The man who would be king

The Republican Party likes to identify itself as the defender of Christian values against the tides or marching hordes or fifth columns — the imagery used implies more variation in thinking than they’re actually capable of performing — of liberalism. The War on Christmas is to them as urgent as the War on Terror, though their means of fighting these conflicts promise to destroy the very freedoms that they claim to value.

One problem with all of this is the fact that these supposedly Christian Republicans don’t show any awareness of what’s in the book that the claim to value: the Bible. For them, the book is merely a black leather cover with gold letters that is revered as an icon, not as a text.

Take as an example of this the story of King Hezekiah, found in the twentieth chapter of Second (not Two) Kings. His majesty is given blessings for purifying the temple, but later in his life, after an illness that he begs to be cured of, he is visited by the ambassadors from Babylon and brags to them about his wealth, showing them the treasures in his storehouses. When the Lord sends Isaiah to the king to prophesy on the way that his possessions and children will be taken by the same Babylonians after his death, Hezekiah responds in verse nineteen, “‘The world of the Lord that you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?’” (New Revised Standard Version)

Sound familiar? Today, gold and spices are not as important a part of the economy as they were in the ancient world, and the precious oil is different. We still value our armories, though they are orders of magnitude more destructive. However, what holds the greatest value now is information, and the man who would be king over America has invited our rivals, the Russians, into the metaphorical storehouse of our treasures to inflate his ego.

That a megalomaniac would do this comes as no surprise. What is disturbing is the fact that the supposed Christians of the Republican Party have forgotten the texts that they are supposed to believe. Trump may be satisfied with the idea of the country or indeed the world coming crashing down after him, but good people should oppose this with all our strength.

Unlike many Christians, I don’t hold the Bible as the book above all others, but it is one of humanity’s key texts, and I’m willing to learn from it. To refer to another text therein, in human behavior, there is little if anything new under the sun, and willful ignorance makes that so. But the lessons are there for us to read and employ if we have the will.

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