeria organised a rally for the triumph of the US President Donald Trump as he sought reelection in last week’s presidential election. Of course, my son has no dog to hunt in the game. Whoever won was not his bother. But something impressed him about the participation of the people in a democratic process taking place 5,000 miles away from his motherland.

“Dad, look at the crowd. Trump is going to win in Nigeria”, he said.

The video shows very excited Nigerians singing and hallowing ‘Trump 2020”. What a beauty of democracy. You pick your camp and you stick with it for as long as you want to even if you are not eligible to vote. I explained to my son that except you are a US citizen, citizens of other nations are not eligible to vote in a US election. Later on, I stumbled on prophecies of a few pastors across the world on the social media. One of the pastors in Nigeria told his congregation that “God told me that Trump is going to win reelection; and one big American in the opposition will commit suicide”. This prophetic jabbering was not limited to Nigeria. Many more ‘prophets’ across the African landscape voiced same opinion.

In the run up to the November 3 election across America, a number of American evangelical leaders had also prophesied a clear win for the sitting US President. In late October, Pat Robertson of the CBN and the 700 CLUB declared that he had heard from the Lord: “Without question, Trump is going to win the election.” He was not alone.  Pastor Kris Vallotton, senior associate leader at the popular charismatic California Church Bethel, also joined in emphatically declaring Trump the winner in an election that had not held. Rev Kenneth Copeland was also one among a legion of other evangelicals who said that God told them Trump would rule as President for eight years. This was the same Copeland who had also prophesied in April that the “wind of God” would blow away the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has since infected more than 10 million Americans, and killed over 240,000 people. I can go on and on about pastors and prophets who said that God told them Trump would win.

But on election night, former Vice President Joe Biden representing the Democratic Party swept through the broken-down Blue wall of Wisconsin (my home state) and Michigan, both that had been turned red by Trump’s victory over Hilary Clinton in 2016. These two significant victories got Biden closer to clinching the win. A few days later, Biden shattered the hopes and dreams of Trump remaining in the White House for four more years when he was declared winner in Pennsylvania where the Democratic candidate was born. Biden has garnered so far about 300 Electoral College slots and almost 80 million Americans chose him over the sitting US President.

One by one, pastors who said God had told them about Trump’s victory are now backtracking. Vallotton has openly apologised for making a “major, major mistake” in prophesying that Donald Trump would win a second term in office. A few hours ago, however, he took down the apology saying he would wait until all ‘votes are counted’. This is how confused many of these religious leaders are. They are unable to decipher between their own inner voices and the unchanging Voice of God. They have obviously surrendered to their fleshly dictates as they turned deaf ears to the still small voice of God who is not, and never will be, an author of confusion.

A matured message credited to evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress, a staunch and unapologetic supporter of Trump and the Republican Party and one of the few high-profile pastors who predicted Trump’s triumph, publicly acknowledged that the election was won by Biden. “When Joe Biden becomes president, we should commend him for the things he does right. We should condemn the things he does wrong. And above all, we must pray fervently for our president…If President Biden succeeds, we all succeed. May God bless Joe Biden, and may God bless the United States of America,” Jeffress wrote in an opinion piece for Fox News. Hardcore evangelicals are still telling this president that ‘God told us you will win”. And the world awaits the magic that will overturn Biden’s Electoral College victories and deplete his number of votes secured.

The utterances of many of these pastors are why many people across the globe have turned many men of God into a laughing stock. They speak their opinions, not the mind of God.

When I was growing up in Nigeria, pastors were revered and deferred to. There were no ambiguities regarding what their ears heard from the throne of Heaven. Love of money didn’t drive them. Salivation after the milk and honey of the king’s palace didn’t appeal to them. They just wanted to work the work of Him who sent them. Alas, times have changed. Pastors now compete in a frantic and frenetic move to out-prophesy one another in a playing field of utter larceny, lies, and intentional deception. This is the state of the church of the Living God. Many of these pastors are like fallen angels. Their predictions have been ridiculously dismal and determinedly influenced by personal feelings, hatred for certain candidates, and funny money donations into their churches by politicians. Predictions that are straight out of flesh will never come to pass before God who rules in the affairs of men.

As of the time of writing this treatise, President Trump was still refusing to concede the election to President-elect Biden. He wants the courts to have the last word; and he is in his right to do that. But In the interim, about 12 cases have been filed by this president in courts over the last week in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Nevada. He has lost them all. And he continues to promote allegations of widespread voter fraud without evidence. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, announced Wednesday that President-elect Joe Biden would win Arizona and criticised the Trump campaign for filing a lawsuit challenging just 180 votes.

I have been part of the American electoral process for about three decades. The system is not perfect. No human endeavour is. But our electoral process is far from the realm where any candidate will swing in the rig machine to change figures with success. To a large extent, democracy works here in America. That is why it is getting increasingly crisply clear that Joseph R. Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, January 20; 2021. Losing an election is a tough pill to swallow. I understand how the president feels. But in life, nobody wins all the time. You win some, and you lose some. It was tough for Clinton to lose to Trump in 2016. But within 24 hours of the projection, despite having won the popular votes by three million; she graciously conceded. President Trump should do the same now. This will help his legacy. Who knows? He may want to stage a comeback in 2024. And Americans will remember how he handled this stage of his political career.

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