Your Revealing Trump Bargain


What if your God chose Donald Trump to help reveal your fear failure in the midst of your time of trouble in America?

And because of your fear and anger, you turned to Donald Trump.

Because, as the conversation in America is coming to an end, it looks like the silencing of you Christians by our secular story allies has already begun.

And because you Christians don’t understand the advantage you have in America’s story war, our secular story allies have been able to gain the commanding heights. And, from there, they are beginning to remind us of home…


An atmosphere of gloom and despair pervades some cultural-conservative circles, and, at first glance, it’s easy to understand why. There’s no question that hysterical public assaults on Christians or others who dissent from leftist sexual orthodoxy are increasing in volume and frequency. It seems as if every day there’s a new story of an attempt to silence, intimidate, or publicly shame social conservatives.

Cultural Conservatives Have Barely Begun to Fight, by David French, National Review, April 23, 2015

One need not be an opponent of gay marriage to view the backlash against Indiana as an attempt not so much to defend gay rights as it is to coerce and to silence those religious believers who are dissenters from the recent change in public opinion on the issue.

Liberals Have Discarded Religious Liberty, Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary Magazine, March 30, 2015

What has been most striking all along is not the division, the passion, at times the vitriol. What has been most remarkable is the insistence by same-sex marriage proponents that all dissent be silenced—whether through threats of economic destruction, legal bludgeoning, and now, increasingly by appeal to the raw power of the State. The firing of Brendan Eich was a bellwether for what has now become a commonplace: the fanatical insistence that all opposition be squelched, and more—that even belief in an alternative view of marriage be eradicated. In the days since the decision, one newspaper editor has declared that his paper will no longer publish any op-eds that diverge from the “settled” law of the land (as Brandon McGinley shrewdly notes, no such ban has been instituted over opposition to Citizens United), while another analyst has suggested that the dissenting Justices have engaged in “treason.”

Patrick Deneen, AFTER OBERGEFELL: A FIRST THINGS SYMPOSIUM, by Various, First Things, June 27, 2015

In today’s increasingly secular society, the threat to religious freedom comes not at the point of a sword, but from imposed values at odds with the truth that there is a Creator who has given us certain inalienable rights that government is supposed to secure, not supplant. People of faith in America may not be seeing squads of soldiers pounding on their doors in the dead of night, demanding that they renounce their faith or be dragged off. But they are being confronted by lawmakers, bureaucrats, regulators, human rights commissions, and even college deans demanding that they submit to so-called “neutral laws of general applicability” that venerate such concepts as toleration, non-discrimination, and “choice.”

“And it’s okay,” say these modern arbiters of twenty-first century enlightenment, “if you don’t want to comply.” But the catch is that you won’t be able to earn a living in your chosen profession, or you may have to pay a fine, or your club or association or church will simply have to meet somewhere else away from the rest of “polite society.”

Yes, today’s barbarians seek not to end the free exercise of religion with a single knock-out blow, but rather to strangle it until it either cries “Uncle” or suffocates.

A War on Religion?, by Bruce Hausknecht, Public Discourse, October 23, 2012

Unfortunately… it is “common these days for people to try to silence dissent from campus orthodoxies by questioning speakers’ motives, calling them names, disrupting their presentations, demanding that they be excluded from campus or disinvited,” and often “refus[ing] to listen.” As anyone knows who follows the situation at our universities, the refusal to listen is prevalent, and the responses following the election of Mr. Trump show that the “willingness to listen and respectfully engage” is in short supply.

It’s easy to parody the various excesses accompanying trigger warnings, safe spaces, no platform policies, identity politics, the “new segregation” in campus housing, speech codes, lack of intellectual diversity, and denial of academic freedom, but these intellectual pathologies are not at all humorous. Clearly, faculty and students caught in their distortions are harmed, but the damage doesn’t end there. As the university goes, so goes our polity, for the norms and expectations of our common life are being shaped in the classrooms and quads of our universities and colleges.

Rebuilding Cultural and Intellectual Life: An Invitation to Witherspoon’s Summer Seminars, by R.J. Snell, Public Discourse, January 3rd, 2017

Today, when it comes to protecting dissent, something is awry. “Not Welcome Here” has become the overriding sentiment communicated to traditionalist Christians because of their beliefs about marriage, sexuality, and gender. The regime of secular progressivism, with its mantra that “Error Has No Rights,” doesn’t just create concerns for conservative Christians. No, the very possibility of civil society’s embrace of dissent is also being called into question, which means that the American tradition itself is being betrayed.

The stories of dissent being quashed are becoming too numerous to list. College campuses have de-recognized Christian groups because of the behavioral standards required of group leaders. Florists, bakers, and photographers have been told that they must violate their consciences in order to engage in commerce. Adoption and foster care agencies have been shuttered for refusing to place children in family arrangements that violate their convictions. Most recently and most egregiously, the state of California has taken action to deny applicants to Christian schools the ability to gain access to government-backed education loans. The effect of these chilling actions is to render the accused guilty in the court of public opinion. These Christians are violating the sacred totems of secular progressivism.

Religious Liberty and the Fracturing of Civil Society, by Andrew T. Walker, Public Discourse, July 21st, 2016

And if our story allies continue to succeed in using their power to intimidate you into silence, Christians will become an American version of the ‘whisperers’


In a society where it was thought that people were arrested for loose tongues, families survived by keeping to themselves. They learned to live double lives, concealing from the eyes and ears of dangerous neighbours, and sometimes even from their own children, information and opinions, religious beliefs, family values and traditions, and modes of private existence that clashed with Soviet public norms. They learned to whisper.

The Russian language has two words for a ‘whisperer’ – one for somebody who whispers out of fear of being overheard (shepchushchii), another for the person who informs or whispers behind people’s backs to the authorities (sheptun). The distinction has its origins in the idiom of the Stalin years, when the whole of Soviet society was made up of whisperers of one sort or another.

……

The real power and lasting legacy of the Stalinist system were neither in the structures of the state, nor in the cult of the leader, but, as the Russian historian Mikhail Gefter once remarked, ‘in the Stalinism that entered into all of us’.

Orlando Figes, The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia

So, is that day returning in its own form for America?


When the Soviet Union collapsed, many surmised that we had entered a post-ideological age, but today ideology is making a comeback. On campuses, in the press, and in some organizations, the division of people into good or irredeemable is commonplace. Could it be that wasms are again becoming isms?

Stalin’s ism, by Gary Saul Morson, New Criterion, November 2017

And perhaps it’s no coincidence the Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, in his dissenting opinion in the same sex marriage case, warned about the whispering…


Today’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage. The decision will also have other important consequences.


It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. …. I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.

Justice Samuel Alito, Dissenting Opinion, Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

And look at this…


In today’s increasingly secular society, the threat to religious freedom comes not at the point of a sword, but from imposed values at odds with the truth that there is a Creator who has given us certain inalienable rights that government is supposed to secure, not supplant. People of faith in America may not be seeing squads of soldiers pounding on their doors in the dead of night, demanding that they renounce their faith or be dragged off. But they are being confronted by lawmakers, bureaucrats, regulators, human rights commissions, and even college deans demanding that they submit to so-called “neutral laws of general applicability” that venerate such concepts as toleration, non-discrimination, and “choice.”

