For starters, the Cult of the Shining City is not an organized group. The members, most of them, believe they're just evangelicals. There are members with power who use them and manipulate them.

But there are millions of them, and they worship Donald Trump like a messiah.

None of this is tin-foil hat stuff. It's not about smoky rooms. It's the hidden history of how America's Right has been coopted into an apocalyptic fantasy that currently threatens our safety and the safety of the world.

This is history, not conjecture. It's how we got here.

Trump's photo-op yesterday seemed bizarre to everyone but people who grew up in white-identity, apocalyptic evangelicalism.

This was a choreographed messaged that Trump is engaging in a holy battle on behalf of God and Christians, but also a possible call to violence.

Not every Cult of the Shining City member believes Trump is a messiah, but almost all believe he is a holy man fighting on their behalf.

The beliefs vary, but it is an apocalyptic cult that Trump has used to build his base.

To begin, we have to start with the Confederate States of America. Secession was done, in part, based on the belief that the North had violated God's racist commandments.

They believed in "an Almighty God" who crowned white people as his champions on Earth.

The Confederate States of America was an explicitly Christian nation, in definition and practice. The society was built upon the idea that God was a white supremacist being who ordered whites to enslave lesser people.

White supremacist Christianity was the CSA's reality.

Confederate preachers like Benjamin M Palmer warned of "perilous atheists" in the North who sought to betray the racist God's white supremacy religion.

They preached that slavery and white supremacy were ordained by God and that the North was becoming devilish.

The Confederacy split not only politically, but religiously. They claimed to continue the heritage of the original United States, and claimed to be the real America.

This was based on their religious belief in a white supremacist God and also political advantage.

Contrary to popular belief, the Confederacy didn't consider itself a separate country, but the actual America and the heritage of the Founding Fathers.

They embraced George Washington, particularly, as Jefferson Davis was sworn in under a memorial to him.

Jefferson Davis and other Confederate leaders blamed the people's lack of faith in the racist God for their defeats, ordering days of humiliation and fasting in order to get right.

Failure was seen as God's fury for disbelief in his white supremacist orders.

When the Civil War ended, it was seen as a reunification of culture, but the Confederate Christianity didn't just go away. Southern preachers continued preaching that God was a white supremacist and that blacks were to be subjugated and enslaved.

It stills exists now.

One of the Southern preachers who believed in God-ordained white supremacy was Jerry Falwell, whose ministry held segregation as a Godly decree and any attempt toward equality the work of Satan.

Falwell called segregation a "line drawn by God" and warned that any attempt to desegregate or dismantle white supremacy was the work of the Devil and would draw God's anger.

Like Confederate preachers of old.

Civil Rights protests gained the attention of Confederate Christians like Falwell, who charged that protestors were doing Satan's work and were being "manipulated" by outside forces, including Communists and anarchists. It was a charge of spiritual war.

Despite popular history claiming Martin Luther King was beloved, he was treated like a satanic antichrist, using Christianity for nefarious purposes people like Falwell and segregationists claimed were Communist and devilish purposes.

Falwell aired his suspicions about MLK and disputed his social justice interpretation of the Bible.

To counteract, Falwell and others actively moved their faith toward hidden white supremacy through ideas of power and economic success.

All tenets of white supremacy.

The new Evangelical Right was white supremacist and Neo-Confederate in nature, but hid that prejudice behind the idea of morality and achieving success through the economic world.

Christianity was about power and profit. Fascistic pursuits behind a smiling veneer.

The Evangelical Right briefly formed a truce with Jimmy Carter, an avowed Christian, but his Christianity was more geared toward the social justice MLK was promoting.

Falwell and others deserted Carter the minute they found someone willing to embrace their worldview.

Ronald Reagan was a hippie-busting, law and order governor in California who recognized he would need the Evangelical Right to win the presidency. Though not religious, Reagan courted them and touted their rhetoric and goals.

Reagan and Falwell merged their ideologies into a new political and economic force that would change the modern world.

It was a marriage of convenience and power, but it would have longlasting consequences and alter reality forever.

A lot of people don't know Reagan wasn't religious. He was spiritual. In his time as an actor in California he trafficked in new age mysticism and bizarre conspiracy theories.

This worldview merged with the paranoia of the Evangelical Right and formed something new.

Reagan and his wife Nancy believed in astrology and psychics, they consulted them constantly for everything from times of events, political moves, even how to fight Russia. It was a concern of Reagan's closest advisors but only popped up in public occasionally.

Listen. This is about to get weird. But it's completely true and a large reason why we live in the paranoid and bizarre reality we live in today. It's how the Cult of the Shining City, the Cult of Trump, came to be this strange paranoid, fascistic movement.

One of Reagan's main gurus was a very popular New Ager named Manley P. Hall, who toured California, filling auditoriums, promising knowledge of ancient secrets, secret societies, and mysticism that revealed the true nature of the world.

Manley P. Hall told his readers, including Reagan, that America was a godly country and the result of centuries worth of planning by secret societies to create a perfect society for godly people.

A shining city upon a hill.

Reagan bought into Hall's mythology completely. His speeches are lined with anecdotes about angels appearing at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, of God intervening to protect his chosen country.

Reagan believed this. And he brought it to the Right.

At Reagan's first speech at CPAC he coined the new metaphor "the Shining City Upon the Hill," which would define the Republican Party and American imagination going forward.

He also referenced Manley P. Hall as a diviner of history.

This is where it started.

A quick reset: with Falwell and Reagan, America was being positioned as a Confederate God's chosen country, the economy as the arbiter of God's will, and America as a sacred country under attack by evil outsiders and internal traitors.

You should recognize this.

With Reagan's paranoia, Americans started talking about Satanic child murders, pedophile rings, supernatural events, demonic possession.

