Why Have Evangelicals Jumped on the Trump Bandwagon?

Like many Americans, I’m not happy with our choices for president. But if I do vote for Trump, it’s not because I’m convinced he’s a great Christian or even a great guy. I really don’t know. My vote would be rather against his opponent’s policies, who, like Obama, wants more and bigger government to cure all our ills. Remember how Samuel warned Israel about requesting a king, to be governed like their neighbors? God told Samuel, “They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (I Samuel 8:7). Are God’s people today looking too much to government to provide for them and to little to God?

Trump wants to be president. He says it’s because, “I want to make America great again.” His latest strategy to woo Evangelicals features choosing an Evangelical, Gov. Mike Pense to be his running mate. He also met with a thousand evangelical leaders, including Billy’s kid, Franklin Graham, Jerry’s boy, Jerry Falwell Jr and Ralph Reed. He apparently won them over by Trump-eting the Bible and shouting his undying love for Evangelicals. He wowed them and vowed them. Among other things, he promised to give Christians more religious freedom and even more political clout than we presently enjoy.

Is He a Wolf in Sheepskin?  I don’t know, but how might we tell if he’s genuine and means what he says? Jesus gave us a tried and true formula:  “By their fruits you shall know them.”[Matt. 7:16]. One paraphrase puts it this way,  “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with charisma and practiced sincerity. They are out to deceive you. Don’t be impressed with their words but with their character. It’s not what they say that’s important, it’s how they behave.”  

He’s a great talker. At the very least, we should be wary of giving him our Christian imprimatur. So far his speeches have included many words ballyhooing the Bible, but has he personally confessed Christ as his savior? What actions of his can we point to that demonstrate he’s genuine? Again, I can’t, but neither do I believe him just because he says so.  There are a few things that should raise some red flags however.

Have we forgotten the statement he made while campaigning against his rival, Ted Cruz? I don’t have the exact quote, but I’ll never forget how he put down Cruz’s evangelical faith, assuring his audience that he was not a member of a far-out fringe group like Cruz, but of an old, established, main-line and liberal denomination. Moreover, when he was interviewed by CNN’s Frank Luntz, his answer to whether he ever asked God for forgiveness was, “I’m not sure I have…if I do something wrong, I think I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture.”

He brags a lot and seems to lack humility, one of the characteristic Christian virtues. It’s not hard for me to believe that this proud man  ever feels the need to ask God or anyone else to forgive him for his wrongs.

His body language I watched him carefully during his 60 Minutes interview with Governor Pense at his side.  First, he gave his new partner little chance to talk. He dominated and controlled the interview, even interrupting Pense more than once.  I saw how Pense tried several times to get Trump to engage him with eye contact. But he never once really looked at his running mate. His aggressive speech and body language said to me, “I’m not comfortable sharing the stage with him, or anyone else. It’s about me.” We saw this also  by the lack of courtesy he offered his running mate when he introduced him. He used the opportunity instead, to make another speech, ignoring and excluding his new partner, who later ate alone at Chili’s.

“I don’t Lie”  This is a common theme of his. Aren’t we to be wary of those who loudly proclaim their own righteousness while putting down others—in this case Hilary, who he often accuses of being a liar. It stretches my credulity to believe, knowing our common human weakness and sinfulness, that either of them are always truthful. Has this wheeler-dealer who loves “the deal” always been above board, dripping with integrity over each and every transaction he has made?

Like Glen Beck, I have doubts about Trump. I also feel sad that Evangelical leaders have been so quick to endorse him when they really don’t have much evidence that he’s all that he says he is.

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