In an incredibly venomous cover story, a national magazine mockingly labels President Donald Trump as a "mortal messiah" and duped Evangelicals as his unwitting accomplices.
"Does God Believe in Trump?" reads the Oct. 4 headline by Newsweek political correspondent Nina Burleigh.
President Trump lies with such ease, Burleigh claims, that his voice betrays almost no stress when he maligns the truth. Burleigh then writes that "millions of white conservative fundamentalists" – her words – "who take the Bible literally are awaiting the fulfillment of its prophecy about the Apocalypse which will feature the rise of an evil force that will rule the world. He goes by many names, among them the Prince of Lies."
The assertion that Trump is messiah-like has Trump advisor Dr. Robert Jeffress a bit vexed.
"I understand now why Newsweek practically went bankrupt," says Jeffress, referring to the once-popular magazine that was sold to a business tycoon in 2010 for literally one dollar. It temporarily ceased its print editions in 2012.
It's not breaking news that Newsweek regularly mocks religious faith, Christianity in particular, earning it a mention in the 2010 book "Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity" by conservative atheist S.E. Cupp.
More recently, Newsweek took aim at the Bible itself in a 2014 Christmas season article that mocked Christians for believing that the Bible is true and reliable. The controversial claims by writer Kurt Eichenwald were taken apart, piece by piece, by a New Testament professor from Dallas Theological Seminary, among others.
In this more recent story that blasts Trump, Burleigh refers to Evangelicals as Trump's fanboy congregations; claims tithing is money laundering; and suggests that the whole evangelical movement was born, not out of a concern for the unborn or marriage, but because it wanted to preserve interracial dating bans at Bob Jones and Oral Roberts.
In effect, Burleigh is claiming Evangelicals are hateful racists in a story that ironically continues Newsweek's string of bigoted anti-Christian stories.
"How does she explain all the Hispanic and African-American evangelical leaders?" asks Jeffress. "And why is it that evangelicalism is growing so quickly among Hispanic people if that's the case?"
Despite its history of anti-Christian stories, Jeffress says the newest article was "unprecedented" for its vitriol.
Not only is the article mean, it's sloppy, too. In an article that mocks Trump's religious understanding, Burleigh pokes fun at Trump for once referring to Second Corinthians as "Two Corinthians," yet Burleigh herself mistakenly refers to Second Corinthians as a "chapter" in the Bible.
Second Corinthians is a book, not a chapter, in the Bible. Newsweek has since corrected the mistake after it was pointed out on Twitter.
Editor's note: References to "antichrist" removed, replaced with actual inferences in Newsweek article.