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Kanye’s running for president — and his platform has a lot of God in it

By Jack Jenkins

Kanye West is running for president, and he believes God told him to do it.

That’s according to an interview West conducted with Forbes magazine this week, in which he discussed his newly announced bid to win the White House as an independent candidate.

It may be the first time the multiple Grammy-winning rapper has run for office, but it’s hardly his first foray into presidential politics. West made headlines in 2005 when he criticized then-President George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina by declaring that “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people,” a moment Bush himself later categorized as a low point of his presidency. Although West performed at one of President Barack Obama’s inaugural balls, Obama was caught on a hot mic criticizing the performer and calling him a “jackass,” sparking low-grade tensions between the two. And more recently, West has garnered widespread attention for his persistent support of President Donald Trump.

West is also no stranger to matters of faith: In addition to releasing the religion-themed album “Jesus Is King” in October 2019, West staged several “Sunday Services” throughout the country last year that featured gospel hymns alongside rap music.

“I love Jesus Christ. I love Christianity,” West said last year.

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But in his interview with Forbes, West — who said that he has never voted before, and has yet to take any formal steps to get his name on ballots come November — hinted that his fledgling presidential run may be his most overt fusion of faith and politics yet, with religion impacting everything from his decision to run to his views on vaccines.

Like many candidates before him, West believes God played a role in his decision to run for president.

Asked about his presidential run, West told Forbes that “God just gave me the clarity and said it’s time.”

Such a claim is not unusual among presidential candidates. In 2012, Republican presidential hopefuls  Michele Bachmann,  Herman Cain and Rick Perry all reportedly suggested God called on them to seek the highest office in the land.

West also said he believes God “appoints” the president, a view shared by many conservative Christian supporters of Trump,  such as Paula White, the special adviser to the White House’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative at the Office of Public Liaison.

“Let’s see if the appointing is at 2020 or if it’s 2024 — because God appoints the president,” West told Forbes. “If I win in 2020 then it was God’s appointment. If I win in 2024 then that was God’s appointment.”

Kanye West speaks in meeting at the Oval Office with President Trump in 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

West no longer supports Trump but said he approves of the president’s interactions with religion and is calling for “God in all schools.”

West has been a public supporter of Trump but told Forbes he no longer backs the president, saying, “It looks like one big mess to me.” West also called on both Trump and his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, to “bow out,” saying, “It’s God’s country, we are doing everything in service to God, nobody but God no more. I am in service of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, and I put everything I get on the line to serve God.”

However, West did praise Trump’s faith affiliations when explaining why he supported the president in the first place: “Trump is the closest president we’ve had in years to allowing God to still be part of the conversation.”

West also reflected a view regarding prayer in schools that is popular among conservative Christians, insisting God be brought back into classrooms.

“Reinstate in God’s state, in God’s country, the fear and love of God in all schools and organizations and you chill the fear and love of everything else. So that was a plan by the Devil — to have our kids committing suicide at an all-time high by removing God, to have murders in Chicago at an all-time high because the human beings working for the Devil removed God and prayer from the schools. That means more drugs, more murders, more suicide.”

His running mate is a “biblical life coach.”

West’s running mate is reportedly Michelle Tidball, who describes herself as a “biblical life coach.” She lives in Cody, Wyoming — near where West owns a ranch — and runs Abundant Ministries, which features an online Bible study program. On her website’s biography page, she declares “I pursue God! … Being raised in the church I loved God, encountered Him, but wanted to know more.”

West believes prayer is needed to solve the coronavirus crisis, but he says vaccines may be connected to “the mark of the beast.”

When asked about a coronavirus cure during the Forbes interview, West responded by saying: “We pray. We pray for the freedom. It’s all about God. We need to stop doing things that make God mad.”

Regarding vaccines, West said he is “extremely cautious” about inoculations to protect against the novel coronavirus. He seemed to connect vaccines to “the mark of the beast,” a reference to one of two beasts in the biblical book of Revelation that many Christians believe are associated with the end times. He then referenced what appeared to be a debunked conspiracy theory that Bill Gates and others want to put microchips in people to track their movements.

