Don Rogers: Church of Trump?
The evangelical embrace of Donald Trump puzzles me.
The birther stunts early and the opportunistic change of heart about abortion late. The sudden piety, the bully’s empathy, the petty feuds, the women, all that lying. Good lord.
The Republican Party faithful only love the president more through each turn, 85-90 percent. Even as North Korea appears to have played him about as well as Putin, Carrier did the layoffs in the end, and he’s the source of nearly all the fake news. The journalists, those filthy prophets, are not supposed to notice.
But the Supreme Court is set right, the economy is chugging ahead, taxes are coming down, jobs going up, and just look at the stock market. Milk and honey, baby. Milk and honey. It’s great again.
The craziness? The tariffs, turmoil among staff, tearing up NAFTA in favor of … NAFTA with some deck chairs moved? Surely part of a master plan. The president’s ways are mysterious.
Some of the faithful don’t care for his tone or language. But he’s getting things done, by god. And he’s doing it the GOP way, right if not entirely righteous.
Still, the party color has taken on a decidedly pinkish hue with regard to Russia, globalization, a free press. Today’s more populist Republicans show little sense of irony while explaining the wisdom of Trump as he upends traditional positions they once held.
Even heroes are mere prisoners now, flag of mourning lowered only reluctantly to half-staff. Praise goes instead to swamp creatures, convicted at that.
For all this, the Democrats may have gone even crazier, shifting even more left. California plainly is not the better for progressive policies that have led to us being both the richest and the poorest state in the union. We’re more cautionary tale than beacon for the world, especially with our shortage of homes and hordes of homeless while the wealthy live fabulously so.
God help us if the progressive wing of the Democrats takes the whole party and nation. Maybe this dread lurks in the evangelical heart. They felt at war with the genuine Christian who preceded Trump. The friendly faker on the right path wins their fealty. That’s human enough, I suppose.
Even the directive to separate young children from illegal immigrant parents couldn’t crack this foundation, though it shook some and their outcry no doubt helped persuade the president he’d gone too far.
OK, so surely the Bible must hold clues. Alas, the text teems to my lay eye with contradictions, a reflecting pool revealing whatever you wish to see. In it, even evil men serve as God’s instrument. Look for righteousness and you will find it. Same with violence, love, error, wisdom, utter confusion.
Abortion does not appear in the Bible other than in reference to poison and possibly miscarriage in coded language, or maybe not. The famous line concerning an “eye for an eye” directly follows guidance about a judge’s restitution if a pregnant woman is struck and “miscarries, but there is no fatality.” Hmmm. Harder to parse that away.
Life in the womb and life beginning with first breaths make their appearances. The meaning is fiercely debated, you don’t need me to tell you.
I take the Good Book as literature exploring the highs and lows of the human condition, concerned more with questions than answers. But I think most Christians understand the Bible as The Blueprint, and some believe it infallible down to the word. If so, the Architect’s lines are vague, imprecise even, subject to interpretation, perhaps why Christian denominations alone number in the tens of thousands.
I see nothing definitive in the underlying dogma to understand why white evangelicals hold so fast to a president who represents none of their values, only their agenda.
I’m puzzled, not outraged. I don’t share the hysteria of the Resistance at each new report. They have only themselves to blame for staying home in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Elections have consequences, remember?
The hottest critics have rendered themselves fools in exaggerating every gaffe and supposed fault, while pooh-poohing obvious achievements. The New York Times and The Washington Post frankly have lowered themselves by declaring war on the president, then making a business model of it on Rush Limbaugh’s example. And the sad tribalism on the left only matches the worst on the right.
Fighting fire with fire works. Sin for sin, not so much.
But the evangelicals, quick to moralize and sermonize about good and evil, might have more reason for reflection. Condemning President Clinton while making excuses for Trump might betray a mote. Following the current president’s bidding to politic from the pulpit, what would that mean? Something short of the Sermon on the Mount, assuredly.
I hear instrument of God. But I wonder if what will be revealed is a deal with the devil.
Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union in Grass Valley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4299.