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.
I’m a Christian and I whole-heartily agree with you! That is a great article. Thank you!!!
Stephen M. Miller
Merry Cristmas, my dear friend!
You had the best answer for Christians, get saturated in the written word! Yes, Christians need a good refresher course in practical Christianity. We all need a good washing (or enema) with our Biblical faith.
My doctor tells me to stay away from Social media and even FOX news (he’s a Christian Republican). Most Christians I know, dislike Trump and find him godless and reprobate — including myself. Most Christians and conservatives are planning to vote for him again because the other side is just as godless from their viewpoint. There is no such thing as a godly politician. Also, please note that no President has ever lost an election when the economy is doing so well.
I pray for Mr. Trump daily — that God would regenerate his heart and make him seek after God. In fact, I pray for all our leaders who daily give me panic attacks.
Prayer and Paxil make a wonderful combination in today’s world….
Stephen M. Miller
Well said. On the economy, we should remember that it was the previous president who pulled us out of a dive into a depression and set us on this upward course which the current president inherited. We’ll continue praying and remembering how kids in God’s kingdom should act. Peace to you, Wayne.
Lazaro Gonzalez Valdes
Hello Mr. Stephen, Merry Christmas!
(Sorry by my English)
Your writings are clear and real. There is a Cuban saying that says: “The worst blind person is who does not want to see”.
Most Bible prophets raised their voices against the abuses of their heads of government and today’s Christians cannot hide what is evident: we are facing a populist government that mixes truths with fantastic visions such as Putin and the Korean rocket launchers are good people with whom it is possible to reach acceptable agreements.
Stephen, your voice is important because you are a notorious person. It does not matter if some friends leave because they will return when they see their mistake and because now you win other new friends that we listen to and believe.
God blessed you!
Thanks for what you do.
Stephen M. Miller
Merry Christmas, Lazaro. Thank you for your encouragement.
Christians have always been prone to follow some false teachers along the way. But this gent is as bad as anything I’ve read about in Christian history. Jesus, Peter, and Paul would all be reading him the riot act and condemning his enablers. It doesn’t take a prophet to know that. Just a little common sense and some honest and thoughtful reading of the New Testament. Peace to you. Your English is wonderful.
Lazaro Gonzalez Valdes
Victor Steven Rosenberg
“God delights in choosing the things that are weak and foolish in the eyes of the world to usher in the holy and glorious. He wants to rub this into our consciousness, and that the way of the kingdom is utterly contrary to the way of the world”. Art Katz
Everyone is redeemable.
I say why concerning Trump do I see you (Stephen) in vision hurling stone after stone at the wicked prostitute in the public square? Is Trump’s ‘filthy rags dirtier than yours’?
Have you ever studied in depth the lives of past presidents? Lyndon Johnson who was a serial adulterer and made millions illegally while in the Senate or the sexual addict who was JFK who also abused his power more than once or FDR who abused his power to shut down media he didn’t like or Obama who refused to turn over documents about ‘Fast and Furious’ and used the IRS to harass Conservative non-profits?? I have just touched the surface of the innate corruption of so many presidents in the past but never did I see the unrelenting persecution of any of them as Trump has endured. Lets not forget the Clintons, the corruption is deep and long. I am not a Trump apologist but reason and fairness prompt me to speak out.
Stephen M. Miller
I agree that everyone is redeemable. But not everyone is willing or repentant.
I agree, too, that God sometimes chooses the weak and foolish in the eyes of the world to usher in the holy and glorious. But when the apostle Paul speaks in those terms, he’s talking about Christians viewed by worldly people as foolish.
“The kind of wisdom you need is going to make you look like a fool to people of the world. The kind of wisdom people of this world have makes them look like fools to God” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19, Casual English Bible).
Like you, I know a bit about American history. I minored in history in college and have spent my career working with history.
Certainly, past presidents have sinned. But adultery is not rape. Sexual addiction is not grabbing women’s private parts and bragging about it. Refusing to turn over documents is not attempting to extort an ally fighting a war by withholding Congressionally approved aid in exchange for dirty tricks to belittle a political opponent with what remains unsubstantiated charges.
Corruption in politics is not something Christians should excuse, condone, or enable through our voting.
Trump takes the corruption to a tragic low I have not seen in my lifetime. What I’m doing is asking my fellow Christians to stop defending his behavior.
I don’t understand why so many Christians today and throughout history have defended and enabled such extremely corrupt leaders as Trump today and such extremely evil leaders as Hitler and Mussolini. Yet many have, and they do, and they will.
But there are those of us, too, who remember the Bible tradition of speaking truth to power, justice in the face of injustice, and righteousness in the company of selfishness and lies.
Defending Trump by appealing to the sins of others doesn’t sound like something Jesus would do. He had harsh words for the selfish and hateful leaders of his day. At the very least, Christians who see such sinful behavior should speak up and say, “Hey, that’s not right.”
To a great extent, Christians are doing the opposite with their silence.
Victor, we disagree about this, but thanks for disagreeing kindly.
You made some pretty serious allegations about President Trump’s behavior. Which ones has he been convicted for in a court of law? Or has he been convicted in the court of your bitterness? Could you imagine what would happen to our country if we had a leader with the brand of Biblical humility you espouse? We couldn’t go to war. Jesus never would right? President Trump has said some boneheaded things and yet he has done more for the cause of Christ in this country than any modern President. Can I ask you a really sincere question? Who do you recommend we vote for? Who is the strong, moral, Christian leader who is running THAT CAN ACTUALLY WIN? Maybe we need to do the best we can down here and save the ideal for heaven.
Stephen M. Miller
You make a valid point. I don’t see any convictions yet.
His procedure, though, has been to buy his way out of a conviction by settling before going to trial. He pays off women accusing him of sexually attacking him, for example. He has been accused by at least 16 women, including a 13-year-old girl who said he and Jeffrey Epstein both raped her (Google to get a list of the cases filed against him). And he paid a hefty price to settle the fraud with his now-defunct “college” and his now-defunct “charity.”
Here’s a Wikipedia link to a list of his legal problems so far: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lawsuits_involving_Donald_Trump. You can find similar lists on other sites.
It saddens me to hear you say we should “save the ideal for heaven.” We’re God’s children living in God’s kingdom right here and right now. This is his kingdom. We are citizens of his kingdom. Not of Trump’s. If we choose not to live by and stand by the values of Jesus, we should not pretend to be Christian. Believing that Jesus existed isn’t enough to qualify someone as a Christian. The devil believes that in Jesus. Christians believe what he taught, and they live by and defend those teachings.
Jesus stood against hypocrisy, bullying, and corruption. If you need some of his quotes to confirm that, let me know.
Peace to you.
I understand your reservations about President Trump, but I look at all the other potential options and even more discouraged. For those of us that work hard our whole lives, not expecting others to solve our economic problems, it is disheartening to see how things are going
Stephen M. Miller
Many hardworking people need help. In one family I know, the husband and wife each work 2 jobs and the husband picks up extra chore/jobs on the side. But when you’re paid as low as a Taco Bell salary, with a family to feed, it’s not enough.
But what’s going on now isn’t about the economy. It’s about common decency.
When I discuss Trump with his Christian defenders and enablers, I start with him bragging about grabbing women’s genitalia, and then I wonder why on God’s green earth I need to say anything more.
His words and behavior are despicable in a measure unmatched by anyone running against him, as far as we can tell in what we’ve seen so far. He rules by fear, revenge, and disunity. Christians live by love, forgiveness, and unity. He is the opposite of what we stand for.
For Christians, decency trumps the economy.