Who is a Christian?
When I hear that 78 percent of American Christians support the reality television star and real estate mogul Donald Trump (footnote 1), I’m scared. I don’t understand. They’re hypocrites. Pharisees.
I’m a Christian. When I was 18, I asked Christ to come into my failing life and take it over. He delivered me from the power of rejection. He gave me hope. He brought peace and love into my life.
God is love. He loved the world so much He sent his son to redeem it. (2) When we receive His love and grace, we put Him in control of our lives and try to live as He commands us: loving one another as He loves us.
The foul-mouthed, lying, draft-dodging philanderer clashes with everything Jesus taught: that the greatest commandment is to love God first, and then to love others. (3) Trump’s hateful, bigoted rhetoric divides rather than unites. Greed, self-aggrandizement (idolatry) and sexual immorality are all things Christians are warned to avoid. (4) Yet these have been the hallmarks of Trump’s life, not just his candidacy.
Trump is the embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool – someone who refuses to put his trust in God, celebrates power and puts down the weak. (5) Trump asked CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “I work hard, I’m an honorable person. Why do I have to repent or ask for forgiveness, if I am not making mistakes?” (6) Responding to pollster Frank Luntz on whether he’d ever asked God to forgive his sins, he said, “I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there … think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.” (7) He has been unable to name his favorite Bible verse.
Yet Christians have rallied behind him because he promises to give them what they want, and they don’t care how dirty his hands are. He claims he’s against abortion and same-sex marriage, though not that long ago, he supported abortion.
In contrast, Hillary Clinton is a pro-choice liberal. Yet her faith in God – though not worn on her sleeve – is a major guidepost of her life.
“I am a person of faith. I am a Christian. I am a Methodist,” Clinton responded to a caller. “My study of the Bible has led me to believe the most important commandment is to love the Lord with all your might and to love your neighbor as yourself, and that is what I think we are commanded by Christ to do. And there is so much more in the Bible about taking care of the poor, visiting the prisoners, taking in the stranger, creating opportunities for others to be lifted up. I think there are many different ways of exercising your faith.” (8)
Hillary Clinton learned faith from her mother, her Sunday school teachers and her youth pastor. It is that faith that led her to devote her life to serving others, especially children. She said, “For me, it has always been about trying to live up to the responsibility described by the prophet Micah that we do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.
“I am grateful for the gift of personal salvation and for the great obligation of the social gospel to use the gift of grace wisely, to reflect the love of God and to follow the example of Jesus Christ to the greater good of God’s beloved community,” she said. “That’s what led me to devote my life in the ways I could to serving others.” (9)
Jesus taught selflessness, not selfishness; humility, not arrogance; giving, not greed; love, not hate. A life devoted to Christ is a life of service. The Bible teaches that one’s actions are the standard by which we are to judge: “By their fruits you will know them.” (10) Here’s a look at the fruit our two candidates bring to the table.
Hillary has devoted her life to helping others – especially women and children. As first lady, she played a leading role in the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the Foster Care Independence Act. She was able to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the National Institutes of Health. As senator, she helped secure $21 billion in funding for the World Trade Center site’s redevelopment and was instrumental in passing legislation that helped first responders get the medical care and treatment they deserved. She introduced the Family Entertainment Protection Act (rating video games to protect children from inappropriate content) and authored the Pediatric Research Equity Act, improving labeling and dosing of medications for children. She worked across the aisle to retain and improve veterans’ health benefits, and to provide full military health benefits to reservists and National Guard members. She co-sponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, expanding workers’ rights to take pay discrimination issues to court. As secretary of state, Clinton visited 112 countries, helping repair America’s reputation and promote gender equality. She helped to normalize American-Cuban relations, negotiated the cease-fire in Gaza, helped secure the START treaty’s ratification and has advanced women’s rights in countries around the globe. She was the principal author of the Iran sanctions that brought them to the table, preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. She is one of the most accomplished people to ever run for president. (11)
In contrast, Donald Trump has shown no interest in anyone or anything but himself and his own enrichment. He is a man with no guiding ideology and few fixed principles, driven by ruthless pursuit of profit, money, praise and celebrity. He has consistently demonstrated a callous disregard for every group of people: women, immigrants, minorities. His viciousness and cruelty fuel hate against African-Americans, Latinos, the British, the French and Belgians. (12) The buffoon and entertainer claims he’s a successful businessman, yet has had several bankruptcies, and his business has done so poorly he hasn’t paid taxes in years. As a casino mogul, he made his fortune by preying on the poor and promoting immorality.
“Through his career, Donald Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders and contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off,” (13) said former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Donald’s whole life has been spent bringing glory to himself – at any cost.
One woman has dedicated her life to serving others. One man works only for his own glory.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I’m ashamed to be associated with folks who support someone so morally corrupt who has no record of serving our nation or its citizens, and makes empty promises.
Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear.
1. I’ve seen polls that show anywhere from 5 percent, 72 percent, 78 percent, and a recent Pew Research poll showed that 78 percent of white “evangelicals” – and an overwhelming majority of evangelicals are white – plan to vote for Trump this fall. “More than three-quarters of self-identified white evangelicals plan to vote for Donald Trump in the fall (78 percent).” www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/july/pew-most-evangelicals-will-vote-trump-against-clinton.html. “Polls show evangelicals support Trump” by Thomas S. Kidd, July 22, 2016, www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/07/22/polls-show-evang. religionnews.com/2016/10/11/poll-trump-support-remains-steady-among-evangelicals/
2. John 3:16
3. Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:30-31
4. Colossians 3:5
5. Psalm 14:1, 53:1
6. “True Believer? Why Donald Trump is the Choice of the Religious Right” by Jessica Taylor Sept. 13, 2015, www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/npr/439833719/true-believer-why-donald-trump-is-the-choice-of-the-religious-right
7. “Trump: ‘Why Do I Have to Repent or Ask for Forgiveness If I Am Not Making Mistakes?’ (Video)” By Ray Nothstine, Christian Post, July 23, 2015, www.christianpost.com/news/trump-why-do-i-have-to-repent-or-ask-for-forgiveness-if-i-am-not-making-mistakes-video-141856/#0wXxT83CZ7s9J2fk.99141856/#YDJgfvK87XglCfgX.99
8. “Hillary Clinton Is Now The Most Religious Candidate Running For President. Here’s Why That Matters.” ThinkProgress, thinkprogress.org/hillary-clinton-is-now-the-most-religious-candidate-running-for-president-heres-why-that-matters-7cd6819374e5#.il7xr7m5v
9. “Clinton describes her ‘activist, social justice faith’ to Baptists,” National Catholic Reporter, www.ncronline.org/news/politics/clinton-describes-her-activist-social-justice-faith-baptists
10. Matthew 7:16-20
11. Gleaned from www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/09/carly-fiorina-debate-hillary-clintons-greatest-accomplishment-213157 and www.usnews.com/opinion/leslie-marshall/2014/02/19/hillary-clintons-accomplishments-speak-for-themselves
13. “Bloomberg offers scathing indictment of Trump,” The Hill, thehill.com/homenews/campaign/289546-bloomberg-offers-scathing-indictment-of-trump