Note: Given that Trump seems to have stalled a bit since Wednesday’s debate, and his gaffe in New Hampshire and subsequent retreat in South Carolina, I want to be clear that this piece wasn’t written in response to those events. Setbacks are inevitable, even for Trump, who seems to be immune to mortal missteps that would have sunk just about any other candidate. This piece is about why Christians are headed for disaster if Trump actually wins.
Do you know the story of the scorpion and the frog?
One day, a scorpion decided he wanted to leave his desert home and live in a forest, so he set out on a journey. Reaching a river he could not cross, he came across a frog, and asked for help. Here’s how their conversation went.
“Hellooo Mr. Frog!” called the scorpion across the water, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”
“Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?” asked the frog hesitantly.
“Because,” the scorpion replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!”
Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!”
“This is true,” agreed the scorpion, “But then I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side of the river!”
“Alright then…how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?” said the frog.
“Ahh…,” crooned the scorpion, “Because you see, once you’ve taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!”
You can guess what happened. Halfway across the river, the scorpion stung the frog.
“You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”
The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drowning frog’s back.
“I could not help myself. It is my nature.”
Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.
This is exactly what will happen to Christians who expect Trump to “make America great.” America will sink (morally), and Christians will drown in more persecution than we ever thought possible. As one pastor put it, “if we elect this man to the White House, the first time Christians disagree with him, we will get everything that’s coming to us.”
There is absolutely no reason for any evangelical Christian to support Donald Trump.
There’s every reason to stand against him.
Let’s clear out the anger at the Republican party first. Yes, they’ve betrayed Christian values, over and over again. Yes, they’ve played “bait and switch” so many times that the hinge swinging between their two faces is worn and creaky. Let’s get past the fact that the GOP establishment is working more for the values of the Democrats than Republicans of faith.
Now let’s get to the core of the issue: are you a Christian or not?
Trump is not a Christian, and if you call yourself a follower of Christ, you need to know this. You need to understand why supporting Trump for president is counter to Christian principles, and counter to your own ability to follow your faith.
If you’re a Christian, you should understand that supporting Trump is an act of vengeance upon the government, and upon the Republican party. It’s not a corrective measure, it’s punishment, pure and simple. Trump does not come to praise the Republican party, he comes to bury it, and Christians with it.
Let’s break it down. In America, our government reflects the will of the people. Right now, we’ve got top leadership at the federal level who are very far away from God. I’d say all of them are, in both parties.
But do we, as Christians, expect our government to be Godly? I mean, yes, it would be nice to have a Godly government, but I think that time is past. We need to change the culture before we can expect the government to change.
If you think Trump will make that change, you’re sadly mistaken. Supporting Trump is nothing more than calling for vengeance. It’s expecting a political savior who rules with a sword, “because he fights.”
But what does Trump fight for?
Not Christians, or Christian values, to be sure.
Trump made his money on real estate and casinos, mostly using other people’s money, mostly by ingratiating himself to others, mostly by inflating his own worth and value.
Here’s some winning quotes from Trump, some of them from his books, like “The Art of the Deal,” the book he touts every time the cameras roll.
“Show me someone without an ego, and I’ll show you a loser.”
“One of the problems when you become successful is that jealousy and envy inevitably follow. There are people—I categorize them as life’s losers—who get their sense of accomplishment and achievement from trying to stop others. As far as I’m concerned, if they had any real ability they wouldn’t be fighting me, they’d be doing something constructive themselves.”
“My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after.”
“All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s good to be expected.”
“You know, it really doesn’t matter what (the media) write as long as you`ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
These aren’t what you’d be hearing from a committed Christian, of any stripe.
Trump supports gambling—a terrible, life-sucking addiction for many Americans—but it made him a fortune. During Wednesday’s GOP debate, he kept saying how getting out of Atlantic City before it collapsed was “great timing” but was it great to the workers who ended up jobless when the casinos closed?
When has Trump done anything at all not in his self-interest?
He hasn’t. It’s not in his nature.
Everything that Trump presents as logical, ear-tickling, candy-coated “love-me” wooing is fake. It’s sincerely fake—Trump really wants to be president, just like the scorpion wanted to cross the river. But it doesn’t change who Trump is. It’s an eminence front; it’s a put-on.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote in his New York Times op-ed,
Still, the problem is not just Mr. Trump’s personal lack of a moral compass. He is, after all, a casino and real estate mogul who has built his career off gambling, a moral vice and an economic swindle that oppresses the poorest and most desperate. When Mr. Trump’s casinos fail, he can simply file bankruptcy and move on. The lives and families destroyed by the casino industry cannot move on so easily.
Everyone seems to ignore these facts, as if suddenly a man who made his living reaping the house’s share of roulette spins and blackjack hands, building ornate monuments to his own name, and pandering to the rich and powerful, can suddenly change his stripes because he gave helicopter rides to kids at the Iowa State Fair.
