Why do Christians still support President Donald Trump? It’s a question that perplexes me, and probably millions of others who practice the faith.
I don’t claim to be the best Christian myself — I’m one of those that probably say a prayer or two privately a day, and attends church during the important holidays. I’m not alone in this: according to Pew Research, only 36 percent of Americans actually do attend weekly religious services. Another third go once or twice a month, or a handful of times a year, while about 30 percent rarely go, if ever, during the year.
Admittedly, I’m more secular than religious in my everyday life. Yet despite my obvious shortcomings as a regular church-going Christian, it still offends me when people believe Trump is religious, or prop him up as someone who is doing good things for Christianity.
It’s a phenomenon that Trump himself recognizes — but instead of issuing a modest response to this, he wears it like a badge of honor. He also credits himself with being the best person for Christians ever.
According to reporting from CBN, Trump, while taking part in an interview on Air Force One, said as much. “Nobody’s done more for Christians or evangelicals or frankly religion than I have,” Trump said.
Where to begin? First, it’s a simple fact that someone else has done more for Christians than the president has — and at the top of that list, I would put Christ himself.
But the president’s obviously limited knowledge about the Bible or Christ’s teachings also lend credence to the belief that he’s full of it when he says he’s good for Christianity. We needn’t be reminded of the fact that, as a candidate in 2016, Trump cited “Two Corinthians” in a speech to Liberty University, per reporting from ABC News. Numerous other examples abound, including in 2015 when he said the Bible was his favorite book, but couldn’t recite a single passage from it, as CNN reported that year.
There’s also his boastfulness that needs to be discussed. Trump regularly puts himself on a pedestal, but did so specifically in this recent interview by implying he’s done more for religion (and Christianity specifically) than anyone else. This flies in the face of Christ’s own lessons, from the book of Matthew, Chapter 6, on how not to behave as a leader.
Within that chapter, Jesus scorns hypocrites, who love to pray out in the open. “Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full,” He says. Instead, Christ urges His followers to take a more private approach.
Proverbs 11:2 also warns against being boastful. “Proud and boastful people will be shamed, but wisdom stays with those who are modest and humble,” it says.
And we cannot talk about Trump and the Bible without bringing up his wealth. Jesus again has a lesson here, from Matthew 19. “Truly I tell you, it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus taught, adding that it’s “easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
For most Christians, this passage means that we must be charitable, giving to others when it’s possible. For Trump, it’s a passage he largely ignores.
Reporting from the Washington Post indicated that in the course of 7 years prior to Trump running for president, he promised millions of dollars to various charitable organizations. Yet the publication could only confirm one donation amount in the reporting cited above, in the range of $5,000 to $9,999 dollars.
That’s more than a lot of people give, but it’s pithy tidings compared to what the supposed billionaire Christian president could have given, and many times smaller than what he promised, making him a liar in addition to a misanthropist.
Then there is the un-Christian way he acts. He attacks others. He doesn’t turn the other cheek. He commits adultery. He supports the death penalty, and bears false witness. His administration imprisons children, and believes in restricting other rights for others. And the way he talks about himself makes him a walking incarnation of the Golden Calf.
The only conclusion one can draw from his life’s example is that Trump is not the most Christian president that there’s ever been, and far from even being considered a serious contender for the moniker. Furthermore, his association with the religious belief is probably hurting the brand more than it’s helping.
Unfortunately, many Christian leaders are putting forth the false narrative that he’s doing good things for the faith, which is doing wonders for the president’s ego but leaving an uneasy feeling in the minds of many Christian followers, per reporting from the New York Times.
All of this leads me to declare a simple truth: if Trump’s idea of Christianity continues to flourish among churches across the nation, then you can count me out. I’d much rather follow the teachings of Christ in private, more so than I already do, than belong to an organization that justifies the improprieties of this commander-in-chief.
But I also have faith that many other Christians, the latent ones like myself as well as the truly dedicated, feel similarly to how I do, and that leaders across the country will hopefully come to their senses.
Leaders of nations across the globe have tried to usurp the values of Christianity in the past, and so far all of them have failed. In the end, I am confident that Trump is destined to fail in this regard as well.