Can Trump Evangelicals Be “Real” Christians?
Can Trump evangelicals be “real” Christians?
According to this article and this article...probably not.
According to this open letter from some clergy…probably not.
Now, I have some strong sympathies with how these folks feel about some of the policies and attitudes that have accompanied the Trump presidency.
I also have strong sympathies with what they identify as Christian virtues and ethics…and what they identify as anti-Christian ethics.
However, I think it’s a terrible question for a lot of reasons, but one that needs to be both asked and answered.
You see, I know a lot of folks that voted for Trump and still support him.
None of them are white supremacists, misogynists, racists, or any of all the other epithets that they’ve been charged with.
Many of them are business people who use their profits to help support ministries like mine…and who feel as if they’ve been strangled by layers of unnecessary regulations.
Many of them are middle class working folks who have been crushed by over taxation and bureaucracy.
Many more are folks who just feel like the culture is rapidly swirling the drain and they will do anything to conserve some traditional values…even while recognizing that the man they voted for only represents them politically not personally.
They weren’t given compelling alternatives.
In other words, they are living out their faith even though they understand that the man they voted for is deeply flawed.
My concern is that this group has been reviled into silence and I don’t believe in silencing anyone…especially fellow believers.
I want to debate issues looking for mutually acceptable answers…not demonize my brethren.
I want to seek to understand them, and in turn, be understood by them.
I disagree viscerally with much that has to do with Trump…but I refuse to allow it to divide me from folks who would still fellowship with me despite our differences.
How to we build a bridge based on mutual faith when the differences are so profound?
It begins with trying…
“How to we build a bridge based on mutual faith when the differences are so profound?”
You would have to begin by assessing who you share a mutual faith with. In other words, do we in fact share a common faith?
Before you answer the question with reference to ecumenical creeds, don’t, because they do not take up the faith-related questions (or directly enough) that currently divide many Christians.
I’m always going to identify orthodoxy by the creeds.
I share a common faith with anyone who affirms them in faith.
“The Bradley Effect”
People tell pollsters they are voting for the black guy (because they don’t want to appear racist, whether they are or aren’t.).
Then they don’t vote for the black guy.
And the black guy loses.
It’s been seen several times.
Trumps election was similar.
Almost nobody wanted to say they were
going to vote for “literal Hitler” or similar.
And then they did.
(1). Obama’s transgender bathrooms in elementary schools
(2). They wanted a change. As seen results in US politics, even when it doesn’t make logical sense.
(3). Trumps Wall
(4). They want “The Apprentice”…we seem to be headed for a gladiatorial arena.
Or Hillary SUCKED.
86 different campaign theme changes.
Her shrill voice.
Her obvious sheer ambition to be president.
She’s female and many don’t like to see certain attributes in female candidates.
Whatever reasons, she got less votes than ‘07 and 2012 Obama. If she received the same amount as ‘08 or 2012 she would’ve won.
Trump didn’t win.
And almost never Trumper admits that.
So they accuse and name call.
Sad, because I don’t think I know one Christian who voted for him or who now supports him who is enthusiastic about him. In fact many greatly qualify their support.
Almost never do Never-Trumpers admit Hillary LOST
Michael – you can, but I think there are groups out there who invalidate their confession of the creeds by other doctrines. I keep bring them up but to me the word faith prosperity teachers have no common faith with me.
Even if they were bound to me by the creeds, I would never recommend them as a true Christian expression to or for anyone.
Grand error puts you in the penalty box.
Thanks for chiming in…interesting points!
“I share a common faith with anyone who affirms them in faith”
You can do that, but it won’t provide a foundation for a bridge.
When it comes to politics, the one voter data point that is a deal breaker for this evangelical Christian would be, does the candidate affiliated with, speak or have a track record of Christ hating? Beyond that, all my voting decisions are secular based…
Building bridges with confessional Lutherans is almost impossible…there may be hope to build some within the greater Body of Christ.
I would strongly suggest that for the sake of this conversation that everyone read the links with it…
Millions of Christians will not build a bridge with me for believing the following:
1) There is one Baptism, not two.
2) Baptism saves.
3) The fourfold Gospel was written to and for the Church and Christians.
For crying in the night…that’s not what this article is about.
How would you as a confessional Lutheran build a bridge with a Trump supporter who is also a confessional Lutheran?
I would imagine that there were genuine believers among the Lutherans that affiliated themselves with the ‘German Church’ (controlled by the state). In the light of history, however, we honor those who were in the ‘Confessing Church’.