“And it’s okay,” say these modern arbiters of twenty-first century enlightenment, “if you don’t want to comply.” But the catch is that you won’t be able to earn a living in your chosen profession, or you may have to pay a fine, or your club or association or church will simply have to meet somewhere else away from the rest of “polite society.”

Yes, today’s barbarians seek not to end the free exercise of religion with a single knock-out blow, but rather to strangle it until it either cries “Uncle” or suffocates.

A War on Religion?, by Bruce Hausknecht, Public Discourse, October 23, 2012

But we know all this is hard for you to even consider. So maybe you should pay attention to this Colson guy…


The new atheists are exactly like the communist dictators who feared religion more than anything else because it was a competing truth claim. And they would not tolerate anybody who worshiped any other god than Caesar (which takes us right back to New Testament times). The Star of David and the cross of Christ have been a scandal throughout history to every totalitarian leader who encountered them.

In my view, the new breed of atheists is totalitarian. They want total control for their worldview, which says there is no truth. What happens if they can enforce this?

Charles Colson, My Final Word

After all, we know what life has been like for Christians in China…


Without warning, Guo and his neighbors in China’s Christian heartland province of Henan had found themselves on the front lines of an ambitious new effort by the officially atheist ruling Communist Party to dictate — and in some cases displace — the practice of faith in the country.

Under President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival. Experts and activists say that as he consolidates his power, Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982.

Christian heartland opens window into fight for China’s soul, By YANAN WANG, Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, August 07, 2018

China’s government is ratcheting up a crackdown on Christian congregations in Beijing and several provinces, destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith, according to pastors and a group that monitors religion in China.

The campaign corresponds with a drive to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the officially atheist Communist Party and eliminating any challenge to its power over people’s lives.

Group: Officials destroying crosses, burning bibles in China, By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, AP News, September 10, 2018

Can’t imagine you’d be game with the same.

But it does look like things have changed in America’s story and that is the direction the drama is unfolding…


The Catholic Church is now the canary in the coal mine. If the religious freedom of the largest Christian denomination in the US is impaired, we Jews will be next.

…. We do not need to forget past injuries by Christians in order to understand that we are now in the same foxhole with our Christian friends on the fundamental issue of religious freedom. It is not only shameful but self-damaging for Jews to turn their backs on the Church as it battles the worst assault on religious freedom in American history. …. Militant secularism is now the greatest danger to freedom of religious observance.

Once again, the Catholic Church Defends the Religious Freedom of Jews –Why Don’t Jews Defend Catholic Religious Freedom?, by David P. Goldman, Pajamas Media, July 17, 2013

The great question now unfolding in our times is: Will we permit government power to be used to strip traditional religious believers of our freedom to live as we choose?

What I Really Think About Christie’s Signing Counseling Bill, by Maggie Gallagher, National Review, August 21, 2013

And you can see it in the religious liberty warnings which came from the same sex marriage ruling by the United States Supreme Court in the summer of 2015…


Aside from undermining the political processes that protect our liberty, the majority’s decision threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect.

….

Had the majority allowed the definition of marriage to be left to the political process—as the Constitution requires—the People could have considered the religious liberty implications of deviating from the traditional definition as part of their deliberative process. Instead, the majority’s decision short-circuits that process, with potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.

Justice Clarence Thomas, Dissenting Opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

The revolutionary mindset that the Court has perhaps half-witlessly embraced means to eliminate all felt “stigma,” any trace of social “humiliation,” just so that everyone’s “identity” is equally valued.

Doing all that requires a lot more than just a fair shakedown at the courthouse. It requires getting all of our minds right. And so we should expect today’s decision to inaugurate the greatest crisis of religious liberty in American history. I am certain that it will.

Gerard V. Bradley, The Supreme Court Has Legalized Same-Sex Marriage: Now What?, An NRO Symposium, National Review, June 27, 2015

Let’s be clear: Today’s decision will pave the way for an all-out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with it, rights that are protected in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Supreme Court: Best Politicians in Washington, By GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, Politico, June 26, 2015

The push for gay marriage always included a significant portion of people who simply wanted fairness, as they saw it. But this fairness is not enough for the secular left, which has become more honest about their ultimate goal: the eradication of religion’s place at the center of American public life. They will in the coming months and years seek to use the full power of the IRS to achieve this goal. Those who believe in civil liberty must stand against them, or risk an America where there are no churches and no charities but those the state deems fit to exist – exactly the America the Founders sought to prevent.

The Left Wants To End the Separation of Church and State, by Ben Domenech, The Federalist, July 7, 2015

Slowly and surely, Americans are now witnessing a slow erosion of religious liberty happening in the public square. From backlash at expressing a belief about marriage that results in dismissal, to the real fear that institutions that desire to maintain accreditation may not be able to do so, the concerns registered in the pastare being catapulted into the present.

The Supreme Court and religious liberty: Reason for concern, BY ANDREW T. WALKER, ERLC, June 26, 2015

It is now clear that for this Court, extremism in the pursuit of the Sexual Revolution’s goals is no vice. True, the majority opinion nodded and smiled in the direction of the First Amendment, in an attempt to calm the fears of those worried about religious liberty. But when a Supreme Court majority is willing to invent rights out of nothing, it is impossible to have faith that the First Amendment will offer any but the barest protection to religious dissenters from gay rights orthodoxy.

Orthodox Christians Must Now Learn To Live as Exiles in Our Own Country, by Rod Dreher, Time Magazine, June 26, 2015

But the bigger point—the most important point—is contained in the words “at least for a while” and “immediate.” Rauch is not some radical trying to uproot convention and collapse categories by marrying a horse or creating a baby from his sister’s eggs. He makes the most limited case that exists for gay marriage, and he makes it via compelling, good-faith arguments according to equality. He is as serious and high-minded as any advocate of same-sex marriage in America. And by his own admission, serious, high-minded advocates of same-sex marriage will tolerate religious liberty only so long.

One suspects this isn’t exactly the same-sex marriage future that Americans bargained for.

You Will Be Assimilated, by Jonathan V. Last, The Weekly Standard, June 22, 2015

So, just as Justice Clarence Thomas warned in his dissent, there is more  trouble on the horizon…


It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples.

The majority appears unmoved by that inevitability.


So, it looks to our team like you Christians in America really are faced with a challenge from our story allies…


Put in other words, the HHS lawsuits, if successful, would only provide a band-aid solution tothe greater problem of radical secularism that we face in this country.

Blessed Pope John Paul II discussed this problem almost two decades ago when he visited Baltimore and stated, “The challenge facing you, dear friends, is to increase people’s awareness of the importance for society of religious freedom; to defend that freedom against those who would take religion out of the public domain and establish secularism as America’s official faith.

“And it is vitally necessary, for the very survival of the American experience, to transmit to the next generation the precious legacy of religious freedom and the convictions which sustain it.”

