Message to Christians – including Fundamentalists and anti-abortion Roman Catholics – and traditional Republicans: Do Not Drink the Trump Cool Aid!
This is hard for me to say. I take a person at her or his word in the claim to be a Christian. Of course, I disagree with certain positions people take in their view of Christianity, and I believe there are opinions that would fall within the old categories of “heresy.” But “wrong belief,” even if deemed heretical, does not place a baptized believer outside of the Christian faith community. So, it is hard for me to say definitively and publicly that Donald Trump would not govern according to Christian values and principles. But that is the conclusion to which I have arrived. Morality, personal or social, is a non-issue for Mr. Trump, and the Christian worldview seem to be equally irrelevant — matters to be stepped around or used manipulatively on his way of the acquisition of power as a goal in and of itself. Traditional twentieth century Republican beliefs seem as to be viewed as secondary, or even something to be jettisoned when they get in the way. So, to Christians and to traditional Republicans I say: Do Not Vote for Donald Trump.
This conclusion about Christianity is mine, but it is based on Trump’s own words, such as:
when he acknowledged that he had never asked God for forgiveness and declared that he has never needed to;
when he demeans and belittles those with whom he differs or in any way is opposed and even suggests that violent action should be used against them, in particular Muslims, women, and people of other cultures who have immigrated to the United States without legal status;
when he ignores any international role of the United States for enhancing human rights, justice and peace, but instead declares that he wants America to be “number one” in order to “lord it over” other nations on the basis of raw power and fear, and when he glibly and with wildly negligent responsibility proposes to allow nuclear power to spread and become rather commonly used as a force of war.
He offends other Christian doctrines that must not be compromised, but let us focus on three.
Sin and Forgiveness: Donald Trump does not believe in the profound need of every person to be forgiven or in the divine forgiveness that is offered in the dying and rising of Jesus of Nazareth. He believes in a theology of “justification,” not by grace, but through “winning,” and proposes that money is the way “the score” is to be kept.
Human Dignity: Donald Trump does not respect the dignity of every individual human being as a child of God or believe that human life is sacred. Trump ignores the ecumenical claim that the “dignity” of the human person is a sound foundational standard for a moral vision for society. Instead the human being is of value according to other measures less eternal and far less precious. By any other name, he is a white-supremacist, taking political advantage of the frustration white citizens, especially white males, feel about becoming a minority in the land.
Justice and Peace: Donald Trump does not believe in the ultimate goals of justice and peace in and for the world. He would have the United States become the new Roman Empire with its old theology in which “Caesar is Lord;” the “Senatorial class” is wealthy beyond any ability to use it; the home land has the vast majority of the earth’s resources to use and even waste; other peoples are to be considered and treated as having a status of secondary humanity.
A noted columnist, Robert Mann, recently coined the term that is apt for traditionally minded Republicans who give in and support Trump: “Vichy Republicans.”
The Conservative Movement unintentionally produced the Trump candidacy as a result of its gradual but steady take-over of the Republican Party. That ultimately had led to a remarkably small group of the wealthiest elite, including a few women, becoming Party gatekeepers – and all but grinding legislative government to a halt. Then, as though the propitious moment had arrived, an enormously wealthy businessman, but one who was an outsider to that inner group and also far more experienced and insightful about TV and digital communications moved through them to take center stage. Surely the small and easily identified group of wealthy political activists led by libertarian radicals like the Koch brothers would never have wanted a Donald Trump to emerge and take over the party they had commandeered.
Surely, Republicans who value such traditional goals as less government regulation, fiscal responsibility with business growth, and defense security cannot truly desire the Republican Party of Donald Trump or the government he would lead.
What we are facing is a temptation to totalitarianism’s great and intrinsic evil: the abrogation of traditional values that depends not only on the surrendering of those values but also on the fashioning of elegant rationalizations to justify it.