I don’t understand how Donald Trump is so popular with so many Christians. Considering that Jesus said it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for rich men like him to see the Kingdom of Heaven, it doesn’t seem as if they’ll be walking through the pearly gates with him so I can’t help but wonder why they feel inclined to walk beside him now. I have never personally tried shoving a camel through the eye of a needle, but I imagine that even if you ran it through a very large liquefier, it would still be a really difficult task.
When my father, who is a devout Southern Baptist, mentioned after dinner some months ago that Trump had some ideas worth considering, and my Foursquare Gospel brother-in-law followed up with the same sentiment a few weeks later, I had to inquire which ones. Due to our mismatched ideologies, I’ve come to the point where I try not to discuss politics with my family very often, but since this particular political event is so dramatically comedic, I’ve come to view it more as theatre than actual democratic procedure. Nevertheless, with all of the hoopla surrounding it, I can’t dismiss the probability that this play could have a remarkably tragic ending.
Dad mentioned the border thing, and for people of faith, there is certainly quite a bit of consternation and fear of aliens and immigrants rippling through the Church these days. While walls are certainly good for holding back fears, I don’t feel that it is necessarily a Christlike way to address the issue of people seeking shelter, sanctuary, and reprieve from a corrupt and repressive government. Of course, taking into account the Statue of Liberty’s pledge to take in the poor, tired, huddled masses, it isn’t really an American way either, but that’s a discussion for another time, and I’m pretty sure Trump doesn’t give much credence to what French chicks have to say anyway.
I tried to explain to my dad that borders were ultimately imaginary lines that we put more importance upon than the reason we draw them in the first place. What I take from Christ, and what I continue to hold as the basis of my ideology, is that there are two commandments: to love God with all your heart, mind, strength, and spirit, and to love your neighbor as yourself. I take that to mean my immediate neighbors AND my neighbors’ neighbors, not merely my American neighbors, but my Mexican, Canadian, and even the distant Czechoslovakian, Moroccan and the like as well.
Now, I understand the importance of separation between Church and State, but I have heard a great many Christians touting the virtue of voting with your faith in mind, which is why I find it remarkable that so many Christians are lifting up a man with such a questionable background of marital infidelity, greed, and aggression as their champion. Perhaps, since America is so far removed from the Kingdom of Heaven that awaits them, perhaps they are seeking to appoint the opposite of the leader they are following into the next life.
That is not to say that Trump is the Antichrist, but rather more of a Bizarro Jesus. Christianity professes that Jesus was a man filled with the spirit, and Paul said that this was evidenced through the fruit of love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, self control, faithfulness, and patience. Obviously, Christians aren’t cajoling Trump into ushering in the Kingdom of Heaven right here on Earth because with his fruit of anger, consternation, rudeness, boisterousness, bullying, infidelity, avarice, and narcissism, I really don’t think he’s the man for the job.
Nevertheless, I think many Christians, somewhere way down deep, just want this whole thing to be over with, and if they get just the right man in just the right job, perhaps they can kick start this whole Armageddon thing so they won’t have to defend their faith ever again. How else could they back a guy who won’t even ask Christ for forgiveness, a matter that I was always taught to be the only real deal breaker? In the meantime, it doesn’t seem as if many of them are too concerned about the credibility of their religion anymore.
I didn’t get past the border discussion with my dad, and I’m glad that my mom changed the topic of conversation to ice cream, because I’m not really sure if I want to hear any more of his reasons for considering Trump as a viable possibility for president. I don’t think my dad will actually follow through with voting for Trump, but I find it a tad bit troublesome that he, and other Christians, are even considering it. I don’t really consider myself to be a Christian anymore, but I still have a deep and abiding relationship with Christ, and I look for that essence when I choose my mentors and leaders. It is the travesty of that religion that more Christians don’t do the same.
However, there is still a movement of credibility through the Church. Many Christian leaders have banded together to sign a petition, to “make it publicly clear that Mr. Trump’s racial and religious bigotry and treatment of women is morally unacceptable to us as evangelical Christians, as we attempt to model Jesus’ command to ‘love your neighbors as yourself.'” Certainly, the limitations of our two-party system of government do not leave evangelicals, or even more moderate Christians, with many other choices, but hopefully, some of them have enough faith left to realize things are going to work out regardless of how this presidential theatrical production plays out anyway.