Let Freedom Ring!, By Archbishop William E. Lori, National Catholic Register, May 24, 2012 

Religious liberty is under direct threat. Just days ago the Solicitor General of the United States served notice before the Supreme Court that the liberties of religious institutions will be an open and unavoidable question. Already, religious liberty is threatened by a new moral regime that exalts erotic liberty and personal autonomy and openly argues that religious liberties must give way to the new morality, its redefinition of marriage, and its demand for coercive moral, cultural, and legal sovereignty.

A new moral and legal order is ascendant in America, and this new order is only possible, in the arena of American law and jurisprudence, if the original intent and the very words of the Constitution of the United States are twisted beyond recognition.

These are days that will require courage, conviction, and clarity of vision. We are in a fight for the most basic liberties God has given humanity, every single one of us, made in his image. Religious liberty is being redefined as mere freedom of worship, but it will not long survive if it is reduced to a private sphere with no public voice. The very freedom to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at stake, and thus so is the liberty of every American. Human rights and human dignity are temporary abstractions if they are severed from their reality as gifts of the Creator. The eclipse of Christian truth will lead inevitably to a tragic loss of human dignity. If we lose religious liberty, all other liberties will be lost, one by one. I am a Christian, and I believe that salvation is found in no other name than Jesus Christ and in no other gospel, but I will fight for the religious liberty of all.

There is a gathering storm, and its threat is urgent and real, but there are arguments to be made, principles to be defended, rights to be respected, truths to be cherished, and permanent things to be preserved. We face the danger of a new Dark Age marked by the loss of liberty and the denial of human dignity. Thus, there is a battle to be joined and much work to be done. Together, may we be found faithful to these tasks. As Churchill would remind us, in every gathering storm there is a summons to action.

The Gathering Storm: The Eclipse of Religious Liberty and the Threat of a New Dark Age, by Albert Mohler, AblertMohler.com, May 18, 2015

It certainly is an essential issue for you…


Though orthodox Christians have to embrace localism because they can no longer expect to influence Washington politics as they once could, there is one cause that should receive all the attention they have left for national politics: religious liberty. 

Religious liberty is critically important to the Benedict Option. Without a robust and successful defense of First Amendment protections, Christians will not be able to build the communal institutions that are vital to maintaining our identity and values. What’s more, Christians who don’t act decisively within the embattled zone of freedom we have now are wasting precious time that may run out faster than we think.

Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option

Dreher is certainly right.

So, you needed to be strong yourselves…


The cost of this decision to society has yet to be determined. The cost to the church could be most significant in terms of religious freedom. If religious freedom is to have any future, we will need to be as organized and determined in its defense as those who have successfully consigned traditional marriage to the garbage bin of history. If our leaders waver, accommodate, or remain silent at this point, the task will be incalculably harder. As always, we who have been speaking out stand to be undone not so much by the noise of our enemies as by the silence of our friends.

Carl R. Trueman is Paul Woolley Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary.
AFTER OBERGEFELL: A FIRST THINGS SYMPOSIUM, by Various, First Things, June 27, 2015

But, you have done a wonderful job staying silent as you continue to hang out in that minimalist corner and ignore the undefended space of our secular story allies in your story war.

And yet, you did feel betrayed…


This brings us back to Donald Trump. His campaign slogan—“Make America Great Again”—is obviously lacking in specific content. Yet it clearly carries a certain moral weight, appealing to a patriotic love for the country that cannot be reduced to an interest in economic growth.

The success of this slogan tells us something about the aspirations of the campaign’s supporters. The disappointment that has led large numbers of Republican voters to embrace Donald Trump is no mere personal disappointment. It is based on the sense that Republican elites have not just failed to secure their constituents’ interests but that they have failed, even betrayed, the country itself by failing to defend the principles—such as the rule of law and the right of self-government—that have made the country worthy of our admiration.

Donald Trump, George Will, and the Crisis of Conservatism, by CARSON HOLLOWAY, Crisis Magazine, OCTOBER 15, 2015

Has Trump fostered these feelings?


Successful political leaders usually offer a narrative about their country and the world that encourages voters to see them in command. The story about America told by Trump has deep historical roots, though it is fundamentally different from one that Ronald Reagan, the Bushes, the Clintons, and Obama have been telling. …. His two campaign slogans, “America First” and “Make America Great Again,” each encapsulate that story while attacking those who he implies have betrayed the country and dragged it down.

Who Are We Americans Now?, By Paul Starr, The American Prospect, December 19, 2016

…and here again, one of Trump’s biggest evangelical cheerleaders, Jerry Falwell, fans that flame…


In this as in so much else, Trump’s candidacy will prove clarifying. The Republican Party has relied on “values voters” for decades without, in their view, faithfully representing their interests. As Falwell put it in his introduction of Trump: “For decades, conservatives and evangelicals have chosen the political candidates who have told us what we wanted to hear on social, religious, and political issues, only to be betrayed by these same candidates after they were elected.” In Trump, these voters see someone who shares their true priorities.

The Religious Right’s Donald Trump Dilemma, by Molly Ball, The Atlantic, January 18, 2016

But, there’s something else to consider. It’s only fair to acknowledge there is fear there too for you, right?


Trump, despite all his vulgarity and boorishness, has, along with fellow anti-establishment candidates such as Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, given these voters a voice that has not recently been heard. The Beltway GOP believes its voters are having a temper tantrum. But it would be more accurate to say that they are responding with understandable anger to a party that has failed over several election cycles to address their legitimate fears and concerns.

What Trump Sees, by JEREMY CARL, National Review, January 25, 2016

And, sometimes fear can turn to anger…


Are we surprised that our society simmers with an undercurrent of rage, violence and fury? For fifty years now we have witnessed increased promiscuity, break down of marriage, disintegration of faith, abortion, disruption of community life and the decay of the extended family. Children are born into broken homes, conceived in rape and drunken-ness and drug addiction. When they are born they are shoved into day care and ignored by parents, and now we have repeated the pattern into the second and third generation.

Do not misunderstand me. This is a complex matter. I am not saying every child who is adopted will be a criminal or that every broken home must be a place of hopeless dysfunction and despair. Nor am I saying that the racial, sexual and economic tensions can simply be blamed on promiscuity and broken homes. The social problems are real, and should be addressed and furthermore, I see the same symptoms of rage and fear in families that are not of a racial minority, are well of financially and seem to be functional on the level of social niceties.

I am speaking of the deeper sickness of the human heart–the lack of love which causes fear, which in turn causes anger and rage. I am speaking of the heart’s great wound–the longing not just for human love, but for the unconditional love of the Great Father. The message of the Christian gospel is that the wound can be healed. The broken heart can be restored. The sin can be forgiven. The darkness can be banished by the light.

But for this great wound to be healed there must be a constant turning to God and a constant sacrifice offered for the healing of the nations. Only as that sacrifice is offered and lived and the Divine Love is seen to be alive in the world can our broken hearts and our broken world be healed.

The Trump Blimp and the Roots of Rage, BY FR. DWIGHT LONGENECKER, Patheos, JULY 14, 2018

There is the sequence: lack of love, which causes fear, which can turn to anger and rage.

So, your fear led to anger and you struck a bargain with Donald Trump, throwing your Evangelical support behind him as your candidate for President of the United States…


For many others, Mr. Trump speaks the truth and mirrors what they are feeling: fevered anger at President Obama, distress about the economy and fear that terrorists could pose as Syrian refugees to infiltrate the American heartland. Rather than recoiling from his harsh language about immigrants and insults of people he dislikes, these voters said Mr. Trump was merely being honest.

