God Chose Trump

When Trump tweets something, the Self-Righteous Indignation Brigade demand that Christians immediately drop their support of the president.  If we don't, then somehow we have lost our integrity or compromised our faith.  Isn't that obvious? 

No.  Here's why.

I used to be a harsh Trump critic and a NeverTrump, writing various articles in a mocking, condescending style (I won't link to them).  Through a series of circumstances and listening to various people in my church tradition and just observing, I changed my mind.  So I decided to flip this question 180 degrees.

How could God use a man with such a deficient character as Trump's?

That question is easily dispensed with.  The Bible is full of heroes of the faith who had moral defects.  It is time to disabuse ourselves of the notion that the presidency is sacred, in the sense that biblical and European monarchs underwent le sacre (sacred royal anointing and crowning).  John Adams was laughed out of court, so to speak, when he suggested that the president take the title "His Excellency."  This was not a far-fetched proposal, because that title appears everywhere in seventeenth-century colonial government documents. 

Bottom line: God can accomplish his purposes even with imperfect vessels.

So I flipped the first question to this corollary opposite question:

What if God set up this whole Trump phenomenon?

Is it possible to see God at work nowadays with the Trump presidency?  We need a Christian analysis of current events, so absent today, based on our constitutional founding in the late eighteenth century and some old-fashioned biblical principles.  

The answers are not clear in their details so far, but some sketchy lines are beginning to emerge.

Let's accept these premises, as tens of millions of Christians do:

1. God has raised up America as she was constitutionally founded to offer maximum liberty: streamlined, without a gigantic government to limit our freedoms.

2. America has been blessed because of the gospel going around the globe, to be a beacon of light.  If she loses her religious freedom, the gospel suffers, and so does humanity. 

3. The left, for whatever warped reasons, intends to transform America from how she was constitutionally set up in the late eighteenth century. 

4. Throwing monkey wrenches into the streamlined Constitution, the left opposes the way God ordained this nation to run.

Now, how does Trump conform (or not) to those premises?

First, he nominated two excellent Supreme Court justices.  Let's face it: the flaw in our Constitution is the unpleasant fact that Article Three (judicial) can dismantle the laws that Articles One (legislative) and Two (executive) pass.  And then Article Three can claim that its decisions are "settled law," a classic insider power-grab.  And there is not a realistic thing Articles One and Two can do about it.

So is the flaw fatal?  Maybe, unless we submit to ugly politics that change from one election to the next.  Elected representatives must nominate and vote for justices and judges who respect premises 1 and 2.  It's hard to imagine more traditional Republicans who ran for president this last time around submitting to the Federalist Society's choices.  Maybe they would; maybe they wouldn't.  But since Trump is an inexperienced outsider, he did.  Good for him.  The liberty promised in premises 1 and 2 is on its way.

Second, the left, both politicians or the mainstream news media, has gone stark raving mad.  Leftists are howling at the Moon.  Trump has to get credit for ripping off their masks and exposing who they really are.  Sad to say, but it is difficult to imagine a more traditional Republican standing up to them.  The older generation heard this maxim: "Don't pick a fight with the news media!  You'll lose!"  In the past, when the news media sensed Republicans stepping out of the path the media approved of, the media would attack, and the GOP politicians would hang their heads, put their hands in their pockets, and submit.  Trump doesn't do that.  He fights.  We are about to see whether his running roughshod over the maxim will yield results.  My prediction: It will.

Whatever happens, we are now left with only one choice, since Trump has led us this far into the fray: we must never give up the fight against the media.  We must not back down now.  If we do, they will hand their fellow Democrats our meek and mild heads on a platter.  Trump is fighting premises 3 and 4.

Third, the GOP must change or die.  The only reason the party appears conservative is that the Democrats have lurched far to the left.  Let's not even try to accomplish overnight the streamlined government named in premise 1.  (Maybe that's why Trump won: he did not come across as a "turbo-conservative.")  After eighty years of FDR's big government, reinforced by LBJ, liberal Nixon, and Carter, it is not clear that we will ever go back to a streamlined government as the founders envisioned it.  However, maybe we can roll it back incrementally.  The House and Senate GOP failed Trump when both groups recently passed a budget with a huge deficit.  Apparently, they did not recall that Clinton, coming from conservative Arkansas, worked with Newt Gingrich, then the speaker of the House, to cut taxes and trim the welfare state and other government programs.  Following that conservative principle, they managed to squeak by with a small budget surplus, and the economy heated up as well.  Today, what's wrong with a government cut across the board?  You pick the percentage: 10%, 15%, 20%.  If Clinton and Newt could do it, why not a Republican House and Senate and White House?  The GOP has a lot of fat on it, and Trump is trimming it by rolling up his sleeves and fighting.  The GOP chattering class hate him for it.  Wrong and shortsighted.

