Have you ever gotten a rash or a bug bite and you couldn’t stop scratching it? No matter what you did you couldn’t take your mind off how itchy it was.
Ideas can be like that. They are repeated and the more you hear them the more irritated with them you become.
One such idea for me is the idea that Donald Trump is an evil person. There is no doubt that Trump sounds like a jerk at times, but that is not the same thing as being evil.
Let me state that I am not a Donald Trump supporter. I will not be voting for him and I think he would be a bad president (though probably not as bad as the last 4). What bothers me is the total lack of critical thought given by people who want to paint Trump as evil incarnate and yet totally support other presidents and politicians that committed actual evil.
This itch flared up for me again this morning. A recent post, James Dobson and the Christian Right Sleep with the Enemy, from progressive Christian John Pavlovitz popped up in my Facebook feed. I agree with John’s basic premise. I have long been critical about the efforts of conservative Christians trying to effect change through the use of politics.
Then again, I am fairly certain that John’s problem isn’t the use of political power, but who the Christian Right aligns themselves with. He would be all for the unholy use of political power to accomplish the agenda he endorses.
This is the paragraph that set me off:
One of the most startling ironies, is that these are the same self-professed “defenders of the faith”, who for the last eight years have ruthlessly persecuted a President who has not only repeatedly professed personal spirituality, but whose conduct, marriage, and family are everything they claim they’re for. This was never good enough for them to support or pray for him—or even call him a Christian. Yet Donald Trump, in all his philandering, materialistic, racist, bigoted, misogynist glory is somehow worthy of reverence because somewhere deep down (in a way that only these leaders see), he loves Jesus. If you believe that I have some swamp land in Alabama for you.
Listen, you loose all credibility if, on the one hand, you are going to condemn Donald Trump as evil and on the other hand praise President Obama as righteous. To do so demonstrates that you have a political agenda to push that is every bit as big and ugly as the Christian Right has.
As history professor Brion McClanahan points out, President Obama is the latest in a long line of presidents who have abused executive power. In fact, in episode 30 of his podcast, Brion makes the claim that the Obama administration is the most lawless in American history. To me that is a big deal and doesn’t make a person virtuous.
That hardly touches the death and destruction that Obama continues to authorize in his ongoing support of unconstitutional wars in the Middle East. Not only have these actions led to thousands of innocent deaths, but they are also directly responsible for the current refugee crisis happening around the world.
According to John, President Obama is more Christian than Donald Trump because Obama supports the social justice causes that John equates as Christian. Donald Trump on the other hand has committed the grave sin of saying things that have been declared off limits by the Social Justice Warriors and other progressives. In other words, saying there needs to be a border wall with Mexico is a greater sin than issuing the order that kills innocent people.
The basic problem is that Progressive Christians and Conservative Christians want to invoke the name of Jesus in their crusade to remake the United States, and in doing so they can’t help but point at the other side and accuse them of being sinners.
I want to cry out and say,”Stop it! Quit trying to use the name of Jesus for political gain.”
American Christians need to remember that the Kingdom of God is bigger than the United States, and it doesn’t need the help of political power. We are to be citizens of the Kingdom first and foremost. While we retain a rooting interest in the political process, that is not to be our focus (see 2 Timothy 2:4).
There are plenty of reasons to believe Donald Trump would make a bad president, talk about them rather than painting him as evil incarnate. The reality is that the majority of our presidents have been more evil than Donald Trump could ever possibly be without the power of presidency.