President Trump revels in the adoration of Christian conservatives, who remain among the most steadfast supporters of the thrice-married, frequently accused misogynist who evidences not a single Christian virtue (e.g. humility, honesty, empathy, kindness, generosity). Trump tells them simplistic applause lines — they can say “Merry Christmas!” — and they applaud. He has delivered for them, in the form of a Supreme Court justice appointment of their liking, a broad order to ban transgender people from the military and sweeping permission for employers to deny birth control as part of the health-care coverage they provide. Sure, he’s cruel to “dreamers” and indifferent to the health-care needs of Americans, but it is not as if “values voters” are politically influenced by concern for immigrants or the poor. Former congresswoman Michele Bachmann, following up on remarks she made on Friday at the Values Voter Summit, called Trump a “man of faith.” That’s the fable these voters tell themselves and others so as maintain their air of self-righteousness. Trump, you see, is a God-fearing Christian who shares their determination to protect religion, which they actually believe is under attack in the United States. His overt behavior — his bullying, rudeness, nastiness, lying, excessive materialism (doesn’t want poor people in his Cabinet) and total lack of empathy — is ignored.
If you’re a Christian, you no doubt claim to believe in and be committed to the teachings of Jesus Christ, which if my recollection from my Sunday School lessons is accurate, include things like love, tolerance, acceptance, and charity. Following any faith tradition means believing in and following the precepts of that tradition. You don’t have to look far to recognize what Christianity is about:
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4 ESV)
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:17 ESV)
Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. (Proverbs 21:13 ESV)
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:26 ESV)
I offer the above snippets of Scripture not to demonstrate my theological bona fides– for I have none to offer- but rather to help shine a spotlight on the utter hypocrisy of those Evagelicals who support Donald Trump. The assertion that this President is “thrice-married, frequently accused misogynist who evidences not a single Christian virtue” isn’t an insult. It’s the truth, one conveniently ignored by Conservative Evangelicals who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.
What has transpired since January 20th has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ. It’s been a steady stream of bigotry, hatred, ignorance, reaction, and avarice. These are things the Prince of Peace never advocated…yet socially conservative Christians such as those at the recent Values Voter Summit have eagerly embraced them.
The President’s “bullying, rudeness, nastiness, lying, [and] excessive materialism” are neither presidential, humane, nor Christian. So why is it that Evangelicals are still so strongly supportive of him? Why are these “values voters” supportive of a President who provides only lip service to Christian values.
Revealing the depths of these voters’ hypocrisy, the summit also hosted Stephen K. Bannon, chairman of the self-described home of the alt-right, Breibart News. The invite prompted conservative David French to tweet: “Why is a Christian organization hosting this vile man?” He continued, “The alt-right launched racist attacks against my daughter. Steve Bannon said he gave the alt-right a platform. Why honor him? … The alt-right also made vile threats against a host of people who were your longtime friends and allies. Yet you chose to feature Bannon.” The answer is that the organizers traded political influence for defense of true religiosity; they celebrate anyone who wages the culture war on their behalf, a war based on resentment, anger, self-pity and dishonesty.
French is spot on. This isn’t about supporting a President who lives a Christ-like life and advocates for making America a kinder and more compassionate and loving country. No, it’s about supporting a President who’s willing to wage their culture war and impose their narrow areligious agenda on all Americans. It’s about hating those- gays, transsexuals, Liberals, nonChristians, minorities, refugees- It’s about supporting a President who’s willing to obliterate the separation of Church and State and turn America into a theocracy if it keeps him in power.
These so-called “values voters” may talk the talk, but when it comes to walking the walk, they’re willing (even eager) to subvert their Christian faith to their desire for political power and money. You don’t get to welcome Stephen Bannon with open arms and then claim to be good and faithful servants of the Lord.
If these folks are Christians, I’m the Queen of Denmark.
Nice work, America.