If there are indeed multiple parallel universes all stacked on top of each other, there isn’t a single one in which support for President Trump is compatible with a modern understanding of civility.
Yet here we are, living in a country where more than 80 percent of white, self-identifying evangelicals chose Trump as the exemplar of their values and the savior of Christianity’s flagging dominance in American politics.
Among the several amazing feats of mental gymnastics Christians engage in to allow the inclusion of Trump into their ideological canon, the idea that vociferous support for him comes only from the fringes of their leadership is one of the most ridiculous. Donald Trump is as mainstream a Christian president as it’s possible to be. However, “no one upholds Trump as a moral exemplar,” wrote a breathlessly apologetic Marc Thiessen even before the Stormy Daniels interview aired.
No one, indeed? So you’re saying a vast number of Christians cannot be trusted to choose leaders who are compatible with their most closely held beliefs? He continues: “(Trump) is not the most religious president we have ever had, but he may be the most pro-religion president.”
Here’s some truth, finally.
Trump certainly is pro-religion — that much is clear. The trouble is, he’s probably “for” religion in the same way, and for the same reasons, that he is “for” bankruptcy laws: because he’s talented at using both of them as means for accomplishing his self-serving ends. Donald Trump is just as cynical and inconsistent in his use of religion in political prop comedy as Hitler was.
Let us say this as politely as we know how in this late hour: If you self-identify as a Christian and you still support Trump, you’re being played for a fool.
Trump as a Modern-Day Cyrus?
We won’t dwell on the fact that Israel is one of the scariest countries on earth right now. All we need to know for our purposes today is that Israel recently issued a commemorative coin with a profile of Trump’s head superimposed on the head of a man named Cyrus.
Among Israelis and American evangelicals alike, name-dropping Cyrus has become a kind of mantra to soothe the existential pain that comes with cognitive dissonance. The idea that Christianity represents the ultimate expression of charity and love on planet Earth cannot be reconciled with the religion’s historically fabulously poor choice of moral arbiters.
Or can it?
Indeed, it can — which brings us to the Trump-Cyrus coin.
Cyrus is a figure from the Judeo-Christian version of world history. He was a king of Persia who conquered Babylon and ended the Babylonians’ captivity of the Jewish people. This allowed the Jews to return to the land we now call Israel and begin building their nation there. If you have a Bible nearby, you can find the story in the book of Isaiah.
Cyrus is a figure who has come to represent deliverance for beleaguered sectarians.
Netanyahu is keeping Cyrus’s flame burning bright by explicitly comparing Cyrus’s deliverance of the Jewish nation to Trump’s unilateral and broadly unpopular decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. American evangelical thinkers such as Lance Wallnau are following suit.
Of course, Netanyahu’s hero Cyrus wasn’t Jewish and did not recognize the god worshipped by the people he’d just freed. Indeed, they appear to be a minor detail in the story of a man with an ego large enough to allow him to conquer entire nations. Put another way, religious freedoms almost certainly did not enter into Cyrus’s calculations as he pored over his battle maps in his war rooms.
This story does not vindicate the Christian Nation’s choice of a sexual abuser to serve as their president and moral exemplar — it merely proves how inconsistent their values have always been. It now appears that nearly any type of leader, no matter how manifestly unpalatable he is or how self-serving his goals are, can become a god-sent cipher for Jews or Christians or anybody else who fear their way of life is at risk.
No matter how dissimilar a particular warlord might be from the god they claim to speak to, if his ambitions momentarily align with their own, there appear to be no limits to the ideological inconsistency or tyranny religious minds will tolerate if they feel they’re under siege.
Cyrus at least can be credited with freeing slaves. What is the bondage Trump is fighting against, exactly? More to the point, is the presence of Cyrus in the Judeo-Christian canon a vindication of modern Christians’ apologies for Trump — or simply more evidence that they care less about maintaining ideological purity than they do maintaining political relevance?
The oppressing force Christians swear their modern Cyrus saved them from, after all, is the Democratic agenda. Meanwhile, civilized minds recognize the Republican-Christian agenda for what it is: institutional apartheid and ecocide.
Trump’s Saving Grace, According to Christians, Is More Hot Air
That Donald Trump “keeps his promises” is just about the last defense Christians cling to these days when they’re pressed to defend their support of the man. Once again, you’d have to live in a very different universe for that to be true.
The idea that Trump has “stood up for” Christian values is certainly true. Whether that’s a good thing depends upon it being true that Christian politics are actually compatible with civilized behavior. What are their tent-pole issues these days? Abortion and … nothing else, really? Fiscal responsibility? Everything the Trump-GOP coalition has done will greatly worsen America’s fiscal standing today and well into the future.
As for abortion? As for family values? As for the sanctity of life? As for putting God “back in the classroom?” All of these are meant to be the reasons why the Trump administration is jamming ultraconservative thinkers into unelected political positions. To draw a line in the sand for their god.
However, abortion was a settled issue before politicians weaponized it. When it’s made safe and legal, and when it’s coupled with responsible sexual education in well-funded schools, it becomes a very tiny issue indeed.
As for family values? Politicking of all kinds seems to attract degenerates, but nobody bends over backward as fast as the GOP to defend child molesters and wife beaters.
As for God in the classroom? Jesus Christ instructed his followers not to pray showily or in public. Then there’s that church-state boundary Christians are always talking about.
The “sanctity of life” is the final pillar of faith Christians cling to in their headlong, enthusiastic dash toward Trump-flavored fascism — and it’s another all-important plank in Donald Trump’s all-for-show crusade for religious freedom. Just remember that calling your movement “pro-life” is more hot air — more broken promises — when the man you’ve selected to lead you is little more than a glorified arms dealer.