Think there is a key here. Although justified by Grace, the Christian community from the earliest times invited the outside world to judge and assess the validity of their faith by the way in which they conducted their lives. Their conduct included issues of ethics and morality. The conduct also included their social interactions with the poor, the hungry, the ill, the prisoner and even extend to caring for the dead. Very much a Matt. 25 sort of view.
I can certainly understand those who simply voted for Mr. Trump. I find it harder to understand those who justified and/or continue to justify, his personal behavior or policies in terms of their Christian faith. I simply do not recognize the “marks” of the Church in such justification.
Our current divisions and the circumstances of the divisions, may well have dire consequences yet to be fully appreciated.
How to build a bridge to other Christians? It seems to me that, if it is necessary to use a bridge, the gulf defines a gap too wide… we should, at least, be on the same path… or so it seems to me
I quick read the links and i think we are drowning in opinions and pontification… Lots of Chrstians are being fooled by clergy who’ve never submitted to the Lordship of Christ…. Perhaps, we should start our education there? Then discernment might have a chance… or… so it seems to me … again. ?
“Our current divisions and the circumstances of the divisions, may well have dire consequences yet to be fully appreciated.”
Duane, that’s what I’m concerned about.
If dialog is possible, then we should pursue it.
I’m wondering if it is, though…
I go back to history. The German Church bought into the myths and propaganda of the state and the ‘strong leader’ and overlaid it with Christianity.
The Confessing Church embraced Christian faith and measured the myths and propaganda in the light of that faith.
To build a bridge, we have to discover which model we are embracing before we can even begin the discussion.
I just don’t even really understand this issue. Trump and Hillary were two of a kind–corrupt, narcissistic, incompetent, immoral, whatever. Would we be having this discussion about whether Hillary supporters could be “real” christians if she had won? I don’t know. Maybe we would. I know there are some people who question whether you can be a Democrat and a Christian at the same time. I guess the shoe is on the other foot now.
“Would we be having this discussion about whether Hillary supporters could be “real” christians if she had won? ”
Without end…see Obama, Barack…
I really don’t think it is about simply who one voted for… It is when one wishes to “Christianize” the actions of the state, or to give “divine sanction” to the actions of the occupant of the White House – whoever that might be.
To build a bridge, we have to first agree to recognize what is truth and what is not truth. I feel this is where we as Christians are going off the rails. It’s “my truth” and “your” truth. This is impossible to build a bridge with. As a very anti-Trumper and as a Christian, I believe Jesus Christ is the truth. So if people support Trump and believe at the same time in Jesus, they are Christians. But I must ask the question. From what we all know of him, is Trump a truth teller? If we are honest, we know him to be a pathological liar. This just is not ok. Again, truth is truth, period. Most of us do not subscribe to the flat earth theory because we know it’s not the truth. How do we know? Because it’s been proven as a fact that the earth is round. So my question is, what is Trump’s relationship to the truth? Any fact, if it goes against something he says, is “fake news.” My friends, how as believers can we deny the truth that is so obviously based in fact? Trump is a liar and a deceiver and those who follow him are, in my opinion, deceived and some aren’t interested in the truth. Or we can be like Pilate and say, “what is truth?” It either is or it isn’t. So I don’t see how we can even debate issues when people (on both sides) refuse to see a fact for a fact.
Per the links etc, the last people I turn to for political, social or cultural advise are the clergy. They have trouble enough staying true on the spiritual realm.
We see daily clergy not only supporting abortion but blessing it. No bridge building possible there – at least not by me.
So if clergy are trying to “christianize” Trump politics or lifestyle, they are out of order — and I will add, what should we give up as Christians to build these bridges?
I asked my Christian therapist whom he was going to vote for.
“He’s better for business.”
Surprised me, but that was about it. He’s in his early 60s, looking for retiring from practice. It is his own private practice.
If I weren’t paying him, I would have asked him to elaborate.
can a ‘real’ Christian be a brick-layer? can a ‘real’ Christian grow marijuana? can a ‘real’ Christian live in France? can a ‘real’ Christian enjoy rap music? can a ‘real’ Christian paint his/her toenails red?
Would a ‘real’ Christian ask these divisive questions?
To make membership of the body of Christ, or evaluate one’s status in that Body, dependent on anything outside the gospel and faith is to pose a question that leads to endless speculation and quarrels that are pointless, divisive, erodes unity, and is contrary to the purpose of believers in world.
