I don’t want to be obnoxious with the frequency of my political posts (though I’m afraid that ship has already sailed…), but I just saw a post from a friend of mine on Facebook that strangely took my breath away. I’m not sure what that emotional cocktail was comprised of, whether it was disappointment or a sort of knowing resignation, but I do know that it really impacted me. It offended me, as someone who identifies as a Christian and tries to live according to Christ’s teachings to the best of my abilities. Lately, it has really been on my heart to speak up when I see people I know, love, and cherish post something that reflects a potentially dangerous ignorance or close-mindedness. You never know what meme, sentence, or word could catch someone’s attention and get the mental cogs to start turning. A friend told me last night that she has had several “oh sh*t” moments through my posts and others, and I think that’s the perfect description of the kind of revelation I hope to assist with. I know that I fail more often than I succeed, but I’ve watched enough episodes of Law & Order to know that “the battles you can’t win are the ones worth fighting.”
I’ll just paste the original post to which I hope to reply here:
“President Trump literally walked on stage at the briefing, stated that if churches weren’t open by this weekend, he would override any Governor he had to. Said it was WRONG to keep liquor stores and abortion clinics open, then force churches to close. Prayer is essential, we need more, not less. Then he walked off stage… how can you hate a man that is fighting so hard to keep your rights…. is he perfect? no.. only Jesus is. Is he cocky and arrogant? yes…. but wouldn’t you be… the man hasn’t had a fair chance at anything… but he has done a lot of good even with no one backing him. And the main thing is ‘HE CAN’T BE BOUGHT.’ I don’t know about you but I’m rollin with TRUMP 2020. Any man willing to fight for my freedom to go to church and worship is more than okay in my book… #trump2020
Please keep your negative comments to yourself. This is my page and my opinion if you don’t like it delete me AND SEND BACK THAT STIMULUS CHECK“
First off, do we need to have church services in order to pray or worship God? My soul is content with my personal connection to and communication with Him, so I’ve always found it odd when people fight for church services as though God isn’t listening if you’re not seated in a pew in your Sunday best. Anyway, to the real issue at hand —
When I first read this, I laughed. However, having grown up in Mississippi, I know how serious the person who wrote this is and the people who repost it are…and it makes me shudder to think about that. I stared at the screen, bathed in blue light as it projected the words deep into my brain, everywhere, all at once. I think there was probably an element of shock involved, considering that Trump is the least Christian man I have ever heard of. The main emotion I felt was confusion. How can fellow Christians, friends I know and love defend this man by claiming that he is putting himself out there to protect our right to worship? How is that good enough for someone who walks with Christ? Personally, I think Jesus would be much more concerned that this man has signed off on children being caged at the border or on the beautiful natural world He gave us being destroyed than he would be about our ability to get to a church service during a viral pandemic. Maybe that’s just me though. What I must speak up about is something that offends me as a Christian. I resent the use of my religion to defend a man who embodies the opposite of Christian values.
Trump is the least Christian man I know of. The very least. Most of us would agree that actions speak louder than words, right? That language is meaningless if you act in ways that contradict your claims? Trump may be able to stop by the church for a less-than-five-minute photo op, to hold up a Bible and stiffly smile without ever opening a page or speaking to a soul there, but he is not able to walk the walk. He may be able to recite an emotionless speech about his efforts to keep churches open during a pandemic, but he is not able to back up his words with any attempt at Christ-like behavior. All he has demonstrated so far is the opposite — a complete disregard for the wellbeing of those who don’t support him (or those who do, even) and egomania to the nth degree.
Do you know what Jesus says about rich men? He says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Think about that for a second. Jesus is outright declaring that those who amass wealth for themselves alone are not fit for the kingdom of God. Trump has spent a considerable part of his term golfing at one of his eleven luxury hotel properties. He is a billionaire whose primary goal is to get rich people out of having to pay taxes. He proudly touts the fact that he effected “the biggest tax cut and reform in American history.” He is solely focused on the economy, on making money, not on the wellbeing of the American people. He does everything in his power to keep the United States from having to pay into a system intended to help its citizenry. He firmly and proudly stands in the way of universal healthcare while signing off on a $10 million ad campaign dedicated to the character assassination of Joe Biden. Does that sound like something Jesus would do? To refuse to help those in need, to instead funnel resources toward defamation of someone else’s character? Trump fights tooth and nail for the rich to get richer. Screw everybody on the bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum; they can fend for themselves. Does that align with Jesus’s view of a good Christian, do you think?
