Why Mike Lindell and the Majority of White Evangelicals Can’t Give Up On ‘The Big Lie’

Image from Mike Lindell's Instagram feed.

This Saturday, June 12th, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell will host a rally aimed at supporting the Big Lie that the 2020 election was illegally stolen through widespread coordinated fraud. For over seven months, Lindell has taken to whatever outlets will provide him space to promote the baseless claim that a massive conspiracy stands behind Trump’s loss and even that Trump somehow would be reinstated by August (despite the legal impossibility of this happening). 

Lindell has persistently claimed that he has indisputable evidence of coordinated malfeasance. But in his many appearances and statements, he has never actually provided it. Instead, his guest spots have typically amounted to rants and assertions disconnected from facts, which have led some hosts to cut him off mid-sentence while others refuse to book him (or others like him) entirely. But none of this has dissuaded Lindell, who continues to push the conspiracy theory of election fraud, even creating his own media platform to do so.

Explanation abound for why Lindell continues to invest time, money, and what’s left of his reputation into pushing this lie, including the view that it’s an attempt to stave off the hefty lawsuit from Dominion, the voting machine company that Lindell allegedly slandered by implicating them in his conspiracy claims. But there is another explanation: that Lindell actually believes what he’s saying. More accurately, that Lindell believes in what he says as a matter of adhering to divine revelation.

Lindell has long been vocal about his own conservative evangelical Christian beliefs, a cornerstone of which is his belief that the Bible is inerrant. That is, he abides by the view that the Bible is the perfect and direct Word of God, with no errors or inconsistencies, and the truth of its inerrancy can be experienced through unshakable faith. The belief in biblical inerrancy rejects any possibility that the Bible developed in any way throughout the course of its transmission over the last two thousand-plus years—a view that virtually all scholars of religion accept based on centuries of critical research. 

But critical research is irrelevant to someone like Lindell. Such academic challenges are categorized as part of a degenerate popular culture emanating from God’s enemies as an attempt to tempt the faithful from their path—something another proponent of biblical inerrancy, former Vice President Mike Pence, has publicly stated. The many clear indications of multiple compositional hands behind the Bible’s contents or analyses of its passages in light of history, archaeology or linguistics are dismissed as Satan-inspired falsehoods, or distractions brokered by God’s enemies to sway followers from the Bible’s divine truth. The greater the evidence that challenges the concept of biblical inerrancy, the greater the need to deny it as a threat to God’s will.  

Conservative evangelicals (many of whom abide by biblical inerrancy) have had strong connections to American politicians since long before Donald Trump or Mike Lindell appeared on the political stage. But the last few years have seen conservative evangelical support for Trump cross into the outright theologizing of the office and the man himself. Lindell regularly affirmed Trump in quasi-divine and even messianic terms, joining conservative Christians across the country who viewed the Trump administration as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, with Trump spreading the MAGA gospel with every official pen-stroke. 

And this is where the belief in biblical inerrancy intersects with Lindell’s devotion to the Big Lie. Just as someone can never question the Bible’s inerrancy, one can never question the unassailable truth of Trumpism. To do so would be no less than to question the will of the deity who, for many conservative evangelicals like Lindell, directly chose Trump to lead and save the nation. In other words, the political landscape of Trumpist America was as binding as the Bible… both inerrant, both beyond question, both designed by God to favor the faithful.

From this frame of reference, Trump’s decisive loss to Biden in the 2020 election was theologically intolerable. It not only challenged the inerrant reading of the political landscape, it challenged the holiness of the power structure resulting from it. Lindell has credited his own financial success to his religious beliefs. With Trump’s tenure in office built on the brand of the “wealthy businessman” and the approval of the evangelical elite, wealthy Christian conservatives like Lindell were positioned as saintly figures who embodied a nationalist American holiness emanating from the Oval Office. An end to Trump’s political hegemony was also an end to access to that type of holiness—something that anthropologists of religion see in other cultures where shifting political tides threaten the holiness of saintly groups and demand desperate reactions. 

All of which sheds light on why Lindell, like 61% of American white Evangelicals who believe the election was “stolen”, cannot give up on the Big Lie. It’s no longer even about Donald Trump himself, whose recent appearances reveal a man in steep physical and mental decline. Rather, it’s about the theological underpinnings of Trumpism that predicate political insight upon conservative evangelical beliefs like biblical inerrancy. So, like those who deny evidence of human hands in the development of the Bible, Lindell denies the fact of Trump’s 2020 loss. 

Instead, he promotes a sacred counter-narrative spun from white Christian nationalist threads that rejects the merits of critical scrutiny and thus needn’t abide by it. Indeed, critical scrutiny is itself the enemy, and because the alternative threatens his theological framework as a Christian as much as it threatens his political framework as a Trumpist conservative, Mike Lindell must continue to push the Big Lie. From where he stands, his soul depends on it.