Today we will have yet another Trump arraignment.
I’m beginning to lose track of them all.
This time, the arraignment is in Washington DC, on four charges: “conspiracy to defraud the United States, witness tampering, conspiracy against the rights of citizens, and obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding.” That brings the indictment count, adding up the state and local felonies, to 78. It’ll be higher when we get the indictments in the State of Georgia. He’s also been found to be a liar and a rapist in a civil court, and ordered to pay millions in damages.
Unless he drops dead of a massive heart attack before the trial, I don’t see how he gets out of this unscathed.
His acolytes are dwindling, but he still has plenty. They are treating this like another persecution– not that our democracy was nearly toppled and five people brutally killed, but the fact that he’s being held accountable for his role in it. I don’t think there’s any way to get through to the remaining Trump worshippers.
And after all this, he’s still first in line for the nomination for the Republican party.
He could very well go head to head with Joe Biden in another presidential race– in between trials or even from prison. A recent poll had him tied with Biden in the general election. I don’t give much credence to polls after the 2022 midterms, but anything could happen.
I have been thinking, yet again, about the thing I call American Christianity: not all Christianity practiced by Americans, but this uniquely American brand of Christianity which is so destructive.
The Christianity which does not say “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also,” but rather “they’re coming for your guns and you ought to be ready for war.” Not the Christianity that says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus,” but rather says “the queers and the illegals are your enemy, the lazy Blacks are below you, and they’re all coming to take all you have.” Not the Christianity that says “you cannot serve both God and mammon” but the one that worships mammon, and rich men for the sake of mammon. Not “Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant” but “non serviam.” Not “my Kingdom is not of this world” but “All these I will give you if you fall down and worship me.”
There’s nothing brand new about this Christianity. These heresies have cropped up from time to time wherever people have claimed to be Christians– so often that many have come to despise Christianity because of them. There are countless people who consider their rejection of Christianity to be a service to God, due to the horrific example of these types of Christians, and they’re not wrong. Christ had some words about a millstone, and it wasn’t for those who reject Christianity due to another’s sin.
It is a Christianity that has more in common with what little I know about ancient Romans revering their emperor, than with the Carpenter of Nazareth.
It is anti-Christ.
The current emperor of American Christianity is former president Donald J. Trump. I honestly thought that, by this point, they’d have crowned his successor, but they haven’t. DeSantis is trying as hard as he can to take his place. He’s cruel enough. But DeSantis lacks Trump’s toxic infectious Reality Television charisma. He can’t command a nation. The other candidates behind him are polling in the single digits. I don’t see a non-presidential figurehead, a televangelist or a self-help expert or anything of that sort, rising up to be the new leader either. It’s going to be Trump for awhile yet.
There is nothing I can do except continue to insist, as I have insisted for seven years now, that this man is evil, and his worshippers are deluded. I do this because I’m right, and that’s enough. But I also do it because I am a Christian. And Christ is mocked and tortured and crucified again and again by the heresy of American Christianity.
Trump isn’t the Antichrist, but he is an antichrist. He is someone people flocked to because they thought he could save them from the enemies of their brutal caricature of Christianity.
He’s beginning to get his comeuppance now. Antichrists always do, eventually.
Eventually, American Christianity will move on. They will still be a danger, but not in this way.
In the meanwhile, here we are.
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.