I am NOT a Trump apologist but even so I have often found myself being drawn in to defending him, notably among Christians, and not just those with more liberal inclinations, but to fellow Evangelicals. Little did I realize when Trump the politician came to prominence that I would be writing about him on a regular basis (my “Donald J Trump – bad, mad or good” e-book brings together many of my writings). It has won me new friends and lost me old ones, for such is the divisive nature of the man. I am well aware of his faults, and have often said where he has gone wrong, but I have stuck my head above the parapet by stating he is the best man for the job of POTUS, but despite my best efforts to present a case for Trump (which I will get to) there are a good many good Christian folk I have not won over, who look on with consternation, when I attempt this.
Hit pieces on Trump often come my way and, while sometimes revealing something new, usually they are making the same old points, most of which I believe can be refuted. A number of these express bemusement concerning the correct observation: many Christians, especially those of the evangelical variety, should support Trump despite his many unchristian acts. After all “grabbing women by their pussies” and “mocking a disabled detractor because of his disability” is hardly “Christian”. One recent hit piece is titled: “The Deepening Crisis in Evangelical Christianity“. The latest to come my way is titled: “How the Bible Belt lost God and found Trump”. One is left in no doubt from reading such articles that Bible Belt Christians are unlikely to be portrayed sympathetically, as this author sets out his store:
“He’s a divorced adulterer who ran a gambling empire, so how did America’s Moral Majority get so evangelical about Donald Trump?” My intention is not to dissect the points presented but rather point out that here is another instance of someone who does not get it. For example: “The words of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels, are less central to their thinking and behaviour, he says. Church is less compelling. Marriage is less important. Reading from a severely abridged Bible, their political concerns have narrowed down to abortion and issues involving homosexuality. Their faith, he says, has been put in a president who embodies an unholy trinity of materialism, hedonism and narcissism. Trump’s victory, in this sense, is less an expression of the old-time religion than evidence of a move away from it”. I have never been to America’s Bible Belt to find out how and why intelligent, thoughtful, reasonable Trump supporters, including Christians with good sound intentions, respond as they do. I suspect many find it objectionable to be accused of going away from traditional Christian teaching and their interest goes deeper than Trump’s anti-abortion credentials and his appointing constitutionalists to the Supreme Court.
The brings me to this video: “Victor Davis Hanson on “The Case For Trump””. It is not a Christian focused apology per se but rather the perspective of a distinguished historian arguing why he prefers Trump to the alternatives and attempting to provide an understanding why Christian folk (like me and these Bible belters) support him, without excusing him for his many, much publicized character flaws, and for the times he has made wrong policy and appointment decisions. His opening salvo: “Voters in 2016 preferred an authentic bad boy to a disingenuous good girl” got my attention right away as he sought to provide a case not only for Trump but also for those who voted for him. One of Trump’s strengths was understanding what it was that concerned the people he was trying to win over and then winning them over, especially the “deplorables” and those who had felt left out in Middle America, onto his side. He made the point “they also preferred his agenda, which represented the antithesis to the Democratic Party of Barrack Obama, which was increasingly candid in voicing socialist bromides.” While the cynic would say that is what every con man tries to do, it has been evident that in the two and a half years Trump has been President he has delivered, and is the big question facing the electorate in the 2020 elections is deciding if this is so.
I am now going to shoot from the hip and, while I like measured arguments, I find it sometimes helpful to come out with what is on one’s mind if one felt strongly (as I do), even if shockingly, and at the same time provide back up to those who care to check out, as I do in my e-book. Going back four years when Trump put his hat in the ring as a US presidential candidate, I was somewhat bemused, and given my, at that time, unfavourable impressions of the man, joined the majority who were dismissive concerning both his credentials and chances of becoming President. But against all expectations, he won, and the rest is history, and despite most believing he would fall by the wayside he has managed to see off all his Republican rivals and then the big one, Hillary Clinton. He has grown on me. Despite qualms, he has delivered on many of the things that I care about (from my “Christian” perspective) and has gone from strength to strength while in office despite opposition, and is now well placed to be re-elected in 2020. Without doubt some of his behaviour is bizzare and some of his decisions don’t always appear to make sense. He lacks airs and graces and can be brutal toward those who oppose him, yet there is much happening where we don’t know the full story, moreover mainstream media won’t tell us. Looking around, he is still the best we have. Allowances need to be made; he is surrounded by those opposed to him and his agenda after all, many products of a culture where swamp creatures thrive.
