Screenshot 2023-01-13 at 1.50.18 PM


Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

Trump Promises A Revival of Christian Power in Speech to National Religious Broadcasters

By Bob Smietana
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at the National Religious Broadcasters convention at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 In an evening filled with apocalyptic rhetoric, patriotic songs and campaign promises, former President Donald Trump promised Thursday that he would make a triumphant return to the White House next year and that he would restore Christian preachers to power in American culture.

“If I get in, you’re going to be using that power at a level that you’ve never used before,” Trump told the annual gathering of National Religious Broadcasters at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Speaking to a packed-out ballroom of radio and television preachers and other Christian communicators, Trump described himself as a friend and fellow believer and someone ready to restore God to his rightful place in American culture.

“With your help and God’s grace, the great revival of America begins on November 5th,” he said.

In a speech that lasted more than an hour, Trump portrayed evangelical Christians as a persecuted group under President Joe Biden’s administration, a status he told them he shared in his 2020 election loss, which he said had been “rigged.”

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “Hurt and Healed by the Church” by Ryan George. To donate, click here.

trump nrb power
National Religious Broadcasters convention attendees await Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (RNS photo/Bob Smietana)

He told the religious broadcasters that one of his first acts of a second Trump term would be to set up a task force to root out “anti-Christian bias.” He said he would also come to the aid of “political prisoners,” referring to those imprisoned for their actions at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Some of those convicts were heard in a recorded rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by the so-called J6 Prison Choir as Trump was being introduced.

Trump appealed to the religious audience with Bible verses and promises of world peace. “The Bible says blessed are the peacemakers,” said Trump, quoting from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. “I will be a peacemaker and I will be the only president who can say — and I say this with great conviction — I will prevent World War III.”

Though he admitted that he wasn’t a very good Christian and didn’t know much about the Bible, Trump told broadcasters that he shared their faith and would always stand up for God — lines that brought thunderous applause.

But Trump’s biggest applause lines came when he promised to promote school vouchers, seal the United States’ Southern border and prevent transgender men from participating in women’s sports. With him as president, he vowed that America would have only two genders — male and female.

Conference attendees stood in long lines as they waited to be screened by the Secret Service and security personnel before being admitted to the ballroom. Kelley Paine, from Rockport, Texas, who wore a “Make America Pray Again” baseball cap, said Trump had been a great president and could be one again.

“He’s a businessman, and that is what our country needs,” she said.

Paine said she was attending the NRB with her mom, a pastor who runs a Christian radio station. She recently decided to quit her job to follow in her mom’s footsteps by starting a ministry — something she had resisted for years. “I realized I just need to let go and let God,” she said.

While a representative of touted the slogan on Paine’s hat, on the whole, the NRB gathering was less tricked out in MAGA gear than can normally be found at a Trump campaign event, and the coarser messages that have popped up among Trump supporters in recent years were not in evidence.

trump nrb power
Analia Anderson displays some of her “Let’s Go Jesus” merchandise in the exhibition hall of the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville, Tenn. (RNS photo/Bob Smietana)

One vendor in the NRB exhibition hall turned a MAGA chant of “Let’s Go Brandon” — meant to send an obscene message to President Biden — into “Let’s Go Jesus” flags, hats and shirts.

Analia Anderson, who said she has sold T-shirts at MAGA-themed “Reawaken America” events, is a fan of President Trump, but she said some rhetoric at those events went too far. “It’s not very Christian,” she said. 

Trump’s arrival at the Opryland resort was delayed for more than an hour, and a Southern gospel group, Ernie Hass & Signature Sound, was pressed into an impromptu concert of gospel songs, at one point leading the crowd in an a cappella rendition of “God Bless America.”

Just as attendees had begun to drift out of the room, Trump arrived and was greeted with a standing ovation.

NRB President Troy Miller began the evening session, labeled a president forum, by saying the group had reached out to all presidential candidates, inviting them to speak. He also said that, as the NRB is a nonprofit, the group did not endorse candidates — and that any comments made by speakers were not official statements of the NRB.

Conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt and Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation, also spoke before Trump took the stage, praising the former president and warning that the country and conservatives face grave perils from their political foes.

Hewitt called Trump the “best interview in America.”

“I have no idea what he is going to say — nobody does,” he said, a line that drew thunderous applause. 

Hewitt took aim at the term Christian nationalism, a movement that promotes the belief that the United States should be run by and for the benefit of Christians. Hewitt called the term a “slander on the church and on Christians who want to be involved in politics.”

