Posted Sunday, July 16, 2017.
“President Trump is the greatest thing that’s happened to this country,” said Luther Strange, who was appointed to the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. “I consider it a biblical miracle that he’s here.”---from an op-ed in the New York Times by Timothy Egan. July 14, 2017
Read your bible.
You want to understand how Right Wing Christians reconcile their professed Christian faith with their support---enthusiastic and apparently whole-hearted support---for the most profane and morally and spiritually bankrupt man to ever hold the office of president, the answer is there in the bible, specifically in the story of David.
King David is far from a moral paragon. He is a hero not a saint. The traditional moral of the story of David and Goliath is that a seemingly weak person who has courage and faith can stand up to and triumph over gigantic opposition, but the actual biblical lesson is that God is on the side of the more efficient and ruthless killers and woe betide any enemies who dare challenge his chosen people. David doesn't kill Goliath with his slingshot. He stuns him, and then while Goliath is sprawled on the ground, he takes the giant's sword, finishes him off, and cuts off his head for a trophy. Mercy is not one of David's salient virtues.
The other story everybody knows is the story of Bathsheba. In that David is not even a hero. He's an aging lech who arranges to get a man killed so that he can have the man's beautiful young wife for himself.
It's a given that David is a good, wise, and even wise king, but going by the stories what he is, first and foremost, is a successful and ruthless warrior king. His entire reign is marked by war, strife, plots and counterplots, treasons, murder, and bloody deaths. The two books of Samuel that constitute the epic of David are as violent and brutal, if not as poetic, as the Iliad, with David playing the combined roles of Odysseus, Achilles, and Agamemnon, often displaying the worst and most ignoble qualities of all three without showing compensating signs of their best.
Beyond that, he's the patriarch of a fractious and bloody-minded family that rivals the House of Atreus in internecine murderousness, fratricidal jealousy, filial rebellion, and sexual deviance. Next to the ben-Davids, the Lannisters look almost warm and loving.
"Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house..." proclaimed the prophet Nathan, delivering God's punishment for David's sins.
David's second son Absalom murdered his older brother Amnon because Amnon raped their sister Tamar. Absalom died a ridiculous death in a war against his father. David's son by Bathsheba, Solomon, as one of his first acts when he became king, ordered the assassination of his half-brother Adonijah to pre-empt Adonijah's challenging his claim on the throne.
Not nice people.
Yet, with all that, David is, after Moses, the greatest hero of the Old Testament. He's God's favorite. His name literally means Beloved of God. It's from his house the Messiah is to be born.
The point is that even a man as flawed and sinful as David can find favor in God's eyes as long as he acknowledges God's greatness and answers to His will. God has been long in the habit of using sinners for His purposes. And as we are all sinners and we are all tools for him to use according to His needs, it's not for us to judge when He decides to use someone as flawed and sinful as Donald Trump. It's all part of the plan.
It would seem then that God's plan includes spreading fear and loathing of Muslims and Mexicans, turning away war refugees, deporting people by the millions, breaking up countless families in the process, taking health care away from many millions more, leaving children, old people, the poor, and unfortunate to suffer and die, and in short, having us as a Christian nation ignoring Matthew 25.
Apparently, there's still a generational conflict between Jesus and his dad. I thought they'd resolved that. But I'm surprised that Christians are supposed to side with the old man.
Trump's dark, pessimistic, paranoid and fear-filled nightmare vision of life in 21st Century America is perfectly in keeping with Right Wing Christianity. Remember, it's an Apocalyptic religion. Alongside their literal reading of Genesis is a literal reading of Revelations. We are living in the end times.
Those stupid books still sell. Intelligent and sensible people listen to Trump's diatribes and hear the ravings of a paranoid madman projecting his own inner terror of being under siege from all sides onto the world around him. They listen and hear the echoes of a prophet. What most people recognize for the brazen demagoguery it is resonates with them as allusive to one the few passages from the Gospels they seem to have taken to heart, Matthew 24:36:44...
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
…and the only one of the Beatitudes they quote regularly and with fervor, Matthew 5:11-12:
Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.
They love feeling persecuted, and the main way they think they're persecuted is in their being denied their religious liberty to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us.
Which brings us to the most direct and practical evidence that Trump is a good servant of God's will: he's already moved to protect that liberty.
He started with the appointment of Neil Gorsuch.
They anticipate that he will bring about the end of abortion rights and marriage equality.
Ultimately, they hope he will save the country from the human activity they seem to fear and hate most.
Particularly when it's non-procreative and experienced and enjoyed by young women without permission from male authorities.
And by men experiencing and enjoying it with other men.
Ironic isn't it, that they're looking to the man Michelle Goldberg, writing in the New York Times, calls accurately "an erotically incontinent libertine" to be their champion in their fight to undo the sexual revolution?
But there's no irony in it as far as they're concerned, and no hypocrisy either. It's divine business as usual. Trump is serving the purposes of the malicious, joy-hating, lunatic wizard they call God.
Definitely read Michelle Goldberg’s op-ed The Playboy President and Women’s Health.
Also Trump's Pious and Dangerous Enablers by Timothy Egan.