Supporting Trump: A theological consideration

 

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The following is a theological statement with political implications. It should not be taken as support for a particular party or candidate. With that caveat in mind, let me say without any equivocation whatsoever that one cannot claim to be a Christian and also support Donald Trump and the policies he has been enacting since he entered office. Christianity is completely incompatible with Trumpism regardless of what the false teachers like Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr. have to say. The way Trump ran his campaign should have been a clue that his views are vastly different from what Jesus taught about the Kingdom. Despite this, people who proclaim that they are Christians, mostly those of the evangelical stripe, have overwhelmingly supported Trump while ignoring or glossing over his self admission that he is a serial sexual predator. They have chosen to downplay or deny his blatantly racist and bigoted comments, policies, and actions, his horrific misogyny, his narcissistic lust for absolute power, and his avaricious behavior in financial matters.  All of these things are exceptionally well documented, yet I still find people who refuse to believe them. For instance, recently a self-professed MAGA supporter said in an online conversation with me that “it’s all he said, she said” in terms of the allegations of sexual assault and rape. In a sense this person was correct. Trump did say on tape that he sexually assaults women because he can get away with it by virtue of his wealth and fame. (1) He said it, not anyone else. Women have credibly accused him of doing the exact thing he described himself as having done on a routine basis. Clearly this man is a serial sexual predator who should be in jail and not someone who Christians throw their support behind.

The Trump administration is locking children of God into for-profit concentration camps on the U.S. Mexico border. This is evil on so many levels. It flies in the face of the many Biblical commands to do no harm to sojourners in your land, to treat the immigrant and resident alien with courtesy, respect, and hospitality, to avoid putting stumbling blocks in front of children (in this case the stumbling blocks are trauma related that will likely end up in PTSD), and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Every single human being in those concentration camps is a child of God, yet there are people who are earning money hand over fist by unlawfully”detaining” them for seeking asylum, which is a perfectly legal and legitimate thing to do. The longer those people stay locked in those awful, overcrowded cages, the longer those companies can collect up to $750 per person per day to keep them detained. In other words, there is literally no incentive for the company or the government to allow those people to go free and seek asylum. There’s no money in that after all.  I’d definitely take in a refugee seeking asylum or an immigrant seeking a better life for $750 a day and they’d be well provided for rather than denied even basic toiletries, decent food, and adequate housing. Trump is allowing these evil companies to profit from human suffering. I guarantee you that Jesus has some strong opinions about that and none of them are in favor of putting dollars over human beings. He said it would be better to jump in the sea with a millstone around one’s neck than to harm a child…

A person cannot be a racist and truly be a Christian according to the Apostle Paul, for to be a Christian is to be in Christ, and in Christ all such social divisions are moot. We need only see what Paul wrote about the issues of social divisions and how they were to be purposefully eradicated by those following Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 11 Paul remonstrates with those who have flaunted their wealth and privilege while they were to be practicing open table fellowship with all believers regardless of social standing. Instead the wealthier believers arrived early, eating and drinking the good food and wine, leaving little for the poorer Christians who arrived late.  In Galatians is the well known passage in which Paul proclaims that in Christ there is no longer male or female, Jew or Greek, slave nor free. These were the common social divisions of Paul’s time. We can safely say in our time that there is neither white, nor black, straight nor gay, cis nor trans, rich nor poor for all are equal in Christ, and love all these people unconditionally. We must also, in order to truly love our neighbors, work to dismantle systems of oppression which get used to harm others and to scapegoat whole groups of people.

Donald Trump constantly does this. He’s been known to be a racist since the 1970s. His attempts to get the Central Park Five, all of whom were black or Latinx,  killed for a crime they were innocent of committing further highlights his longstanding racism. His comments regarding Mexicans such as calling them “rapists” and saying “they’re not sending their best people” are textbook racism. His latest racist outburst was leveled at “The Squad”, four duly elected Congressional representatives who are all women of color and who are unapologetically progressive and therefore a constant thorn in the side of  the current occupant of the White House. Trump told these women to go back to where they came from even though three of them were born in America. He did not tell any foreign born white Congress person to go back to where they came from.  Again this is textbook racism and racism is incompatible with the Christian faith despite the sordid history of racists doing terrible things in the name of Christianity such as enslaving Africans for hundreds of years and starting the largest denomination in America (the Southern Baptist Convention). There is no legitimate defense for Trump’s racism, bigotry, and xenophobia nor any reason for Christians to support such a person.

Avarice is a particularly nasty type of greed. Charles Dickens created a quintessentially avaricious character in Ralph Nickleby, the antagonist in his novel The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.  Ralph Nickleby is a hoarding, grasping, stop at nothing to satiate his greed kind of man. In a similar vein Trump exemplifies avarice in his business dealings and which showed itself in his tax scam. Christians are warned against being greedy. It’s definitely sinful, yet evangelicals support Trump anyway, despite his obvious greediness and love of money which comes out in statements like, “the great thing about me is that I’m rich.” He already lives in opulence and yet created a tax scam that concentrated wealth into already wealthy hands while disastrously increasing the enormous federal deficit. Who cares if infrastructure falls apart, services get cut, or the poor suffer? Not Trump. He knew exactly what he was doing with that legislation–protecting his wealth at all costs and the wealth of other wealthy people with no regard to the consequences for ordinary people struggling to get by. No Christian can in good conscious support such a man. The Bible is full of prophetic words about those who harm the marginalized, who oppress and exploit the poor, and who profit from human misery. Trump does all of those things routinely and to support his political ambitions and policies is to be complicit in harming the least of these God’s children.

Donald Trump is a child of God. I must believe that and therefore I pray that he is so profoundly overwhelmed by God’s grace that he can no longer carry his burden of hatred and will make true amends to every woman he has sexually assaulted or raped. Being so overwhelmed by grace he will likely give away his wealth to the poor as Jesus the Christ told the rich young ruler to do. This would be truly miraculous and make Ebenezer Scrooge’s one-eighty look like nothing in comparison. As it stands now though, Trump is an unrepentant racist and bigot who has been credibly accused of rape by multiple women and of sexual assault by more than 20. His administration is brazenly pursuing a white nationalist/supremacist authoritarian agenda that according to historians such as Yale’s Dr. Timothy Snyder, is eerily reminiscent of Nazi Germany. No Christian should support such a man or his evil agenda. Period.

 

Transcript of Trump Sexual Assault Admission–BBC  

For profit concentration camps–Reuters

Trump tax cuts help wealthy–Newsweek

Trump Tax Cuts are a Wealth Grab–Fortune 

Trump Rape Allegations include 13 year old child–Newsweek

Snyder: Trump borrows from fascists

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