I can remember — ten or fifteen years ago — hearing that Johnny Depp had left residing in America to go live in southern France. During the 90’s, Depp’s then girlfriend was from France and they chose to live there for what I assume were perfectly valid reasons about family, work, friends, so forth and so on. However, I learned this tidbit of juicy celeb minutia in the immediate days following 9/11 when national pride in our American identity was at an all-time high.
“Why would Johnny Depp want to live in France?” the pundits ranted.
“Where’s his national pride?” they shrieked.
All hopped up on American sentimentality, I thought, “I’m proud to be an American. Too bad Johnny Depp isn’t.”
Well, Johnny…I’m here to say I’m sorry. I was wrong. When I think about the possibility that Donald Trump could end up in any political office — let alone POTUS — it makes me want to run and hide in your French basement, critically blogging about the American political landscape while feasting on escargot, wine and thinly cut fried potatoes.
I’m not blogging about anything other more qualified bloggers aren’t already blogging about; I understand that. Perhaps you’re tired of the whole conversation, in which case feel free to skip over to another killer TheoCult contributor. And yes, the very idea that Donald Trump is at all on the horizon of the American political landscape is way more an indictment on the people of America that it is on Donald Trump.
But seriously…I can’t handle it. Every instinct tells me to bury my head in the sand and wait till it’s over. I know it’s not just Trump, but the whole circus. Paste Magazine said, “”The GOP debates are like wrestling, but instead of athletes’ colorful personalities it’s ignorant, hateful dads with a childish need for attention.” There’s something more when it comes to Trump, though.
I don’t have to go into the stupid things he’s said; you’ve heard them.
Nor his outright misogyny.
Or his blatant disregard for the first amendment and the rights of Muslims.
Or his ir-redemptive business practices that reinforce American class-ism.
Trump accomplishes and justifies these things on the prospect and motive of being tired of the need for politically engaged leaders to be politically correct in their speech. I can understand that, and it seems many voters — especially Republican ones — appreciate that too. Plain, honest words that produce clarity and reality should always appreciated in every situation.
However, Trump is not “just being honest” or “saying it like it is”. Words matter, and he is using them to express what is in his heart. Mind you, the very words by which he condemns Muslims today are the very concepts by which he will condemn other strata of the American people tomorrow — including (but not limited to) other emotionally-motivated religious fanatics who believe their God actually speaks to them, having written down His words in a book that is meant to be followed, even calling for their allegiance to the point of death. Everything can be twisted when malice is in the heart.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. — Ephesians 4.31,32
I’m testing a thought here; not sure what I actually think about it. The thought of Jesus living in and saying the same things He said about human government, but doing so in the context of the American democratic republic is profound and weird. I’m not sure Jesus knew what He was saying when He told us (in 2016) to “render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar.” Nor Paul when he instructed us to submit to the governing authorities (at least Caesar-rule was clear-cut error). I’m not advocating for civil disobedience; in fact, I’m not talking about legal dynamics at all. I’m very worried about the spiritual atmosphere and impartation Donald Trump will carry to the office should he be elected.
Yes, I know…Hillary’s atmosphere would be no better. Nor would that of Cruz, Rubio, Sanders, etc. I agree. However, I’d rather have a self-serving politician who desires his/her own glory and power than someone who manipulates their vested power into trying to inspire bitterness, hatred and division in the people he/she is leading. And yes, I believe that is what is in the heart of Donald Trump.
Through the posture of his heart, he is turning men against women as evidenced by his words.
Through the posture of his heart, he is teaching men to objectify women and shame or affirm them based on their outward appearance, as evidenced by his words.
Through the posture of his heart, he is leading the American people to be suspicious and fearful of Muslims, as evidenced by his words.
Through the posture of his heart, he is advocating for an extreme pragmatism of business that produces class-ist structures, as evidenced by his words.
He is not kind, tender or forgiving. He is bitter, angry, malicious, slandering and clamoring. Who would want a kind, tender, forgiving man as POTUS? That’s a cut-throat world! I want someone who can take it and dish it out! This takes strength and backbone and courage!
Well, yeah. Obviously Jesus would be the best choice for POTUS. He was the height of strength and courage; He was also kind, tender and forgiving. It is possible.
Hate and malice do not — cannot — work the Kingdom of God. Evangelicals who favor Trump are at best ignorant of Scripture and at worst hateful. That’s the scariest thing in this to me: “Trump is one of the top picks for president among Evangelical voters.” If you’re a Christian and haven’t read The Atlantic article Why Do Evangelicals Support Donald Trump?, you’re missing an amazing work of contemporary prophetic journalism. It’s one of those things where it’s like, “The world gets it; where is the Church?” Even people who are not expressly Christian can see Trump’s beliefs and subsequent rhetoric and know there is serious disharmony between his belief system and that of Jesus.
The embrace of this ideology and disharmony on the part of many evangelical Americans shows that many evangelical Americans are far from God’s Word and God’s heart.
It is not time to get this country back on track.
It is not time to get this country winning again.
It is not time to build our military.
It is not time to strengthen our economy.
It is not time to again be internationally respected or feared.
It is time for God’s people to awaken. The prospect of Donald Trump as president is the loudest spiritual alarm clock I’ve heard in a very long time, and it feels to me as though much of the Church is sleeping through it, choosing the fanciful dreams in their slumbering heads instead of the vicious spiritual battle in their awakened minds. I think that if we do not wake up, the spiritual situation will be dire and we will be ill-positioned to create the Kingdom cultural change the coming days will require.
In fact, we may very well be sleeping with the enemy. No, not Donald Trump.
You know what I’m saying.