Is Donald Trump “Orange Jesus?”
According to a forthcoming book by former Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney, at least one influential Republican member of congress referred to Donald Trump as “orange Jesus.” So far I have not read or heard of any reliable refutation of that.
On MSNBC Lawrence O’Donnell has labeled that “blasphemy.” I’m a long-time and fairly educated and influential Christian theologian, so I should know what constitutes blasphemy. But I don’t. The dictionary definitions of the word blasphemy are of little help. What constitutes “blasphemy” is somewhat subjective and very few people would agree that their words constitute blasphemy.
I’m not going to give a definite answer to the question whether calling Donald Trump (or anyone) “orange Jesus” constitutes blasphemy. We theologians are (or should be) reluctant to do that until we know and understand ALL the circumstances behind and around words spoken or written.
I will say, though, that labeling anyone “orange Jesus” (or “Orange Jesus”) concerns me deeply, especially when that is done by a politician in office with power. If someone who did that wanted to be a member of my church (hypothetically imagining a church where I had some say in such matters) I would oppose that. If it’s not blasphemy, it is profoundly wrong and deeply disconcerting. I would go so far as to say, as a Christian theologian, that I would not consider someone who called someone “Jesus” a Christian (unless he or she was referring to the historical Jesus Christ). Even if it was meant as a joke, I would want the person to recant it and repent of it.
I have not yet read Cheney’s book. I hope to. She is just about the only contemporary Republican I trust (if she still is one). She is the only Republican (if she still is one) I would vote for. There may be others, but I don’t know enough about them to say whether I would vote for them or not. It seems that the Republican Party has turned into a political, quasi-religious cult. That is my personal opinion.
It doesn’t matter that I agree with SOME Republican beliefs; what matters is that the GOP today seems intent on promoting the power of one man who is, in my opinion, a demagogue, a would-be dictator, a dangerous person.
(For those who wonder, I am not a Democrat but an independent and have not yet decided whether I will or can, in good conscience, vote in the next presidential election.)
Let me just add, because I have Republican and even Trumpist friends, that I do not hate any of them and consider them friends even if we strongly disagree about Trump and the current Republican Party. I hope they can agree to disagree and remain friends. That fact that I have to “hope” for that says a lot about today’s political climate in America. I’m old enough to remember when Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil were friendly to each other.
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