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What’s a Christian to do?


Trump has a lot going for him, politically: a strong economy (which, despite his lies, he inherited from President Obama and has been lucky enough not to fuck up), an impending deal in Afghanistan, and beating both the Mueller probe and Impeachment. Under normal circumstances, he’d be a shoo-in for re-election.

But these are not normal times. They’re Trump times, which is to say that the U.S.A. currently has the most unnatural, mentally depraved and repellent president in our history. And that is why Trump is in trouble.

People don’t just vote on the issues. They vote on how they feel about the occupant of the White House—which is to say, on their perceptions of the character of the president. Most of us desire a leader who at least fulfills the qualities of integrity, honesty, inspiration and personal morality that we all aspire to. Indeed, the President of the United States—any president, of either party—must possess these qualities to an extraordinarily high degree. “May not but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof” was the earnest prayer of John Adams. Mostly, the men who have ruled under the roof at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have been honest and wise. But as we all know, with great sadness, the current occupant is the opposite of “honest and wise.” Dishonest and benighted is more like it.

This is why even many voters who like Donald Trump’s policies are going to vote against him in November. People who profess to be Christian should be the first ones to desert Trump (if they supported him in the first place). I’m not Christian, and I’m pro-choice, so I can only wonder at the mental gymnastics an anti-abortion Christian must have to perform with respect to Trump. On the one hand, they’re getting the rightwing Christian judges they’ve prayed for, including on the Supreme Court, where a woman’s right to choose might be ended later this year. On the other hand, these Christians have to endure a pig in the White House. I use the term deliberately: a pig towards women, and a pig towards decency and morality. Any self-respecting Christian should cross herself and shudder every time Trump touches a Bible.

That’s a big mental conundrum for these people. How do they manage to reconcile such warring realities? Some—like the hucksters Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr.—get rich off their hokum, which they peddle to superstitious, intellectually-challenged believers who tithe their meager incomes to keep these corrupt “ministers” living the high life. But others—a minority of Christians, but a significant one, I think—are increasingly troubled by what they see and hear from Trump. His twitter rants are so disgraceful his own Attorney-General has practically begged him to stop them. His insults and bullying, his vulgarity and hatred, his manifold lies, the corruptness of the entire Trump operation—these are things one would never expect from a follower of Jesus. And so these Christians are going to have to decide how to vote. Between now and Nov. 3, they’re going to have to have some very serious conversations, with each other, with their pastors, and with their own consciences. And they’re going to have to figure out if they really believe in an afterlife, and what might happen if, at the Pearly Gates, St. Peter says to them, “But why, in God’s name, did you stand with that Pharisee?”

Have a wonderful weekend!

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