Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Trump In the Temple

"Be smart," they told me. "Avoid politics and religion," they told me.  Smart was never my strong suit...

There seems to be a lot of confusion and debate in both the media and the Christian community about why Donald Trump has become an acceptable candidate for the Evangelical church. There should be no confusion at all. It's a simple matter. Since the rise of the Moral Majority in the late 1970s, Christian leaders have been consistent in voice and committed to the idea that real Christians vote Republican. That's nearly 40 years of indoctrination for the average Sue and Joe who fill a pew on Sunday morning. Many of our pastors and leaders have made it very clear- a vote for a Republican candidate is a vote for Jesus. So the logical conclusion- and this reckless course we are now on- was inevitable. The fact that Mr. Trump has nothing in common with most conservatives, evangelicals, Christians or even many Republicans doesn't matter. Trump has no relationship with the church; he seemingly discovered the need for a belief system just in time to run for office and lure in voters. The leaders  have spoken for 40 years, and we have learned. He is a Republican. So vote for him. And based on poll numbers, much of the mainstream evangelical Church seems prepared to do just that - or at least they did until he began once again showing his true colors these past few weeks.

My point? We've spent too many years listening to the wrong voices. We have bought into the thinking that voting for a specific party is the way to "return our nation to God." Many of these leaders may have meant well, but the fact is they forgot the most important thing. Only one voice should speak for the Christian community. And that voice belongs to Jesus.

What would The Christ have to say about The Donald? Obviously I don't know. But there are things we do know. We know that Trump has said that winning is all that matters, that he lives for the art of the deal and that money is power. We know that he singles out specific groups of people that he finds unworthy of love and support. We know that he considers himself as a superior human being to many on this planet. We know that while Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers," Trump responds to every situation with confrontation and bomb slinging. And we know that all of those things are in direct contradiction of the teaching of Jesus. It is true that most politicians (indeed, most people) do poorly when their character and beliefs are compared to the Messiah. Hillary is no exception; her faults are many. But at least she is not pretending to be a Christian for the purpose of being elected, having spent her life as an active part of the United Methodist Church. All of us fall short of the example of Christ. But few fail the test as completely as Trump.

So how should the Church view the Republican nominee? Here's my take- and I fully confess it is a judgmental one. I think we should recognize that if the Christian community backs Trump, then we are opening the door to a money changer in the temple. You remember the story of how Jesus responded to them. He overturned tables, scattered their followers and threw them out of the temple. If we put Trump in the White House by allowing him into the temple, thinking he will lead our nation on the path of God, we should do it with the full knowledge that Jesus will probably have to throw him out. Or at least remind us that we should...

I wish I thought the Church would come around to understanding that politicians and patriotism cannot save us, only Jesus can- and he came for the world, NOT just for USAmerica. I wish our leaders would acknowledge that Trump may be a good politician but he's a horrible human being, and that the latter is much more important than the former. I wish the believers who scream "SOCIALISM" at every mention of the right sharing of resources in our nation would pause and read Acts 2:42. I wish lots of things. But right now, my biggest wish finds me in agreement with something my old friend Jacob Lupfer posted on Twitter a while back. I wish a year ago we had lined up behind Jeb Bush and given our nation a rational choice in November. Instead, we are starring into the abyss that would be a Trump in the temple. Vote for Trump if you must. But do not do it because he represents Jesus is any way, shape or form. Because he does not.

Because of Jesus,


  1. Janie Helton8/04/2016

    I agree. I read a commentary wherein Trump was compared to King Saul....just think about the similarities, Carl.

    1. Great comparison Janie. Thanks for your input!


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