E-pistle April 15

Donald Trump – He’s One of Us

It turns out that the news about Donald Trump running for president is true. He’s giving it some thought and doing all things people giving it some thought ought to do. He’s visiting the early primary states and has stopped by all the morning news shows. Last week he agreed to an interview on CBN, the Christian Broadcasting Network.

And it seems that Donald Trump is one of us. At least that’s what he says. “I’m a Christian …I’m a Protestant, I’m a Presbyterian,” he told the interviewer.

He went on to say, “I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion.” So not only is he one of us, he seems pretty wonderfully happy about it. He also likes the Bible and says he has a “very nice place” where he keeps all the Bible people send him.  Except, oh yeah, he gives some of them away.

You can watch the “I’m a Christian” portion of the interview here. There’s a longer version here.

Donald Trump for president? Really? I guess that’s up to the voters.  Donald Trump a Christian? Really? I guess that’s up to Jesus.

If I were a political pundit, I’d dismiss it all. Playing to the base. Saying the right things. All that. But the political pundits may not know how hollow it all sounds to those of us who know the language of American evangelicalism. Trump needs to hire someone, maybe an apprentice, to teach him how to talk about being a Christian.

It may not be my place to judge another and perhaps being a follower of Christ is more than knowing the right words, but as a voter and a Christian it is my place to discern the sincerity, integrity and reliability of another. As of now, I won’t be putting a “Trump in ‘12” bumper sticker on my car. And from what I heard in the interview, I’d have a hard time recommending Donald Trump to our elders to be received into the membership of Langhorne Presbyterian Church.

Donald Trump may or may not be a Christian, but he is not a serious disciple of Jesus Christ. And that’s a fact.

Yet in so many ways, Donald Trump is just like us, just like so many American Christians, Presbyterians, in fact.

Donald Trump thinks his religion is wonderful, and keeps all his Bibles in a very nice place. He goes to church as much as he can. “Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there’s a major occasion.” And as for Sundays, as for Lord’s Day by Lord’s Day? “I go when I can.”

Donald Trump sounds just like us. He’d make a fine Presbyterian. If we could just get him to tithe.

Maybe that’s what ails us, we Presbyterians. We are a bunch of “when I can” Christians. Trouble is that Jesus calls us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily and follow him (Luke 9:23). Daily is a lot harder than “when I can.”