Jesus, Trump, and American Morality
The hypocrisy is truly staggering
Posted July 27, 2016
Imagine a hard-core vegetarian wearing an “I heart veal” T-shirt. Or think about a Libertarian who yearns for only one thing: increased governmental oversight. Such hypothetical individuals are – obviously – blatant contradictions. And that’s why they don’t actually exist.
There is, however, one confounding contradiction that does exist in American society today in numbers most plentiful: Evangelical Christians who love Donald Trump.
According to recent surveys, three-fourths of Evangelical Christians want Donald Trump to be our next president. This is a man who holds little faith in the sanctity of marriage, mocks the disabled, denigrates women, engages in juvenile name-calling, disparages our Mexican and Muslim brothers and sisters, encourages Russia to hack our emails – and above all – has devoted his life to the greedy accumulation of as much money as is possible to accrue.
And Evangelical Christians love him.
It doesn't make much sense. After all, Evangelical Christians supposedly consider the Bible the holy word of God. Presumably they read it. And Evangelicals pride themselves on loving and obeying God and seeking to do his will. How can they study the Bible and worship God and love His Only Begotten Son Jesus – and want Donald Trump as president?
* Jesus taught that one cannot serve both God and Mammon, that is, money and material wealth (Luke 16). Donald Trump has spent his entire life worshipping Mammon. He is, indeed, the ultimate embodiment of it.
* Jesus blessed the meek (Matthew 5). Donald Trump mocks the meek.
* Jesus blessed the poor (Luke 6). And no, this is not just “poor in spirit” – but poor as in poverty. Donald Trump calls the poor “morons.”
* Jesus condemned the rich (Matthew 19). Donald Trump worships wealth and seeks to make the rich ever richer.
* Jesus taught against divorce (Matthew 19). Donald Trump did it twice.
* Jesus taught that he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword (Matthew 26). Donald Trump lauds guns and is backed by the NRA.
* Jesus taught that we must render unto Caesar, that is, pay our taxes (Matthew 22). Does Donald Trump pay his? Well, he won’t release his tax returns. Why not?
* Jesus’s pregnant mother was denied a room at the Inn. Donald Trump’s main political platform is to deny millions room at the Inn. For Trump, refugees from war-torn nations and hard-working folks from poverty-ridden societies seeking a better life aren’t welcome in this, the most affluent country in the world.
In sum, as professor of ethics Andrew Fiala, author of What Would Jesus Really Do?, rightly observes, “Jesus emphasized our obligations to the poor; he condemned the idolatry of money, and he generally assailed the rich, the powerful, the hypocritical, and the self-righteous.” Jesus certainly would not vote for Trump; how strange that His most loyal devotees will.
At its best, Christianity is about charity, forgiveness, and peace. Yet Donald Trump’s cardinal virtues throughout the course of his life have been selfishness, narcissism, and looking out for Number One (himself). Has Donald Trump ever lifted a finger to help anyone in need beyond his own immediate circle? He has never fought to end poverty, or worked for the rights of the disabled, or helped to improve our schools and hospitals, or make sure veterans are well-supported, or that the elderly have access to affordable medicine. No record of public service to speak of.
Isn’t Christianity, above all, about love? How can these hardy Evangelical Christians support a man who mainly sows hatred?
* * *
It is a taken-for-granted assumption in our nation that religion is equated with morality; God-lovers are presumably moral and atheists immoral, church-goers are supposedly more ethical than secular folks. Well, given the fact that those Americans out there who claim to love Jesus more than anyone, who attend church the most, who claim to value their Bibles above all else, and who claim to seek to do God’s will more than anyone – that is, Evangelical Christians – given the fact that they overwhelming support a flagrantly unethical man who fights for the rich and denigrates the poor and who has spent his life worshipping money and who’s political platform is largely based on showmanship and sowing fear and hatred – the fact that he is so warmly embraced by “people of faith” should render, once and for all, the notion that religious people are more moral than secular people a complete and utter falsehood.
Jesus? Trump? The two men couldn’t be more opposite. How they can have so many worshippers in common is truly beyond belief.
Fortunately, morality in this nation is alive and well. Our collective social conscience is in fine working order. The good people of faith in this nation – Quakers, Unitarians, Episcopalians, Jains, Catholics, Baptists, Pagans, Methodists, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Baha’is, Lutherans, Sikhs, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Seventh Day Adventists, Buddhists, Hindus, and that blessed one-fourth of Evangelicals – along with the growing number of secular men and women in America (humanists, atheists, and agnostics) – will band together to defeat Trump and his divisive agenda.
And in an ironic twist, Jesus’s most ardent followers will be politically defeated, but the morals and values that Jesus taught will prevail.