But Is It Worth It? A Question to Christian Trumpists

But Is It Worth It? A Question to Christian Trumpists February 10, 2024

But Is It Worth It? A Question to Christian Trumpist

By Christian “Trumpists” here I mean simply Christians who support Trump for President regardless of his obvious moral and character failures.

I recently watched and listened to a MSNBC segment featuring journalist and commentator Lawrence O’Donnell. It’s on Youtube. There he says he has interviewed numerous Trump supporters, including Christians (I assume), who acknowledge that Trump’s very serious character flaws but say they will support him no matter what. Why? Because, if re-elected, he will continue appointing conservative Supreme Court justices and lower taxes and (for Christian Trumpists) side with conservative Christians’ values and issues.

I know some Christian Trumpists who will simply say that, in spite of Trump’s character flaws, they will support him because the alternative is always worse.

My question to Christian Trumpists is: But is it worth it?

Trump has stated publicly that IF re-elected he will be a dictator for one day, the first day in office. He has publicly stated that he will seek revenge on his opponents and critics. He has publicly stated that he believes he could, as president, commit violent crimes and be immune from prosecution. He has publicly stated that he … I could go on and on.

As a historian, of sorts (historical theology), I have studied the political and social situation in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. I lived there, in Munich, in the 1980s. I interviewed Germans whose parents supported Hitler. One old man called the 1930s in Germany “die schoenste Zeiten” (the most lovely times). All Germans knew about Hitler’s character in the 1920s and his attempt to overthrow the government of Bavaria in 1922. Most had a copy of Mein Kampf (My Struggle) in their homes. Even after the Night of the Long Knives when Hitler had many of his critics and opponents assassinated most Germans supported him. Why?

Because he brought about an economic renewal of Germany, created jobs, talked up “Make Germany Great Again” (restoring German pride), opposed Germany’s so-called “enemies,” and promised to defeat communism, the greatest threat seen by most Germans, whatever it took. Very few people now remember or ever learned that in 1919 (or thereabouts) a group of communists took over Bavaria and created a “Soviet Republic” there.

The parallels to American politics today are stark. I’m not here comparing Trump to Hitler but many Trump supporters to Germans who supported Hitler in the 1930s. They are good people, the salt of the earth (or many of them are). I know some personally and admire and even love some of them. But my question to them, especially Christians, is: Is It Worth It?

What if you became convinced that if re-elected Trump would become dictator of America and abolish democracy? Then appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn court decisions with which conservative Christians strongly disagree? What if Trump abolished the Supreme Court when it disagreed with him? What if Trump had some of his most vocal critics and opponents arrested (for nothing more than criticizing him and opposing him)? What if he blatantly committed crimes? Would it be worth it?

I remember the early 1970s in America very well. I knew conservative Christians who supported Richard Nixon absolutely uncritically and unconditionally because they hated and feared Democrats who, they believed, would lead America into communism or at least be “dupes of the communists” and betray American capitalist values. I remember some in my own church who insisted that Nixon was just a victim of a “communist conspiracy.” That even after he resigned! And that even after his Oval Office tapes revealed his lewd, foul, abusive and vulgar language. His character didn’t matter to their unconditional support of him. They considered his resignation a terrible defeat for “Christian America” by which they meant “anti-communist America.”

Is it worth it to vote for a presidential candidate to see him elected to side with conservative Christians on a few issues of importance to then only to possibly see him become dictator and see democracy fail?

Honestly, I think one reason many conservative Americans support Trump unconditionally and uncritically is their fear of immigrants. Personally, I suspect the current wave of undocumented immigrants from Latin America is one of the deepest causes of that support. But let’s imagine that Trump, as president, could stop it. (Something I’m not at all convinced can be done.) Would it be worth it IF he became dictator and ruined democracy in America forever?

Another major cause of Trumpism is many white people’s belief in “replacement theory.” That is, especially (but certainly not only) white American men have become obsessed with the belief that they are being shoved aside while their jobs and status are being taken by minorities (and often women)—with the help of left-leaning government leaders.

Of course, I know conservative Americans, including probably most evangelicals, do not believe Trump would become dictator or destroy democracy in spite of his rhetoric. That’s what most Germans thought after Hitler came to power by presidential appointment after winning only a plurality of votes in the 1932-1933 election. They were fooled by even some key leaders of the Weimar Republic, who thought they could control Hitler. And they could rein him in as long as President Hindenburg was alive. Should they have foreseen or at least forewarned themselves about Hitler based on his character throughout much of the 1920s? Yes, I believe they should have. They fell into denial about Hitler due especially to their fear of communism. Was it worth it? Today most would say no, but some still say yes.

Does character matter in a president? Ought we to overlook Trump’s most outlandish rhetoric, dismiss it as nothing more than bombast, and support him even though there are clear signs that he would be dictator if he could and that his inner character is deeply, profoundly flawed?

*Note: If you choose to comment, make sure your comments is relatively brief (no more than 100 words), on topic, addressed to me, civil and respectful (not hostile or argumentative), and devoid of pictures or links.*

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