In a brightly lit waiting room, a man leans my direction. “I guess you’re a liberal,” he says, having, I assume, overheard a conversation I’ve just had with the woman in line ahead of me. “I have to confess I voted for Trump because I’m pro-life and a Christian and I trust in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but I gotta tell you straight up, I can’t stand the guy.”
He leans back, burden unloaded, and waits. I say okay and change the subject. He seems relieved.
I hear confessions like this on the regular, men ostensibly patting me on the arm to let me know everything will be alright and that I should rest my head because he has gone out and done the hard thing, the thing I could not bring myself to do, by voting for a man he despises in order to serve the common good.
Meanwhile, it’s been a heck of last few days.
After LeBron James spent millions of his own money to open an Ohio school where every student receives free tuition, a uniform and a bicycle, free food, and paid college tuition upon graduation, “President Donald Trump unleashed a withering attack on the state’s favorite son, savaging NBA star LeBron James in a late-night tweet that derided the intelligence of one of the nation’s most prominent African-American men.”
At a Florida rally where the crowd “chanted “CNN sucks,” and yelled “stop lying” and “liar”, with one man showing off a t-shirt reading “F*ck the media” the president kept them going, pointing at the media pen and calling journalists the “fake, fake, disgusting news.” He then tweeted, “the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!”
I think it is safe to assume there are Christian supporters at these rallies. Why are none of them publicly standing up to say the president’s behavior is decidedly un-Christian?
“What can’t be ignored is presidential behavior that might best be described as incitement,” writes conservative Bret Stephens. “Maybe Trump supposes that the worst he’s doing is inciting the people who come to his rallies to give reporters like CNN’s Jim Acosta the finger… [but when] journalists are dead because some nut thinks he’s doing the president’s bidding against the fifth column that is the media, what will Trump’s supporters say?”
Robert Jeffress, one of the president’s top religious advisors, tweeted on Aug. 5, “Pope Francis is dead wrong about capital punishment. God has commanded government to use the death penalty to demonstrate the seriousness of murder: ‘Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.’ — Genesis 9:6”
Is this pro-life?
The president calls NFL players who kneel to protest police violence “sons-of-bitches”; refers to African nations as “shit hole countries”; calls everyone from LeBron James to Don Lemon to Congresswoman Maxine Waters “dumb” or “low IQ”. The list goes on. And he willingly lies. Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star tweeted, “Trump lied in June that U.S. Steel was opening six plants. Then he made it seven. Last week, at a meeting with inner city pastors, he said, ‘United States Steel just announced another two plants. They’re up to eight.’ It is restarting blast furnaces at one plant.”
Jacob Soboroff of MSNBC reports that “the Trump administration separated 2,551 migrant kids from their parents at the border. 572 of them are *still* separated. 410 have parents who were already deported. The government simply can’t find them.”
I often hear the argument that if parents did not want to be separated from their children, they should not have come here illegally. It is not illegal to seek asylum in the United States. But the president has a penchant for misinforming his supporters about immigration. The Washington Post reports that “immigration is the top single source of Trump’s misleading claims, now totaling 538. Thirty times just in the past five months, for instance, the president has falsely claimed his long-promised border wall with Mexico is being built, even though Congress has denied funding for it.”
And what of Leviticus 19:34. “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
The president has been in office a year and a half. The above represents less than a week.
To this president’s supporters who so often lean in to confess that they voted for a man they secretly despise, what makes you think things will be alright?
Is any of this, one word of it, what it means to be a Christian?