“Spirituality is a big issue, but we need somebody who’s strong,” said Charles E. Henderson, 61, a disabled veteran from Lexington, Ky., who grew up attending a Nazarene church. He called Mr. Trump outspoken and decisive, adding, “Lots of times the preachers and everything, they have a tendency to be just a little bit weak.”

Evangelicals See Donald Trump as Man of Conviction, if Not Faith, By MAGGIE HABERMAN and THOMAS KAPLAN, New York Times, January 18, 2016

Why would people set aside all of those beliefs, all of those things that animated them, and choose Trump?

….

I think that much of the evangelical movement has been seized by fear, and it’s become a movement of resentments and grievances, and fear in politics often transmutes into anger and aggression. There was a sense among many white evangelicals of lost power, of lost privilege, fear that the country that they knew was being lost, and they felt like Donald Trump was the vehicle to express that anger. They saw him as a wrecking ball against the political establishment and the media.

— Peter Wehner

What’s Left of the Right?, Democracy Journal, Summer 2018

Donald Trump was carried into the White House by an angry tribe. They felt themselves being sidelined by history and feared their country as they knew it was slipping away. They wanted change, at nearly any cost, and they looked beyond more experienced candidates to set their hopes upon the sharp-tongued, hard-hitting, angry-as-they-were billionaire from New York. He won them by promising to give their country back to them and to win a future for their children. They believed him, largely because he spoke of faith like a crusader, like one who understood religion as a perpetual call to arms. 

Stephen Mansfield, Choosing Donald Trump

By the time of the 2016 presidential election, religious conservatives were angry and desperate for change. They didn’t want a candidate who merely understood. They wanted a candidate who was as fierce and as angry as they were. They wanted someone bold and hard hitting, even offensive. They felt their nation slipping away. They felt the ways of their fathers being lost. 

Then came Donald Trump. He channeled their anger. He cut into their enemies. He promised to make their lives better and restore what had been lost. 


Stephen Mansfield, Choosing Donald Trump




Your Bargain With Donald

We understand your anger – like we never did before.

And we get it, that because of your situation, you wanted to bargain…


After we burn off our anger, we search for the easiest way out of our situation. We work to BARGAIN our way out of the problem. Perhaps we push the problem to someone else, who is sure to fail solving it. …. Of course, the bargaining proves fruitless. The monkey on our back (coping with the shock necessitating a change in ourselves) gets even heavier

Shawn Coyne, The Story Grid

And when you felt it was time to begin bargaining your way forward, it looks like you came to believe Donald Trump was just the person to turn to…


Donald J. Trump is the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence while expanding his interests in real estate, sports, and entertainment. He is the archetypal businessman – a deal maker without peer.

Donald J. Trump Biography, The Trump Organization

And look what your famous friend, Dr. Ben Carson, wrote about him…


Donald Trump, until now considered by many to be a fringe candidate with poor prospects at winning the national election, has now solidified his role as a leading contender for President of the United States. Though Trump lacks some of the traditional trappings of political leadership, he is, in tone, style, and substance, uniquely suited to the prevailing mood of the American electorate.  

His appeal resonates among a large segment of Americans who feel disaffected and excluded by the current political system.

….

Trump’s qualifications start with his outsider status, but also importantly include his success as an entrepreneur, an employer of thousands of people, and a family man who has raised several successful children. In Trump, everyday Americans see an example of how hard work, playing by the rules, and setting high personal standards can benefit them.

They see Trump’s success, not as an anomaly, but as a blueprint for their own path to freedom and prosperity. Trump’s outsized impact on the business world, and on the culture of entrepreneurship in this country, is unprecedented among political candidates.

Trump uniquely suited to this American moment, By Dr. Ben Carson, The Hill, July 24, 2016

And here’s that Jerry Falwell, Jr. guy again… the head of the largest Christian university…


Mr. Falwell’s son, Jerry Falwell Jr., now the president of Liberty University, where Mr. Trump called a book in the Bible “Two Corinthians” instead of the more accepted “Second Corinthians” in a speech, has endorsed the billionaire. He cited Mr. Trump’s business record and the strength he projects.

“All the social issues — traditional family values, abortion — are moot if ISIS blows up some of our cities or if the borders are not fortified,” he said, referring to the Islamic State. “Rank-and-file evangelicals are smarter than many of the leaders. They are trying to save the country and maybe vote on social issues next time.”

Donald Trump, Despite Impieties, Wins Hearts of Evangelical Voters, By TRIP GABRIEL, New York Times, February 27, 2016

So, Jerry put his hope in Donald. And we are so grateful to Jerry, because he has revealed so much of what you Christians want, here in the story.

You see, it really caught our attention when Donald claimed he would be the fixer…


The world is under serious, serious threat in so many different ways. And I’ve never seen it so much and so openly as since I took the position of president.

The world is in trouble, but we’re going to straighten it out. OK? That’s what I do. I fix things. We’re going to straighten it out.

Read President Trump’s Remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, By Ryan Teague Beckwith, Time Magazine, February 2, 2017

If there was ever a presidential candidate to eschew theoretical coherence, it was Donald Trump. He was not running on Trumpism; he was running on being Donald Trump. “I alone can fix it” was the central pillar of his candidacy.

What Makes America Great?, By Daniel Krauthammer, Weekly Standard, April 28, 2017

So, since he is making such claims, it initially made sense to our team that you would turn to Donald Trump. We get it that you were afraid and were looking for a way to more powerfully counter your opponents…


Because Republicans largely agree with Democrats that they need not take seriously the founders’ Constitution, today’s American regime is now what Max Weber had called the Tsarist regime on the eve of the Revolution: “fake constitutionalism.” Because such fakery is self-discrediting and removes anyone’s obligation to restrain his passions, it is a harbinger of revolution and of imperial power.

The ruling class having chosen raw power over law and persuasion, the American people reasonably concluded that raw power is the only way to counter it, and looked for candidates who would do that.

After the Republic, By Angelo M. Codevilla, Claremont Review of Books, September 27, 2016

You were looking for a person like this…


Blair: There are two things that seem extremely pivotal to me in what’s happened. One is the The Apprentice, that 10 years of America looking at him as the boss, that that is so, now, imprinted on people’s ideas — that they can’t get around that notion that he is the boss. If you say the word “boss,” you think Trump.

Trumpology: A Master Class, By Susan B. Glasser and Michael Kruse, Politico, May/June 2016

Of course, Pence is far from the only conservative Christian to be accused of having sold his soul. Trump’s early evangelical supporters were a motley crew of televangelists and prosperity preachers, and they have been rewarded with outsize influence in the White House. Pastor Ralph Drollinger, for example, caught Trump’s attention in December 2015, when he said in a radio interview, “America’s in such desperate straits—especially economically — that if we don’t have almost a benevolent dictator to turn things around, I just don’t think it’s gonna happen through our governance system.” Now Drollinger runs a weekly Bible study in the West Wing.

