The non secular hazard of Donald Trump

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A real and current danger

A functional check by

Donald Trump's Spiritual Peril: 30 Evangelical Christians on Justice, Truth and Moral Integrity
Ronald J. Sider, Ed.

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2020
Buy Now: (Amazon) (Kindle)

Reviewed by Gavin J. Woltjer

There is just anger in the whole country. An anger fueled by centuries of pain and frustration and fear and injustice, obscuring the belief that we are a people – and rightly so; We are not a people. We are a broken people living in a broken world. We turn to our executives to guide us and develop the changes and policies necessary to bring about deliberate, meaningful and sustainable changes. Our country has been here in the past. In the past, leaders have worked to some extent to create and maintain a new world. These changes were never perfect. These changes have never fully corrected or addressed the country's original sins in relation to genocidal land grabbing, and built on success and prosperity on the literal backs of others. But there was still a change. After all, in turbulent times, managers use their skills to alleviate fear and hostility. On June 1, President Donald Trump did not alleviate fear and hostility; he called the flames of both. On that day, the President of the United States, along with members of his cabinet, military officials, and other peaceful demonstrators, scattered tear gas to allow him to attend a photocall at St. Johns Church. With a Bible in hand, President Trump peered into the camera, smiled absently, and never once said a prayer for solidarity or for the end of violence. His actions said it all: He was the power – not the Bible in his hand and not the house of God in the background.

Published before this event, Donald Trump's Spiritual Peril: 30 Evangelical Christians on Justice, Truth and Moral Integrity is both random and foresighted for our time. Organized in three parts (about Trump, about Trump's evangelical support, and about theological, historical, and constitutional issues related to Trump), 25 chapters, 30 Evangelical leaders representing Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, and voices from around the world Examine, discuss and analyze Donald Trump's inclination to face the Lord as a man without guilt, sin or scruples of any kind. (And while there are certainly essays that also encourage certain evangelical leaders to promote and support Trump's behavior, the essays in this collection focus on the president.) The circumstances examined in this collection can no longer be seen as a warning either shortly before President Trump's election or during his current term.

Christians have never fully agreed on the interpretation of the Bible. Denominations consistently argue about the type of worship and practice of the Christian faith the "right" way of life, and rectifying this persistent argument will not be satisfied in the near future – and is not really part of this collection of essays; That being said, Christians have a common core value and common understanding of how God rules. how he shared his teachings; and the expectations he placed on our shoulders about how we should live with our neighbors as Christians. Trump has comfortably and repeatedly falsified these basic values ​​and teachings to relieve his past and present behavior, alleviate his shortcomings as a humble "man of faith", and fuel the fire of division by turning Christian against Christian. The vitriol spewed from his mouth, a mouth that advocates hate groups, the separation of families at the border, the ridicule of journalists, and the constant rejection of his own shortcomings, contradicts the teachings of Christ. Yes, there is an argument that US voters have not chosen a "pastor-in-chief" and Trump has his own style that allows him to "drain the swamp". But his actions believe the seriousness of this argument. Trump's nepotism and refusal to treat the population openly and honestly exacerbate the evidence of how unable he is to lead our nation. (While some of the essays address Trump's lack of leadership during the pandemic, the issue of race and equality is only touched upon tangentially.) However, do not believe that this collection of essays is just a suitable medium for insulting President Trump. Every essay is thoughtful, full of analysis, accessible and direct. And to the credit of every essayist, the lack of verbal gymnastics shown daily by experts trying to reassure or explain the president's speech or act is nowhere to be found, since verbal flexibility is not required when given power Truth says. Some of the essayists dismiss the argument that Trump is nothing more than an imperfect servant of God, much like King David or Cyrus the Great. The greatness of these two examples of leaders is not the overlooked past imperfections, but the growth of these imperfect leaders to increase the Lord through wisdom, forgiveness, and humility.

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As followers of Christ, we must be humble and thoughtful, charitable, and full of love for our neighbor. In a way, we are encouraged as followers to be a voice of reason and hospitality in the area of ​​human debate. This does not mean that we are always in agreement or even like different perspectives. In fact, many of the authors of these essays disagree on many aspects and behaviors of the current president. But each of these voices has decided to no longer tolerate the deliberate and negligent undermining of the US Constitution, the rule of God, and the responsibility to hold those responsible accountable.

Every essay warns to a certain extent of the dangers of blind obedience. Yes, we are accused of praying for our leaders – but that does not mean that we should remain silent in the face of injustice, cruelty and willful devaluation of Christian values. As a father, husband, son, brother, and member of society, each essay asked me to look beyond the actions of the President and think about how my silence may be due to someone else's pain or the continuation of a system that works on purpose creates disadvantages for others and at the same time increases my own privilege. We are all created in his image, regardless of a social label that is imposed on us by chance or circumstances.

At the end of the readings, comparing Trump's concept of truth to biblical truth, these authors provide a variety of examples of how Trump has consistently shown that his boastful, fraudulent, and negligent interpretation of Christian values ​​undermines God's rule. As the authors argue elegantly, people – all people – of the United States deserve a leader who is able to strive for justice and reconciliation, to bring harmony between divisive discourse and compassion in an uncertain time. President Donald Trump is not this leader, as these essays articulate. And I agree.


Gavin J. Woltjer

Gavin J. Woltjer is the Executive Director of the Billings (Montana) Public Library. The President of the Montana Library Association is currently, if not held hostage in a good book, exploring the Montana wilderness with his wife Rena and three children. His research interests include: data analysis; Library management; Christian leadership; economic development and libraries; Archive and file management; and librarian as a public historian. Follow him on Twitter: @GavinWoltjer.

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