In an ongoing series of posts about Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump I want to turn my attention to those of us who are followers of Christ.
I realize that no candidate is perfect. There isn’t a single conservative or liberal candidate out there, running for any office, that will be the perfect Christian candidate. I don’t expect Trump to be perfect. In fact, had he not repeatedly brought up his faith I wouldn’t even write this. He has said recently that he is a big christian, and no one reads the Bible as much as he does. He even went so far as to say, after the recent debate in Texas, that the reason that the IRS was auditing him might be because of his faith, since the IRS targets religious people/groups. I know that some will think that I shouldn’t “judge” but Matthew 7 does say that people who are religious should be known by “their fruit”.
Back before Iowa, Trump had a few well known pastors endorse him. He has done very well with voters who are evangelical. I’m confused as to how this has happened. You see, there are things he has said. Not things others accused him of, but things he has said (and then said again) that are incongruent with the Christian faith as I know it.
The 3 Least Christian Things Trump Has Ever Said
He said he doesn’t have to ask for forgiveness: At a Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa he said: “I’m not sure I have ever asked God’s forgiveness. I don’t bring God into that picture.” (July 18, 2015)
Later that same month he told Anderson Cooper on CNN:
“I like to do the right thing where I don’t actually have to ask for forgiveness. Does that make sense to you? You know, where you don’t make such bad things that you don’t have to ask for forgiveness. I mean, I’m trying to lead a life where I don’t have to ask God for forgiveness….Why do I have to repent? Why do I have to ask for forgiveness if you’re not making mistakes?” When pressed, he repeated that he is a member of a church.
Obviously, everyone needs to ask for forgiveness. 20 years ago Trump wrote about affairs with married women: In his 1997 book “Trump: Art of the Comeback” he said: ““If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller (which it will be anyway!).”
Later, in his 2007 book “Think Big and Kick A**” he said, “Beautiful, famous, successful, married – I’ve had them all, secretly, the world’s biggest names, but unlike Geraldo I don’t talk about it.”
We Christians know that God can forgive anyone of anything. And I wouldn’t bring up any of this man’s past indiscretions, except to point out two things: 1. He brought them up himself, multiple times. 2. It’s obvious that Trump, like everyone else, needs forgiveness. I suspect that he needs it as much as anyone; every day.
1 John chapter 1 speaks clearly about this:
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10
He is not consistent on the issue of Life: We all know that Trump was previously pro choice, and had an experience where he became pro life. Christians, in general, are pro life because human life is intrinsically valuable; we are made in the image of God. In multiple debates and interviews Trump has also said that he does not support abortion, but he said in two debates that he thinks that Planned Parenthood does “very good things.” He also repeated the misinformation that Planned Parenthood does mammograms. (They don’t, they refer patients to other clinics for mammograms.). At first he didn’t say he would commit to defunding them, but when it became an issue, he said that he would not allow federal funding for Planned Parenthood as long as they performed abortions.
Praising the largest provider of abortions in America for doing good things is like saying a doctor convicted of serial killing children isn’t so bad because of the adults she helped. Christians, in general, are pro life because humans, created in the image of God, have intrinsic value. (Genesis 1:26). A conservative, pro-life, Christian candidate should denounce the actions of Planned Parenthood- every time, as often as it comes up.
He said he would kill the families of terrorists: In 2015, talking about how to stop ISIS he said,
“And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. They, they care about their lives. Don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.”
Given the chance to clarify this further at the 5th debate on CNN (which was after the terrorist attack in CA), in response to a questions that asked, “How would intentionally killing innocent civilians set us apart from ISIS?” he said:
“You look at the attack in California the other day — numerous people, including the mother that knew what was going on…They saw a pipe bomb sitting all over the floor. They saw ammunition all over the place. They knew exactly what was going on… I would be very, very firm with families,” he added. “Frankly, that will make people think, because they may not care much about their lives, but they do care, believe it or not, about their families’ lives.”
Multiple times Trump said that he would kill the families of terrorists, without due process. Just for being related to them and not stopping them. While we might make the case for capital punishment for the terrorists themselves, killing their families…? I cannot believe he stood by this, twice.
In John 13 Jesus tells us how we can identify his disciples:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
And if you want to know what love is, you need look no further than 1 Corinthians 13:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Does this describe Donald Trump in any way? Try saying it this way… Donald Trump is patient and kind; He does not envy or boast; Trump is not arrogant or rude. He does not insist on his own way; Trump is not irritable or resentful…
I’m sure Trump is a decent guy at home. He has a beautiful family. But his public persona, his public witness is not one that fits with a committed follower of Jesus Christ.
None of that means that Christians cannot vote for him. If they like his policies, they can vote for him. But we should all know that his veneer of religiosity is very thin. Fellow Christians, please do not support Donald Trump simply because he says he is a believer.