Trump is rich. So what? Lots of people are rich. The question Christians should be asking (everyone should ask it, really), is how did Trump get rich?
It wasn’t rags-to-riches; it was silver spoons. Trump was born rich, and would be far richer today had he simply invested his father’s fortune and spent his life as a playboy, living on the interest.
In fact, Trump’s success as a businessman hasn’t been stellar at all—it’s been quite poor compared to others.
Citing data from Forbes, The Associated Press estimates that Trump’s net worth quadrupled from $1 billion to $4 billion between 1988 and today. That’s an impressive gain, but it’s nothing compared to the wealth produced by investors such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Gates’s wealth increased from about $1 billion to $80 billion over the same period. Buffett had about $2.5 billion in 1988, and has $68 billion today.
Yet perhaps the most telling comparison is between Trump and his golf buddy, Richard LeFrak. The LeFraks and the Trumps have been rivals in New York’s real estate business for generations. LeFrak’s father, Samuel LeFrak, took a no-nonsense approach to the business. He focused on minimizing risk and making money, according to a 1992 profile in Business Week, before the magazine became Bloomberg Businessweek.
“He might be strutting around like a peacock today, but he’s gonna be a feather duster tomorrow,” the elder LeFrak told Business Week when asked about Trump.
Over time, the LeFraks came out ahead of their competitors. LeFrak is worth $7 billion today, and he’s 181st on Bloomberg’s list of the world’s richest people. Bloomberg puts Trump’s wealth at just $2.9 billion — far less than Forbes’s estimate. He doesn’t even make the list.
Trump is a self-aggrandizing fake, even at business.
He is one of those people who makes a little money on real estate, and instead of using a disciplined approach and risk management, he takes huge risks and makes money selling others on the concept. In fact, he’s done that—or at least lent his name to it—Trump was sued by the New York Attorney General’s office for $40 million for misleading students of “Trump University.” The “school” was nothing more than a scam to get attendees to pay up to $30,000 for “personal mentoring” and a picture with a cardboard cutout of Trump.
“For my $35,000+ all I got was books that I could have gotten from the library that could guide me better then Trump’s class did. I just want my $35,000+ money back. I feel embarrass[ed],” reads one complaint.
This is not the way a Christian conducts business. It’s not the way billionaires like Warren Buffett conduct business either. It’s more along the lines of Jordan Belfort from “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Martha Stewart was jailed for far less.
Trump is a fraud who commits fraud, and is fraudulently presenting himself to America as some kind of savior.
His supporters extol his “outsider” status like some kind of marshal’s badge—Jed Cooper come to clean up Fort Smith in “Hang ‘Em High,” or The Stranger telling townspeople to paint their town of Lago red and label it “Hell” in “High Plains Drifter.” They fashion Trump as a real-life Clint Eastwood character leaping off the silver screen.
Trump is no savior.
Jesus was crucified because the people of his time wanted a political savior who would throw off the Romans and usher in a new Israel ruled from Jerusalem. “Save yourself!” the first thief shouted as they hung from a cross. “Save yourself!” the Roman executioners mocked. Only Jesus didn’t come to save Himself, he came to save us from our sin nature.
Unless Donald Trump publicly confesses Christ instead of juvenile babble about the Bible, and unless he exhibits evidence of real Christian change in his nature, we can’t conclude that he has had a conversion experience.
Trump is not a Christian.
Nothing in Trump’s nature even hints at Christlikeness.
When has Trump ever given anything to anyone without an expectation of getting something? Sure he lets people use his airplanes for medical needs (he’s done it more than once). But he is actually among the least charitable businessmen in the world.
Although Donald Trump has described himself as an “ardent philanthropist,” he has only donated $3.7 million to his own foundation. In comparison, a wrestling company has given Trump’s foundation $5 million. He ranks among the least charitable billionaires in the world.
Trump is even more of a tight-wad to charities than the “queen of mean” Leona Helmsley. And when he does give, he announces it publicly, with flourishes that befit philanthropic tycoons like Vanderbilt and Carnegie. Trump isn’t even fit to have tied their shoes were they alive today.
Everything about Trump is gold-plated, inflated, and “terrific” fiction.
If you are a Christian, if you really claim the name of Christ in your life and order your steps using Biblical precepts, you have to see that Trump is a delusion. He is the same delusion that the Pharisees succumbed to when they cried “crucify him!” to Pilate. He is the political savior who doesn’t exist.
If you support Trump’s candidacy, if you’re one of his faithful followers, wake up. This man is not who he advertises himself to be. He is not the political savior you’re waiting for. That savior doesn’t exist.
Follow the savior who rose from the dead, and find a candidate who also follows Him. There are several in the GOP from which to choose.
I’d rather have an imperfect former sinner in the White House who follows Christ, regardless of their policies, than a scorpion asking for a ride across the river.