God’s Plan for Mike Pence, By McKay Coppins, The Atlantic, JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 ISSUE

And Trump has revealed that he admires strongman political leaders…


But when it comes to leaders, Trump seems to prefer Deke House to student council types. He has hailed Vladimir Putin as a “strong ruler” and “very smart.” In Riyadh, Trump declared King Salman a “wise man.” He calls China’s Xi Jinping “a great guy” and welcomed Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Oval Office: “It is a great honor to have you with us.”

When Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who has imprisoned and killed thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood, came to visit, Trump said, “He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.”

In a phone call, Trump also praised Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has had narcotics dealers gunned down in the streets, for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.”

Trump has even found merit in Kim Jong-un, the 33-year-old dictator of North Korea, describing him as a “a pretty smart cookie.”

BREAKUP OF THE WEST?, By Pat Buchanan, World Net Daily, May 29, 2017

You were afraid, and Donald Trump was a strongman promising to protect you…


In 2016, American evangelicals were looking for a strongman to protect them from the progressive forces wreaking havoc on their Christian nation. Donald Trump was the strongman.

Most evangelicals did not believe more traditional candidates of the Christian right such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Ben Carson could protect them as well as the bombastic big-talking New York real-estate tycoon. As Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas and early Trump supporter put it, “I couldn’t care less about a leader’s temperament or his tone of his vocabulary. Frankly, I want the meanest, toughest son of a gun I can find. And I think that’s the feeling of a lot of evangelicals. They don’t want Casper Milquetoast as the leader of the free world.”

Ironically, some evangelicals have found a savior. They sought after Trump, he answered them, and he delivered them from all their fears.

But other evangelical options are available. Evangelicals are people of hope, not fear. The practice of Christian hope points us to a life beyond this world, but it also requires us to act in such a way that models God’s coming kingdom. The Kingdom of God is characterized by the love of enemies, the welcoming of strangers, the belief in the human dignity of all people, a humble and self-sacrificial posture toward public life, and a trust in the sovereign God of the universe. Fear is a natural human response to social change, but evangelicals betray their deepest spiritual convictions when they choose to dwell in it.

Evangelical Fear Elected Trump, By John Fea, The Atlantic, June 24, 2018

Trump consistently depicts evangelicals as they depict themselves: a mistreated minority, in need of a defender who plays by worldly rules. Christianity is “under siege,” Trump told a Liberty University audience. “Relish the opportunity to be an outsider,” he added at a later date: “Embrace the label.” Protecting Christianity, Trump essentially argues, is a job for a bully.

It is true that insofar as Christian hospitals or colleges have their religious liberty threatened by hostile litigation or government agencies, they have every right to defend their institutional identities—to advocate for a principled pluralism. But this is different from evangelicals regarding themselves, hysterically and with self-pity, as an oppressed minority that requires a strongman to rescue it. This is how Trump has invited evangelicals to view themselves. He has treated evangelicalism as an interest group in need of protection and preferences.

The Last Temptation, By Michael Gerson, The Atlantic, April 2018

Among those Americans who supported a candidate in the presidential primaries, Trump supporters are substantially more supportive of a “strong leader” (32 percent) than are supporters of any other candidate from either major party (all of whom favored that option at levels of 20 percent or less). Voters for Trump in the general election are nearly twice as likely as Clinton voters to endorse this authoritarian option (29 to 16 percent). And those voters who switched from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016 leaned the most authoritarian of all—45 percent of them support a “strong leader.”

Are People Losing Faith in Democracy?, By LARRY DIAMOND, National Interest, March 16, 2018

As we saw in 2016, the feeling that power is slipping out of their hands makes citizens more, not less, likely to entrust their fate to a strongman leader who promises to smash the system.

America Is Not a Democracy, By YASCHA MOUNK, The Atlantic, MARCH 2018

Indeed, a survey last month by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that white evangelical support for Trump is at an all-time high, with three in four holding a favourable view of the president. This level of support was well above support in the general population, where Trump’s favourability is at 42%.

Frank Luntz, a Republican consultant and pollster, said: “They acknowledge there are issues with him but it’s his willingness to fight against their enemies that makes them so supportive.”

….

Luntz added: “It comes from a fear of where the culture’s headed and an inability to stop it.”

Pastors at embassy opening highlight evangelicals’ deal with The Donald, By David Smith, The Guardian, May 15, 2018

Evangelical Christians in America today stand in a similar place.

They see chaos erupting around them. They see open borders and lawlessness. They see Republican leadership doing next-to-nothing to stop it.

They are afraid. And they think Donald Trump, in spite of his faults, may be the one to save them.

Frustrated Evangelicals Demand a King in Donald Trump, by Bill Blankschaen, Patheos, March 2, 2016 

Thus evangelical voters joined other South Carolina Republicans in choosing Trump, by an 11 percent margin over his closest competitor, to “make America great again.” According to a recent Bloomberg Poll, they believe Trump is the candidate most likely to “keep their family safe” and “would be most feared by America’s enemies.”

Before Donald Trump, the sad history of when Christians anointed another political bully, by Joseph Loconte, Washington Post, February 22, 2016

And Trump knew you were afraid. So, he made an effort to connect to your fear…


To frame his vision of a smaller presence abroad, Trump often portrays America’s urgent task as one of survival. As he put it during the campaign, “At what point do you say, ‘Hey, we have to take care of ourselves’? So, you know, I know the outer world exists and I’ll be very cognizant of that, but, at the same time, our country is disintegrating.”

Making China Great Again, By Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, January 8, 2018 Issue


Look at the state of the world right now. It’s a terrible mess, and that’s putting it mildly. There has never been a more dangerous time. The politicians and special interests in Washington, DC, are directly responsible for the mess we are in. 

Donald Trump, From the Amazon.com page description for Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again

And he continues down that path…


President Trump traveled to McAllen, Tex. to meet with border patrol agents and survey the border in the Rio Grande Valley. Trump warned there would be “a lot of death” without a barrier or a wall.

“Look, this is common sense. They need a barrier. They need a wall. If you don’t have it, it’s going to be nothing but hard work and grueling problems, and, by the way, and death. And death. A lot of death,” Trump said Thursday.

Trump at Border: Without The Wall There Will Be “Death, A Lot Of Death”, Posted By Ian Schwartz, Real Clear Politics, January 10, 2019

So, we wondered if this was somehow in play…


What happens when a cult leader’s dictates clash with the convictions of his followers?

Trump is happily making these pronouncements and expecting everyone to go along with him, and he’s not getting much flack. Most of his followers have bought into his fear-mongering, which creates an us vs. them mentality that is typical of a cult.

Is that emphasis on real or perceived enemies one way cult leaders keep control over their adherents?

Absolutely. It breeds fear and paranoia in his followers, which leads them to think, “I’d better stick with him to be safe.” His constant criticism and ridiculing and attacking “the other” also makes people feel superior. This sets up extreme polarization, which is always how cults have survived.

A CULT EXPERT FINDS FAMILIAR PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR IN TRUMP’S GOP, By TOM JACOBS, Pacific Standard, June 21, 2018

And look at this…


Trump scanned the room and said, I thlnk we had such period of Christian consensus in our culture and we kind of spoiled. Is that the right word?” 

Then, he turned the tables on us and said something shocking. 