The cult of the 1980's was an extension of the Cult of the Shining City's paranoia, and we're watching it come full circle now.

Part of all this also originates with Hal Lindsey, a conspiracy theorist who became extremely popular by merging current events, paranoia, and the Book of Revelation.

He took that final book of the Bible and turned it into a predictor of future events.

The Late Great Planet Earth took the Cold War and placed it as a final battle between God and Satan, influencing Reagan's philosophy but also affecting the popular imagination and American Christianity, which bought this book by the truckloads and used it in sermons.

There's even a bizarre movie version of the Late Great Planet Earth starring Orson Welles, talking about doomsday prophecies and a looming apocalypse.

This was popular culture influencing American reality in a massive, massive way, including Reagan's agenda.

Another influencer was Francis Schaeffer, who claimed that liberal postmodernism was destroying society and that the only means of salvation would be total Christian control of the nation.

He worked with those Confederate Preachers, who adopted this in their churches.

What Schaeffer claimed was that liberals were an existential threat to society, and that the world needed Christian order to survive.

This became the calling card of the Evangelical Right and the Republican Party, which promised to battle the threat.

Reagan's Evil Empire ideology, backed by Cult of the Shining City worldview, positioned Russia as evil and the Cold War as a showdown between God and Satan.

America would see the USSR fall, but that meant a new evil had to be found.

Post-Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Republicans worked to create a "New World Order" that would capitalize on American hegemony.

This is where the phrase originates, but it wasn't until Clinton that it gained its more ominous tone and mythology.

Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement and ushered in the globalist age, but he was finishing Reagan and Bush's work, both having been the architects.

He assumed the blame, however, and soon a new ideology and threat was presented to the Right.

Pat Robertson, another Neo-Confederate preacher who preached that God was punishing America, labeled Clinton a traitor and talked about the New World Order, painting it as Satan's plan to control the world and institute a one world government that would conquer America.

Remember, again, the Cult of the Shining City believes America is a racist God's chosen country and that Satan is trying to destroy it.

The New World Order is that story updated, with the idea that Satan and Jewish people are manipulating minorities and using traitors.

The Republican Party and the NRA embraced New World Order paranoia in the Clinton years for electoral success and fundraising. They used coded-signals, talk about traitors and conspiracies, furthering the narrative for their own benefit.

Gingrich was especially egregious in his appeals to the Cult of the Shining City, positioning himself as the only thing standing between America and a hellish, New World Order, Satanic cabal.

This is how the 90's conservative revolution gained power.

Of course, the story wouldn't be complete without Fox News and Roger Ailes, who crafted a media empire from Cult of the Shining City paranoia that the Devil, traitors, and minorities were intentionally trying to destroy America.

It was their entire philosophy.

With Obama, they went full-bore, casting him as a secret Muslim traitor and a possible anti-christ, making good Hal Lindsey's predictions and Cult of the Shining City paranoia that mixed with their inherent white supremacist beliefs.

That's what they were doing.

Look here. Glenn Beck's conspiracy mongering starts with George Soros, a Jewish "puppet master" controlling a world conspiracy against America.

This narrative continues. It's the New World Order, which is just the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in new clothes.

This, of course, continued into the 2016 Election, where the Clintons were again portrayed as traitors and criminals, part of an international conspiracy to harm America.

All of this is Cult of the Shining City paranoia and weaponization. It's about those old myths.

The Deep State conspiracy theory/Qanon is just New World Order, apocalyptic, Cult of the Shining City paranoia

All of it centers around white supremacy, Confederate philosophy, being challenged by evil conspiracies of Jewish interference, traitors, and minority manipulation

In this fever dream, paranoid reality, Trump is a holy warrior, the last stand against a New World Order coup and the triumph of Satan over God in the holy country of America.

He has played this role to full effect and has been embraced as a faulty messiah.

Trump, himself, studied with Cult of the Shining City preacher Norman Vincent Peale, who furthered the idea that wealth and power were proof of God's favor.

Peale actually officiated Trump's marriage and was instrumental in his business philosophy.

Peale's philosophy of "The Power of Positive Thinking" is why Trump is so delusional. He has to control reality and deny anything that makes him feel vulnerable or a failure.

This is Trump's only religion, the religion that he is a godly being enjoying God's favor.

Trump's posing with the Bible yesterday was a signal that he is the holy warrior, the "chosen one" that many have called him. It's to prepare the Cult of the Shining City followers for what they'll see as a holy war of America, God's chosen nation, against Satan's forces.

Notice this comment from Jenna Ellisa.

"Legitimate Authority," the idea that law is handed down by God

"Nihilistic postmodern society that denies objective truth." This is straight from Francis Schaeffer's books on the dangers of liberals and need for a theocratic regime

It's unclear how much of this Trump grasps, but he is a natural cult leader. He needs their adoration and worship, and undoubtedly views himself as a living messiah.

This is a power grab, a desperate move, but Cult of the Shining City followers heard him loud and clear.

I'm not sure what comes next. At best, it's a rallying cry for public support from his evangelical base. At worst, it's a call to violence. It's only a matter of time until we find out, but we have to brace ourselves and understand what's happening.

None of this is to say we're going to have an apocalyptic race war, but you need to understand that Trump was sending that message to his followers in the Cult of the Shining City, that he is a messiah figure and they are entering a holy war.

It could end very, very badly.

Please, I'm begging you to tell people about this.

The American Right is infected with Neo-Confederate apocalypticism. Many of them are looking to realize a white Christian ethnostate or hasten the end of the world.

These are extremely dangerous people.

PS/ If you want to see this in action, watch the documentary Jesus Camp immediately, where a church leader calls for white Christians to embrace the tactics of al Qaeda. It is a stirring glimpse into the phenomenon I'm talking about here and the reality many of us lived through.
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