I grew up in the church. Once a week I’d sit in a little classroom, drink a juice box, sing some songs, and talk about Jesus.
We spoke of good Samaritans, of feeding 5,000 with a loaf of bread and some fish, of the resurrection, forgiveness, love, acceptance.
I grew up believing that the Christians were the good guys and America stronger for being a nation founded by good, Christ-fearing men. That in the end, God would provide. That in the end, if we followed the gospel of Jesus, we would make the world a better place. That we would shine like lights in the darkness, drawing others to us.
So why then, are Christians flocking to Donald Trump?
He’s claimed the majority of evangelical votes in Nevada, Massachusetts, and South Carolina, while receiving a ringing endorsement from Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University.
“He inspires us all,” said Pat Robertson, the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network.
It is here that I should expose my own biases.
I lean much further left than many of my fellow Christians, and don’t see Ted Cruz as a much better option as commander and chief. With that said, I can understand how Christians would be pulled toward the Texas Senator.
But Trump? Really? The guy whose been divorced twice? The guy who dragged his first wife through the mud with a public and glamorized affair? The guy with the strip club in his casino? I could go on, but it’s amazing to me that the Christian right that has so vehemently condemned gay marriage, is so quick to look away from his unapologetic sins and transgressions.
The hypocrisy reeks; it’s disgusting.
Anyone can stand before a crowd and profess to be Christian. But doesn’t the bible teach us to look out for just these characters? The wolf in sheep’s clothing and the pharisees that Jesus warned against? Walking the walk and talking the talk, that whole thing. To their credit Christians writers such as Max Lucado and Peter Wehner have written impassioned pieces against Trump and it seems irresponsible to not shine a light on their rational and succinct words.
What, I wonder, would Christian conservatives be saying about Trump if he was running as a democrat?
You scoff, but he’s changed his party affiliation five times since 1987. Pick any of Trump’s greatest hits, “I could shoot someone in the middle of Time Square and not lose any support,” for example. What would the response be if he called himself a liberal or, gasp, a progressive?
Evangelicals from sea to shining sea would be in an uproar. Horrified at the rise of such a toxic and violent man. They’d be speaking about integrity, compassion, and moral probity (something that evangelicals rated highly when Bill Clinton was in office and revealed to be having an affair). But instead he’s an inspiration to those that Christians look to as leaders while Obama is the anti-christ.
Somewhere along the way, Christians associated the Republican party as the party of God. It’s led to a group mindset that anyone that labels themselves as conservative must have been anointed by God and are ready to live and lead with Christian values. We’ve been hoodwinked, and Trump is riding the coat tails to a party nomination. He’s turning the fear some feel towards those that are different (Syrians, Hispanics, and Muslims) into hate. He’s inciting bigoted stereotypes.
As Master Yoda says, “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”
Are we, members of the richest country on earth, supposed to look down on those seeking asylum and spit on the ground? That’s what Trump says we should do. But not Jesus. Which of these charismatic men are you going to listen to? For you cannot have both.
“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.”
~ Jesus in the book of Matthew
The time has come to separate faith from political affiliation, they aren’t mutually exclusive.
We can bicker about Hillary’s emails or Bernie’s policies until the end of days. But at the core, Trump’s rise has never been about his politics. It has been about inciting anger and fear that is sweeping like wildfire across the country and has swallowed up Christianity.
It’s not too late.
For much of my youth I wore a little wrist band with four letter inscribed on it. We’ve all seen them—W.W.J.D. What Would Jesus Do?
Would Jesus mock the reporter with disabilities? Belittle a women for her questions and ask her if she was menstruating? Call a race of people rapists and thieves?
It’s time to look beyond the republican elephant for the larger one standing in the room. The Christian reputation depends on it.
Author: David Cannamore
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Matt Brown/Flickr