The concept of sins and virtues predates Christianity, but since some of our elected officials, especially lately, believe they have a kind of mandate to turn the United States of America into a theocracy based on Christianity, we’ll stick with that range of religions. Before I go any further, I’m aware that each of these officials wants to go with their particular flavor of Christianity. That is a problem on its own seeing as how the sects are all quite different. I don’t have the time or expertise to go there.
There are a lot of articles out there on the reasons and excuses such a terrible example of humanity as our president could be chosen to represent America. Understand that I did try to live in the make-believe world of the Christian more than once in my life, but I just couldn’t do it. To stay would have meant ignoring facts and truths and living literally every day in paralyzing fear and guilt. Fuck that. Despite my apostasy I do understand some of the thinking. I also know now that many Christians have already considered what I’m working through here. They are stuck asking the same question I am without a satisfactory answer: how could Christians choose a person as immoral as Trump to lead and represent the country, and how can they possibly continue to support him?
“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Many Christians are not Catholics, but as far as I can tell most believe in the same basic idea of virtues and sins and what sort of characteristics a “good” person has, what we consider moral excellence. They also tend to generally agree on which character flaws are particularly troublesome if a person wants to go through the pearly gates. Also, most religions, even non-Christians, tend to believe in some version of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The concepts of “good” or “bad” qualities and behaviors in a person are basically uniform in our society with or without religion.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines virtue as “an habitual and firm disposition to do the good.” The Church recognizes seven heavenly virtues (in order of importance from least to most): chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, forgiveness, kindness, and humility. While I agree that a leader needs to be emotionally stable (falls under temperance), a hard worker (diligent), capable of empathy (kind), sometimes charity will be difficult as a leader will seldom have the resources to give to everyone at once; (s)he’ll have to prioritize according to need. That’s just being realistic. Humility is important when a leader is working for the good of the community (which may not necessarily be best for him), but a leader cannot lack confidence in his or her abilities. Confidence comes from experience. Experience is gained by making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. It also comes from being able to set aside prejudices and assess a situation to find out exactly what is happening. A leader must be able to recognize a problem, learn to truly understand the problem, and determine when to act (or not act) as the case may be. Looking at that list of virtues and applying them to a leader, I do not see anything that resembles 45; I have seen no evidence of principle or good moral being. He tells us he is great (patient, smart, generous, strong, etc.), but that does not make it so.
“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”-James D. Miles
Pope Gregory I in 590 AD also came up with the seven deadly sins (listed again in order of importance of least to most): lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. These vices, “transgressions which are fatal to spiritual progress,” are the opposites of the heavenly virtues of a “good” person. All of these vices pretty much define the American president’s character. He is everything a Christian person should not be and should not aspire to be. When a man as depraved as 45 is tempting Christians to behave in very unChristian ways toward each other and to choose unChristian goals isn’t it assumed (by Christians) the devil is working through that man?
“Why do I have to repent or ask for forgiveness, if I am not making mistakes?” asked Trump. “I work hard. I’m an honorable person.”
He should not repent because he’s not making mistakes. This from the man who brags about sexually assaulting women, who’s cheated on all his wives, who insults everyone from reporters to world leaders, who boasts that he is smart to not pay taxes or his vendors/employees. I suppose the sexism and some of the bigotry is condoned by the Bible, but fraud, rape, greed, lying, and excessive pride (among his other transgressions) are not. This president who is fighting to boot millions of people off their health insurance, who is doing his best to gut our environmental protections and leave people without clean air and water, and who flagrantly breaks laws believes he is an honorable person and does not need to repent.
Somehow, a lot of Christians agree with him. They think he’s honorable and stick up for him no matter what he does. Simultaneously, he’s their religion’s definition of “Antichrist,” the man of sin, he is not an admirable or trustworthy person, deceiving, persecuting people of faith, etc. at a time of deception.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
Come to think of it, there are a lot of leaders in the world even now who could fit this description. We have people who believe Christians aren’t supposed to hang out with prostitutes or gays or lepers (the Bible doesn’t really say that). Jesus “was very pleased to welcome sinners who were open to the gospel, sorry for their sins, and on their way to putting their faith in Him.” Yet, we have a lot of citizens who are very excited to tell you they are Christians and that Trump is wonderful and virtuous even though he’s proud of his sin and not at all interested in repentance. He’s probably not their Antichrist, but he’s the opposite of “good” in every way possible and to some crazy extremes (how about this guy on pride, wrath, gluttony, greed? – pretty extreme, IMO).
Were we always headed in this direction? That seems to be the argument/explanation. I suppose it would be part of truly understanding the problem so we can try to fix it. For now, I’m trying to get a handle on how we got here, how so many could choose, and defend to the point of violence (also a big no-no), such a wicked person. At any other point in our history, any person motivated by lust and greed as Trump is would have been out of the running at his first lie. He should have been a tiny footnote in election history dated June 2015.
“He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t do drugs. His drug (of choice) is himself.” on DJT from Sam Nunberg, campaign adviser.
The god of the Christians likes to remind his followers of his jealous streak. Even if 45 was a good guy, this devotion, this sort of worship, isn’t a good idea when you have a jealous and vengeful god. This idolatry, the adulation Trump feeds on (his drug) for his very survival, should be as much a concern to his Christian followers as it is to the rest of us who are still trying to understand why.
Link: “Trump is the logical outcome of the white evangelical narrative of decline” – by Fred Clark
Link: “The hilarious Trump orb photo is a nearly perfect metaphor for his foreign policy” – by Zack Beauchamp at Vox
Link: The Ten Commandments – included because of so many helpful links and sources, a good place to begin
Link to original tweet from ChurchOfSatan.
Link to original tweet from James Johnson.