“Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.”
This Advent season, while watching Donald Trump in front of a garishly green-and-red banner which proclaims “Make America Great Again,” take the opportunity to reflect on the Faustian bargain which allowed conservative evangelical Christians to “Keep Christ in Christmas” while seemingly divorcing Christianity from Christ. That Republican supply side economics, exemplified by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell’s cruel tax “reform,” contradicts Matthew 5:3 is clear. That Trump’s draconian immigration policy, which new reports indicate could now involve splitting families apart, violates the essence of Exodus 22:21 is obvious. And it shouldn’t have to be said that the new nationalism, this new fascism, with its “blood and soil” metaphysic, stands in opposition to the sublime universalism of Galatians 3:28.
For those 81% of white evangelicals who voted for Trump, and more troublingly for the profoundly inhumane, greedy, wrathful ideology that he embodies, and who have seemingly forgotten their scripture, I have another passage to remind them of: Matthew 4:10. Following the dark Adversary who took Christ up “an exceeding high mountain, and she with him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” And Christ, choosing to follow the small, humble, yet sacred path, rejected the temptations of worldly power declaring, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
America’s conservative evangelicals, however, have taken up that diabolical offer. Witness the self-debasement of a man like neurosurgeon and current H.U.D. secretary Ben Carson offering prayers for Trump on December 19th, with the president “quipping” to the press that they “need the prayer more than I do…. Maybe a good solid prayer and they’ll be honest, Ben, is that possible?” Or when at that same meeting Vice-President Mike Pence (one for whom we are perennially reminded of his piety while he seemingly forgets Matthew 6:6) offered a master class in saccharine sycophancy when he groveled to Trump with “Mr. President, I’ll end where I began and just tell you, I want to thank you, Mr. President. I want to thank you for speaking on behalf of and fighting every day for forgotten men and women of America… the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more, and we are making America great again.”