Popular columnist Kirsten Powers is urging conservative evangelicals to "wake up" to the manipulations of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, who she argues is lying about his religious beliefs to gain votes.
In an op-ed published Tuesday for USA Today, Powers charges that while the real estate mogul may appeal to Christians in the polls, his life does not reflect that of a true believer.
"Trump is a lot of things, but stupid isn't one of them," she writes. "He clearly determined that the only way to win the Republican nomination was through an appeal to the conservative evangelical vote."
According to a Fox News poll in August, Trump is the favorite of white conservative Christians, getting the nod of 27 percent of the respondents. He was followed closely by neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 14 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 12 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 10 percent, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who normally scores well with the evangelical vote, at just 9 percent.
In continuing her piece, Powers expresses bewilderment that Trump has emerged as the favored candidate of evangelical voters despite "his multiple divorces and remarriages, longtime support for abortion rights (until recently) and prideful self-aggrandizement."
She goes on to mock the presidential hopeful for saying the Bible is his favorite book while not saying what his favorite verse is, speculating his claim "might be part of that truthful hyperbole that serves as promotion for the reality TV star seeking the presidency of the United States."
Perhaps the most incriminating example of Trump's lack of faith were his comments made at the Iowa Family Leadership Summit in July, Powers contends, where he said he does not seek God's forgiveness for his transgressions despite claiming to "love God very much."
"A Christian who has never sought forgiveness for his sins is like a vegan who has filet mignon for dinner every night," the "The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech" author writes.
He also raised eyebrows when he commented that he goes to church to "drink my little wine, have my little cracker," she notes.
But the Twitter hashtag #TrumpBible, complete with verses written in Trump style is humorous simply because "they are so close to the truth," writes Powers.
"Trump is a dangerous megalomaniac with a distorted sense of reality," she said, noting that when 30,000 people came to see him in Mobile, Ala., he told the crowd he knows how Billy Graham felt.
Powers also points out that Trump has said he attends Marble Collegiate Church in New York, where the late Norman Vincent Peale was pastor.
"Pastor Paula White, a prosperity gospel huckster, reportedly will host a meeting for Trump with Christian leaders," said Powers. The evangelist often tells her flock to donate large sums of money to "seed" God's answers to their prayers.
"She's a scam artist," said Powers, "just like Trump. Evangelical voters need to wake up."