Fourth, Trump is about to go through a tough time.  If even one member of the GOP political class speaks out against Trump during this momentary tough time, it will be awful.  That member will appear self-righteous and priggish ("toldya!"), as if he confuses Trump's aggressive personality – which is needed to counter-balance the left's insanity – with his willingness and even eagerness to work with his own party to get things done.

Dear GOP at the RNC and in the House and Senate, don't misread the American political landscape and roll over and play dead at the coming tsunami of venom from the media and their fellow Democrat politicians against Trump.  Go out there in the media spotlight and defend him vigorously!  We have to support him in his fight against the insane left (see premises 3 and 4).

I believe that Trump will come out victorious, because if the left takes the House, and that's not a sure thing, it will overreach and write up articles of impeachment, and clear-thinking Americans will turn against the left.  Trump will win in 2020, and the GOP will retake the House.  Then it will be great to see the forlorn faces of the media and NeverTrumps (as I used to be).

Fifth, politically correct culture, a creation of the left, has been corroding America for several decades now.  If there is one thing the gospel requires, it is an honest look at the world as God created it and at oneself (see premises 1 and 2).  "You shall know the truth [of the gospel of Christ], and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).  The left has been engaging in the destruction of truth.  Trump is currently fighting its attempt.  Is he extra-loud and strong about it?  Yes, but it is refreshing.  Those extra-dignified GOP politicians and pundits don't like it, but they don't understand the right remedy: strength and toughness.  It is easy to picture most (or all) of the candidates in 2016 rolling over at the first trumpet blast in their ears from the media, if they had the courage to resist P.C. culture in the first place. 

For those reasons, along with many others, God chose Trump.

Let's work with and for the man we have now.  He is a fighter.  I say we fight with him, not against him.

James Arlandson's website is Live as Free People, where he has posted When Jesus Used Harsh Language and How Evangelicals Can Support Trump

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

When Trump tweets something, the Self-Righteous Indignation Brigade demand that Christians immediately drop their support of the president.  If we don't, then somehow we have lost our integrity or compromised our faith.  Isn't that obvious? 

No.  Here's why.

I used to be a harsh Trump critic and a NeverTrump, writing various articles in a mocking, condescending style (I won't link to them).  Through a series of circumstances and listening to various people in my church tradition and just observing, I changed my mind.  So I decided to flip this question 180 degrees.

How could God use a man with such a deficient character as Trump's?

That question is easily dispensed with.  The Bible is full of heroes of the faith who had moral defects.  It is time to disabuse ourselves of the notion that the presidency is sacred, in the sense that biblical and European monarchs underwent le sacre (sacred royal anointing and crowning).  John Adams was laughed out of court, so to speak, when he suggested that the president take the title "His Excellency."  This was not a far-fetched proposal, because that title appears everywhere in seventeenth-century colonial government documents. 

Bottom line: God can accomplish his purposes even with imperfect vessels.

So I flipped the first question to this corollary opposite question:

What if God set up this whole Trump phenomenon?

Is it possible to see God at work nowadays with the Trump presidency?  We need a Christian analysis of current events, so absent today, based on our constitutional founding in the late eighteenth century and some old-fashioned biblical principles.  

The answers are not clear in their details so far, but some sketchy lines are beginning to emerge.

Let's accept these premises, as tens of millions of Christians do:

1. God has raised up America as she was constitutionally founded to offer maximum liberty: streamlined, without a gigantic government to limit our freedoms.

2. America has been blessed because of the gospel going around the globe, to be a beacon of light.  If she loses her religious freedom, the gospel suffers, and so does humanity. 

3. The left, for whatever warped reasons, intends to transform America from how she was constitutionally set up in the late eighteenth century. 

4. Throwing monkey wrenches into the streamlined Constitution, the left opposes the way God ordained this nation to run.

Now, how does Trump conform (or not) to those premises?

First, he nominated two excellent Supreme Court justices.  Let's face it: the flaw in our Constitution is the unpleasant fact that Article Three (judicial) can dismantle the laws that Articles One (legislative) and Two (executive) pass.  And then Article Three can claim that its decisions are "settled law," a classic insider power-grab.  And there is not a realistic thing Articles One and Two can do about it.