West went on to suggest that such efforts could bar people from ascending to heaven.

“They want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things, to make it where we can’t cross the gates of heaven,” West said. “I’m sorry when I say they, the humans that have the Devil inside them. And the sad thing is that, the saddest thing is that we all won’t make it to heaven, that there’ll be some of us that do not make it. Next question.”

Kanye West performs at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in 2019. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

West says his faith informs his opposition to abortion and the death penalty.

When it comes to abortion rights and capital punishment, West takes a stance that would put him at odds with both major parties — but perfectly in line with his faith, he said.

On abortion, West says he is “pro-life because I’m following the word of the Bible.” It’s a common belief: While not universal, faith-based opposition to abortion is widespread, especially among conservative Christians who attend events such as the massive March for Life gathering that occurs in Washington, D.C., every year.

West also cited his faith when discussing capital punishment, saying: “Thou shalt not kill. I’m against the death penalty.”

That puts him in line with rising opposition to the death penalty, especially among Democrats. However, according to a 2019 Gallup poll, a majority of Republicans still support the death penalty. More than half (58%) opted for the death penalty rather than life in prison (38%), whereas Democrats overwhelmingly backed life sentences (79%) instead of the death penalty (19%).

West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, has repeatedlyadvocated on behalf of death row inmates, and she  celebrated California’s decision to end the use of the death penalty in 2019. Kanye West has also put on  religiously themed performances at jailhouses that were described as “part rap concert, part revival meeting.”

In addition, the sentiment echoes one of West’s most recent tracks — the faith-themed ” Wash Us in the Blood,” released in late June. The song features an interlude from fellow rapper Travis Scott in which he declares “Execution, thirty states / Thirty states still execute / Thou shall not kill, I shall not spill, Nextels at the rendezvous.”

As for tax policies, West told Forbes he needed to do more research on the subject, but would speak with “the strongest experts that serve God and come back with the best solution.”

West suggested prayer and piety can help heal racial divisions.

When asked about racism and the recent demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, West reportedly broke into rhyme, saying, “Well, God has already started the healing/This conversation alone is healing and revealing/We all need to start praying and kneeling … “

He added: “When a rhyme comes together I’m going to complete it, not inside the lines created by organizations that we know as our reality.”

Jack Jenkins is an award-winning journalist and national reporter for the Religion News Service, covering religion and politics. 



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8 thoughts on “Kanye’s running for president — and his platform has a lot of God in it”

  1. Julie – I get you’re no fan of Obama, but there’s no need to spin his comment about Kanye. You strategically failed to say Obama was commenting on Kanye hijacking Taylor Swift at the VMA’s (which was horribly arrogant and rude). It was not some sort of random hot mic rant. I don’t always agree with you, but I DO think you are better than leaving out important context around Obama’s comment that has been validated by MANY sources.

  2. Good evening M H.

    Jack Jenkins wrote this piece.

    The former President still called Mr. West “A Jackass” regardless of where, why, and when.

    1. Yep, and Obama doubled down on it when asked in an interview. There was a lot I disliked about the whole debacle:
      I hated Kanye’s bad behavior was even given a second look, as I believe Kanye narcissistically thrives off of attention and sees any attention as good.
      I also hated that a sitting POTUS would be asked or even take the time to comment on Kanye’s behavior (as if there aren’t more pressing issues).
      I hate the use of such language, as it is undignified and beneath the office (yes I say the same about Trump too).

      I also realize how removing context changes an entire story, which is misleading.
      I expect that of secular media (whether right or left leaning), but not Christian media.

  3. What is the religious right’s sudden interest in Kanye West? I get that he’s a celebrity and has recently (within the last couple of years) espoused a faith in Christ. That’s great and I hope he truly has. However, he’s not the first celebrity to do so. Also, West hasn’t even filed to run for president and may have well missed any deadlines to do so. That information has been widely reported. So, is he really running for president or just proclaiming that he is?

    West has long-standing mental issues (which he has admitted to), issues with explosive anger, and a possible messiah complex. Not too long ago he was referring to himself as ‘Yeezus’ which of course is a play off of Jesus.

