To Christians who support Donald Trump
Let’s get this out of the way: you probably aren’t racist or xenophobic or stupid. Donald Trump probably isn’t any of these things. (It’s more accurate that he never has mastered his own tongue.) I think it’s a mistake to vote for the man, but not for all the reasons I keep hearing on the news. No, people should stop supporting Trump because his best (and only) argument turns out to be an elaborate front. Trump’s message is:
- America has lost its greatness.
- I’ll get it great again.
Between economic, social and cultural concerns, ~70% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. Hillary Clinton represents the nation’s current direction about as well as any anyone, so there are plenty of people willing to vote for Trump as a “lesser of evils”. For Christians who care deeply about the lives of unborn children and know the next president will profoundly shape the Supreme Court, any Republican seems a better bet than Mrs. Clinton.
No doubt that’s why Mr. Trump’s campaign released a very carefully worded letter proposing steps his administration would take to prevent expansion of abortion policies. To those of us concerned about the nation’s abortion rate, that platform sounds pretty good. If Mike Pence were the candidate for President, I might believe he’d follow through. Trump, however, will have forgotten these promises long before inauguration.
Here’s the thing: Trump’s cares about himself and his image above all other considerations. To illustrate, let’s roll back the clock all the way to 1997 when one of the biggest websites on the infant internet was the Motley Fool—an investment site born on AOL. One of their real-money portfolios bet that Trump’s public company would fail. The basic premise was that Trump’s public offer loaded up with debt that it could not repay. It was absolutely a correct thesis. Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. declared bankruptcy a decade after IPO.
But Trump’s failed business isn’t my point. His daughter, Ivanka, read about the short and told him, “Daddy, the Fools say that you have a crummy company.” As a result, The Donald called the portfolio managers to his office and promised them he’d pay down the company’s debt. It was a promise that had the desired effect in that the Motley Fool stopped writing about Trump’s crummy company. But he didn’t bother making the company less crummy since it proceeded to go deeper in debt. If he had any intention of saving the business, it’s hard to tell from the outside. How then can we trust him to keep his political promises?
Mr Trump is the master of saying what you want to hear and doing what’s best for him at the expense of others. And that should be even more important a concern to Christians than the membership of the Supreme Court. I think we can (and probably must) overlook minor ethical failings in our politicians, but we can’t ignore the type of hubris we see in Donald Trump every news cycle. We can’t ignore his that his grasp of truth makes Bill Clinton look like George Washington. We can’t ignore someone so self-absorbed he invents new personas to talk himself up.
Now I can’t bring myself to vote for Mrs. Clinton, who has her own difficulties with honesty. Meanwhile, the minor party candidates are best viewed from a distance. So I’m in a position that seems uncomfortable and strange—I feel powerless in the political process. And that’s just fine. As Paul once said:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.(Romans 13:1 ESV)
Whoever is elected as our President, let us not grumble at his or her authority. Instead, let us use our newfound humility to do what Jesus called us to above all: serve those in need. Now that we have a taste of what it is to be powerless, let us be compassionate toward those who have always lived that way. Maybe we can become examples for our new leader to follow.
Your brother in Christ,