Sunday, 30 October 2016

Christian Hypocrisy and Donald Trump

Donald Trump. Candidate for Christian values.
In one of my occasional forays into American politics, let's take a look at what the almost universal endorsement of Donald Trump for POTU by the American conservative Christian right tells us about the American conservative Christian right.

It can best be summed up in a single word - 'hypocrisy'. The longer version is 'power and influence at any price'.

Of course, with the Bible being a cherry-picker's delight, with it being possible to find a passage or two, or maybe a whole chapter, that supports almost any cause, it can be difficult to discern what might be termed 'Christian values' in the it. And most of these can usually be contradicted with another passage somewhere, but perhaps the nearest thing to a definitive statement of what Christian are supposed to behave like is the so-called Beatitudes from the 'sermon on the mount'.

As a statement of morals, the Beatitudes suffer from the major defect that they are all about doing things for a reward, the concept of doing right because it's the right thing to do being something unknown to the author, apparently. Nevertheless, they are probably the best there is in the Bible. They can be found in Luke 6:20-22. Another version can be found in Matthew 5:3-12. I'll look first at Luke's version.

So how does Donald Trump compare to what Jesus supposedly told Christians they should behave like?

  1. Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

    It takes an extraordinary stretch to imagine that billionaire Trump meets the description 'poor', unless one accepts his claim that his business losses were so massive that he can't afford to pay any taxes, while ignoring his boast about being a fantastic businessman who knows how to make a lot of money. He has a life-style which is about as far removed from poverty as it's possible to imagine.
  2. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled.

    It's hard to imagine Donald Trump being hungry very often. Overfed, obese even, but hungry?
  3. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

    You don't see Donald Trump weeping very often, certainly not for the people he routinely abuses and cheats in his business dealings, those he bullies or the women he sexually assaults. You do however see and hear him laughing about them.
  4. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.

    Maybe this is what American Christians like about Trump - decent people hate, shun and revile him and 'cast out his name as evil'. For some reason, many Christians seem to think it validates them to be victimised but do they imagine people hate and reproach Trump for his faith? Has it not occurred to them that they hate and reproach him for his behaviour and his personality?

The author of Matthew seems to have heard some rather different words, so rather than referee in the dispute and decide which was the true version, if either was, I'll look now at the author of Matthew in Matthew 5:3-12.

  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Well, this looks a lot like Luke's endorsement of poverty tarted up a bit, but whatever 'poor in spirit' means (and I assume it isn't referring to private liquor stocks) the charge of being poor in spirit can scarcely be laid at Donald Trump's door. Looking for meaning in this phrase, I turned to the former arch-conservative Christian, Billy Graham. According to his website it simply means 'humble'. Donald Trump! Humble! Is this some kind of joke?
  2. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

    Well, okay, but everyone mourns sometimes, some more than others. Does Donald Trump have more to mourn about than others? But this is a rather odd beatitude anyway. Why doesn't it say we should comfort those in mourning? Wouldn't that be better than simply assuming someone or something else is going to do it for them at some point? But I digress; this isn't about the paucity of morals in the beatitudes but about why Christians so admire someone without any sign of any.
  3. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

    Meek? Donald Trump?! The cock-sure, braggadocious self-publicist who claims to be best in the world at just about everything from building walls to sexually assaulting women in lifts! No-one loves Jesus more than Donald Trump, apparently! Donald Trump makes dedicated narcissists look humble.
  4. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

    Perhaps this is it! Maybe Donald Trump's hungering and thirsting after righteousness is what the Christian fundamentalists find so attractive about him. According to About.com/Christianity, righteousness is a the state of moral perfection required by God to enter Heaven. If this applies to Trump, I can only assume God has set the bar almost at ground level. If Christians imagine Trump is hungering and thirsting after moral perfection by his behaviour then it speaks more of their moral standards than of Trumps, low though his are.
  5. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

    Merciful! Can anyone seriously accuse Trump of being merciful? Single-minded, ruthless, unscrupulous, psychopathic maybe and certainly sociopathic, fanatical, obsessive, vindictive and vengeful absolutely, but merciful? Trump comes from a business tradition that sees mercy and compassion as a weakness; something to be despised and exploited.
  6. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

    Hmm... Maybe 'pure in heart' means grabbing female strangers by the pussy, being a serial adulterer, stereotyping whole races and ethnic groups with xenophobic and racist abuse and mocking disabled people. Maybe this is what conservative Christians so admire about him.
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

    Well haven't we all seen Donald Trump extending the hand of friendship in a gesture of peace towards his business and latterly his political opponents? Well, haven't we? I gest, of course! Trump is proud of his ruthlessness. He is almost pure aggression, lying and exaggerating as the need arises; doing anything within his powers to kill off the opposition as quickly and efficiently as possible. And he wants to put American troops on the ground in Syria! The only peacemaking we could expect from a President Trump would be to give his pall, backer and fellow psychopath, Putin, carte blanche to do as he wishes in Ukraine and the Baltic, not because he craves peace and opposes war but because he owes Putin a favour and admires his dictatorial tendencies.
  8. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

    Little different there from Luke's advocacy of provoking people to hate and persecute you so you'll get a reward, but is this an admirable trait for Christians to so admire it? Even if people do revile and say all manner of evil against Trump, this isn't because it's false, or because he's such a good Christian; it's because his behaviour deserves it. It is revolting, evil and the antithesis of righteousness, at last so far as normal, decent people would understand righteousness (see above). People don't speak ill of Trump because he's such a great Christian, they speak truth about him because he's such a despicable human being.

And of course, all that other stuff about not casting the first stone, turning the other cheek, forgiving your enemies and giving people your cloak if they ask for your coat are simply risible when compared to Trump's behaviour. In Trump world, that stuff is for softies! Even the golden rules of treating others how you would which to be treated, and first doing no harm, are anathema to ruthless psychopaths, even if they were temperamentally capable of empathy. 'Good' and 'profitable' are synonyms; 'good' has no other meaning. It is measured by the figure on the bottom of the balance sheet.

So, that's the case for the fundamentalist conservative Christian (translation: right-wing extremist) support for Donald Trump. If anyone can spot anything in Trumps public or private behaviour that equates to anything that can be described as fundamentally Christian as supposedly taught by Jesus and written about in the Bible, please let me know.

It looks at the moment as though Christians have abandoned Christianity in their bid for power at any prices and would sell their soul to the Devil if that were possible, for a chance to sit alongside the President of the United States of America and have him in hock to them for their continuing support.


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1 comment :

  1. What i find most disturbing, is the sheer amount of rage, and fear that has been demonstrated, the bigotry, racism, xenophobia, misanthrope, that has been disclosed by the fundgelicals, republicans. It's about domination, and control. There is nothing trump can say or do that will stop his supporters. They don't care, winning, control of president, house, and senate the goal The Religious who speak out in support of trump focus on christian dominance, abortion, lgbt, and fear. The language and tone of this election can't be taken back, a lot of wounds have been inflicted. The divide is huge. I think in the future it will be harder for republicans to play the morality card. It has exposed the worst aspects of their beliefs. It is about power, and control, with religion as big business.

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