Donald Trump May Actually Be a Christian

Because we act more like him than we'd like to admit.

Donald Trump's claim to be a Christian is like a tired punchline. From "Two Corinthians" to an utter disregard for forgiveness, his faith reads like a comic strip sponsored by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. But I don't think that's why his Christian supporters like him.

People like Jerry Falwell, Willie Robertson, and Stephen Baldwin likely support Donald Trump because he wants to "Make America Great Again!" Though it's not a new campaign slogan (Reagan used it first in 1980), the phrase is an odd choice to brand a presidential campaign.

Making America great again operates on the assumption that America is currently not great. While plenty of Americans may agree with that, the slogan markets its candidate as someone who will simply undo the work of their predecessor.

For example, Ted Cruz, who shares a similar slogan ("Reigniting the Promise of America"), was hard-pressed in the latest GOP debate to explain what he was going to do for uninsured Americans after he repealed the Affordable Care Act. Whether or not you like Obamacare, removing it without a replacement plan is like ripping out the nation's traffic signals without telling anyone.

If a slogan only tells people what you're not going to do or what you're going to stop doing, they have no way of knowing what you are going to do. It's a negative and destructive posture, not a positive and constructive one. Perhaps trimming the fat is all it will take to make Trump an excellent president, but it's leadership 101 to never offer a problem without a solution.

It's also Christianity 101. There is nothing Christian about living for what you're against, yet that's precisely what Christianity looks like in this country. Read through the American Family Association's mission statement and you'll find this little gem:
It is AFA's goal to be a champion of Christian activism.  If you are alarmed by the increasing ungodliness and depravity assaulting our nation, tired of cursing the darkness, and ready to light a bonfire, please join us.
AFA's slogan might as well be "Make America Great Again!" too (another win for American syncretism). They may hate the darkness with a righteous anger, but their light is just ugly.

The Christian way is more than being known for what we're for; it's not letting what we're against dilute what we're for. We've been talking about the former for years--about how, as Barnabas Piper says, against-ness is lazy. But we haven't talked enough about how to reconcile what we're for and what we're against.

Some Christians have retired their against-ness by dropping the picket signs and laying off the anti-marriage equality rhetoric on Facebook. However, they still refuse to patron Starbucks and they declined the wedding invitation from their gay co-worker. And while it's commendable that their against-ness no longer defines them, their for-ness remains pretty murky.

The sad part is that what Christians are for should be as clear and as bright as day. The Christian life is one of love and selflessness. Jesus never let a little sin or evil stop him from healing the blind and sick or laying down his own life. He was all for loving people even when he was personally against how they lived.

We should also be eager to show off what we're for. Being against things may be unproductive, but never being for anything is irresponsible. Christ commanded us to love others. It's not a choice or a conditional command that depends on how much of their lives we're against. If Jesus sacrificed his life for sinners, we can sacrifice our against-ness for them too. Only then will we hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant" instead of "You're fired."


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photo credit: Donald Trump via photopin (license)