Roberts dismissed concerns expressed by Trump’s foes about corruption and authoritarianism if the former president returns to office. But Roberts alleged that Democrats act in corrupt and authoritarian ways themselves.

“They want to fundamentally transform America because they don’t like this country,” he said. “The establishment does not hate Donald Trump because he’s a threat to America. They hate him because he is a threat to them.”

Trump made similar comments, saying the greatest threat to the U.S. came from inside the country, not from external enemies. Those enemies, he said, had let the country fall apart since he left office. He referred repeatedly to “Marxist” district attorneys who were suing him, framing his legal troubles as a form of political attacks against him.

“I have been indicted more than any times than the great gangster Al Capone,” he told the religious broadcasters. 

He also claimed that he was being indicted for standing up on behalf of Christians and conservatives. “I am being indicted for you,” he said.

He claimed that “bad things” were being done to Christian crosses, another thing that would stop if he became president again. And he would work to reverse the decline of organized religion and church-going in America.

“We have to bring back our religion,” he said. “We have to bring back Christianity.”

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana is a national reporter for Religion News Service.



Keep in touch with Julie and get updates in your inbox!

Don’t worry we won’t spam you.

More to explore

48 Responses

  1. Mr. Ex president, start first with a humble, contrite heart. This is what the LORD seeks. Repent while the window of mercy and grace of YHVH is still available. Break up the fallow ground and circumcise the foreskin of your heart. Lest heaven above you become as brass; and earth below you as iron. For rebellion is as sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness as sin of idolatry. Your silver and gold shall not save you. The silver has become as filthy dross; and the smelter refines in vain. You will be rejected, because the LORD has rejected you. That you may know that, the most High rules the kingdom of men, and gives power to whom HE wishes. Selah.

  2. I reading a book right now that gives an example of the political power the NRB used to have.

    In the early 1950s the US was in the middle of Red Scare communist witch hunts.

    In 1952 the National Council of Churches released the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

    The most popular radio preachers who formed the NRB and opposed this translation lobbied J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI to start criminal investigations into all of the professors who collaborated on the Bible to try and prove they were trying to subvert Christian values to destroy our nation.

    Hoover who was at the time writing a weekly opinion piece in Billy Graham’s Christianity Today, was fashioning the FBI to be the enforcement arm of our “Christian nation” and took on that task.

    Is this the kind of power Christian Nationalists want to have again? Criminal investigations into certain Bible translators who don’t agree with them?

  3. The church is headed for tribulation eschatologically speaking. Unfortunately the church in the USA is not ready. Jesus said there are few who enter the narrow gate. I will not bash Trump and his America first agenda. I served as a soldier and on the border. Under Biden it has been chaos with regards to the constitutional republic. My other and primary focus is the true Biblical Church. Those who actually know the Bible and have actually been selected from above. The church today is full of tares. It is sad when I read articles/ comments. They are not saturated in biblical truth. Trump is not a savior. His positions are more in line with Biblical values. Biden unfortunately represents his father the devil. The media does the same. Sad. Maranatha.

    1. Thank you for your service protecting us. It’s SO easy for these writers to make huge but incorrect leaps like Christian’s—c. Nationalists in other words calling conservatives German Nazis. We’re voting not for a pastor but a president who is America first.

      1. “We’re voting not for a pastor but a president who is America first.”

        That’s fine, as long as you admit this position is not Biblical.
        In scripture we see kingdoms and nations fall and face God’s wrath to their kings disobeying God. In scripture we see God strike kings dead for disobeying and dishonoring Him. So downplaying the sinful behavior of a candidate with “I’m not voting for a pastor but a President” is liken to supporting a king whom you KNOW disobedient to God, but looking past it as long as you get what you want.
        In scripture we see we are to be kingdom first, not America first. And God’s kingdom expands beyond the US borders.

        Until we act out 2 Chronicles 7:14, we are going to get more of the same sinful, selfish chaos, regardless of who is in office.

        1. Marin, I completely agree with your last statement. But may I point out that actually proves one’s “land” or nation can be a high priority. That is the meaning of America first since the known political context is about being loyal to America first among the nations. It is a false dichotomy to pit loyalty between the kingdom and one’s country. It also is false to infer that loyalty to one’s country means a lack of concern for the rest of the world. The scripture is full of principles of loyalty between many differing entities in life.

