Thoughts on the 2016 Presidential Election (1)

635924331778920089-603679492_tzoneAs you have likely guessed by now, I am extremely dissatisfied with the presidential candidates nominated by our two major political parties.  I have discussed my reasons for this dissatisfaction in some detail for each candidate.

Neither Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton are the kinds of people to whom I am comfortable with wielding the power of the Presidency.  However, the issue isn’t at is essence personal.  In a nation of 330 million people there will be many, many citizens who should not be elevated to the Presidency.  The issue is that the Republican and Democratic electorates chose to elevate each of these people to one-step away from that very position.

Thus, the fact that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the nominees of their respective parties speaks more to the state of the electorate than is does to their characters.  That is, the Republican and Democratic electorates selected these two individuals out of the many who pursued the nomination.

I believe that in each case the victor was that person who best fit the “strong-(wo)man” political mold.  That is, the respective electorates chose that person who, they believed, could be most counted on to favor their supporters and smite their opponents.

How did we get to such a sorrowful point?  I could write a dozen blog posts on this question.  However, since this blog is primarily about religious issues, I’ll limit myself to a few comments in this domain.

Donald Trump

One of the most troubling things about Donald Trump’s nomination is the group that most likely put him over the top is Evangelical Christians.  Far be it from me to comment on the ultimate status of his (or anyone’s) soul, but with regard to visible evidence Mr. Trump doesn’t appear to have been under the Holy Spirit’s regenerative powers.  It’s always possible that, starting from far down the road to perdition, Mr. Trump has indeed been saved by the hand of our gracious and forgiving God.  Were that the case, we can grant that there is much road to be covered on the way back.

However, Mr. Trump appears to be unaware of his sinfulness and associated need for confession and repentance.  For example, here is what he has said since beginning to run for President on this topic.

“I like to be good. I don’t like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don’t do a lot of things that are bad. I try to do nothing that is bad.”  …

When asked if he had ever asked for God’s forgiveness of his sins, he has said:

“I am not sure I have, I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so. … I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”

I’m at a loss on how to square these statements with orthodox Christian doctrine, though they, sadly, are representative of far to many Christian’s understanding of sin.  Certainly if you adhere to President Obama’s definition of sin

Do you believe in sin?


Falsani: What is sin?

 Being out of alignment with my values.

Falsani: What happens if you have sin in your life?

 I think it’s the same thing as the question about heaven. In the same way that if I’m true to myself and my faith that that is its own reward, when I’m not true to it, it’s its own punishment.

then Mr. Trump likely stands on firm ground.  That is, as an extreme narcissist, he believes that whatever he believes must be “the good,” and that he is extremely good at “being true to himself.”

If we combine the above comments with Mr. Trump’s ownership of Casinos, including all which that entails, and, his multiple marriages with the associated infidelity, Evangelical Christian support becomes quite a puzzle.

My belief is that many in the Evangelical community, being beset by a rising progressive tide, decided that what was needed is not a politician with a solid Christian conviction but rather a “strong man” to protect them.

The reason many Christians back him apparently is to gain a tough champion against an increasingly hostile culture and politics. “We’re going to take care of you,” Trump recently promised evangelical listeners. They worry about religious liberty as the state attempts to squeeze out spiritual concerns while expanding inexorably. They also fear a PC and redistributionist culture. The usual Republican Party suspects have done little to arrest the advance of darkness. So evangelical voters decided to hire someone from the dark side for protection.

This is a sea change.  Rather than the Evangelical community expecting a candidate to show credible fruits of the spirit, they have sought the protection of a “strong man.”  Thus, they have subordinated themselves and their faith to a mere man.  In so doing they have also subordinated their trust in God’s providence and protection to Donald Trump.

In all likelihood the Evangelical Christians who played a decisive role in nominating Donald Trump will rue the day that they despised their birthright for a mess of pottage.  If Mr. Trump does win the presidency, let’s hope that his director of African-American outreach Omarosa Manigault’s statement to PBS Frontline is the fantasy of a troubled person (who rose to a position of high responsibility in the Trump campaign 😮 ) rather than an accurate assessment of who Donald Trump really is.

“Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”

She likely knows of what she speaks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s