Let’s talk about Jesus, shall we.

I recently found my way back to church. A dear friend was going to be speaking to her congregation about the giving nature of her daughter, an 18 year-old girl who died a few short months ago, and I wanted to support her by being there in the pews. I got there early. I slipped quietly into the back row. And I waited for the service to begin.

I am, admittedly, someone who continually struggles with my faith or lack thereof, and yet on Dec. 18, exactly one week before Christmas, I was as stunned as anyone to see Georgia Republican Barry Loudermilk stand on the House floor during the impeachment hearings and compare President Trump to Jesus. 

Yes. I said Jesus. I wish I were exaggerating, but here’s the quote: “When Jesus was falsely accused of treason,” Rep. Loudermilk said, “Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers. During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than the Democrats have afforded this President in this process.”

Arguably, one of the most disturbing aspects of the Trump presidency has been the unequivocal support bestowed upon on him by Evangelicals and Americans of, frankly, every Christian denomination. When asked in October 2018, Pastor Jerry Falwell told The Guardian that “the president was a good moral example. …“Absolutely. Ever since I’ve known him, he’s been a good, moral person, a strong leader, a tough leader – and that’s what this country needs.” 

Which leads me to ask, in this season of Advent, for a definition of what is good and moral about the actions of President Trump and his administration.

Was it how he wrote checks to pay off the porn star he silenced before his election while in the White House? His strong-arming of the new Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival to help him win the next election? The more than 15,000 lies he’s told, as tracked by the Washington Post, since taking office? How he stole money from his own charity?

Is it the separation of thousands of children, including infants and toddlers, from their parents at our southern border? On October 25, the Associated Press reported that the number of children separated since the summer of 2017 is 5,460, and that the Trump administration kept such poor records that many children will never see their parents again.

If this is where you argue that these parents are “illegals” and getting what they deserve, I ask you to point to the passage in your Bible that condones such horrific, inhumane treatment for your fellow human beings. I can’t seem to find it in mine. 

On the night of his impeachment, at a rally in Michigan, the president stood on stage and jeered that late Rep. John Dingell, who died in February, was probably “looking up” from hell. Why? Because his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat, dared to vote yes on articles of impeachment. 

And it wasn’t just the president’s words, despicable as they were, which were decidedly not Christian. It was the laughing, cheering crowd of thousands in that stadium who appeared to love what he said, followed by this tweet from Paula White-Cain, his spiritual advisor: “Tonight we lift up our President, @realDonaldTrump in prayer against all wickedness & demonic schemes against him and his purpose in the name of Jesus. Surround him with your angels and let them encamp around about him. Let all demonic stirrings and manipulations be overturned!”

I know I’ve been away from church for a long time, but is it right to cheer a president as he makes fun of a dead man and his grieving wife? And Ms. White-Cain’s tweet sounds less like the words of a faith leader and more like someone invoking Jesus’s name — much like Rep. Loudermilk on the House floor — to please her boss and maintain her own close proximity to power. 

I’m taking it one week at a time, but I will be back at church this Sunday. I feel welcome there, and for this I am thankful. But as someone who struggles with her faith, the constant, wanton cruelty and amoral behavior of this president and his circle make me question how anyone who claims to be a Christian can support such a man. 

What, I wonder, would Jesus do?