      2. Here’s the facts: Trump claims to be a Christian. People around Trump claim he’s a Christian. Because he’s Christian, we can judge him. If you truly truly believe and follow the Bible, 1 Corinthians 5:11 tells us not to even associate with a Christian who lies, verbally abuses others, is greedy, is sexually amoral. trump is and does all of those things. You are sinning by giving him your vote and associating with him. This doesn’t mean you have to vote for Biden either. Here’s the thing, you serve the God who created the universe. He’s got this. But the white Christian churches wholesale support is severely damaging, and it’s because of who we associate with, not what we believe.

  4. It’s that time of year again when Republican candidates must pander to Evangelicals and tell them what they want to hear.

    BTW With regard to power one has to wonder. Is that promise of power the power to thrive or have power over others? If it’s power over others then Christianity (Evangelicalism in this case) in America will be come Christendom and will be hated all the more but not because of Christ but because of the abuse of power.

  5. ”But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”“
    ‭‭Acts‬ ‭1‬:‭8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    That’s the only power the church needs.

  6. For three decades, we were with a mission agency that was part of the NRB, including 18 years with me a Pastor of an international church. My soul sobs to see the NRB give him this kind of platform

  7. There is a wolf who is ranting
    All of the sheep they are clapping
    Promising power and protection
    Claiming the Christ who was killed
    Killed by a common consensus
    Everyone screaming “Barabbas”
    Trading their God for a hero
    Forfeiting Heaven for Rome
    Jon Guerra

  8. Wow. I am just shaking my head. First, if what I have read is accurate, he promotes a video putting him in the place of Jesus. Now, and this is probably without his fully understanding it, nevertheless, he puts himself in the place of the Holy Spirit, the One Who gives power to the church. I recently watched a documentary about the Shah of Iran, who was removed from power by a revolution shortly after he proclaimed himself “King of kings.” God will not be mocked. What is wrong with Christians who buy what this man is selling?

    1. Kathleen,

      Your words: “What is wrong with Christians who buy what this man is selling?”

      What is he selling?

      1. “Perishing meat.” The day is approaching when only the kingdom of God will be left standing, but you are free to invest in whatever and wherever your heart desires.

      2. Trump NFT Trading Cards.. this is not a joke, but rather a disgrace … and sure enough evangelicals have no problem with it… hey if evangelicals do not mind sexual assault, defamation, massive business fraud etc. why would they mind Trump NFT trading cards…. just taking advantage of the gullible…

  9. The NRB and MAGA team is using Christianity as a tool to gain power. They have strayed toward authoritarianism and away from the path of truth. They believe the lies. Confessing you are wrong is a sign of weakness. This is a most dangerous time where people are easily deceived and the truth is not understood or heard. Hearts are being hardened and ears are being tickled to satisfy desires for power.

      1. In 300 words or less:
        Refusing to accept the results of a democratically held election.

        Vowing vengeance and retribution for a second term. In his first term he had people surrounding him back restrained these tendencies. In a second term he will pick those who are loyal to him.

        Claiming he would be a dictator only on the first day (A survey found that 74 percent of Republican voters said that would be a good idea)

        One of his allies said he “We’re going to come after the people in the media who lied about American citizens, who helped Joe Biden rig presidential elections”

        Praises authoritarian leaders for their power and dehumanizes his enemies

        “If I happen to be president and I see somebody who’s doing well and beating me very badly, I say, ‘Go down and indict them,'” he said.

        He’s guided not by the Constitution or conservatism, but by his own self aggrandizement

        1. Tricia:

          Your words: “Refusing to accept the results of a democratically held election.”

          “As Republicans are fond of pointing out, Democrats have objected to the certification of each GOP presidential winner since 2000. None of those challenges went anywhere, and they were all premised on disputing the outcome or legitimacy of the election itself. Contesting a presidential election by claiming that the winner is ineligible, however, has no precedent.”

          1. Democrats have also conceded each of those elections and moved on. No rallies to rile people up at the Capitol or anywhere else. Accepted the courts decisions (with their objections noted and on record, which is a big reason this is done), and got back to work.
            Trump never conceded and never moved on. Still rallies about this FOUR years later. And unfortunately, this has set an awful precedent among the GOP (look at Kari Lake). I find myself surprised when one concedes nowadays (kudos to Dr. Oz). That’s quite sad.
            And let’s be clear – this is about EGO, not country. Trump even bragged MONTHS before the 2020 election, “if I lose, they stole it” (and the party followed him off that cliff).

            I long for the days when we could trust our leaders to concede with grace.

          2. How many of those democrats rejected the rulings of the courts and tried to rally their followers to take over the government? There’s a difference between “contesting” ellection results and denying them, and you know it.

        2. Tricia:

          Your words: “Vowing vengeance and retribution for a second term. In his first term he had people surrounding him back restrained these tendencies. In a second term he will pick those who are loyal to him.”

