Texas-based televangelist Kenneth Copeland has made no secret of his support for Republican nominee Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But apparently even his rhetoric has limits.
Copeland tried to rally his followers in a television program posted online on 9 October 2016 by telling them they would be “held seriously — seriously — to account by God” if they did not vote in the upcoming election:
You’re going to be guilty of murder. You’re going to be guilty of an abomination of God. You’re going to be guilty for every baby that’s aborted from this election forward. You don’t cut out on me right now, in the name of Jesus.
The fake news site Newslo (under their politicops.com domain) accurately quoted Copeland as saying non-voters would be “guilty of murder,” but then (as Newslo does with all their “news”) they turned his fear-mongering up several notches, falsely attributing the following fabricated remarks to him:
Donald Trump is the only choice for president and you all know it; don’t make the mistake of thinking that Hillary Clinton is anything else than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The only way for this country to survive is to stick to what it knows, not try to evolve and attempt new things.
And in order to prove that what I’m saying is true, I am going to reveal something I’m not supposed to. There is a new Civil War looming over America, one that our conservative forces have organized and prepared. It is a war designed to right the wrongs that have been done to the people of America by the Democrats for decades … In the unlikely event that the serpent Hillary Clinton should triumph over Donald Trump, we will unleash a fury upon this land the likes of which has never before been seen.
Copeland actually said nothing like that on the program. But he did gripe about the possibility of “another eight years of Hillary Clinton” and dismissed the concept of separation of church and state:
This is God’s nation, and nobody is going to take it away from him. Now I want to get that clear right now, in the name of Jesus. No man, no woman, no Democrat, no Republican, no socialist, no communist can take this nation away from God! I don’t know what it is about that you can’t understand, but I’m telling you right now God Almighty is head of this nation, not people! Jesus of Nazareth is Lord over the United States.
Trump’s campaign announced on 21 June 2016 that Copeland and his wife Gloria were part of his “evangelical executive advisory board,” which would counsel the former reality TV host regarding issues important to conservative Christians.
The move represented a shift on the part of Copeland, who had said five months earlier that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was “called and anointed” by God to be the next U.S. president.
Even if Copeland himself did not actually talk about a “civil war” if Trump loses, supporters of the GOP nominee have broached the possibility of some form of civil disobedience in that event, both at campaign rallies and in interviews. Trump has complained throughout his campaign that this election is “rigged” and has encouraged supporters to act as unlicensed “election verifiers.”