I’m saddened and perplexed by the bleedover of the political into the spiritual and the lack of effectiveness of salt and light the Church should be providing.
The biggest Trump supporter that I know likes to preface every political conversation with the declaration that she completely separates politics from religion. I find this an incomprehensible, schizophrenic way to live one’s life.
I had a former CC pastor (not my old pastor but another one) who called me up on my phone and tried to get me to vote for Trump because he had such a wonderful family (?) and because Ben Carson supported him and Ben Carson has 30 honorary degrees.
You can’t argue with people who think like this.
[Let us spend a few seconds remembering Obama’s truly wonderful family, O how I miss them.]
I have some sympathy for people voted because of the Supreme Court, especially if they were properly reluctant to vote for him and believed God would never want them to vote for the pro-abort Hillary. If they can look at this guy now and realize they were conned, so much the better. Those who defend his every vapid tweet and act of foolishness…. no respect for them at all. Can they be genuine Christians? Shoot, I’m not sure that *I* am a genuine Christian so I am not making judgments there BUT strident defenders of Trump do have many opinions that are in direct conflict with the teachings of Jesus Christ and that should worry them. It worries me that they aren’t worried.
People say they were “forced” to vote for Trump because of Hillary. No sir, you had your chance in the primaries to pick one of the five or six decent human beings but you chose Trump. No one forced you so please drop the “but Hillary” defense. If you Repubs could manage to nominate a decent person maybe I might vote for a Repub again but as for now it’s just me and my husband writing in the name of a decent human being because we are not interested in corrupting our own souls.
Trump vs. Clinton is an artificial distinction–or a grossly simplified one. I voted for neither. There are always other options besides the two offered in that construct.
“The biggest Trump supporter that I know likes to preface every political conversation with the declaration that she completely separates politics from religion. I find this an incomprehensible, schizophrenic way to live one’s life.”
It’s not just schizophrenic, but non-biblical.
The last words of David:
“When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.”
You can bank that when the opposite is present, the reverse will also be true.
“How would you as a confessional Lutheran build a bridge with a Trump supporter who is also a confessional Lutheran?”
I imagine I’m in the minority in my synod regarding Trump. I build bridges by rejoicing in our common confession, by upholding the virtues of truth telling, chastity in marriage, economic and penal justice, compassion for the poor and immigrants who for a practical matter have only known the US as their home, environmental responsibility etc., and by giving space for fellow believers to weigh the issues according to their conscience.
“There are always other options besides the two offered in that construct.”
Well my option was to not vote for President – left it blank – the system is a scam. Our last election was as much a farce, regardless who won, as was this past Putin election – (this is not a commentary of the Russian collusion thing – just how far astray national politics have become.)
To the Republicans I am Republican. To the Democrats a Democrat. I can become all things to all people so that I might win some to Christ.
Yes, I voted Libertarian simply to participate in the process yet vote for neither of the two whom I could not in conscience support.
1-we are not voting for President of The Kingdom of God
2-the question we are presented with every four years is, who can best fulfil the role of defender of the Republic, is it not? So?
3-So, IMV, the overriding question is, do we still have a Republic? Maybe better put – is the National bureaucracy ruled by the Constitution? I suspect it isn’t… I suspect we citizens, especially we Christians, may be distracted by irrelevant questions now, where government is concerned
My concern is, as i think it is for most here, the integrity of the Faith. So?
So are we even focused on the right target as it certainly shouldn’t be, can you vote for Trump and still be Child of The King?
Can you be a Republican or Democrat and still be a Child of The King? Well, i’d say yes, but i’d also ask, why would you want a political party affiliation? Unless you’re running for an office…. dunno, tho, do i? ?
To coin a phrase: wake up ‘merican Christian ! ! LOL
FB got nuts
It is very similar to communist agitators: When advocating for free speech yields people being called Nazis on college campuses , and a call for an honest discussion from the clearly anti-trump web page administrator and offer yields him being called a trump advocate, you know something evil is afoot
I voted against 8 more years of liberal progressiveness. Given better choices I would have voted for a better candidate. Our current president is a moral catastrophe the choice was at least as bad on other grounds. I have many regrets but would have more with the other choice.
As to whether I can be a real Christian. Well I didn’t say the president is LORD nor was it required. So I think the issue is irrelevant.
We have reached the point that morality is impossible to partner with in partisan politics. Each party is variantly immoral and promoting the same.
I find it amusing that people think we can indicate our faith by these choices of how to degrade ourselves.
