Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.
Matthew 7:15-20 (The Message)
Over the course of the Trump presidency, I’ve had conversations with both Christians and non-Christians about the state of politics in the US, to include the candidacy and election of Donald Trump. More recently, coffee talk tends to start with his latest statements and actions. I don’t think many would disagree that, as Leader of the Free World, he has taken an approach that it…unique.
However, what surprises me more is how fervently he is defended, especially by Christians, both leaders and laypeople. It seems that there is nothing he can do or say that will cause them to at least acknowledge his faults, if not second-guess their support of him. Why is that? Why do more seemingly Christians believe in Trump’s professed Christianity than that of former President Obama, when every day his actions are in direct contrast with the most fundamental tenets of the Christian faith?
In the King James Version, the above verse reads “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” A pretty simple litmus test of a person’s character, right? Let’s walk through some of the things President Trump has said (words from his own mouth) and done (actions he took of his own accord) and test them as behavior of someone who has the moral and ethical character we seek in a Leader, if not a Christian.
He Lies about anything and everything.
There is so much evidence of President Trumps willingness to make untruthful statements, no matter how bombastic or easily disproved. From the moment he took office, exaggerating the size of the inaugural crowd, to as recently as yesterday, October 16th, when he declared that President Obama and other former Presidents did not make calls to the families of fallen soldiers. His apologists were less rapid in attempting to contextualize his words, especially before he doubled-down by blaming “his generals” on giving him inaccurate information. This is the same man that said he knows more than the generals.
Why does he do this? It’s not as though he is provoked to this (not that that would be an excuse). More interestingly, he never apologizes when he’s made aware of the truth that contradicts what he has said.
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
Matthew 15: 18-19 (KJV)
Could it be that this is his nature? That his first inclination, to start with deceit? Court records reflect this to be the case, that his word is often not his bond, that he defrauds, abuses trust, and generally wears the cloak of deceit.
The Bible does not excuse lying. It does not speak of context or mishearing. Still, too many Christians come to his defense, at the sake of their own credibility, rather than siding with truthfulness.
He Curses and Disparages Other Freely and Often
One of the great truths about Christianity is that it is an individual journey – the New Testament gives grace to everyone, especially those new in The Faith. This is important, because under The Law, there was no room for spiritual immaturity, and the penalty was death. So that is why the Bible speaks about fruits, because like a tree, if there are no signs of fruit bearing, the roots are dead. In today’s vernacular, it’s easier to discount smoking than cursing, I believe. Particularly cursing that is meant to disparage others. That is why I wince every time I hear President Trump call someone a “Son of a B****”, or use God’s name in vain. If he truly loves God and his neighbor as himself, this is the lowest bar he has to meet, right? Yet, he doesn’t. From making fun of a reporter’s disabilities during the election race, to disparaging the mother of Colin Kaepernick, he makes a practice of spewing the most vile words against those he dislikes.
And now his verbal assaults have raised the ire of North Korea to a point where we seem to be closer to nuclear war than ever before. For what purpose would you call the leader of another country names? How does that bring peace? How does that show respect? What does that say about you, as a person, let alone the representative of the United States?
He is an adulterer, philanderer, and sexual predator
Where to start? Currently married to his third wife, Trump’s two previous marriages ended in divorce. He married the former Ivana Zelníčková in April 1977; they were divorced in 1992, after Trump’s affair with Marla Maples. He married Maples in December 1993; they divorced in 1999. He has been recorded making crude remarks about women, including his own daughters. Over the past 30yrs, he and his companies have been accused of sexual harassment and gender discrimination over 20 times.
God’s grace is the only reason why any of us have any hope for salvation, yes. But as the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” At some point, you can’t continue to deny the evidence that this is a man who degrades women and sees them as sexual objects to conquest.
He is a racist
Now, I do not say this lightly – it is a descriptor that carries so much weight that I do not wish it upon anyone. But under any other circumstances in life, where I to experience the very same words and actions of a neighbor, employer, clergy or friend, there would be no doubt that they see myself and any other race dissimilar to their own as being inferior to theirs.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Matthew 22: 37-39 (KJV)
A few months ago, I was having coffee with a friend of mine, and they asked my “Do you think Trump is racist?” The question surprised me, because I felt that they, being a Christian whom I have known for almost 20yrs, would see the ugliness in his words and actions. But they did not – they truly believed that (in my view), his supposed Republican posture, Pro-Life stance, and (apparently) declaration of Christianity, absolved him in real time of all this. My response was simply this: you would not tolerate his behavior as an employer, a Pastor, schoolteacher, a neighbor, or a friend. So why do you excuse it now?
Need more proof? See: Puerto Rico. See: NFL players kneeling. See: Charlottesville.
What Say We Then? Are We Not Christians?
We live in perilous times, my friends. For too long, we’ve allowed the evangelical leaders to dissuade their flocks from the Bible’s own admonishment to be wary, watchful, of false prophets and charlatans. To believe that the end justify the means, a statement 180-degrees opposite of what we know is true.
We are His Sheep. But do not be sheepish about your Christianity.
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.
John 10:11-13 (The Message)
I write this not as rebuke of the individual’s right to vote their conscience. Nor to bring down our President. I write this to suggest, no, demand, that Christians take responsibility for their actions. And to hold their leaders accountable. What I expect is the same religious leaders who publicly supported the Republican party and candidates in the last election to also call them out on their lies, shameful behavior, and deceits from that very same stage.
Too many do not. Too many are so….scared? to believe that God can work through any candidate, any political party. Yes, pray for our leaders. Pray for our country. But you don’t put a fox in the hen house, then ask God to bless you with eggs.
Personally, I am tired of Christians apologizing for President Trump. I am exhausted from the countless discussions about whether he is racist, misogynistic, or just misunderstood. I’ve grown allergic to pro-Trump posts on social media, particularly those that fly in the face of Christian principles of love for your fellow man. And please, no more “I pray for our leaders”, ok? We lock criminals up in jail and bring church to them, we don’t let them roam the streets.
We need to be “righteously indignant” when someone wraps themselves in the Bible or even the American Flag, yet ignore what either represents.
There are wolves in the world, to be sure. And they do disguise themselves as sheep. Or, as shepherds. Are you watchful?
Heavenly Father, it seems as though the world has taken a dramatic turn further away from you in the past year. Our leaders, with all due respect, are failing us. We know that You have blessed us, yet each day we see more evidence of the wicked ways of man destroying what you have given this great country. Our ask God is that you heal the divisions, help us stand strong against the words and deeds that do not align with your Word and principles. And bring peace, love for our fellow man, faith in You as our provider. In Jesus’ name.