The Politics of Jesus vs. The Politics of Donald Trump

The Politics of Jesus vs. The Politics of Donald Trump January 23, 2024

The Politics of Jesus vs. The Politics of Trump


As an evangelical Christian, I have grave difficulties with the disparity between the politics of Jesus and the politics of Donald Trump. A huge chasm exists between who Jesus was and what Donald Trump now offers Christians. I want to show as clearly as possible the social/political ethics that derive from following Jesus. The difference faced by 21st century Christians rhymes with those experienced by Christians in the first century in the contest between Jesus and Caesar. The parallels are too striking to ignore.

Putting the matter as graphically as possible, Americans are choosing between Barabbas (Trump) and Jesus. Louisiana once elected Edwin Edwards governor over former KKK leader David Duke. The people knew Edwin was a crook, but the reasoning was “vote for the crook not the Klan.” Edwards won. Trump, however, is not running against the KKK, but with the KKK, white supremacists, Skinheads, and Neo-Nazis as some of his supporters.

Trump’s Messiah Complex

Jim Vickery, a retired lawyer and university president, is a native of Montgomery, Alabama. Vickey says, “I recently heard a youngish Iowa voter say on TV that Jesus sacrificed himself for our sins, and now defendant Donald Trump is doing the same thing for our country. He’s running in my stead to save our country.”

When I closed my open mouth, I thought, “OMG, defendant Trump has so bamboozled some voters, especially those on the religious right, that they are thinking of him in serious messianic terms — a phenomenon that history suggests always leads to disappointment and disaster in democratic republics. Alabamians ought to know. Why? Because perceiving a political candidate as a religious savior or even as particularly religious is wrong-headed and leads to pernicious consequences.”

Donald Trump Jr., one of the nation’s foremost apologists for the win-at-all-costs politics of his father, told an evangelical Christian crowd Dec. 19 that they’ve spent half a century turning the other cheek as Jesus taught and it hasn’t worked out for them.

Trump Jr.’s speech at the Turning Point USA gathering in Phoenix first was reported by Raw Story, then by Relevant magazine under the headline “Biblical Scholar Donald Trump Jr. Tells Young Conservatives that Following the Bible Has ‘Gotten Us Nothing.’” Then it was reported by Peter Wehner of The Atlantic under the headline, “The Gospel of Donald Trump Jr.”

Crucifying Jesus Again

A large portion of American Christians are screaming “Crucify Jesus!” The possibility of crucifying Jesus again has always been part of Christian thought since the Epistle to the Hebrews:

For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened and have tasted the heavenly gift and have shared in the Holy Spirit and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come and then have fallen away, since they are crucifying again the Son of God to their own harm and are holding him up to contempt. Ground that drinks up the rain falling on it repeatedly and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is cultivated receives a blessing from God. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and on the verge of being cursed; its end is to be burned over. Even though we speak in this way, beloved, we are confident of better things in your case, things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the[d] love that you showed for his sake[e] in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, 12 so that you may not become sluggish but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

The Idolatry of Following Trump

There’s a basic reason that this comparison has become necessary. The matter at hand has to do with idolatry. Based on the claims Trump makes, it is Trump who is the rival and what he rivals in the Lordship of God in Jesus Christ.  Trump is subordinate to Jesus the Lord. “It is Caesar, not Jesus, who bears the burden of proof—Caesar, not Jesus, who would attempt to pretentiously, idolatrously usurp the title of “king” for himself.” Likewise, it is Trump and not Jesus who is on trial. Jesus has not failed evangelicals; evangelicals have failed Jesus. Trump, Jr. couldn’t have been less aware of the truth when he denounced the teachings of Jesus as not doing anything for Trump and his followers.

The politics of Jesus defy and condemn the politics of Donald Trump. The politics of Jesus originate in the heart of God – the heart of love and compassion and justice. The politics of Trump rise from the primordial muck of a dark and chaotic evil that threatens the light.

Donald Trump taps into the force of darkness – the powers of this world which come from the Evil One. He has made the truth into a lie and the lie into the truth. This is a good working definition of evil. Evangelicals betray the faith in following the Lie.

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