Who is God? Excerpt from Christianity in the Age of Trump
Trump and the Christian right
In 2016 Donald Trump was elected president of United States. Following his win he was inaugurated on January 21, 2017 witnessed by a lackluster crowd of relatively small numbers of people. The very next day, in the same location, an overwhelmingly huge crowd of folks, mostly women came as part of a grassroots movement called the Women’s March, to protest his inauguration. The total number of women in Washington, DC that day was around ¼ million; but other groups of women gathered around the nation and around the globe in solidarity with this movement was estimated at five million. Many on both sides of the ticket had anticipated Hillary Clinton would be elected the first ever woman president of our country, but it didn’t happen. In the shock, horror and frustration of Donald Trump’s election this tidal wave of protesters appeared, as if out of nowhere.
During the campaign cycle something worth noting, was in the Christian right’s (evangelical Christian’s) overwhelming embrace of Trump as their undisputed champion for their conservative Christian coalitions. Ordinarily this is not so unusual, but because it was Donald Trump, a despicable human being, it became a very curious deal! If the Christian right was naive about this fact it would be one thing, but this very large and very active ultraconservative group of people openly claim their awareness of his immoral behavior; they claim full awareness that he is a compulsive liar, a shady businessman, a whore monger and a racist! They are aware of all of the factors that make him despicable, yet despite this they still back him 100%. And 2 ½ years into his first term he has amassed quite a streak as a pathological liar, over 10,000 (update: 12K) documented lies, both in official and unofficial capacities. The rightwing Christians seem to be perfectly fine with this. Not only are they fine with this in Donald Trump as a person they are fine with it in him as a president. They don’t seem to have a problem with how his immorality and his compulsive lying is impacting their own personal witness and what the children in their circles must think. They are perfectly fine with how their ongoing support of him, this horrible head of state, puts a huge stain on Christianity as a whole. The Christian conservative evangelicals seem to be perfectly fine with this kind of behavior in a president; they appear unruffled by the potential for negative fallout or collateral damage upon the greater Christian community their continued support might prove to have.
They seem totally oblivious to what other Christians’ views might be or whether other Christians are with them or not—even those within their own denomination. They seem okay with supporting Donald Trump even if it besmirches the good name of Jesus, Himself. There seems to be nothing that Trump can say or do that is despicable enough to shake their loyalty and support for him. They have proven themselves in this, time and again, in their willingness to promote any and all smoke and counter spin his political base puts out to cover his disgusting behavior and colossal ineptitude. Now, 2½ years into his presidency, the support offered to him by these same Christian groups has not diminished, in fact it has grown that much stronger. Many commentators and analysts on both sides of the political aisle have been fascinated by this phenomenon; most on the liberal/ progressive side have become alarmed and have been talking impeachment. I’m writing from a liberal perspective but the purpose of this book isn’t to bring one more political perspective to bear, but to ask a totally different sort of question and to open a new topic for discussion which orients from a religious/Christian realm. This pivotal question is: what brings people of faith to, not only tolerate someone like Donald Trump, but to unabashedly support him (and to continue doing so) well into his first presidential term? What’s more, in the event Donald Trump does get reelected, it will be due—in large measure—to efforts of these same Christian-minded people.
In examining this phenomenon we will ask some basic questions that are apt to bring forth some, potentially, surprising answers. One of the secondary ramifications of his presidency has to do with an ever deepening and widening cultural rift; a rift whose effects have surely been penetrating deep into the folds and recesses of the national fabric and are being felt in faith communities across America, at an intra-congregational level, regardless of denomination. It is effecting worship services and bringing a self-righteous tenor into the sanctuary and leaving varying levels of spiritual incongruity and ill will. And now that it’s out of the can, so to speak, is it even possible to put it back in? Would doing so be the best move? Will Christianity as a whole be able to recover from such a rift? If so, what would initiate such a recovery? Would it be some sort of program? If so, which denomination would run things? Is this something so big and so complicated that only God can figure it out?! Will this condition continue until Jesus Himself comes back to put things right? The way Christianity was once divided up into several denominations which featured their own particular talking points, today what seems to matter way more than denominational differences is this rift which divides people in their belief about who God actually is!