He may not win, but he’ll still end up in history books. Will he be just the footnote of who ran against the first woman president, or perhaps how he ripped apart the Republican party? Or will he be known as the man who took down the modern church?
Despite Trump being pro-philandering and anti-philanthropy, religious leaders continue to endorse him. Even if well-known Christians like writer Max Lucado and Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, remind believers that Trump has not displayed one Gift of the Spirit, large-platform players like Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Paula White (who admitted an affair with faith-healer Benny Hinn), are backing the sin-riddled Trump.
Politicians using religious-backing to obtain power is not new. History shows the church at large has struggled knowing what God would want when it came to a Baptist Democrat (Jimmy Carter) or America’s first Catholic president (John F. Kennedy).
But America has never seen this level of turning a blind eye on hate, misogyny, and corruption like it has in 2016. Trump’s Christian support is revealing what has been apparent to many in the last few decades — the Christian church is done with promoting love. It now resembles an angry, unrepentant mob grabbing at worldly position.
The church is plunging far from the Biblical teachings that flowered society during the Jesus Movement:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Let him without sin cast the first stone.”
Although Jesus, the Gospel, and God are supposed to be known for remaining steadfast, believers no longer are viewed by the growing number on nones as people eager to break bread, turn the other cheek, or dine among sinners. Now they’re often seen as gun-toting angry citizens, extolling the virtues of personal wealth.
Most likely influenced by one of America’s most secret, yet influential, political groups — the political Christian group The Fellowship (see Jeff Sharlet’s book The Family) — many church leaders are emphasizing the side of Jesus children didn’t learn about in Sunday School:
“Whoever is not with me is against me.”
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
With religious leaders like the Pope and Franklin Graham on diametrically opposing sides, will Trump cause the church to split even more — accelerating its current loss of members? Or is he simply the most publicized example to date to confirm the mainstream, evangelical and conservative Catholic church is no longer a moral beacon but a tax-exempt political party.