Stephen Strang is the head of the Charisma publishing empire, which, in particular, publishes Charisma magazine, a magazine aimed at Pentecostals who see American politics enveloped as just one aspect of a spiritual warfare between believers and demons. Charisma is, of course, best known for vigorously promoting more or less any deranged, paranoid wingnut conspiracy theory that comes its way and, currently, for its ardent support for President Trump. Steve Strang himself is one of the most unhinged fanatics in the US.
For instance, Strang thinks that the level of partisan hostility in the current political climate is not really about a fight between right and left, but between a worldview based on God and “Judeo-Christian values” and an anti-God worldview with man at the center of everything; in other words, “a battle against good and evil, between light and darkness.” According to Strang the Democrats are paving the way for the Antichrist: “The battle for this nation isn’t Republican versus Democrat or black versus white; it’s a spiritual battle. Now is the time for Spirit-filled believers to rise up, intercede and vote.” He has also tried his hand at prophecy.
Politics and the “miracle” of Trump
Meanwhile, Strang has likened Christians who refuse to support President Trump to the Pharisees who attacked Jesus: “Here he was, the promised Messiah, and these are the people who practice Jewish law better than anyone else and they just had a mindset against him and couldn’t see the truth.” (To those who might harbor concerns about Trump’s moral compass – it is perhaps worth noting that Strang himself thinks that sexual assault and rape are just “nickel and dime” stuff that doesn’t matter – Strang insisted that Trump has been deeply transformed by his Christian faith, his concern with facts or evidence being about what you’d expect from him and his publications.) Strang has even written a couple of book-length paeans to Trump, including God and Donald Trump, which was heavily promoted by his magazine and which depicted Trump’s election as a miracle, citing the many visions and prophesies that charismatic Christians had about God using Trump to save America; and Trump Aftershock, which even included a section on “500 accomplishments in the first 500 days of the Trump presidency.” The purpose of the book was to “help readers to better understand the political, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of the election that brought us such a complex, unpredictable, and conspicuously gifted leader,” portraying Trump as God’s instrument in His battle against the evil forces of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Soros (while George Soros is not the Antichrist, “it’s obvious he operates in the spirit of the Antichrist”), “fake news” from the secular media, swamp-dwellers, and the deep state. (Charisma heavily promoted Jerome Corsi’s deep state conspiracy theory book, for instance.)
Strang has also defended Trump from accusations of tax fraud, insisting that he had been “forced” to engage in massive tax fraud because the tax laws are “so unfair.” He is also convinced that Trump is a genius. And religious (“a champion for the church” at “a time when the left is waging an attack on Christianity”). And he has no trouble with Trump’s tweeting and is not offended by anything he tweets because Trump has “cleaned up his act a lot.” Indeed, Strang has even claimed that Trump is “humble”.
As for Obama, Strang claimed, for instance in 2012, that Obama is (was) just like Adolf Hitler: “The man has an agenda” (Strang is a bit short on the details of the parallel), and it is not only Obama’s agenda: “if you don’t believe it Google the Humanist Manifesto, which was written in 1921 [it wasn’t], and also the Homosexual Manifesto, which was written in 1987 [that seems to refer to a satirical article that, perhaps ironically, satirizes bigoted wingnut paranoia], and see what these people want to do and what is happening before our very eyes. What Jim Garlow says is true, the way of life that we have is over if Barack Obama is elected again.” Strang thinks that gay rights threaten the freedoms of speech, religion and the press, and that the Obama administration gave the “homosexual agenda” the “red-carpet treatment.”
Strang on other issues
Strang’s commentaries on the ills of society are not limited to (outright) politics, however. In 2019, Charisma ran a campaign warning about the dangers of Halloween, with Strang saying that Halloween isn’t harmless fun, but “indicative of spiritual warfare” … before praising the efforts of fundies to pray “every demonic network that has aligned itself against the purpose, against the calling of President Trump, let it be broken.”
A climate change denialist (of course), Strang has suggested that climate change is the “Trojan Horse that has booted the door for the government to control everything” and just another attempt by the Democrats to advance their agenda of socialism in the US. Conspiracy theories are in his backbone. He also thought it was curious that Andrew Breitbart “attacked the Clintons and now he’s dead.”
Defending Kenneth Copeland’s comment that he needs a private jet because commercial planes are nothing more than “a long tube with a bunch of demons”, Strang claimed it was hyperbole but immediately pointed out that “there are people in those airplanes who are not spiritual,” and that “there are demonic activities” and an atmosphere of “oppression” on commercial flights that someone like Copeland simply shouldn’t have to endure as he travels the world spreading the Gospel.
Strang is also round-handed with helpful, if unsolicited, advice. He has for instance advised the black community to get over slavery and to look to the Jewish community on how to do it: “There is no concept in the Jewish community that they’re ex-slaves. They have moved on.”
Diagnosis: What kind of delusions do you have to have to be Steve Strang and genuinely believe that you are, somehow, on the good side? The belief that he, himself, has any kind of moral compass is, given what he actually believes and does, sufficient on its own to qualify him for an entry. But Strang is also an extremely powerful force on the religious right – as publisher of Charisma many fundies cannot really afford to do anything but sing his praises. Strang is, ultimately, probably something like what Donald Trump would have looked like if he were remotely religious.