I remember the 2008 elections well because I had a choice to make and felt like my age gave me insight into McCain vs. Obama. I lived in Texas at the time—McCain country—and wasn’t worried about him carrying the state. So, I did what anyone would do and tried something—voting for Obama.
As expected, McCain carried Texas but lost the election. My playing with electoral math and “Why does it matter?” attitude won the day, and Hans now would try to shake sense into Hans then. (It was less about the vote itself and more about the attitude with which I approached it.)
Not so this time.
I don’t speak on behalf of my church in this, but I speak on behalf of my convictions and what I see as something quite significant happening in our country—people applauding, chanting for, and anointing a boisterous businessman as the best hope for our country. It has to stop.
First, Trump has scraped away the crust of evangelicalism and exposed much of us (it?) for what it is: convictionless, angry, fed-up people who, with little theological bearing, believe change best comes by building walls, blowing things [people?] up [caution: expletive], and getting rich (but maybe not). (Pay no mind to the fact that there is no real plan for how a Trump presidency makes you rich. Who cares, right?) Want to win with “The Evangelicals”? Simple. Hold up a Bible with your name and address in it and talk about how it is special.
Second, Trump appeals to the flesh in every single way. If you actually turn in Trump’s Bible to Galatians 5:19-21 (don’t count on those Evangelicals to actually find Galatians), here is what you find:
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Read the list again. You know what a lot of the press was about during the Nevada caucus? Voter anger. Further, it doesn’t take long to find records of Donald Trump bullying folks, speaking sexually (and, at times, explicitly) about different women in the world he has slept with or wanted to, or simply saying whatever he wants to get votes. Trump knows how to tap into the most un-Christian parts of those said-to-be Evangelicals, and they seem to love it. We seem to love it.
Today, Trump picked up the endorsement of pastor Robert Jeffress at First Baptist Dallas. He says, “If Donald Trump is elected President of the United States, we who are Evangelical Christians are going to have a true friend in the White House. God Bless Donald Trump!” Jeffress’ endorsement saddens me, but doesn’t surprise me.
A resurrected Jesus doesn’t seem to matter to “The Evangelicals” anymore. How can someone appeal to Evangelicals and the flesh at the same time? Simple, expose Evangelicalism for what it is and ride that wave because it gives you want you want—the Presidency. If keeping a Muslim database gets you elected because it appeals to people’s fears, go ahead and do it. It doesn’t matter if that opposes God’s heart for the nations. When someone from another country opposes you, just double down in arrogance. Who cares if you have to shed that “Strong Christian” identity that apparently makes you a target for the IRS? If you can simply say, “I promise you this, everyone sucks and I’m the best!” to get votes, then you say it time and time again. Kindness is overrated, anyways. You might even get the endorsement of the guy who previously said you couldn’t win the election.
A verse I think of regularly during this election cycle is Proverbs 21:1—”The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” I pray that God re-directs all of our hearts so that the crazy stops.
But please don’t contribute to the crazy.