An Iowa pastor is criticizing a video shared by former President Donald Trump depicting him as a messianic figure, the New York Times reports.
“It’s very concerning,” Marion Avenue Baptist Church Pastor Joseph Brown told The Times.
The video was created by Dilley Meme Team, a group of online content creators that work closely with the Trump campaign.
“And on June 14, 1946, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God gave us Trump,” the video states, adding that Trump “is a shepherd to mankind who won’t ever leave nor forsake them.”
Brown, who will not support Trump in 2024 after voting for him in 2016 and 2020, said he took issue with the ad using biblical language –such as describing Trump’s arms as “strong” yet “gentle”–to compare him to God rather than a servant of the supreme being.
“The original sin of Satan or Lucifer is not that he wanted to take over God’s position but that he wanted to be like God,” Brown told The Times. “There is only one god, and it’s not Trump or any other man.”
Another Iowa pastor, Darran Whiting said even though the Trump campaign never made the video, the former president’s decision to share it shows he endorsed its message. Whiting said the video underscores why he never supported Trump.
“God has ordained servant leadership, not the arrogant, self-serving righteous leadership that particular video portrays,” he said.
Despite criticism from Christian leaders in the state, Trump maintains a commanding lead over the rest of the GOP primary field in Iowa where evangelicals make up more than half of the GOP primary electorate.