Trump of the Apocalypse

I’ve remarked before on how strange it is that evangelical Christians (well, WHITE evangelical Christians, anyway) tend to be such fervent supporters of Donald Trump. While he professes to be a Presbyterian, he’s said he doesn’t need to seek forgiveness, referred to communion as eating a little cracker, been divorced twice after cheating on his wives, claimed that it was acceptable for him to grab women “by the pussy,” etc. There really doesn’t seem to be anything at all Christ-like about Trump. Jesus said it was easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into Heaven; Trump constantly flaunts and brags about his wealth. Jesus said that the meek would inherit the Earth; Trump puts on a ridiculous tough-guy front that’s harder to laugh off now that he’s Commander-in-Chief. Jesus said that merely looking at a woman lustfully was tantamount to adultery; Trump is quite open about lusting after women, like the already-married one he described on the Access Hollywood tape. Now, I’m an atheist, and I don’t know how much of the Bible is actually accurate, and take issue with some of what Jesus supposedly said. I mean, isn’t that lust thing thought crime? But I’m not trying to court the favor of Christians, either; and I think some of Jesus’ principles are just good moral practices anyway. You don’t have to think the guy was the son of God to agree that hypocrisy is bad. But really, the excuse I hear from some Christians who do things that they consider sinful is that Jesus will forgive them, and Trump has pretty much admitted he doesn’t feel he needs forgiveness.

That’s pretty much a blanket dismissal of general Christian doctrine, isn’t it? I’m sure part of it is that the Religious Right often seems to only pay lip service to Jesus anyway; quite visible members have been ardent defenders of greed, screwing over the poor, tough posturing, and war as a solution for every international problem. And there are other issues where there is some Biblical support, but it seems oddly selective to pick them out when there are much more important things going on. Doesn’t the Bible stress the evils of greed far more than it does the evil of a man having sex with another man? Not to mention that there’s really no reason why people who don’t share their religious beliefs should have to follow their rules. I’m sure a lot of these people do genuinely believe in Jesus, Heaven, and all that; they just really seem to miss quite a bit of both their own religious teachings and just basic universal morality. And while I don’t know what Trump believes, he comes across as such a narcissist that I doubt he’d worship any god other than himself. People who think the Devil is an active force don’t seem to consider that maybe Trump, if he has any place in the spiritual world at all, is an agent of Satan. I mean, it would certainly fit, wouldn’t it?

One reason the evangelicals support Trump is essentially the same reason white supremacists do, that he preaches how former majorities have become persecuted minorities. This is, of course, total nonsense; but the persecution complex is incredibly popular. After all, Revelation says that Christians are going to have to go through tribulation in the end times, right?

I’m not sure why it’s so difficult to grasp that having less power isn’t the same as having NO power, but I get the impression that these people are afraid the former minorities will treat them the way they’ve been treated. While Christianity is no longer as dominant as it once was, it’s obviously still quite significant if people like Trump feel they have to profess faith in it in order to gain public support.

And it’s not just him; I frequently hear about people who claim to be devout Christians while also promoting weird mystical beliefs that have nothing to do with Christianity. You can feel free to combine religions if you want; that’s really how some of the major ones in the world today came about. But if your primary beliefs are racism, homophobia, nationalism, gender rigidity, secret rulers of the world, honey and vinegar curing cancer, aliens breeding with humans, chemicals turning frogs gay, or what-have-you, why even bring the poor Nazarene into it?

I’ve also seen a lot about whether violent resistance to white nationalists and their ilk is justified, with some intelligent arguments both ways. I’m generally a pretty non-violent guy, although part of that is because I’m a wuss. If someone is going to kill me, I doubt whether I futilely fight back is going to make a difference. Then again, maybe that’s the way to get into Valhalla. Regardless, I guess I’d say violence is sometimes justified, but usually only once all other options have been exhausted. I’m okay with punching Nazis, but I don’t think it would necessarily do any good in the long run. It’s not likely to be like Biff in Back to the Future, where George McFly punching him made him friendly and subservient. It seems more likely to me that they’re just get angrier and double down on their violent rhetoric. On the other hand, I’d say violence used to defend against racists is justified. And while we do have freedom of speech, hasn’t it been established that violent language can be considered actual violence in extreme cases? I mean, they were chanting Nazi slogans in Charleston, and the Nazis didn’t just say offensive things with no follow-up; they were, as you know, incredibly violent and genocidal. I can’t say I really know anything about groups like Antifa, is that’s even actually a group and not just a loose identification; no one seems to be to pin down exactly what they believe. But equating them with the racists is total false equivalency practiced by people like Trump who want to show support for the hate groups without explicitly saying so. Did he forget that he’s supposed to be the representative of the American people, not just white men with absurd ideas of racial superiority?

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2 Responses to Trump of the Apocalypse

  1. Trump is very clearly unChristian, if not outright anti-Christian in the sense that what he values and promotes go against the basic tenets of Christ. But this has been true of the vast majority of political leaders, and not just in the U.S. Trump is just more overt and obnoxious about it. There’s a reason that biblical prophecies note that the “kings of the earth” go to war against Yahweh and his anointed one. I’d say it’s disturbing that more “Christian” leaders don’t get it, but the Bible also repeatedly warns against false religious leaders. And that’s who the media covers. 1st Century Christians were not part of the mainstream, were generally castigated by the religious leaders of their day, and did not support war or any of the destructive speech and behavior political leaders and their flocks endorse.

    It irritates me that more people don’t see through Trump, because he’s not even subtle about his attitudes and behaviors, but then again those who continue to support him are either not terribly bright or are bullies themselves. The Far Right have gone off the rails a long time ago, but it seems like the Far Left are trying to catch up. I think the one extreme breeds the other, and there’s plenty of hate to go around between factions. If Antifa have chosen violent tactics against fascists, then they’re playing into the same cycle of violence that MLK warned about when he said that “violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”

    Conversely, I see a lot of Christians on the bandwagon of Trump being the Antichrist, and while that’s a far more defensible position than saying he’s Christian, I don’t think religious demonization of this kind is helpful at all, even if makes some people feel better. End-Times prophecies requires a more serious and scholarly approach of the kind that recognizes the fallibility of human interpretation. There is some great exegesis out there, but it’s not by those who consider each subsequent president the Antichrist.

    • Nathan says:

      I don’t think Trump is some sort of demonic force, but for people who think that’s a real thing, he seems a more likely candidate than many others who’ve been pegged as Antichrist.

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