So is the flaw fatal?  Maybe, unless we submit to ugly politics that change from one election to the next.  Elected representatives must nominate and vote for justices and judges who respect premises 1 and 2.  It's hard to imagine more traditional Republicans who ran for president this last time around submitting to the Federalist Society's choices.  Maybe they would; maybe they wouldn't.  But since Trump is an inexperienced outsider, he did.  Good for him.  The liberty promised in premises 1 and 2 is on its way.

Second, the left, both politicians or the mainstream news media, has gone stark raving mad.  Leftists are howling at the Moon.  Trump has to get credit for ripping off their masks and exposing who they really are.  Sad to say, but it is difficult to imagine a more traditional Republican standing up to them.  The older generation heard this maxim: "Don't pick a fight with the news media!  You'll lose!"  In the past, when the news media sensed Republicans stepping out of the path the media approved of, the media would attack, and the GOP politicians would hang their heads, put their hands in their pockets, and submit.  Trump doesn't do that.  He fights.  We are about to see whether his running roughshod over the maxim will yield results.  My prediction: It will.

Whatever happens, we are now left with only one choice, since Trump has led us this far into the fray: we must never give up the fight against the media.  We must not back down now.  If we do, they will hand their fellow Democrats our meek and mild heads on a platter.  Trump is fighting premises 3 and 4.

Third, the GOP must change or die.  The only reason the party appears conservative is that the Democrats have lurched far to the left.  Let's not even try to accomplish overnight the streamlined government named in premise 1.  (Maybe that's why Trump won: he did not come across as a "turbo-conservative.")  After eighty years of FDR's big government, reinforced by LBJ, liberal Nixon, and Carter, it is not clear that we will ever go back to a streamlined government as the founders envisioned it.  However, maybe we can roll it back incrementally.  The House and Senate GOP failed Trump when both groups recently passed a budget with a huge deficit.  Apparently, they did not recall that Clinton, coming from conservative Arkansas, worked with Newt Gingrich, then the speaker of the House, to cut taxes and trim the welfare state and other government programs.  Following that conservative principle, they managed to squeak by with a small budget surplus, and the economy heated up as well.  Today, what's wrong with a government cut across the board?  You pick the percentage: 10%, 15%, 20%.  If Clinton and Newt could do it, why not a Republican House and Senate and White House?  The GOP has a lot of fat on it, and Trump is trimming it by rolling up his sleeves and fighting.  The GOP chattering class hate him for it.  Wrong and shortsighted.

Fourth, Trump is about to go through a tough time.  If even one member of the GOP political class speaks out against Trump during this momentary tough time, it will be awful.  That member will appear self-righteous and priggish ("toldya!"), as if he confuses Trump's aggressive personality – which is needed to counter-balance the left's insanity – with his willingness and even eagerness to work with his own party to get things done.

Dear GOP at the RNC and in the House and Senate, don't misread the American political landscape and roll over and play dead at the coming tsunami of venom from the media and their fellow Democrat politicians against Trump.  Go out there in the media spotlight and defend him vigorously!  We have to support him in his fight against the insane left (see premises 3 and 4).

I believe that Trump will come out victorious, because if the left takes the House, and that's not a sure thing, it will overreach and write up articles of impeachment, and clear-thinking Americans will turn against the left.  Trump will win in 2020, and the GOP will retake the House.  Then it will be great to see the forlorn faces of the media and NeverTrumps (as I used to be).

Fifth, politically correct culture, a creation of the left, has been corroding America for several decades now.  If there is one thing the gospel requires, it is an honest look at the world as God created it and at oneself (see premises 1 and 2).  "You shall know the truth [of the gospel of Christ], and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).  The left has been engaging in the destruction of truth.  Trump is currently fighting its attempt.  Is he extra-loud and strong about it?  Yes, but it is refreshing.  Those extra-dignified GOP politicians and pundits don't like it, but they don't understand the right remedy: strength and toughness.  It is easy to picture most (or all) of the candidates in 2016 rolling over at the first trumpet blast in their ears from the media, if they had the courage to resist P.C. culture in the first place. 

For those reasons, along with many others, God chose Trump.

Let's work with and for the man we have now.  He is a fighter.  I say we fight with him, not against him.

James Arlandson's website is Live as Free People, where he has posted When Jesus Used Harsh Language and How Evangelicals Can Support Trump

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.