If you’ve read any of my writing over the past year and a half, you’ll know that I make no secret of the fact that I have little good to say about the leadership of President Trump and you’ll know that I have little patience for those who profess to be Christians who have remained steadfast in their support of him. It’s incredibly hard for me to look at the words and deeds of President Trump and see any way that a Christian could square that history with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Yet, the most conservative segment of America’s Christian community remain Trump’s most rock-solid support base.
I’m far from the only Christian who has pointed out this seemingly glaring issue–many other progressive Christian voices have been clamoring for answers from the Christian Right about why they can possibly support such a blatantly unChristian-like leader. The answer that I have most commonly heard–beyond the standard he’s still better than Hillary–is that God has a habit of using flawed men to lead. They will often cite biblical examples such as King David to support their claims. To that response, I say fair enough. It’s clearly possible for God to use flawed men (or women) to lead–after all, we are all deeply flawed. But that response isn’t without its complications and it takes a heap of selective history to make it work for President Trump.
So, for the moment, let’s go ahead and grant the Christian Right Trump supporters their justification. Let’s concede, for a moment, that it is plausible that God could use a man like Donald Trump to lead his “most favored of nations.”
I still have questions for my friends on the Christian Right. What is it that Trump has done so far that has convinced you that he is carrying out the mission set forth for Christians by the example of Jesus Christ?
Is it his almost daily Twitter rants that belittle many of his perceived enemies–many of whom are the very people you claim God placed him in position to shepherd?
Is it the new tax reform that promises to make the rich much, much richer–widening our already astronomical national income disparity? What does the Bible say about the love of money, anyway?
Is it that same tax reform policy that will allow tax breaks for parents to send students to private schools while eliminating state and local tax deductions (SALT) that public schools have always counted on as a big part of their funding–a blatant attack in the ongoing war on public education?Is it his continued push to lock out refugees from war ravaged regions of the globe?
Is it because of the empathy he shows for those who belong to groups that promote white nationalism? Is it the racist undertones that ooze from all of his dog whistle statements about “making America great again”?
Just what is it that has you convinced that Donald Trump is being used to carry the banner of Christ’s mission?
I’m willing to listen…
But I have some more questions, too.
If God placed such an obviously flawed person as Trump to lead us, what about President Obama? Did God choose him, too, or did God just let us choose that time? What about Bush, Clinton, and on down the line? Do you want us to believe that God allowed us to use our free will until we screwed things up so badly that He had to step in and get us back on the right track by placing Donald Trump in the White House?
Right wing Christian friends, do you expect us to let you have your cake and eat it, too? If you expect us to accept that it was God’s will for a President Trump to rise to power then I am going to ask you to accept that God put previous leaders in power for a reason, too. Isn’t that only fair?
Isn’t it reasonable, based upon your premise, that God placed President Obama in the White House to lead us out of the dismal economic situation he inherited with 8 years of steady economic recovery? Was it God’s will that a flawed Obama was able to pass a flawed health care bill that gave coverage to millions of flawed people who were previously without coverage?
Did not God also place other leaders over us before Obama for a reason?
By the same token, what about the Supreme Court justices of the past? Did God place Roger Taney over the Supreme Court to hand down the ruling in the Dred Scott case in 1857? I find it unimaginable to think that awful blot on America’s historical record was God’s will. Forty-five years ago this month, the Supreme Court ruled on the case called Roe v. Wade. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that none of you, friends on the Christian Right, believe that ruling reflected God’s will.
So what’s the answer, conservative Christian friends? Who gets to discern when leaders are placed by God and when they are not?
Do you begin to see why supporting someone on the basis that God can use flawed people to lead has some very sticky implications?
What if God placed Donald Trump in power to show us all, once and for good, how dangerous it is to mix religion and politics?
If God gives us free will, shouldn’t we take that as a great responsibility when we exercise our popular sovereignty with our vote?