    Last year he built a number of large housing compounds that he called ‘bubbles.’ His ‘bubble’ housing was was ‘Star Wars’ inspired according to West. Thankfully the local government made him tear down the housing but I do believe he’s rebuilding it.

    Apparently West and his handlers were (or are) recruiting homeless people off the street to take to his compound to live. Once there those people are completely isolated and he is their sole source of support. He also seemed to control the people’s movements within the compound and routinely led religious services where he was the preacher. To my knowledge Kanye West is not an ordained minister. This behavior is reminiscent of people like David Koresh and Jim Jones to me. I get the feeling we’re witnessing the birth of a cult leader. Because of his celebrity status and wealth he has the ability to draw a lot of attention and people to himself. No one knows enough about what he really believes or his true intentions to jump on his bandwagon.

    It seems odd to me to see reports about Kanye West as a conservative mouthpiece. What am I missing?

    1. Carla, you are not missing anything. You stated the current situation well. We don’t know enough about what West really believes. He does appear to support independent thinking, which is a good thing. But he also seems a bit erratic at times, and I believe his charismatic personality will enable him to convince many Evangelicals that he’s the “real deal”. Yet even if he is the real deal, that doesn’t mean we should reflexively jump on his new bandwagon.

      1. Dan, I agree that he’s an independent thinker. He’s also highly intelligent, more than I think people give him credit for. He’s a master at media manipulation. He has said and done some very, very troubling things over the course of his career. He needs to be thoroughly vetted before being given a platform on Christian media outlets. Many Christians are very susceptible to the power of celebrity, as we know. We can’t keep flinging the gate door open to every potential wolf who sounds like a sheep.

        1. Carla, I agree with everything you stated. I think epecially in non-denominational mega-churches, there has often been a temptation to endorse the “next” new celebrity convert to Christianity. I remember many years ago attending Willow Creek Community Church, and they had invited Jon and Kate Gosselin (from John & Kate plus 8) for an interview with Bill Hybels, presumably because they professed “faith” and they were very popular on TV at the time. Too many Christians (and Christian leaders) are captivated by celebrity.

  4. It is wonderful that this young man accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and wants to following the teachings of the Lord from the Gospels and the New Testament. It’s a very good thing to talk about the need for America to get back to the Lord as this nation was founded upon. It’s a great thing to tell everyone you can about the cross of Christ and his salvation for whoever will call upon him. I applaud Kane West using his money and notoriety to public talk about the Lord. Following Jesus is a life of holy living by applying all the teaching instructions from the Lord and his first Apostles. This will take a life time not a few years to gain maturity levels of Christian transformation. We are all working on it or have backslid. Now, moving onward, I would advise this young man, never say God told you unless the audible voice of the Lord was really heard. He may feel led in his heart to pursue this or that and that is good. The pursuit of God will’s for our lives that is not explicitly shown in the scripture is always in order and must be pursed. God has a plan for life for all of us There are ways to know what is our will verses what is God’s will. However, when saying or implying that the Living God has told you by audible voice to seek the Presidency of the United States then either God did or he did not. God never lies! If God did not give such instructions ( which is likely but it is possible though very very rare) then great confusion has entered into the heart and the person might blame God when it does not happen. It is their own confusion at fault. Also, great dishonor to the Lord will be shown and bring reproach upon the name of the only Holy Living Almighty God and his only begotten son of God, Yeshua ( Jesus) the Savior.. Also, this causes the person to think of themselves much more highly of themselves than they ought to think as the Apostle Paul states.Romans 12:3 In giving Kane West the benefit of the doubt about all of this. I would advise Kane West to talk to older mature wiser men like Pat Robertson for example and others of this caliber, who has some experience about such matters. Let’s see if Kane West will seek advise and submit to older wiser very good men of God who know the Bible, the supernatural, the Spirits, the Holy Spirit and Christian life a whole lot more because of living it a long time. This is taught in our Bibles very clears that in a multitude of counselors there is safety. Prov 15:22; 24:6 Best Regards Rev. Gary Hammond Dipl, B.A., M.Div see Christian Missionary Radio Evangelism. US web stie for more information.

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