Donald Trump is not God

Photo by Gage Skidmore

For some of you, I’m stating the obvious. For others; I’m not so sure. I’m a conservative, evangelical Christian. In my case, that doesn’t translate to being a political hardliner. I’m a registered Independent and I vote issues, not party dogma. Some of my closest friends are conservative evangelicals. They are beautiful people who voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump.

From our discussions (and you know what they say about religion and politics), I gather that my conservative Christian friends understand the president’s shortcomings. Their vote may be less of an endorsement of the man, and more of an endorsement of the policies espoused on the campaign trail; i.e, conservative justices appointed to the Supreme Court, strong stances on right-to-life issues, gun-control and terrorism.

Even with such a right-leaning policy agenda, there are influential folks in the conservative Christian movement who still find Trump unpalatable. On Inauguration Day 2017, famous conservative pastor, John Piper, published an article entitled, “How to Live Under an Unqualified President.” The title says it all. The blow-back on Piper was strong. I couldn’t follow all of the comments on the post, but a number of them vehemently disagreed with Piper or asked questions like, “Who has ever been ‘qualified’ to be president?”

This is a continuation of the narrative that numerous Christians adopted in the primary and general elections surrounding then-candidate Trump. In response to some of his damaging press coverage, an alternative story emerged which compared him to the Biblical King David, the Israelite Judge and strongman, Samson, and even John The Baptist- “A voice crying in the wilderness,” I suppose.

With these Biblical references in tow, candidate Trump could do no wrong. There was no act too outrageous; no sin too egregious; no failing too spectacular — nothing, that would disqualify him for the office sought, or tarnish his halo. He’d achieved something I’d never seen accomplished in church circles: parity with John The Baptist. Only this time, his followers would save him from martyrdom; the ultimate revenge on Salome.

Take that, John Piper.

On the other side of the issue are my less conservative Christian friends and others of varying faiths, including unaffiliated, who voted in equal fervor against the president. The reactions from these friends range from utter disbelief to fear, chagrin and panic. Whereas my conservative friends have elevated President Trump to sainthood, the more liberal-leaning folks have hailed him as Lucifer.

Some have decided never to use the words, “President Trump.” Some marched, protested and shouted, “No fair!” from the top of rooftops. Others have entered into a feeling of what Thoreau called, “quiet desperation.” They intend to oppose him at every turn, much like what they complained conservatives did to the last president.

In cities and towns all across America, protesters have been making their voices heard since election night. I remember watching one of the protests on cable news. I can’t remember what city it was, but there was a CNN reporter walking along with the protesters, asking them questions about why they were marching.

One man ran down a litany of complaints about the election, and why he was choosing to fight back with his feet. Right before concluding the interview, the reporter asked him, “So who did you support in the general election?” His response: “Bernie Sanders.”

There are credible reports of left-leaning people who voted in the general election for Bernie Sanders, Harambe, the ill-fated gorilla from the Cincinnati zoo, Jill Stein, or no one at all. Scores of people sat the election out, one way or the other, but then showed up to complain about the outcome.

I’m a naturalized citizen. I love that I live in a land where peaceful protest is not only allowed, but encouraged. It was moving to see throngs of women rise up and make their causes known in the Million Woman March. Some of my loved ones were there. I felt truly proud of them.

At the same time, the bitter irony was palpable. The women marched in protest of an election lost by the first female presidential nominee, a candidate whom the majority of women in the country failed to support. Could women have put Hillary Clinton in the White House? As fake Sarah Palin, Tina Fey, would chortle, “You betcha!” But they didn’t. That’s how the system works.

It’s not the end of the world for liberals, nor is it the Hallelujah Chorus for conservatives. This is the American Experiment working itself out. The republic was built to transcend any one leader. Conservatives wailed that the election of Barack Obama would crater the country. It didn’t. Now he’s moved on and another man is in charge.

He is a powerful man, but a man, nonetheless. We are neither in heaven nor are we in hell. Donald Trump is not God.

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