Why followers of Jesus cannot support Trump
The archbishop of Canterbury was recently asked about Christians — primarily white evangelicals — who support President Trump. “No I do not understand it. I really, genuinely do not understand it,” he replied.
The archbishop’s confusion is shared by millions of other self-proclaimed Christians from all over the world. These individuals believe that the teachings of Jesus are not the same values espoused by the American president. To them, Jesus of Nazareth practiced humility and patience. Donald Trump champions arrogance and immediate action. Jesus sermonized about our moral duty to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Donald Trump gives speeches about corporate tax breaks and reduced spending on social services. During the time of the Roman empire, Jesus challenged the power structure of bankers, military elite, professors, religious zealots, robber barons, child abusers and womanizers. Donald Trump courts anyone who will make a deal, and he takes every opportunity handed to him to demean other races, genders and age groups.
Furthermore, Jesus had no home; the places he walked through and the people he met were his home. Donald Trump has dozens of properties, all of which cost more than some city budgets and are located in near total isolation. Jesus deplored gambling. Donald Trump made his reputation on building and selling casinos. Jesus preached and lived nonviolence. Donald Trump encouraged the launching of a weapon akin to a nuclear bomb (i.e., the MOAB in Afghanistan) and saber-rattles with North Korea on a daily basis. Jesus was truthful and transparent. Trump is a master salesman and pathological liar. Like a lamb among wolves, Jesus was meek and mild. Donald Trump, in contrast, is aggressive and rambunctious. Like a wolf in the middle of the pack, he always wants to arrive at the slaughter faster than the stragglers left behind.
And Jesus was willing to be crucified rather than betray his true purpose and nature. Trump will allow others to be killed in his name because he believes, in his heart of hearts, that they have no ultimate purpose but to serve him. How many people have perished in the sweatshops of Trump factories and died constructing Trump skyscrapers? How many lives have been financially ruined by Trump’s business deals? How many victims and survivors have had their lives tainted by his abuse of power? Jesus warned humanity about the evil sickness of megalomania. Donald Trump has decreed that he alone is worthy of our unconditional attention, and that his mindset is the product of a genius that can not possibly be diagnosed. The differences between these two men are remarkable.
This is why the archbishop is so dismayed. A recent Fox News poll showed that over 60 percent of white evangelicals still believe that Trump is doing a good job in the White House. Either they are not understanding who Donald Trump is, or they do not follow the real Jesus. I hesitate to be so direct, yet sometimes you just have to say what you think. I do not know for sure what it means to be a Christian, but in the end, I think it comes down to how someone acts. Do they act like Jesus or not? Even Hitler claimed to be a follower of Jesus and a proponent of Christianity.
George Cassidy Payne is a graduate of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (2004). He lives and works in Rochester and is domestic violence counselor and SUNY adjunct professor of philosophy. With roots in Indian Lake, George hails from a seventh-generation family of Adirondack guides.