Earlier this year I bought a Trump t-shirt and had it delivered via an acquaintance to me since I needed a United States address to get it. It occurred to me that this was the first time I had ever directly financially supported a political candidate and this candidate wasn’t even from my own country.
Reactions from people who see me wearing the t-shirt vary but I have not once had someone come and suggest they support him. Most reactions are either dismissive or derisive. One acquaintance suggested I had shown a lot of “balls” by wearing it at all.
For me, the most interesting reaction came from Christians in my acquaintances and the most common comment has been some variation of “Trump isn’t a Christian.” My response is usually a verbal shrug. It is true that Trump’s life is a complicated one and his views on matters dear to American Christians are at best, inconsistent. But what have any professing Christian politicians done for America in the last fifty years?
I don’t wish to trivialise issues such as abortion and general public morality as I’m in full agreement that these are issues that need to be taken seriously. The problem is that because politicians can get easy votes from Christians by following a checklist of these issues and mouthing the right platitudes, it encourages many wolves to wrap themselves in fleece.
Take George W. Bush. He was extremely popular among particularly evangelical Christians, regularly making public professions of faith. Yet in eight years of office he steered that evangelical fervor into disastrous wars, useless public programs and did absolutely nothing to conserve what remains of Christian sentiment in the country. It is also fair to state that his poor leadership made Obama’s election possible. If you were to think of Christianity as a brand and GWB as the last CEO, he did a lot to lower it’s stock value over his eight years.
Donald Trump’s more recent statements on issues like abortion may fairly be seen in a cynical light but he seems far more honest to me than the insincere piety of many Christian politicians in the US. Ted Cruz for example may or may not be genuine in his belief but after years of politicians just like him, it is harder to believe his sincerity.
I think it is probably best for Christians of all stripes to take a different line of thought with politicians altogether. They should all instead think like early Christians who under domination by pagan Rome as the modern West is arguably closer to this than Christianity now. Think of Donald Trump as the sympathetic but flawed Constantine, who while unwilling to fully embrace the faith, does at least show sympathy to it and wishes it no ill.
Christianity isn’t wars for Israel, oil and/or globalism. It isn’t free trade, mass immigration and freedom to engage in violence, pornography and consumerism as long as it doesn’t “hurt” anyone (whatever that means). It isn’t loud obnoxious music, sport, ugly fashion and ghastly haircuts. Nor is it food sweetened by corn syrup and bacon in everything. These are as best I can tell the values of America which could be visualised as an obese transvestite of mixed heritage, eating a hamburger while watching the Super Bowl.
If Christians must get a divorce it should be from the political process. I don’t mean to suggest that they shouldn’t vote or share their beliefs. I merely suggest that they should stop altogether pinning hopes on princes and son’s of men. The Son of Man alone is where salvation lies. The rest just lie.