Editor’s note: This column in no way represents the views of SpokaneFāVS or the SpokaneFāVS board. All commentary published on this site are the opinions of the individual columnists.
This isn’t my usual “feel good” column. I thought hard about whether to write this or not, as I never want to alienate people, but I’ve heard the chatter and read the headlines and can’t stop thinking about it.
This column is about our president and why people of faith – any faith – should not support him.
This isn’t about party, it’s about character.
Whatever religious tradition you practice, I’m confident we can agree there are certain qualities that define one’s character. And a person of good – no, exceptional – character needs to lead our country.
The Bible says that means this person should be cautious, not rash (Proverbs 19:2), compassionate, not indifferent (1 John 3:17), content, not covetous (1 Timothy 6:8) – just to name a few traits.
Trump makes reckless decisions with his thumbs, not prayerful ones. He lacks brotherly love, and because of his greed, we know he is a man who will never have enough.
For example, he owns three Sikorsky helicopters valued between $5 million and $7 million each, and had the interior of them redone to include 24-karat gold hardware, according to Business Insider.
This is vanity, which Scripture denounces.
Although the character qualities I’m discussing here come from the Bible, most, if not all, belief systems have similar teachings about integrity.
Rolling Stone Report
I’m focusing on Christian texts since, according to Rolling Stone, “Today, 82 percent of white evangelicals would cast their ballots for Trump.”
The article continued, “Two-thirds believe that he has not damaged the decency of the presidency, 55 percent agree with Sarah Huckabee Sanders that ‘God wanted him to be president,’ and 99 percent oppose impeachment.”
I can’t wrap my head around this. I have numerous evangelical friends and colleagues and can only think of maybe one or two who feel like the ones mentioned in the Rolling Stone article.
Nevertheless, they’re clearly out there. I attended an evangelical church for a long time and respect that tradition. I know evangelicals value deference.
It’s Not What Jesus Would Do
Insulting veterans and women and minorities is not something Jesus would do, nor approve of. Why then, are so many Christians giving Trump a pass?
Like Rosie O’Donnell or not, does describing her publicly as having a “fat, ugly face” sound like someone who practices discernment? How about Trump boasting about grabbing women “by the pussy“?
I don’t know what’s in Trump’s heart, and I certainly don’t know what his relationship with Christ is like. Maybe he truly is a Christian, as he claims to be.
I do know, however, that Galatians 6:1-2 reads, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Hold Him Accountable
In other words, instead of idolizing Trump, Christians – especially Christian leaders – should be holding him accountable.
When he lacks gentleness, gratefulness and hospitality – qualities that God cherishes – call Trump out, don’t wave his flag higher. Lovingly correct him, or at least address it with your church, instead of turning a blind eye. Ignoring it is hypocrisy.
I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m not a fan of the president. But this is the first time I’ve said so publicly. I often write about unity and how we have to see past our differences and find a way to come together. I still believe that.
And I still appreciate my Trump-supporting neighbors, and believe we can live peacefully in community together. I just wish they didn’t revere someone so prideful and callous.
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of SpokaneFāVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.
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