DEBATING ABOUT TRUMP with my fellow Christians reminds me of yelling into the Grand Canyon. What I hear is an echo.
It caught me off guard this past week, after I said I agreed with my former editor Mark Galli. He wrote the editorial for Christianity Today magazine calling for the president to be removed from office as morally unfit.
I took some hits. I think about a couple dozen of my blog subscribers unsubscribed, including one good friend.
What surprised me most were the words my fellow Christians used to defend the president and to attack dear me.
They were often the very words I would use to make a case against the president and his enablers.
One exception. I wouldn’t call any of them baby killers.
That’s what one gent called me, after telling me he threw out a book of mine he had just bought at the VA.
I tried to tell him I wasn’t a baby killer and that, if fact, I had made two babies.
Steve, the false witness
One long-time Christian friend of mine who follows what I call News Pornography (hate-inciting propaganda on radio and TV) said “God does hate sin and hates giving false witness, too.” A Trump supporter, she was saying that of me. That’s exactly what I would say about the president. He has won the title away from Satan as the Father of Lies. That’s maybe a slight exaggeration. But not by much.
Another reader, a follower of my business Facebook page, called me a fool. That’s what some think of people duped by the president, but a filter usually stops them from saying it.
I told the gent what the Bible says about calling someone a fool.
“Anyone who addresses someone as ‘You fool!’ is going to get burned when it’s time to pass judgment.” –Jesus, Matthew 5:22 Casual English Bible.
He called me a fool about half a dozen more times, and then deleted his comments.
One polite gent wrote, “They gotcha brother hook, line and sinker. I hope Christ wakes you up to what is really going on. Question everything and I mean everything you think is true…Much love.”
I replied, “Isn’t it odd how we can think and say exactly the same words to each other and mean exactly the opposite.”
I would say to him the same words, but I wouldn’t see them referring to me. I would say the president has duped him and he took the bait, hook, line, and sinker.
Like him, I would also think, but probably not say out loud, “I hope Christ wakes you up to what is really going on.”
Why the disconnect?
There are lots of reasons, I guess, why we’re talking in echoes instead of having conversations.
For some Christians, they’d back any scoundrel who promised to stand against abortion and socialism and trying to cross the border into the land we stole from Native Americans we slaughtered.
Clearly, they already have.
Others, I believe, simply feed on propaganda. They don’t even believe there’s such a thing as objective news anymore, let alone read it.
They are clinically brainwashed by innuendo, conspiracy fiction reported as fact, and debunked lies told over and over and over. It works for conservatives, liberals, and anyone else with two ears, one thumb, and a remote control.
I don’t think Christians are going to agree on the nature of the president any time soon.
Too many of us feed on News Pornography instead of real-world, objective news. We like reality TV better, whether it’s real or not.
Historians might call it Yellow Journalism, a name describing journalism in the late 1890s, featuring lurid and sensationalized stories in newspapers. Publishers wanted to increase circulation. Today, many major news broadcasters use it to increase viewers. Fox News is the worst offender as they defend the president; I say that as a former newspaper reporter. CNN and MSNBC take their sensationalism and Breaking News in the opposite direction to hammer Trump.
If we’re going to talk to each other about important stuff related to the unprecedented corruption in the White House, we’re going to have to find a way to agree on what is real and what is a fake, a fraud, and a false teacher leading Christians astray.
Where conversation could start
Maybe it starts with reading the Bible and taking a refresher course on the kind of human being Jesus was and what he expects of us.
One seminary friend of mine defended the president by saying, “God has been in the habit of using very flawed people for his purposes, President Trump is not beyond being used by God for his purposes.”
Agreed. God could use the devil, too. That doesn’t mean we should defend his sins, attack his critics, and follow him to hell.
My friend’s words leave me thinking, “Unbelievable.” And my words aren’t going to do much for him.
If News Pornography isn’t the problem, could it be that Christians have become so obsessed with our personal agendas, pet peeves, and peculiar theories about life that we’ve forgotten what it means to be a Christian.
“I want you to remember that God picked you, and I’m begging you to live the life of someone who deserves that honor. And I want you to do it in a spirit of humility, with gentleness and patience. Work out your differences in a loving way. Do everything you can to stay united, not just in behavior, but in spirit as well. Agree to keep the peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3 Casual English Bible).
Maybe I should start there, instead of asking how on God’s green earth a fellow Christian could defend the behavior of this wretched man.
And maybe others should start there, too, instead of calling me a baby killer and insisting I stamp “LIBERAL” on the cover of my books.
It’ll take some deprogramming. But it could work. Note to Holy Spirit.