“I find it amusing that people think we can inducate our faith by these choices of how to degrade ourselves” amen BD and worth thinking on…..
With the Trump phenomenon, the left – both church and politically have become the new “moral” majority – advocating that right faith is determined by right behavior.
I know of two Evangelical Christians who voted for Trump.
Both now have buyer’s remorse.
“With the Trump phenomenon, the left – both church and politically have become the new “moral” majority – advocating that right faith is determined by right behavior.”
That’s what I thought when I read that http://reclaimingjesus.org/ proclamation.
Read like the Democratic platform interspersed with chistianese guilt language.
I also noticed that their declaration didn’t include anything about protecting the most vulnerable among us…the unborn.
Muff, you know 2 evangelicals who have voter’s remorse?
I know scores of them who would check the box for Trump again, without question.
I was warned that this probably wouldn’t go well.
There are times when I just have to get my Don Quixote on, I guess…
Most of my “good” Christian friends and family blocked me on FB after my anti-Trump rants after the election. All well…
I try to be kind anyway.
I admit I wasn’t real kind to them so I don’t blame them for “blocking” me, I guess.
Wading back into the waters.
My voting choice for President of the U.S. was motivated by my conscience, so my wife and I drove up to lovely Dahlonega, GA for the day, instead of voting. I could not in good conscience vote for either Trump or Clinton. I also could not in good conscience vote for Trump because of “anyone but Hillary.”
That’s my story. I am a Christian. I have genuine Christian friends who voted for Trump. I cannot question their faith.
I’ve been holding my nose while voting my entire adult life. Experience tells me that good people don’t become US presidents.
People who support, or worse yet, get excited about candidates amaze me.
As we are in the season of the assassination of Martin Luther King, should we be in the mode of questioning his Christianity or that of his supporters? After all here we have a preacher / pastor / minister at large living a lifestyle that surpasses what we know of Trump.
To those who do question “the faith” of supporters, just remember this is the classic definition of ‘Jesus plus something’ for salvation.
MLD, not only that, but listen to how Cesar Chavez referred to “undocumented immigrants” entering our country without permission.
Donald Trump has never referred to them as Chavez did. Yet, because of selective history, most people today wouldn’t even know that he (Cesar Chavez) said these things.
I know, because as a teen, I was working in the fields of the San Joaquin Valley during that time 😉
“this is the classic definition of ‘Jesus plus something’ for salvation.”
Many things could be said about this statement. But one thing that stands behind this issue, in the context of the above article, is the very real temptation to project onto Jesus, the Gospel and the kingdom of God, our own idolatry. Instead of subjecting ourselves to His rule, we remake Him in our own image.
Why trump won.
In part, because we label each other and won’t listen to each other.
Yes, the creeds—we can find agreement there. I will push back against the arrogance of any, regardless of political bent, who would question the validity of another person’s faith. The choice between Trump’s personal corruption and HRC’s systemic abuse of power was a Hobbe’s choice at best—I judge no one who voted for either, or neither, candidate. No politician or political movement is going to usher in the Kingdom. Best we recognize that and perhaps commit ourselves to humility and generosity in our conversation with others.
I think it would be helpful to list the top 10 lies Trump has told since his presidency began (I am not planning on doing that—someone else can take the lead there). After that it would be helpful to list the top 10 lies of the last 3 presidents too. It baffles me that so many on the right and left defend these men/women (Trump, Obama and Hillary). I think most of us can agree that these human-beings are absolutely twisted liars. Obama had his hidden spiritual life as a disciple of Rev. Wright—this “Rev” is a raving lunatic anti-Semite. Hillary had the computer server issues along with Benghazi. Trump is an immoral sexual deviant who lies as much as the other two. How many lies must a candidate tell to even get on the ballot. My point is this, people are just that, people—and many Christian on the right and left voted for all of them. Truth be told I am disgusted with 99% of politicians in our country. It is struggle to remember not to put my hope in princes but in the Lord our God. If you voted for Trump I won’t judge yoo for that, If you voted for good ole Bernie I won’t judge you and Hillary too. It was your right and I won’t break fellowship with you. To each there own!
