This morning as I sipped my coffee, continuously reminding my son to keep eating his breakfast so as to not be late for school, I saw a clip on CNN of Donald Trump. He was giving a speech in Iowa to Republicans – in Iowa that largely means Evangelicals. What he said just infuriated me. He said, “I’m a good Christian,” but this hacked me off for reasons other than you might suspect.
To be fair to Mr. Trump, and provided some context, here is a larger selection of his quote. And, this is a link to the speech if you want to see the entire performance. The relevant quote begins at 14:33.
I will tell you, I’m a good Christian. Okay. Remember that. And I told you about Christmas, and I guarantee that if I become President we’re going to be saying, ‘Merry Christmas,’ at every store. We’re not going to be doing. Every store. Every store. The Happy Holiday, you can leave that over in the corner; Happy Holiday everybody. But, I’m saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to whoever the hell wants to hear it.
I’m not going to take much time here reviewing with you the numerous degrading comments Mr. Trump has made about women or how he has sullied the notion of Christian marriage. We don’t need to discuss the arrogance, bullying, and the sociopathic pursuit of wealth and power.
We certainly won’t spend time analyzing how he failed to take Jesus’ teaching about the Good Samaritan seriously when he Tweeted, “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so!” Yes, yes you are, and a good Christian would know that. Recall, Jesus, in the parable about the Good Samaritan, was a Jew speaking to Jews about what it meant to love your neighbor. The point of the parable was that a Samaritan, the enemy of the 1st century Jew, was the model for loving your neighbor/enemy. This was Jesus’ summation of what it meant to follow Torah. Hmmm. So, I won’t waste any more time dispensing with Mr. Trump’s claim; I’m quite sure no one is taking it seriously (cough, cough).
My frustration is not with Mr. Trump; we expect politicians to pander and lie. But, why is he lying like this? To whom is he pandering? Why does he believe that this little ditty will work? Who is really to blame?
Dear Christians (left and right), Please, refrain any further from injecting the needle of power into your arm. I understand that power is a potent drug; it’s addictive. I get it. This is an intervention, and you need help. And, Mr. Stanley Hauerwas is a reputable, accomplished drug counselor. Please, seek out his services. If you are not willing to take a few days and read a simple, short book offering you a different vision for how you can be the Church without the aid of state power then you . . . no, we have a bigger problem on our hands.
Constantine was wrong. Christendom is a failed model. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords humbled and humiliated himself. He set aside power, prestige, influence, violence, wealth, etc. He said those that are his will do likewise. So, go and do likewise.