          Do you believe most politicians pick loyal people or people who are disloyal?

          1. Most politicians select those who they can trust to do their jobs well and who are loyal to their COUNTRY and their CONSTITUENTS. That includes having those with differing views – and in many cases, even bipartisan views – in the room. (Remember Clinton balanced the budget via selecting a BIPARTISAN circle of trust).
            Trump has openly stated loyalty PERSONALLY TO HIM is what matters. Not the Constitution. Not the country. Not constituents. But HIM. That’s why he wants to be “dictator for a day.”
            It’s alarming that isn’t alarming, all because Trump said it. His hold on conservatives amidst making such statements will be a case study for the ages.
            Could you imagine if Biden said that?!? (Then it would suddenly be wrong….)

        3. Tricia:

          Your words: “Claiming he would be a dictator only on the first day (A survey found that 74 percent of Republican voters said that would be a good idea).”

          Dictator definition: “a ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained control by force. Someone who behaves in an autocratic way.”

          Here in the USA, we tend to vote for our leaders. They do not take over by force, as typically happens in countries where the citizens cannot vote and instead have to put up with whoever is installed by those with the most power.

          So, given this definition, it is not actually possible for someone in a Republic like ours to be a dictator unless votes get rigged through changing policies at the last minute…
          You know, like allowing people to vote through the mail en masse due to COVID.

          Wait….that kinda sounds familiar….

          1. Large numbers of people have been voting by mail for decades. I voted by mail when living overseas (in the 90s, early 2000s, and in 2012), and again when I was in the middle of moving to a different state in 2008, and my voter registration wouldn’t transfer to my new state of residency in time. To act like voting by mail was “new to steal an election” is either ignorant or dishonest.

            And I’m fairly confident if ANY Democrat mentioned being a “dictator for a day” that you’d pardon and dismiss it…
            No politician in our country should even UTTER an interest in being a dictator and be allowed NEAR an office within our republic, much less be defended and supported.

          2. Marin, the key word from Cynthia is “en mass”. There are acceptable reasons for mail voting which is what you mention. But bureaucrats can’t break the state laws that restrict what it takes to change these rules (unfortunately the Republicans didn’t sue to stop it prior to the election).

          3. Joe –
            I fail to see what suddenly made voting by mail “en mass” concerning. There are NOT small numbers or “only a few” ex-pats and voters who are changing residency who have voted by mail over the years. It’s MILLIONS; and it’s common for these ballots to be counted after the election, depending on where in the world ballots are coming from (I have had mail from some countries take WEEKS).
            What suddenly made voting by mail problematic? No one can explain that to me. Was my vote from overseas always in question by those who hate mail-in ballots?

        4. Tricia:

          Your words: “One of his allies said he “We’re going to come after the people in the media who lied about American citizens, who helped Joe Biden rig presidential elections”

          Do you believe the media lied about American citizens, and that this might be an ongoing problem? Do you think Joe, who stands condemned of lying on an almost daily basis, tried to get elected through any means necessary?

          Do you think he should run again? Why do you think he loves power as much as he does? Do you think our country should come first or last?

          Do you think the job of the President is to stay in power or to do what is right and good for our country?

          1. I’m sure Tricia can respond for herself, but I must say that entire line of questioning is downright ironic. I thought you were talking about Trump, who stands condemned of lying (to the tune of indictments and hundreds of millions of dollars in rulings), and whom we have watched throw every tantrum in court and at rallies to get back in power. I nearly laughed out loud.

            I also think neither Biden nor Trump should be running…

            And what does it mean for our country to come first? Who said that? (I’m scanning scripture for where the US comes up at all…) As believers, we agree God’s kingdom should come first – even above the US – right?

        5. Tricia:

          Your words: “He’s guided not by the Constitution or conservatism, but by his own self aggrandizement.”

          You have accused Mr. Trump. Can you provide some facts to back up this statement about the guiding principle in Mr. Trump’s life?

          1. This is exhausting. It’s like being in the path of a tornado and having people around you try to argue that it isn’t really a tornado, insisting that you tell them why it’s a tornado, or brushing the threat by telling you that it is no different than a tornado that recently destroyed a nearby town and refusing to do anything to protect themselves or the people around them.
            None of this would have been OK in the conservative world that I grew up in. I could be so completely discouraged by what I see happening to the church, but I have to remind myself of my prayers over the years that God would wake up the church in America – I believe he is doing that. But it is a chaotic upheaval. I see Donald Trump as an instrument of God, but not in the way 70% of evangelicals see it.