It is one thing to attack Trump with his policies or his character, but its totally another thing to attack his supporters. All that does is fire them up and it fires me up. I appreciate Michael’s balance here. If we voted for Trump or still support Trump why are we are being treated as a basket of deplorables? I don’t agree with Trump on everything and I definitely see his moral failures. I’m not endorsing his immorality. He’s not the worst I’ve seen by a long shot. He is not my pastor but he is my president and I do pray for him. Xenia, I appreciate so many things you say on here but when ever the topic of Trump comes up you really tend to alienate many folks including me. I voted for Trump in the primary. I voted for Trump in the general election and I support Trump now. I don’t support and agree with everything but in my opinion he saved this country from extreme Obama era abuses. That’s my opinion and its unlikely to change. I hope you can respect that and building bridges starts with respect.
“In part, because we label each other and won’t listen to each other.”
The classic definition of “won’t listen to each other.” is “you must not be listening to me otherwise you would see the truth and change your mind.” LOL – what crap.
If only the anti Trump people would listen, they would be pro Trump and we could have a unified nation. Who is ready to jump on that bandwagon for unity?.
Xenia, I appreciate so many things you say on here but when ever the topic of Trump comes up you really tend to alienate many folks including me.<<<
Good thing I'm not trying to attract followers.
Its not about trying to attract followers. I already follow you. Its about building bridges to those you disagree with. Walls are ok too as long as its Trump’s wall to keep the illegals out. :).
Steve, I think half the people at my parish voted for Trump. They are my dearest, most beloved friends. With the exception of one Trumpite* who can be quite rude on the subject we never, ever discuss politics because we know such a discussion would hurt the relationships. So that’s how I build bridges in real life: I let people have their opinions and I think the best of them, no matter what. And this is how they treat me, too. On a blog I believe I can freely give my opinions on political matters since I bottle it up in real life.
*Once this person realized we were 180 degrees in disagreement, we have never brought up the subject again and have been able to continue the friendship. Privately, we each think the other is crazy. Love covers a multitude of sins and that goes both ways.
Xenia @ 55. Thank you! Now that is an example of good bridge building. I guess a lesson learned for me is that blogs and real life are sometimes worlds apart.
if i were to get my back up over the conduct of those in control of the world’s system, i would have gone mad long ago…
truth be told there are some very competent people who hate or disrespect the Faith and when i vote for a government office holder, do they love Jesus is not the question that comes to mind…
do i love Trump? no… do i hate Trump? no… he might even be struggling to get his mind around the Faith and “come to Jesus.”
i pray for those in authority over us to do a good job, to bless and not curse us and when led to do so i pray for someone to come to see Jesus as their hope of redemption and escape from hell (whatever it is, it is a promised destination). i suspect most who comment here do that also
i feel badly for anyone who wastes any emotion on the lives of public figures even tho there’ve been 2 or 3 lately that i find completely disgusting and who rouse real hatred in me, if i think on them …
i have a mental picture right now of the disciples sitting around discussing Herod and Pilate while Jesus and the Father are up there (i assume “up” is the right direction) tapping their feet and waiting for those men down there to get on with the Father’s business 🙂
As a Democrat who has been demonized On more than one occasion for my choice of political party. And been told many times that there’s no way I can be a Democract and be a Christian, I have zero sympathy for anyone who is currently supporting Trump whilst having their faith questioned because of it
London, It seems that neither party can take the high ground politically. The bright side is that once we recognize this there should be little thought for demonization of those on the opposite side. Its sad you have no sympathy knowing what you yourself have been through. I believe the best Christian response is that once we ourselves have been mistreated a certain way, that we should have even more not less sympathies. But I certainly understand your thoughts just disagree that this is what God would have for us to do.
I will say this. I have relatives in the South who are pure racists. There is not going to be any bridge-building with people of this mindset. I don’t engage them in debate, I avoid them.
Well, my evangelical fundy grandparents raised their children in the early part of the 20th century to respect people. Their six children were color blind and today, i don’t think i have even one racist relative…. I do have a lot of mixed race relatives, tho…
FWIW – i do think that a great deal of racial prejudice in the south has its roots in not just slavery, but in the lack of education that our black folk endured – giving rise to and perpetuating the myth that “those people” were mentally inferior…. Today there is no excuse, for either ignorance, if one is honest. … FWIW… ? …. or so it seems to. me
Xenia’s #55 gives us insight into social media. Her #60 makes me think she has no relatives in New York or New Jersey.
Jim, that is correct, no relatives there at all.
“If we have to change our worship styles, let’s crucify our worship styles. If God’s way upsets our political alliances, let’s crucify our political alliances.”
– Russell Moore at the MLK50 conference yesterday.
@ # 38:
No surprise there Scooter.
We tribal humans have a long history of being drawn into the service of evil men.