“Every other ideological group in the country has a voice. If you don’t mind me saying so, YOU GUYS HAVE GOTTEN SOFT.” 

Ouch! That’s the line I won’t forget. 

Lance Wallnau, God’s Chaos Candidate

But, we also understand the power of fear, because it so connects with the power of the major dramatic question…


How will this turn out?


So, if Christianity is the story we are in, it raises a question for you. Does this passage catch your attention?


Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

    and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,

    and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6


You see, Paula Wong found this — from Donald Trump himself — speaking to a group of Christian leaders…


The government has gotten so involved in your religion. Especially your religion, that it makes it very difficult. We’ll talk about that. Mike and I have been discussing it, and I think we have some very important things to say. The next president — it’s going to be vital. Not only with Supreme Court justices, which we’ll also talk about at length. But also in things like freeing up your religion, freeing up your thoughts, freeing up your. … You talk about religious liberty and religious freedom. You really don’t have religious freedom, if you really think about it, because when President Johnson had his tenure, he passed something that makes people very, very nervous to even talk to preserve their tax-exempt status. It’s taken a lot of power away from Christianity and other religions. I’ve seen it. This is something that I’ve brought up. I was telling Mike, I’ve been meeting with Paula White, who’s been so involved, Pastor Paula — she’s over here. And Darrell Scott and Pastor Burgess. We were at a meeting of 50 ministers, pastors, Christians, two rabbis. I said, “Why is it that the whole thing with Christianity, it’s not going in the right direction? It’s getting weaker, weaker, weaker from a societal standpoint?” And over the course of various meetings, I realized that there are petrified ministers and churches. They speak before 25,000 people, the most incredible speakers you could ever see, better than any politician by far. And yet when it comes to talking about it openly or who they support or why they support somebody because he’s a person — a man or a woman — who is into their values, they’re petrified to do it.

And I couldn’t get the answer. And then one day, at one of our meetings, somebody said, “They’re petrified of losing their tax-exempt status.” And I said, “What is that all about?” And they went into it. It was what happened during the Johnson administration. And I will tell you folks that some of you will agree, some of you will disagree, and some of you, it’s been ingrained and that’s the worst thing because you don’t even think about it. You can’t see the forest for the trees, some of you are so close to it. But I can tell you, I watched this during the last year, and I watched fear in the hearts of brave, incredible people. And we are going to get rid of that, because you should have the right to speak. [Applause]

Transcript: Donald Trump’s closed-door meeting with evangelical leaders, by Jon Ward, Yahoo! News, June 22, 2016

We immediately wondered if that was where Shih Tzu got that term, “petrified,” which he had used in a threatening note we received from him.

But then Paula redirected our attention to something else.

“Comrade Chow,” she said, “what if what Donald Trump said about the Christians in America matters far more than Shih Tzu realizes?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I did a quick search,” Paula said, “but I didn’t find any of the Christian leaders at that meeting with Trump take offense from what he said about them being petrified.”

“But why would they?” I asked. “Trump is right about the Christians in America, isn’t he?”

“It looks like he is,” said Paula. “And yet, doesn’t that tell us something about them? Look at this passage I found in their book of Psalms.”

And then she showed us these passages from your Bible…


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

Psalm 46:1-3


And then she showed me these…


For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.

Isaiah 8:11-13


When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

Psalm 56:3-4


In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Psalm 56:11


He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

Psalm 112:7


Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

Isaiah 12:2


For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.

2 Timothy 1:6-12


And then she showed us a wild passage in your book of Hebrews, which shined a spotlight on Donald Trump and your love crisis…


Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;

    I will not fear;

what can man do to me?”

Hebrews 13:4-6


And that opened our eyes even more.

We began to realize that something really is going on with America’s Christians.

Shouldn’t your Christian leaders have spoken up and said, “No, we’re not afraid. We’re not petrified. We can trust in our God.”


Christian Scripture makes it clear that the strongman who delivers is not Donald Trump, but the God who promises to be a refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble (PS. 46:1-2).

John Fea, Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump


But they didn’t…


Call me crazy, but when you have an all powerful, omnipotent, creator of the entire universe on your side, you should not have to rely on a slightly orange adulterer for protection from your enemies. But American evangelicals have traded the risen Lord for Balaam’s donkey.

A Moral People No More, By Erick Erickson, The Resurgent, April 20, 2018

And our team is wondering if the turning of your Christians leaders to Trump was another revealing of how their migration into the minimalist corner fogged their ability to see the great drama you are in – if Christianity is the story we are in, of course…


The Bible teaches that Christians are to fear God – and only God. All other forms of fear reflect a lack of faith, a failure to place one’s trust completely in a providential God who has promised to work all things out for good for those who love him (Rom. 8:28). God’s sovereign control over our lives and the world he created constitutes what theologian Scott Bader-Saye has called “a coherent story, a drama in which God and humankind, together, drive the story toward its proper conclusion.”1 The “proper conclusion” to the Christian story – the direction in which history is ultimately moving – is the return of Jesus Christ amid the new heaven and the new earth. But in a world filled with distractions, it is easy to let this glorious hope become smothered by fear. 

John Fea, Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

So, they turned to Trump…


By the end of May 2016, Donald Trump had enough delegates to clinch the Republican Party’s nomination for president. Nearly half of GOP evangelicals supported him in that spring’s primaries.

John Fea, Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

… and crossed over the “Rubicon” with him…


Looking back, the improbable election of 2016 proved a Rubicon moment. Once Trump crossed over the Rubicon, carried by his base of “crazies,” “irredeemables,” and “deplorables,” the die had been cast, and those who were fearful where America had been headed had no choice but to follow him through the river.

Either Trump will restore economic growth, national security, the melting pot, legality, and individual liberty or he will fail and we will go the way of Europe.

For now, there is no one else in the opposition standing in the way of radical progressivism. At best, some not actively promoting progressivism are only begging it to slow down a bit; at worst, the “I told you so” others wish for now progressivism to prevail to demonstrate what happens when the hoi polloi do not listen to their supposed betters.

Crossing the Trump Rubicon, By Victor Davis Hanson, American Greatness, November 6, 2017

And Trump would agree that he is the only one for you…


Donald J. Trump rarely goes to church, said he’s never sought forgiveness for his sins, and in his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning, never mentioned God.

Religion was almost invisible during the presidential campaign, and yet it is the missing piece in understanding Mr. Trump’s victory. The Christian right worked largely under the national media’s radar this year, but it helped deliver the presidency to a thrice-married mogul who bragged about groping women and has been accused by multiple women of actually doing it.

They were willing to forgive Mr. Trump’s personal transgressions because he stoked their fears that a Hillary Clinton administration would take away their religious liberties, use their tax dollars to fund late-term abortions at home and abroad, and expand the rights of gay and transgender people, political analysts said. Mr. Trump warned at rallies and at conservative Christian gatherings that he alone was their last hope to protect them against a changing culture, using the refrain, “This is your last chance.”

