So let’s take some time to revisit last week’s emotional, beautiful funeral services for our 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush.
I wrote several things about the service last week, with one of those things being to point out how the current president, Donald J. Trump, acted like a petulant child (per usual) and refused to participate in the service, by reciting the Apostles’ Creed.
As I have pointed out, numerous times since that day, there would probably have been little attention paid to the image of a sour-faced Trump, standing board-straight, with the service program that contained the text of the creed held in the hand dangling at his side, were we not continuously bombarded by the Trumpian hordes with proclamations of his great, Christian faith.
Even former President Barack Obama, definitely no friend of Christians, was at least respectful enough to read along with the congregation.
It is the unearned exaltation of Donald Trump by evangelical Christians that put his faith life under a microscope.
So once again, let me remind folks of what the Apostles’ Creed is.
It is a statement of the Christian faith, not written by the 12 who followed Jesus, but long used by Christians to proclaim their faith in what those apostles taught throughout the New Testament.
And by “Christians” I mean regardless of denomination.
I’m finding that along with ignorance of the Apostles’ Creed, there are also Christians who have heard of the creed, but feel it doesn’t apply to them because they’re not Roman Catholic.
That misunderstanding is due to the word “catholic” that appears within the text of the creed.
Relax, folks. “catholic,” in that context, has nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church. It simply means the unified body of Christians.
I would challenge those who are not familiar with it to make it a point to check it out and see for themselves if it lines up with their beliefs.
I would also point out that if it does not, then you are not a Christian. How could you be? Faith in Jesus Christ, his virgin birth, death on the cross, and resurrection on the third day is at the very heart of the Christian faith. There’s not a word within the creed you can question and still claim to be a regenerated believer.
Was Trump (or any Christian) required to read it, in order to prove their salvation?
Not at all, but again, Trump drew attention to himself for his stubborn refusal to participate in a touching, spiritual ceremony.
Ok. I’ve taken us back here because it’s time call out Trump’s evangelical defenders.
One of those massive disappointments would be Franklin Graham, son of the legendary Evangelist Billy Graham.
Graham took to his Facebook page to attack those who pointed out Trump’s behavior at President Bush’s service.
“Guess what — I don’t usually sing in church. Why? Because I can’t carry a tune! And, I have no rhythm,” Graham wrote. “I have to watch someone else clapping or I get off beat, so usually I just keep my hands in my pockets. Look around in church sometime — lots of people aren’t singing.”
Ok. I have no idea what Graham’s singing has to do with the very simple task of reading from a script, as part of a funeral service, but…
Graham then blamed the media for launching the firestorm surrounding Trump not reciting the creed.
“Isn’t it a shame that the media and the Trump-haters couldn’t even let the funeral of a well-loved president go by without trying to find fault with President Donald J. Trump?” Graham asked. “Shame on them. Nay-sayers always pointing an accusing finger. Instead, let’s be thankful for all of the incredibly positive things he has done for our country (it’s a long list) and lift him and Melania up in our prayers.”
Graham highlighted my problem with Christians flocking to Trump’s adulteries, lies, and abusive language.
The reverend is more concerned for temporary political wins than upholding a godly image or winning souls.
Will a tax cut save a single soul? Are executive orders included in the Great Commission? How about rolling back regulations, or appointing Supreme Court judges?
After newly-appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined with liberal justices to reject a fair hearing on a case to defund abortion centers in some states on Monday, I think we can put aside hope for a SCOTUS pick that makes a difference.
Which of those things make a smooth path for a lost soul seeking redemption? When the dark and hurting world looks for salvation, which of those things lights the way, and which of those things will any of us take into the life after this one?
Graham further took his act to his Twitter page.
“The Pharisees are after @POTUS because he didn’t sing at the funeral of President George H.W. Bush or recite the Apostles’ Creed,” the 66-year-old Graham wrote.
The Pharisees had no belief in Jesus as savior. They would not have recited the Apostles’ Creed, either.
The Pharisees, as Jesus pointed out, wanted to be close to power. They wanted the best seats at the banquet table, and to be exalted in the squares of their communities.
They also condemned Christ. Are we to now assume Graham is equating Donald Trump to Christ?
I read Graham’s Facebook post. The amount of people scoffing at the Apostles’ Creed (see: condemning a declaration of faith in somebody not named Trump), ignorant of what it was, or just there to be nasty against those who fail to support Trump was depressing.
Many of them even said, outright, “I don’t believe in it.”
This is what devotion to Trump has stirred up in the evangelical corners of the American church body.
It’s an ugliness unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life.
I would like to believe Franklin Graham is simply misguided, but the man is the son of Billy Graham. He has forged an incredible ministry, in his own right. That he has shown himself incapable of speaking out against Trump’s behavior, or at the very least just staying out of it, is going to ruin his family name, I am afraid.
Some have even gone as far as to say Trump’s refusal to proclaim Christ openly just proves the Cyrus excuse some have been using about Trump.
That’s a stretch. And it’s equally disgusting, to be frank.
I’m left to question how much proof do those “Trump Christians” need before they start caring about the reputation of the Christian church more than they do political wins?