No, Donald Trump he did not ‘save Christianity’
President Donald Trump’s campaign is making a closing argument that he has “saved Christianity,” a blasphemous claim that in reality is aimed at getting people of faith to save him.
The truth is, Donald Trump can’t win without the overwhelming support of Christians —support he does not deserve.
Trump’s desperation is showing. Just days ago, Trump tweeted “Biden is against Oil, Guns and Religion.”
This is a ridiculous statement and it says everything about his approach to religion. His primary argument to Christians has never been that he’ll do anything positive for them, but that they must support him out of fear of the other side. Like much of his presidency, his approach to Christians weakens rather than strengthens them. And he shows exactly how much he values faith when he lumps it alongside petroleum and firearms.
No, Trump did not save Christianity
In addition to Trump’s latest tweet, his son, Eric Trump, went so far as to make the insulting claim that his father has “literally saved Christianity.” For Christians, of course, the position of Savior is already filled, and Jesus is one person Trump can’t fire or bully.
Yet, Trump supporters arguing that Christians must support him often want us to believe Joe Biden is responsible for every statement ever uttered by anyone on the political left, while they fail to hold Trump accountable for his own actions.
Trump has evaded accountability for long enough.
The effects of Donald Trump’s vulgarity, incivility, and cruelty have not stayed confined to politics, but have affected our culture, our families and our churches. While the toxicity of our politics won’t be completely excised once Trump has left the White House, we can’t even hope for healthier politics while he’s still president.
It is Biden who has run a campaign that has promised to decrease the antagonism in our politics, not Trump. It is Biden who has committed to pursuing racial justice from the basis of our shared humanity, as opposed to Trump’s consistent use of race as a tool to tear the American people apart. It is Biden who insists political opponents can be good people, and that those who have a different perspective must still be valued members of the American family.
Christians and the election:Christian conservatives like me should not let abortion and socialism scare us off Biden
This isn’t just rhetoric; we’ve all seen Joe Biden live it. And we’ve seen the life and leadership of Trump. We’ve seen enough.
This election transcends partisan divides. I say this, yes, as someone who worked for President Barack Obama. I also say it as someone who has real disagreements with many Democrats on issues that are important to me.
It’s OK for Christians to vote for Biden
In 2016, I wrote that it was both a political error and substantively wrong for the Democratic nominee to support repealing the Hyde Amendment, and my position on that issue has not changed.
On the issue of religious freedom, I find myself isolated from both political parties in that I believe religious freedom can’t be dismissed even when it’s inconvenient to other political goals, and I also believe it’s for people of all faiths and none at all.
If Biden wins this election, and I believe he should, there will be real disagreements that will need to be worked out through the political process. Those of us who support Biden in this election must stand ready to advocate on those issues where we disagree with him. This is the work of politics.
The optimistic view: what could happen if Biden wins big
I do not believe, as a theological matter that, it is inherently a sin to vote for Donald Trump. I do not believe voting for Joe Biden is a sin either. There is too much of that kind of religious manipulation in our politics. There are faithful Christians who will support Donald Trump, and faithful Christians who will support Joe Biden. I disagree with the former, as a prudential matter, but I can understand why they might do so. Should he win, Biden has promised to be their president, too.
But when Donald Trump asks Christians to save him at the polls once again, I know I will join millions of other Christians with a different answer: not this time, Mr. President. Not our vote. Not our faith.
You can’t have it.
Michael Wear is an adviser to Not Our Faith. Follow him on Twitter: @MichaelRWear