Religious Right Believes Donald Trump Will Deliver on His Promises, By LAURIE GOODSTEIN, New York Times, November 11, 2016

Down the home stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign, one of Donald Trump’s most consistent talking points was a claim that America’s changing demographics and culture had brought the country to a precipice. He repeatedly cast himself as the last chance for Republicans and conservative white Christians to step back from the cliff, to preserve their power and way of life. In an interview on Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in early September, Trump put the choice starkly for the channel’s conservative Christian viewers: “If we don’t win this election, you’ll never see another Republican and you’ll have a whole different church structure.” Asked to elaborate, Trump continued, “I think this will be the last election that the Republicans have a chance of winning because you’re going to have people flowing across the border, you’re going to have illegal immigrants coming in and they’re going to be legalized and they’re going to be able to vote, and once that all happens you can forget it.”

Michele Bachmann, a member of Trump’s evangelical executive advisory board, echoed these same sentiments in a speech at the Values Voters Summit, an annual meeting attended largely by conservative white Christians. That same week, she declared in an interview with CBN: “If you look at the numbers of people who vote and who lives [sic] in the country and who Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to bring in to the country, this is the last election when we even have a chance to vote for somebody who will stand up for godly moral principles. This is it.” Post-election polling from the Public Religion Research Institute, which I lead, and The Atlantic showed that this appeal found its mark among conservative voters. Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of Trump voters, compared to only 22 percent of Clinton voters, agreed that “the 2016 election represented the last chance to stop America’s decline.”

Trump Can’t Reverse the Decline of White Christian America, ROBERT P. JONES, The Atlantic, July 4, 2017

And there were famous Christians who believed his last chance claim…


Phyllis Schlafly, an icon of the conservative movement who has been active for half a century, is warning the nation: Donald Trump is the last hope for America.

….

WND asked Schlafly if she believes Donald Trump is the last hope for America.

“He does look like he’s the last hope,” Schlafly said.

Top conservative: Trump is ‘last hope for America’, World Net Daily, December 20, 2015

METAXAS: Not only can we vote for Trump, we must vote for Trump, because with all of his foibles, peccadilloes, and metaphorical warts, he is nonetheless the last best hope of keeping America from sliding into oblivion, the tank, the abyss, the dustbin of history, if you will. If you want to know how bad things are in America, and how far we have gone, read the previous sentence aloud over and over.

Eric Metaxas on Virtue and…Donald Trump, By Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, June 17, 2016

So if Donald Trump could get away with claiming that he was the last best chance for your country – the United States of America — that was very revealing…


If we have placed our security in any source other than our relationship with Christ, then we are living a lie — and we are not secure at all.

Dr. David Jeremiah, The Jeremiah Study Bible

And notice how Donald’s claim connects with what Donald wants…


Trump lacks empathy and clearly enjoys embarrassing and hurting other people gratuitously. Such antisocial misconduct makes him feel (and, in his mind, actually renders him) all-powerful and God-like (“omnipotent”).

Donald Trump and Narcissistic Personality Disorder: An Interview with Sam Vaknin, By Arlen Williams, The American Thinker, March 6, 2016

Along with the tremendous value of Trump’s name, however, goes his insistence that everyone recognize it. His thin skin and amazing touchiness show in his ready reactions to slights, let alone criticism. His egoism makes his psychology an easy read — his bluster opposed and counteracted by his sensitivity. Unlike the truly manly male, who hardly notices and cares little for how he is received by others, Trump demands universal love as the reward for his just denunciations and wise observations. …. His vulgar manliness wants to mask his obvious yearning for indiscriminate love, and of course doesn’t succeed. The fawning demagogue in him prevails over the impression he wants to convey of brash independence.

The Vulgar Manliness of Donald Trump, By HARVEY MANSFIELD, Commentary Magazine, August 14, 2017

But doesn’t that raise a problem for you in relation to this?


Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!

Psalm 40:4


Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
    and rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
    and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
    or consult the Lord!

Isaiah 31:1


And look at how this describes the minimalist corner issue in the larger context of that quote we just showed you…


The attitude of Jerusalem was like an invisible, numbing fog. People in the once-devout City of David were “settled in complacency” and had convinced themselves that the Lord would not intervene regardless of how they acted (1:12). Little did they know that only a generation later, they would suffer disaster for failing to change their ways.

The dictionary defines complacency as “a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger or defect; a smug satisfaction with an existing condition.” If we have placed our security in any source other than our relationship with Christ, then we are living a lie — and we are not secure at all.

Dr. David Jeremiah, The Jeremiah Study Bible

So, was Trump really your last hope and last chance?

If so, you were very different than the Israeli leader Menachem Begin…


The first incident occurred in July 1977, when Zbigniew Brzezinski presented Begin with a draft statement regarding the just-concluded U.S.-Israel meeting. Begin told Brzezinski that the draft was acceptable — “except for two sentences.” Brzezinski asked what they were:

“Please delete ‘The United States affirms Israel’s inherent right to exist.’”

“Why so?”

“Because the United States’ affirmation of Israel’s right to exist is not a favor, nor is it a negotiable concession. I shall not negotiate my existence with anybody, and I need nobody’s affirmation of it.”

Brzezinski’s expression was one of surprise. “But to the best of my knowledge every Israeli prime minister has asked for such a pledge.”

“I sincerely appreciate the president’s sentiment,” said Begin, “but our Hebrew Bible made that pledge and established our right over our land millennia ago. Never, throughout the centuries, did we ever abandon or forfeit that right. Therefore, it would be incompatible with my responsibilities as prime minister of Israel were I not to ask you to erase this sentence.” And then, without pause, “Please delete, too, the language regarding the commitment to Israel’s survival.”

“And in what sense do you find that objectionable?”

“In the sense that we, the Jewish people alone, are responsible for our country’s survival, no one else.”

What Would Begin Do?, by Rick Richman, Commentary, March 8, 2011

But even that made us wonder about this verse we found…


Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

Psalm 127:1


What a surprise. But it helped to open our eyes to something else.

It has our attention that you embraced Donald Trump even though he sometimes makes promises which, if Christianity is the story we are in, only your God can deliver on.

For instance, look at the following…


Trump somehow, in the course of the 2016 campaign, effectively convinced a decent chunk of voters — especially in the Midwest hollowed out by manufacturing losses — that he and he alone understood the challenges they faced in life. Time after time, at rally after rally, attendees would tell the media that Trump got them — that he effectively channeled their frustrations, their anger and their hopes.

The greatest trick Donald Trump ever pulled, by Chris Cillizza, CNN, January 7, 2019

Amid attacks from Clinton and Warren that he rooted for the 2008 economic collapse because he was able to profit personally from the real estate market’s collapse, Trump made no effort to conceal his belief in the gospel of wealth.

“We’re going to make America wealthy again,” Trump said toward the end of his speech. “You have to be wealthy in order to be great, I’m sorry to say.”

….

“Politicians have used you and stolen your votes. They have given you nothing,” Trump told the crowd. “I will give you everything. I will give you what you’ve been looking for for 50 years.

“I’m the only one.”

Unapologetic, Trump promises to make America rich, By ELI STOKOLS, Politico, May 26, 2016

I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.

Inauguration Speech of President Donald Trump

But remember these passages from your Bible?


Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

James 4:13-17


Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Proverbs 27:1


When life is good, enjoy it. But when life is hard, remember that God gives us good times and hard times. And no one knows what will happen in the future.

