In trying to court believers, President Trump is hitting on fears and worries held by many evangelical Americans. But in truth he appears to be a greater threat to the faith than he is a benefit.
Recently, the president’s rhetoric around Christian belief is that it is something to defend. Trump promises that under his presidency, the Christian faith will be bolstered through his political support. Set aside the conversation on how this measures with the separation of church and state for a moment — Trump speaks of a war, against culture, mainstream media, and liberals, and he has proposed himself as the champion of the Christian right. And this week’s prayer meeting between the president and evangelical supporters shows some prominent Christian leaders have accepted Trump into this position.
But Donald Trump has a fundamental error in his perspective of who God is and what his desire for believers is. Christianity is not a faith in need of saving. If Trump is looking for people to defend, there are plenty of people in the U.S. that do desperately need a champion — even though the president hasn’t displayed a heart to do so.
It doesn’t mean much to pledge to protect people from persecution who have taken a pledge to be persecuted — as Christians have, in taking up the calling of Jesus.
It doesn’t mean much to be a political voice for a people who have pledged to give up their own voices — as Christians have, to listen to those voices the world has taken away.
It doesn’t mean much to house and care for those who have, in accepting the blood of sacrifice, given away their claim to earthly things, to in turn give them to those less fortunate.
I am not one who denies another’s faith without basis, but I must say: If President Trump has truly taken up the oaths and pledges of Christianity, he should be more interested in taking on the interests of others, rather than spending so much time easing the fears of those who have, at least in word, sacrificed their temptation to worry.
Christianity already has a champion, and that champion is much greater than any political figure — king, queen, senator, or president. We are not a people without a leader, aimless in the desert. We have a leader who has already promised us all earthly needs — shelter, clothing, and sustenance — and, much greater than that, salvation. We don’t need defense. There are others who do.
Many fundamentalist believers carry a fear that their faith system is being repressed, attacked, and diminished in the United States. In justifying their vote, some say the United States has moved away from God. But judging by the number of Americans who are spiritually homeless, physically homeless, or in desperate need for basic amenities, it appears that it is the church that has moved away from God. A Christianity that would vote for its own defense over the defense of those coming from war-torn countries, or the most in need among us, does not abide by the commands of its true champion — Jesus Christ.