No, Supporting Trump Is Not ‘Idol Worship’
I am tired of hearing that impassioned support for former president Donald Trump means that one worships him as his savior and hails him as his king. Personally, I interpret such accusations as an attack on my faith. What’s more, it’s a cheap and easy shot to the Achilles heel of a Christian to accuse him of violating a biblical commandment, and it needs to be called out as the dirty fighting that it is.
Do you want to know why Trump-supporters feel as strongly as they do? Because in their hearts, they believe that if Trump had remained as the 45th president of the United States through to the present day, the following would not have happened:
- A tragic withdrawal from Afghanistan, with 9,000 Americans reportedly left behind along with billions of dollars of equipment that appears to have made it to...
- Hamas in Gaza, that then perpetrated a historic massacre and subsequent attacks in Israel with the help of...
- Iran, who recently received billions of dollars via frozen assets thanks to the Biden administration. (As Rep. Cory Mills, R-Fla., wrote on X: “This pattern is clear: each time funds are released to Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism, proxy militias in the region persistently launch attacks, aiming to destabilize and target Western allies and Americans.)
- And of course there’s the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has so far led to more than 500,000 deaths and, as of September 2023, more than $75 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars sent to a corrupt regime.
- Let’s not forget record-setting opioid deaths in the United States, likely impacted by...
- Uncontrolled immigration (including drug cartels) at America’s borders that is contributing to a...
- Rise in crime as millions of illegal aliens are flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border. That also leads to...
- Rising costs for taxpayers, who are already struggling to pay for homes, health insurance, food, gas, and oil heat in the northeast. People are pretty much struggling financially across the board, some just barely able to afford a car to get them to the job that provides the food and keeps a roof over their head.
It’s time to recall some of the origins of Trump-worship allegations.
In 2017, writer Rod Dreher wrote “Christians Tempted by Trump Idolatry.” It was a scathing rebuke of Christians who supported Trump and would be the first of many Dreher articles and blog posts attacking the president and his supporters. In it he quoted his book, The Benedict Option:
Though Donald Trump won the presidency in part with the strong support of Catholics and Evangelicals, the idea that the robustly vulgar, fiercely combative, and morally compromised as Trump will be an avatar for the restoration of Christian morality and social unity is beyond delusional. He is not a solution to America’s cultural decline, but a symptom of it.
He then accused Christians of making “a false idol of politics” itself, then charged Christians of the previous generation with focusing too much on politics while mistakenly believing that “the culture would take care of itself.”
Yet The Benedict Option was, in my estimation, largely successful due to being embraced by various Christian factions who felt that the book vindicated their decades-long silence as they clung to the peripheries of a troubled society — even as they’d watched the “moral majority” positively impact the culture. Though the organization formed by Rev. Jerry Falwell lasted but ten years, the impact of that mainstream Protestant movement was perpetuated by the civil actions of millions of Americans of diverse faiths, the effects of which can still be seen today. It was undeniably successful in advancing conservative social values, a strong national defense, a pro-America pathway that led to the election of Ronald Reagan, and anti-communist policies that led to the fall of the Berlin wall, impacting millions of lives beyond our borders. It also cemented a foreign policy that would never leave Israel’s side.
Despite all this, Dreher chose to blame that time and those Americans as “one reason the contemporary church is in so much trouble.” It took but a few pages in Dreher’s book to fully encapsulate the creed of the anti-Trumpers as he set the precedent for all “j’accuse” attacks to be couched in the context of idol worship, thus giving Trump-hating Christians lawful permission to throw their Trump-loving brethren under the Roman chariot wheels.
In 2021, black author and theologian Esau McCauley wrote an article accusing “white, conservative Christians” of weakening the church because they dared to question election results. Using a strategy similar to Dreher’s, McCauley compared the folks at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, to the legions controlled by Pontius Pilate, the man who ultimately ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.
More recently, a Washington Post exegesis declared: “Trump as Jesus? Why he casts himself as a martyr, and why fans go along.” The writer mocked a cartoon that showed Jesus Christ sitting next to Trump in a courtroom. (The Post failed to mention that the Trump-supporter who posted the drawing was Dom Lucre, AKA Dominick McGee, a black American, entrepreneur, and conservative influencer.) The caption on the drawing read, “This is the most accurate court sketch of all time. Because nobody could have made it this far alone.” In a touching public recognition that his faith was giving him strength, Trump re-posted the drawing.
But that’s not how critics saw it. The Washington Post wrote, “To protect his incredibly fragile ego, he needs to create this victimization. ... That’s where the martyrdom comes in.”
The list of unchallenged accusations and vitriolic mocking of Trump is never-ending. But I can assure you of this: millions of people across America...the ones with “Trump 2020” still painted on the side of their barns and “Trump 2024” signs scotch-taped to apartment windows...they know the difference between whom they vote for and whom they worship.
They wanted Trump because they didn’t want to see what the world looked like without the leadership of a strong America. They wanted Trump because they cared about our military and our veterans, the Constitution, free speech, American sovereignty, and strong borders. They cared about preserving lives in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Israel. And as selfish as it may sound, they wanted a strong economy that could support their families and maybe even help them prosper. They didn’t want to see the suffering of humanity that we are seeing now — from the streets of New York and L.A. to Kibbutz Be’eri to Mariupol, history will show that Trump-supporters hoped to prevent, or at least delay, the worlds’ descent into madness.
My parents taught me that it was my Christian responsibility to be involved in the culture, not to hide from it. Subsequently, that meant being politically active, even if it was only to cast an informed ballot, be it at the local or the federal level. Yet there will never be anyone higher in rank to me than my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Maybe instead of continuing to hammer Christians with the accusation that their Trump-support is idol worship, critics should take a repentant look at lives lost in a world on fire — and introspectively consider what role their voice played in the resulting carnage.
Susan D. Harris can be reached at www.susandharris.com.
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