Ecclesiastes 7:14


Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come?

Ecclesiastes 8:7


If Christianity is the story we are in, then how do those fit with Donald’s “I alone” claims?…


If there was ever a presidential candidate to eschew theoretical coherence, it was Donald Trump. He was not running on Trumpism; he was running on being Donald Trump. “I alone can fix it” was the central pillar of his candidacy. To intellectualize his triumph may well be a far greater mistake than to have never seen it coming in the first place.

What Makes America Great?, By Daniel Krauthammer, Weekly Standard, April 28, 2017

Wouldn’t his claims instead fit with this?


According to Aristotle–whose teacher, Plato, was a student of Socrates–the great- souled or magnanimous man answers to no one but himself. He seeks virtue and is awarded the highest honor for his greatness. But according to Augustine, writing some 750 years after Aristotle, the idea of a great-souled man acting independently of God was the height of arrogance. A humble prince, Augustine insisted, must bow before God and other citizens who are not as worthy as he is of honor. Like Aristotle’s magnanimous man, the humble prince seeks virtue, but his virtue, unlike that of the magnanimous man, is marked by compassion, mercy, and prayer–not pride in his own accomplishments or honors accorded by others. Augustine’s ideal prince is a servant.

David J. Bobb, Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America’s Greatest Virtue

So, you might want to think more broadly about how your story may unfold….


Americans were angry at the results of two decades of policies that have brought them failing wars and stagnating wages. And no other candidate (save perhaps Bernie Sanders) properly acknowledged just how profoundly America’s leaders and its elites had failed the rest of the country and failed to pay a price for it. But there are two fundamental problems with President Trump’s nationalist program. The first is that it simply will not achieve its promised results. The bulk of the agenda is a false promise, a shortcut of quick wins against easy scapegoats that won’t address our true economic challenges and will undermine our long-term security. The second is that it abandons America’s most cherished ideals in favor of an ideology of winning for its own sake. Such an ideology will necessarily collapse when the promised “greatness” and attendant riches do not materialize. But along the way it can do lasting damage to what has truly made America a great and exceptional nation in the world.

What Makes America Great?, By Daniel Krauthammer, Weekly Standard, April 28, 2017

This long section of the book deals with Israel’s major decision in Isaiah’s day. Would she trust in Yahweh or in other nations? The decision was a matter of faith; who is more worthy of trust, God or strong people? God promised that trust in the nations would result in destruction (ch. 34), but trust in Him would bring abundance (ch. 35). Israel’s decision would also determine whether she had a message for the nations or not, and whether she would fulfill her mission to the nations or not. This decision is, of course, one that the people of God of all ages continually face.

Notes on Isaiah, By Dr. Thomas L. Constable

And we wondered if the “substitute” idea related to idolatry was relevant…


We tend to think of idols as something ‘over there’, the gods of wood and stone. We forget that in scripture, idolatry is any part of the human creation, even the very gifts of God, on which we rely in such a way that they become a substitute for God.

Interview with Dr. Os Guinness, By Peter Hastie, Interact Magazine 1992, Volume 3 Number 1

And then we saw these…


Instead, if Nietzsche is right, the danger we face may be idolatry. Deprived of a God worth worshiping, we will find substitutes, even to the point of ­prostrating ourselves before birds or animals or reptiles that our modern minds have transformed from graven images into shrill moral imperatives and brittle political causes.

The last century’s graveyards testify to the reality of this danger. Turned away from something truly greater than ourselves, we do not come to rest in a modest loyalty to humanity. Instead, as Nietzsche’s and Augustine’s insights into the human condition warn us, we fall into a devotion to subhuman primal powers that reward our service with debasement.

Nietzsche’s Deeper Truth, by R.R. Reno, First Things, January 2008

Christ, I thought, would surely have me oppose what appeared an unjust war. But the Movement, whatever its ideals, did a good deal of hating. And Christ, gradually, was pushed to the rear: Movement goals, not God, became first, in fact — not only for me but for other Christians involved, including priests. I now think that making God secondary (which in the end is to make Him nothing) is, quite simply, the mortal danger in social action, especially in view of the marked intimations of virtue — even arrogant virtue — that often perilously accompany it.

Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy

How did Christianity ultimately fail in Europe? The short answer is thatthe neo-paganism of national idolatry hatched like a cuckoo’s egg in the nest of Christendom. 

David P. Goldman, How Civilizations Die

So, this appears to be relevant to your desire to make America great again…


Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

1 Chronicles 29:11-12


And Paula Wong showed us this…


The entire ethical-legal principle on which the Hebrew Bible is based is that we own nothing. Everything the land, its produce, power, sovereignty, children and life itself belongs to God. We are mere trustees, guardians, on his behalf. We possess but we do not own. That is the basis of the infrastructure of social justice that made the Bible unique in its time and still transformative today. 

Jonathan Sacks, Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence

And consider this…


The arrogance of our age supposes that prosperity is perpetual and success inevitable. America’s history of hard-won humility tells us otherwise.

David J. Bobb, Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America’s Greatest Virtue

And now we’re wondering… is it possible all this shines a very powerful light on what Donald Trump was chosen to reveal about America’s Christians?

And what if this insight is relevant?…


The great enemy of the Church is the most skilled deceiver of all. He would be delighted if Christians trusted in a earthly political leader to rescue them from the coming crisis, because that will blind us to the need for spiritual solutions that are local, small, quiet and more shaped by the suffering of Christ’s cross than any government’s voting system. Psalm 146:3 warns, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.”

Peter Sanlon

Christian Life In Exile, By ROD DREHER, American Conservative, March 5, 2018

And that made us wonder about something, it in light of the following observation by your insightful the Christian philosopher, Paul Moser…


Idols are counterfeit objects of hope. We rely on them to give us the comfort, satisfaction, and security we crave and need.

Idols, Hope, and Meaning, by Paul K. Moser, Idolater’s Anonymous

But can such a form of idolatry take place in relation to a political candidate?

Maybe so. Consider the following two passages from the book of Psalms…


It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.

Psalm 118:8-9


Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.

Psalm 146:3


But does this “trust” have a political dimension?


The American Catholic priest, Richard John Neuhaus, who became well known for his work on the role of religion in the ‘public square’, argued that it does…

Psalm 146 warns, “Put not your trust in princes.” Even when they are your princes and you think you put them on their little thrones. Especially when they are your princes, because that is when the temptation arises to invest your soul and your highest allegiance in their rule.

Against Christian Politics, by Richard John Neuhaus, First Things (May 1996)

So, should you have put your hope in The Donald?


Freedom can be a burden as well as a blessing. It exposes us to insecurity, subjects us to restrictive norms, and forces us to take responsibility for our actions. When the burden of freedom becomes intolerable, we are tempted to replace it with submission to an authority who promises to put things right.

The Perpetual Battle for Freedom, By William Galston, Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2016

But what if putting your trust and hope in the Donald revealed that you were going down a path which your very first president warned you against?


President George Washington

I am sure there never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.

George Washington to John Armstrong, March 11, 1792


Wow. There is the minimalist corner. George Washington saw it. What a fog you are in.

So, we would really like to know —


Do you want to continue your bargain with Trump?

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