Much has been written, by the Christian author John Pavlovitz and others, about the steadfast support Donald Trump continues to enjoy among Evangelical leaders and many of their followers.
There would seem to be a gaping disconnect between Trump’s behavior and what the Evangelicals profess to believe.
I was discussing this conundrum via Facebook Messenger with my friend and fellow Shinboner Masta Talka when the truth hit me with all the force of the blinding light that knocked Paul off his horse on the Road to Damascus:
Trump is their long-awaited messiah. He’s the answer to their prayers for someone more palatable than the Jesus they claim to follow.
They have no use for a swarthy, itinerant preacher from the Middle East who was born in poverty and buried in a borrowed tomb. Why, Jesus came from what Trump would no doubt dismiss as a ‘shithole country” full of terrorists. His parents weren’t even married when he was born. His father was a day laborer of the sort Trump has reportedly exploited throughout his career. Jesus didn’t speak a word of English and went around giving medical care and spiritual counsel for free. What kind of savior does that?
Speaking out in favor of the poor and marginalized? Telling the rich to sell everything and follow him? Socialist!
Given the high incidence of divorce among some of the more visible Evangelical leaders, it must be much more comforting to follow Trump, a man who has cheated on every one of his three wives, than to heed the words of someone who was apparently celibate and who spoke out forcefully against divorce. Remember how Jimmy Carter, a true Christian, was ridiculed for saying that he had committed adultery in his heart? He was quoting Jesus, and it nearly derailed his presidential campaign.
As for welcoming the stranger, feeding the needy, visiting the prisoner – really, Jesus? I’m sure some of them are very fine people, but we don’t need them here.
No, the savior some of these Christians have yearned for all along is a white, English-speaking American who boasts about his treasure on Earth, demeans women, and wants the little children to suffer.
They’ve found their man, and all that remains to make the scenario complete is his martyrdom, which may come at the hands of the godless Democrats next year. But there may not be such a glorious resurrection for the Republican Party after he’s gone.