When a young rich man asked Jesus what he had to do to attain eternal salvation, Jesus tells him to keep the Commandments and that “if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven…then come, follow me.” Jesus paints his ideal follower as someone willing to give the clothes off his or her back for others in less fortunate positions. I’ve been reading more Scripture lately, and Jesus talks about the poor constantly. He’s talking about making sacrifices to help a marginalized group. Helping a marginalized group of people pushed to the outskirts of society? Hmm…sounds familiar.
Trump has made it abundantly clear that he does not give a f*%k about the poor. He does nothing to address the needs of the lower classes disproportionately dying of COVID, nothing to help the prison outbreaks that are killing hundreds of thousands. When the cries of our Black community reached his ears, what did Donald Trump do? When he saw on video a man crying for his mother, begging the white man on top of him to spare his life as it slipped away, what did our President do? Obviously, showing any level of genuine remorse or solidarity was out of the question. Trump doesn’t merely neglect his duties as President; he does harm. He schedules a rally during a viral pandemic. He schedules it in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of our nation’s bloodiest race massacre that left hundreds of Black Americans dead. He schedules it in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19th, a.k.a. Juneteenth, the anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States. He not only fails to comfort or support the Black community but also dares to combat their cries for help by rubbing salt in the wound. I saw a tweet from a Jewish girl that had family in the camps that likened this decision to “holding a rally at the gates of Auschwitz on Holocaust Remembrance Day.” There is no defense for this kind of bigoted, hateful action. There is nothing Christian about this.
It’s almost like our President intentionally turns us against each other, widening the chasms between us and stoking hate, fear, clan-like thinking. I’m legitimately worried that his actions have more sinister motives than we can even fathom, but I don’t want to get into conspiracy theorist territory. I want to stick to facts, to evidence I can corroborate with my own eyes and ears.
Judging by what I myself have witnessed, Trump displays actually quite anti-Christian thinking. He’s a Christian when it provides good publicity or a convenient distraction from whatever issue he’s fumbling at a given time. When things get dicey, say something about their right to worship. Hold a Bible up and say cheese. When it counts, however, when he is faced with an opportunity to place the needs of others before his own, to be altruistic, generous, or merciful, to act as JESUS TAUGHT US, Donald Trump is no Christian. Christ’s message goes out the window. Trump’s motto is to protect his own — f*&k everybody else. If anyone dares to come for you, attack everything about them, resort to mockery and slander if that’s what it takes. And, most importantly, never take responsibility for your actions.
Does that sound like “turn the other cheek” to you? Does that sound like it follows the path of righteousness as set forth by Jesus, who sacrificed His very life to bear the weight of our sins? Christ took all the responsibility without our asking, without judging whether we were worthy of His mercy or not. As a Christian, it offends me greatly to hear that His teachings are somehow being tied up with Donald Trump, as though the President is worth voting for because he stands for Christian values or protects the church. He does neither. If Christianity is your primary concern going into this campaign season, then you are doing the institution a disservice by voting for Donald Trump. Wow, it is such a relief to finally voice that.
The most fundamental tenets of Christianity center on the cross — an emblem of self-sacrifice, of shouldering the blame not only for your own sins but also for those of the rest of the world. No questions asked. The reason Christianity drew me in was the fact that it is based in the idea of altruism, of giving of yourself to help others. Jesus walked with prostitutes and lepers. He laid down his very life for them and for us. He preached radical acceptance of those who may not be socially accepted or considered “normal.” He treated others how he wished to be treated. Period.
Trump is not merely an imperfect man; he is someone who, as far as I know, never puts Christ’s teachings first or others before himself. How can you, as a Christian, reconcile supporting someone so essentially selfish? I’m not trying to shame anyone here. I’m sincerely asking the question. How could you?