This week, Christianity Today published an editorial supporting the impeachment and removal of Pres. Trump from office. <article>
Sitting here, at the end of the semester, with a bottle of Merlot on deck, I find myself needing to vent about all of the veiled (and not so veiled) assertions by certain members of the Republican Party that Pres. Trump is Jesus Christ!
Where to begin my rant …
In our hyper-Capitalist moment of our MAGA times, the Christmas season is centered around purchasing diamonds, Volkswagens, high tech gadgets and very expensive watches for the people in your life. Lifetime Channel has been playing romantic movies 24 hours a day since Halloween to remind us of the true meaning of the season, sex with someone you once viewed as a rival. By forcing us to say “Merry Christmas” again, we are being asked to supersede all other religious and cultural traditions celebrated during this time of year and bask in the glow of white supremacy.
Increasingly, we float further and further away from the true meaning of Christmas. Religion and education are the silly practices of “Snowflakes”, and the celebration of the birth, the arrival of this prophet/savior – Jesus Christ – is lost in a fog of vague notions of transactional gift giving and forced happiness.
Really, however, with all of that set aside, it is what Dr. William Barber would call “heresy” to compare Donald Trump to Jesus Christ, and not because of his many, many, many flaws. Well maybe a few flaws: his selfishness, his greed and his propensity for abusing vulnerable people. Donald Trump is only concerned with Donald Trump. He represents the worst of our culture’s worship of money and power. As President, he is – for the time being – directly aligned with an exorbitant amount of power. During a talk by Ibram X. Kendi, we were reminded that the U.S. has military bases in almost all of the countries of the world. Because of the military and economic position of the U.S., Trump can go on the world stage and bully everyone. Bored with those efforts, Trump can return to the U.S. and can with the help of his administration, terrorize vulnerable groups from immigrants receiving life-saving medical treatment in the U.S. to the homeless. He has left no stone unturned.
Many people are not in to reading the Bible. I get it! However, trust me when I tell you, Donald Trump is not Jesus Christ. In many ways, Donald Trump is the antithesis of Jesus Christ. In my opinion, he’s not even slick enough or savvy enough to be the devil or the anti-Christ. If we have to include him in the story, maybe he can be Herod or the Roman Empire. Sorry, I may be getting ahead of myself.
My point is that you don’t have to read the whole Bible or go to seminary, but I think it is important to understand a handful of very important basic things about Jesus.
In the Gospels, Jesus’s arrival meant “good news for the poor”. Jesus was not part of the power structure. He was aligned with the poor and the oppressed. His message encourages us to serve “the least of these” not to spend our lives figuring out ways to beat at low hanging fruit, to steal and to cheat.
Jesus’s arrival was a sacrifice. From divine to human, Jesus arrived to experience compassion for us (to …”passion” = suffer, “com“= with … us). And his death, was the ultimate sacrifice, to take with him all the sins of the world. The resurrection symbolizes victory over death. (I know that’s Easter, but still.) Jesus Christ arrived to as hope in a time of darkness, as a fulfillment of God’s promises and to reconcile any divisions that remained between humankind and God, so we wouldn’t need an intermediary to access God’s love.
In the Gospels, there are two of the disciples, brothers, who want to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus. Jesus tells them, “you do not know what you are asking”. In order to be first, they would have to be last. You win by serving and helping others. And The One with the crown – had to sacrifice it all!
Does any of that sound like Donald Trump to you? Do YOU think there is any part of this very flawed man capable of even being concerned about others? Shame on the so-called Evangelical Christians for allowing this comparison. They, of all people, know better. And Christianity Today Editorial Board – quoting the 70’s love song by Deniece Williams and Johnny Mathis “too much, too little, too late”. How can you wait over three years to proclaim that Donald Trump is “grossly immoral” and should be removed from office. Seriously!
So damage has already been done!
Everything is relative right now, in the time of Pres. Donald Trump. The truth and a lie can be the same thing and victories won by cheating still count. Now more than ever, if you are Christian, there is a need to wrestle our religion back from these lunatics who have co-opted our Jesus to bully religious and racial minorities and to lift a white Nationalist, megalomaniac into a position of great power. It’s cheesy, but, now might be the right time to “put Christ back into Christmas”. We need the love, compassion and mercy of Jesus’s message … Now more than ever!
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