My concerns about the evangelical church and Trump

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Faith leaders pray with President Donald Trump during a rally for evangelical supporters at the King Jesus International Ministry church on Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Faith leaders pray with President Donald Trump during a rally for evangelical supporters at the King Jesus International Ministry church on Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Please allow me a little license and describe myself and where I am coming from. I am a conservative Christian and would define myself as Evangelical. That term “Evangelical” is widely defined in the press and in the pulpit to cover any variety of beliefs and congregations.

For some time the term “evangelical” has become a synonym for Christians in general, in spite many differing opinions on just what that means. The definition I use to define me is “an evangelical Christian is a believer who holds to the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith alone.”

I have frequently read of the evangelical support of President Trump from clergy and parishioners (see below for a few links), as well as, much less frequently, the opposition to President Trump and his behavior and policies.

https://bipartisanreport.com/2020/06/15/powerful-religious-leaders-surprise-gop-unite-against-trump/

What disappoints me and, to some extent embarrasses me, is how so many Christians are willing to excuse or even ignore the behavior of a man who has no regard for the truth and claims to have a view of sin that is laughable when he said to Anderson Cooper:

“I try and lead a life where I don’t have to ask God for forgiveness, Why do I to ask for forgiveness if you’re not making mistakes? I work hard, I’m an honorable person.”  (https://www.gospelherald.com/articles/56750/20150725/donald-trump-grilled-on-his-christian-faith-i-try-and-lead-a-life-where-i-dont-have-to-ask-god-for-forgiveness.htmy)

I could go on and include the president’s adultery, lack of forgiveness, hatred for his enemies, to name but a few unchristian behaviors, each of which is specifically condemned by Jesus. I think, as I’ve written before, that there is little or nothing that reminds me of the teachings and behavior of Jesus in the behavior of President Trump. I have asked what it is about the actions and behavior of Trump that reminds fellow Christians of the actions and behavior of Jesus? I am answered by an attack on my own lack of support for such a great man.

But, my concerns are less about Trump than they are about the support he gets from both the pulpit and pew from his followers. I can understand that in 2016, virtually all of the United States was fed up with our politicians and maybe looked for a radical change that would “drain the swamp”. The answer appeared to be a brash businessman who vowed to bring change. Four years ago we needed a change, we wanted less politics and more business sense, and an opportunity for conservative supreme court appointees.

But what greatly distresses me is that in the face of almost four years of behavior that is, at best, uncivil; policies and tweets that alienate our allies and create divisiveness amongst our own citizenry; a grossly incompetent handling of the COVID-19 pandemic; a staff turnover of anyone who would disagree with him; and myriad other gaffs and personal paranoia, there is still a zealot-like support of him from my fellow Christians.

Am I to believe that we are willing to sell our souls and damage our witness to gain transient judgeships, jobs or tax breaks? This reminds me of the temptation of Christ when Satan offered Jesus an easy way to rule if He would just compromise on His basic beliefs.
I am also reminded of Jesus’ instruction when He told His followers in Mark 8:36, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

I think a fellow conservative, George Will, said it best and succinctly when he wrote about Trump and his supporters last month.

An article and thoughts by a true wordsmith that is well worth reading.

 

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/7/9/21291493/donald-trump-evangelical-christians-kristin-kobes-du-mez

https://www.npr.org/2020/07/08/888906337/unholy-examines-the-alliance-between-white-evangelicals-and-trump

https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/homb13/the_cost_of_the_evangelical_betrayal_white/

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