As a watcher from the other side of the Pond, my judgment concerning Presidents post Reagan have been more negative than positive, and this was especially the case with Obama, who while he was a black man and was promising change, he was the wrong black man pushing the wrong change. When it comes to abortion, LBGT matters, Islam, immigration, border control, globalism, Iran, middle east policy, Israel, judicial appointments, insidious censorship, Spygate, he not only got it wrong, but seriously so, leaving a legacy that was imo a bad one. His saving grace was being perceived to be scandal free and morally upright and when it came to certain social justice issues and environmental concerns he did arguably champion these in ways the present incumbent has not. But the thought that with him going, Hillary might take his place (and if it wasn’t Hillary, it would be Bernie) filled me with foreboding as I foresee a further downhill slide, in much the same way as has been argued in “Glenn Beck: If Trump Doesn’t Win “We Are Officially At The End Of The Country As We Know It“”. But Trump is now the new sheriff in town, and with it his rhetoric about undoing the damage done by elites screwing the country he loves.
As for Trump and Christians who support him, and I have spoken to many who do. as well as having listened to many who fail to get why Christians do so and still retain their integrity (this is one concern, incidentally, that can be turned in the other direction, and explains why, sadly, many exchanges end acrimoniously). One of my “interesting” discoveries in my recent India trip was the number of Indian pastors, who like Trump, exemplifying how many outside the more affluent West view Trump. One cited the fact you can now say Merry Christmas and it is ok and that prayer has been brought back to the White House. Others have made mention that he is anti globalist and pro national sovereignty and championing national interests, that he understands the threat of Islam and open borders, he questions whether climate change is the threat increasing numbers now believe, does not support disadvantageous trade deals, is pro life, anti political correctness, appoints “constitutionalists” to the judiciary, advocated for religious freedom, grown the economy, threatened the Federal Reserve, honoured people of faith, is more right than wrong on foreign policy, is pro Israel and is really into “draining the swamp”. He has not only spoken correctly on these matters but acted appropriately, despite much opposition, and while we must not put our trust in man, especially one as enigmatic as Trump, I find myself thanking God he has become a figurehead for resistance against the darkness seeking to cover the whole world.
I have often heard the phrase “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) quoted in various contexts, but it is my belief that just as God raised up Cyrus to deliver His special people, Israel (Isaiah 45), He has raised up Trump #45 for a special purpose, in much the same vein when He told Elijah to anoint Hazael and Jehu (1Kings 19:16). I suspect many of my detractor Christian friends will agree with me the world is heading in an alarmingly wrong direction right now, and it is beyond the power of any one person to change that. As much as I view Trump as God’s gift to us, worts and all, it is evident just as with the reign of King Josiah (2Kings 22 etc.) however much good a ruler can do, this can be just as easily undone if the people are not with him. I have given making a case for Trump a decent shot (life is short and there is much else to do rather than pushing my points) and given the need around us, including sharing the Gospel message, and the doctrine of the Church and the need for Christian unity (for another blog) I rest my case and hope Christian endeavor and charity will predominate and despite differences of opinion concerning the Trump presidency we will pray for him. On the subject of the Church (real Christians) it strikes me the rise of Trump is due part to failings in the Church. In giving Trump to us God has visited America, not in judgment as deserved but in mercy. When it comes to where to put our trust, it must be in the Almighty.