Not too long ago, the religious right absolutely hated Russia. They believed that the Soviet Union and communism were the greatest threats to Western civilization and religious freedom. Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan were their heroes for standing up to godless communism, and evangelicals floated the idea that the final conflict in the Middle East that would bring about the return of Jesus Christ would involve a nuclear war with Russia.
End Times prophecy has always been a part of the Christian religion, as well as radical Islam. Their predictions of how the world would end have slightly differed, but the armed conflict part is something they have in common.
Our nation’s War on Terror has always been a continuation of the long war between Christians and Islam. Both Christian and Islamic extremists have relished the idea of a final battle, and both think they will emerge victorious.
ISIS has been working to establish a caliphate with their version of an Apocalypse in mind, and the deaths of thousands of their fighters at the hands of Russian, Iranian, and Syrian forces plays right into that narrative.
Via The Atlantic:
An anti-Messiah, known in Muslim apocalyptic literature as Dajjal, will come from the Khorasan region of eastern Iran and kill a vast number of the caliphate’s fighters, until just 5,000 remain, cornered in Jerusalem. Just as Dajjal prepares to finish them off, Jesus—the second-most-revered prophet in Islam—will return to Earth, spear Dajjal, and lead the Muslims to victory.
“Only God knows” whether the Islamic State’s armies are the ones foretold, Cerantonio said. But he is hopeful. “The Prophet said that one sign of the imminent arrival of the End of Days is that people will for a long while stop talking about the End of Days,” he said. “If you go to the mosques now, you’ll find the preachers are silent about this subject.” On this theory, even setbacks dealt to the Islamic State mean nothing, since God has preordained the near-destruction of his people anyway. (Source)
In fundamentalist Christian stories, it is the Jews, not Muslims who are wiped out in this final conflict. The establishment of a Jewish state in 1948 is one cornerstone of that prophecy, and the push to move the American embassy to Jerusalem as Trump has stated he would do is another brick in that foundation.
Have you ever wondered why right-wing Christians have such a religious hard-on for the Jewish state of Israel? It isn’t because they suddenly developed an affinity for their fellow monotheistic Abrahamic brethren. If you Google “Christian prophecy Jews”, you will find one website after another from fundamentalist Christians aren’t too discreet about the need for an almost complete annihilation of Jews in order to fulfill their fantasy of Jesus to return.
A sudden embrace of a Donald Trump presidency brought about by Russia interfering in our election doesn’t bother the religious right in 2016. They’ve put aside their hatred for the former Soviet Union and the former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, and twisted the new reality to fit their beliefs.
It doesn’t matter to them that Trump has lived a life completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter that Trump will likely be a pawn of the Kremlin once he is sworn into office, and some televangelists like Jim Bakker have even suggested he is the messiah of Christ.
If none of this makes sense to you, spend some time cruising the religious right websites, forums, and Facebook groups. I’ve been doing it for years, even after growing up in an extremely conservative household, and it still terrifies me.