As we near the November election, it’s impossible to not think about what happened four Novembers ago, and the rather large surprise that resulted.
Yes, it’s understandable why many could not vote for Hillary Clinton (though the majority actually did – thanks, electoral college!) given the flurry of images and swirl of words that painted her as decidedly unlikable. But still, the preference for Trump . . . ?
And what seems most mysterious of all is some of those who supported him. Reportedly one of the significant blocks of these was evangelical Christians. And while there’s no way knowing if this group will again make him their choice, the possibility of doing so in 2020 would be bizarre. How does a Christian vote for someone who is seemingly so much more in the camp of . . . well, if not the devil, at least the overwhelming forces of hate and fear.
If you can possibly stand the comparison – and the extreme contrasts – let me enumerate.
One of the indelible images of the Bible is Jesus driving the money-lenders from the temple, a basic assertion concerning the evil influence of money. And the Trumpster? – whatever else is happening to the economy, if the stock market is doing well, we’re all OK, we’re good.
And just as the stock market is a casino – taking one person’s money and putting it, seemingly without demure, in the other guy’s pocket — just one casino in Atlantic City wasn’t enough for him; he had to build three. (And I’m not even going to dwell on the difficulties of the rich man getting through the heavenly gates.)
Then there’s love for all mankind. If there is an over-arching principle in Christianity it is the love for all humanity, that all deserve understanding and forgiveness, that Christ died for all, not just some special few.
Trump of course, totally fails this one. As an acknowledged Nationalist, as the No. 1 supporter of America and white Americans, one of the few “principles” he does seem to have is the hatred of immigrants, whether legal or illegal (exception: someone he would like to marry.)
And loving your enemies? – another cornerstone of Christian belief: that even your enemies can be forgiven and loved. But there is probably no one in the history of politics less able to show love for his enemies than Donald Trump, or able to turn the other cheek.
This stands out even most starkly when it comes to the number of his friends who, once dismissed as “disloyal,” are then fed to his revenge machine, targets of his furious twittering. One can’t help but wonder, if they are so terrible, how were these people his friends in the first place? Christ had only one disciple who turned against him. Trump has a long smorgasbord of the disloyal.
“What God has joined together, man must not separate” and other Biblical passages laud the sacredness of marriage and the sin of adultery. We’ll have to go a bit “National Enquirer” on this one since the twice-divorced president is a proven adulterer. This, of course, is part and parcel of his misogyny — grading women by their appearance and his serial abuse of them.
And the performance of miracles? Christ’s miracles set him apart from the common run of humanity, into the realm of deity, and Trump has attempted something like: the virus, he promises, is just “going to disappear”; though “I’m not a scientist,” he advises drinking bleach to protect us from the virus; and “I’m going to make America great again” – all miraculous promises that have simply fizzled.
These are only a few examples of this thoroughly unChristian presidency.
Yes, I know, there’s his support for overturning Roe vs Wade, which for his religious supporters apparently minimalizes all the bluster, bad manners, and record of immoral/illicit behavior. And they may see his appointment of another conservative judge to the Supreme Court as the key to accomplishing this.
Meanwhile, Trump’s concern for children includes their incarceration, the aggressive destruction of immigrant families, and the denunciation of climate change as a hoax — one that in its globe-spanning reality will in the coming years kill millions of children around the planet.
But it may also come down to something much more basic for evangelicals, who are largely of one skin color: power, the need to fight off the threat of dominance by non-white Americans — no other “principle” than that.