          2. The sad thing is people do not have a sense of sarcasm. The dictator for a day comment within the context was sarcastic. Joe Biden has circumvented the constitution and Supreme Court on this tax payer student loan bailout. That is a dictator!

  10. I have been reading the book of Proverbs lately. In it there is a character known as the “Mocker,” who is not someone to be trusted or followed. I can’t help but think of former President Trump when I read the mocker. Proverbs is full of chapter and verse of why Christians should keep Trump at arm’s length (at least).

    I realize we live in a broken world in which sometimes there aren’t right answers, only better and worse answers, and this is part of the moral burden of following Christ, but I stop and ask myself, would Jesus vote for him? The gentle answer and loving correction of our Lord I do not find in President Trump.

  11. Some questions for the NRB to ask Trump ………………………

    What is you position on abortion ?

    Why were you held liable for sexual assault ?

    Why did you commit sexual assault and then go on to defame that same individual ?

    Why were you hit for with a 350 million judgement for fraudulent business practices ?

    Why do evangelicals want you to run the country as President when you run you businesses fraudulently ?

    Why do the vast of amount of U.S. evangelicals love and support you ?

    Why do only 4% of Americans now hold to a biblical worldview ?

    How does some become saved ?

    Could you quote 5 bible verses ?

  12. Historically, the church has never done well when it sought worldly power. Never. That is not the kind of power the Bible speaks of or wants for believers. The people who are falling for this need to study the Bible and church history instead of listening to a serial liar and con man.

  13. “…former President Donald Trump promised… that he would restore Christian preachers to power in American culture. “If I get in, you’re going to be using that power at a level you’ve never used before.”

    This echoes another promise made about the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will fall down and worship me.”

    No, Trump is not the devil, neither is Biden. but hasn’t the Church learned by now that its embrace of the politics of this world corrupts its testimony of Christ?

    1. I would have to answer that no, the church, at least the american white church hasn’t learned the lesson… but they are heading full speed to learning the lesson… in a hard way. It’s coming. God will not be mocked by these so-called christians who don’t want to worship Him and His way…

      1. I don’t blame politicians, they’re just being who they are, and they would have no platform or power without supporters. When supporters uncritically embrace politicians, it’s a reflection of who they are. And when it’s the church, “the pillar and foundation of the truth,” how much is lost for the cause of Christ and in society when that embrace blinds to what is true?

  14. I’m going to guess that this, “He told the religious broadcasters that one of his first acts of a second Trump term would be to set up a task force to root out “anti-Christian bias.”” will actually translate to “I’m going to root-out, punish, get revenge on…” all never-Trumpers… because based on my observations, die hard trumpists believe that Trumpism = true! Christianity… and therefore anyone who opposes or opposed them&Trump are automatically not Christians (or real Americans) either… and will need to be ‘punished’ in some way.

  15. Exactly, I recall before 2016 I was afraid to say Merry Christmas as were all of you. No one ever said it. Now people say it all the time. Even in February I can say Merry Christmas! and I am no longer afraid. Thank you president Trump! Thank you.

    1. I was never afraid nor did I ever stop saying “Merry Christmas”, regardless of who was in office. I never faced any backlash – and I spent a decade in San Francisco. It’s incredible how fear can exacerbate everything if you don’t counter it with faith. Whether it’s one person or 1000 people, I find it sad that there’s a mindset of “ooh…Trump is in office, I can say Merry Christmas…oh no, he’s not, no more Merry Christmas!” among today’s church. That is idolatry at an ultimate level.
      Jim, I really pray that you don’t let who is in office or which party is in power dictate if you can wish someone a Merry Christmas. It is not, nor was it ever against the law. Don’t give anyone or any party that much power.

  16. A couple generations ago there was a group that used the phrase “Got Mit Uns”. That didn’t turn out so well. This is more of the same.

    1. And many times over history there were groups that thought they knew what was best in the name of “the common good” to justify eliminating their political rivals and sucking the citizens dry. That didn’t turn out well. You are right, protecting the Statist institution is more of the same.

Leave a Reply

The Roys Report seeks to foster thoughtful and respectful dialogue. Toward that end, the site requires that people register before they begin commenting. This means no anonymous comments will be allowed. Also, any comments with profanity, name-calling, and/or a nasty tone will be deleted.
MOST popular articles


Hi. We see this is the third article this month you’ve found worth reading. Great! Would you consider making a tax-deductible donation to help our journalists continue to report the truth and restore the church?

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “Hurt and Healed by the Church” by Ryan George.