This is the last of a seven-part series on political issues whose common ground we find it hardest to discover because of the unbridled passion, shaky rhetoric, and lack of empathy often employed in public discussions.
As we approach November 3, 2020, allow me to perform an appraisal of this emperor’s clothes on the issues that divide us the most. To paraphrase fashion arbiter Tim Gunn, do Trump’s clothes “make it?”
Trump’s Shoes: Where Evangelical Christians are Conned by Their Leaders
I consider myself a person of faith and a churchgoer. I have been a member of Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, and Unitarian congregations. The hymns I want sung at my funeral? “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and “This is My Song.”
The religious leaders I have met appear to be virtuous people who have inspired their followers and tried to live up to their teachings. They are men and women anyone could admire, even if you do not always agree with their teachings. They are honest and believe they are doing good in the world and it has been a privilege to worship with them.
However, I find it disheartening when people of faith get manipulated and conned by so-called religious leaders. In my lifetime, I have seen too many con artists plea, beg, and wheedle their greedy fingers into the hearts, purses, and wallets of innocent victims. You can probably recite of few of their names from memory.
In our modern era, many religious leaders and so-called leaders seem more interested in acquiring personal wealth despite the teachings of Jesus, exploiting personal affinity for criminal gains, preaching a message that God loves Christians in America more than Christians in other countries, or betraying the trust of their followers by falling prey to their own sexual proclivities…which is precisely why people of faith must protect themselves from charlatans. These con artists have always lived among us and they will continue to live among us and attempt to take advantage of us.
It is transparently obvious that religious leaders’ support of Trump aligns with their own personal or financial agendas because…you know Donald Trump has never, ever opened up the Bible and taken the gospels to heart. He cares about the teachings of Christ only to use the Bible to further his political goals. Publicly, he is clever about using the correct code words in prepared remarks. Privately, he scorns and mocks people of faith.
Did you know that more than 20 years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a “Resolution on Moral Character of Public Officials,” declaring that it was wrong to “excuse or overlook immoral or illegal conduct by unrepentant public officials so long as economic prosperity prevails,” because “tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment.”
I am not a Baptist, and perhaps I am more quick to forgive a person who is sorry for their actions or words than you, but these are words I wish more people would take to heart.
- What Would Tim Say about Donald Trump’s shoes? “Don’t defend the shoe to me.”
Please vote for Joe Biden and encourage others to exercise their right to vote. Thanks for your consideration.
All Presidential Race Commentary: Why Joe Biden Makes Better Sense than the Naked Emperor
The author served as Director of Communications for the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities under Republican and Democratic administrations from 2008-2018. His opinions do not necessarily reflect the policies and views of the department or those of current Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.