For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:10
That verse has apparently become lost among the most conservative of Christians who continue to proclaim President Trump’s first year in office as a success. It’s high time it gets some more publicity.
The fact that so many far-right Christians continue to proclaim that Donald Trump is a champion of Christian values is, to me, easily the most troubling aspect of this bizarre administration. As more and more scandals come out, many of the most conservative Christians seem to be doubling down in their support of Trump. Most recently, Franklin Graham again spoke in defense of the president in the wake of Trump’s latest sex scandal involving a porn star. In his statement, Graham lauded the president for protecting Christian values. Really? When I think of all the examples of non-Christian behavior and attitudes displayed by the president in the first year of his term, I find that to be an absolutely preposterous claim.
Lately, whenever I have been involved in conversations with conservative Christians about the Trump administration I’ve begun to notice a common thread. When backed into a corner about the many scandals swarming around the Trump presidency, the one thing that most of them will hit back with is the economy. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen them say, “yeah, but how’s your 401(k) doing?” in a smug manner as if they just dropped the mic and walked off the stage. How shallow can one get? They normally refuse to give the Obama administration a bit of credit for 8 years of steady economic growth. They fail or refuse to remember what an awful state our economy was in when Obama took office in 2009. That’s disappointing, but what is disturbing is how they are willing to overlook a multitude of un-Christian values simply because their retirement portfolio is in good shape at the moment. They are willing to ignore the fact that Trump’s economic policies are set up to help the very few mega-wealthy but do very little to provide for the needs of the multitudes of needy.
This begins to reveal one of America’s deepest, darkest problems; income inequality. At the root of that problem is greed–the love of money. I can think of no more classic example of one who loves money than President Trump, the man that ultraconservative Christians think is protecting their values.Let’s look at some numbers on our income inequality problem.
Estimates vary, but according to President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address, America’s wealthiest 1% control 40% of our nation’s wealth. The bottom 80% control only 7%. Those numbers are astounding. The fact that a high percentage of that bottom 80% were instrumental in getting Donald Trump elected is no less astounding–particularly since President Trump’s proposed policies only figure to widen income inequality.
Here are some more numbers to chew. There are approximately 124 million households in the United States. If wealth were divided equally among them, each household would have a net worth of around $760,000. Yet, in reality, the bottom half of U.S. households, 62 million of them, have an average net worth of $11,000–that’s an average of the bottom half, which means, of course, that millions of those households are worth much less than $11,000.
Income inequality isn’t just an American problem. Oxfam recently released a report that showed that the richest 1% of humans were the recipients of 82% of the wealth generated throughout the world in 2017. No, it’s not just an America problem, but as the nation with by far and away the largest economy per capita, the spotlight shines hottest upon us.
Our nation’s most conservative of Christians claim that Donald Trump is the protector and defender of the values of Jesus. Many of the values they speak of, Jesus said little or nothing about. But Jesus said a lot about money and nothing I know about Donald Trump makes me believe that he is protecting and defending what Jesus had to say about money.
“You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:13
“Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust can destroy, and robbers break in and steal. Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. For your heart will always be where your riches are.” Matthew 6:19-21
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 19:24
Those are but a few examples. I can’t, for the life of me, understand how conservative Christians can justify their defense of the president based upon their current financial situation. It is as if they are literally saying that as long as they have money in the bank, nothing else matters.
How Christian is that?