Christian nationalists pinning hopes to a huckster

By Mike Weland

Mike Weland

I have been a vocal never-Trumper from the very moment I heard people I knew and respected sing his praises in the early days of his first campaign. The long awaited leader, they said, sent by God to do His work, to restore His nation to it’s rightful place, to Make America Great Again. They saw then and still see a Messiah. I saw a huckster and said so. I still so say. They overlooked his lies, his hatreds, his belittling those values that stood this nation in good stead from its nascency; honor, amity, service, trust. Sacrifice, valor, duty, instead seeing an imperfect man wielded as a tool by the hand of God.

I saw and see but a tool. A con artist who shirked responsibility his whole life. A bully and spoiled brat given every opportunity who chose to tear down rather than build up, to waste rather than conserve, to usurp rather than earn, to harm, not heal.

Evangelical Christians are enamored of Trump and it’s not surprising … he is the first U.S. president to not only hear them, to listen, to hover in their midst as they anoint him with their laying on of hands and their blessings upon him, but first to actually do the Lord’s work. He did, after all, abolish abortion and so reap the blessings of God and the thanks of the devout zealots not interested in the sanctity of life so much as the imposition of their superior moral standards on the less sanctimonious.

And now they swoon and fall to their knees and throw money, seeing Trump as perhaps not the most righteous of men, but as the man chosen by God to do His work, Trump having now promised, if reelected, to not only Make America Great Again, but to make it Christian again, too.

They call it faith, their certainty that these United States are a nation privileged to be favored by God … their version, of course, and that its future, its salvation, depends on having a federal government to provide for the general welfare and common defense, to conduct foreign affairs and establish economic policy, to provide public service and to protect them from the sins of their neighbors.

I don’t denigrate anyone their faith, but faith, defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof,” differs from opinion, “a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge,” only for the application of religion.

Each of us are entitled to our own opinions, our thoughts on various matters, including religion, but it’s not the business of government to regulate thought, or set one brand of opinion above the other, and our constitution clearly recognizes that. We haven’t lived up to the ideal, but our constitution, our government, was established on the foundation of equality, the principle that every individual, not just our citizens, but all the people of the world, are created equal, and each endowed with inalienable rights — to life, to liberty. To the pursuit of happiness.

The framers recognized the vast chasm between the reality and the ideal, exhorting us to work always  to perfect our union.

An article from the Boundary County Watchman a few days ago caught my attention, prompting me to express this opinion, offering a differing point of view.

Its author contends “The Constitution guarantees our God-given rights.”

No, sorry. With but very few exceptions the constitution is silent on religion. Where religion is addressed, in the first and 14th amendments, the language is clear and unambiguous: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and, “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be Required as a Qualification To any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The men who drafted the constitution were religiously diverse, Most were members of the various Christian faiths, some devout, while some, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, were Deists, who believed a God may have set the universe in motion, but played no role thereafter. Despite argument from then to now, regardless of their personal religious beliefs or lack thereof, the founders made a conscious and considered decision to not bring religion into this nation’s government, but to promote its free practice by all as given them to see it.

“You can’t take away what God gave us.”

Logic renders this statement patently false. Mentioned below are six things professed to be from God. Only one is safe from being taken at will by others, and the one, salvation, defined as “deliverance from the consequences of sin” is a gift bestowed only upon one who has already given up that other “gift from God,” Earthly life.

Not to be confused with life eternal, which is another “gift” we the living can only speculate on … to be convinced of it, we must “take it on faith.” In other words, believe without proof.

But according to a Bible passage, if one had “faith,” an amorphous concept akin to trust or love, the size of a mustard seed — a physical structure one to two millimeters in diameter and weighing between one to two micrograms, a thing with mass … one could move mountains by thought alone.

Based on that scripture, many are convinced without proof, i.e. have faith, that the pineal gland, a structure about the size of a mustard seed buried deep within the midbrain that releases melatonin, helping to adjust our sleep/wake cycle, is our “third eye,” with which we can see heaven and move mountains … but only if we have faith the size of a grain of mustard. To my knowledge, no one to date has moved a mountain without a shovel.

“Some of the things God has given us include salvation, freedom and leaders to care for his people.”

But I thought God, Creator of the heavens and the Earth, gave us all things? And aren’t you, by imposing your religion on me, depriving me of my freedom? If God provides our leaders, why do you so denigrate and disrespect Joe Biden? Or does God only appoint leaders some of the time, and then only the ones you endorse?

“If Christians want to serve their community, it is their God-given right.”

I don’t think you mean what you want your gentle readers hope you mean, Adrienne. First off, I’ve never been in a community wherein any citizen, Christian or infidel, was required to show  religious credentials to be allowed to pitch in or serve when help was needed. What I think you mean is that you have a self-appointed inclination to serve your cause where your help is not needed, such as when you blow your shofar and disrupt meetings pressing your high-minded morality to the point of distraction, then complain no one will listen to you. That’s not help, it’s interference.

“It is clear that many leaders are not God fearing and that is why our country is failing.”

Classic non-sequitur and false on its face, as well as a direct contradiction of your earlier assertion that God gives us leaders. I’ll agree that many leaders are not God fearing. Like the people they serve, they are a diverse lot  … they are not all white, middle age to old men, either. I disagree with you that our country is failing, though I do believe our constitutional democratic government hasn’t been under such a dire existential threat than it is today.

Not because many leaders are not God fearing, but because one leader, Donald J. Trump, a consummate con artist and inveterate liar, has managed to convince a cult of millions that he believes in them and their various causes, that he speaks for them, that he hates the same people and groups as they. That he shares their prejudices, their self-supposed sense of superiority. He commiserates with their ludicrous contention that they are the victims, the oppressed. He called them in and gave them voice to espouse radical beliefs and theories that long kept them out in the fringes, promises to be their retribution. Convinces them of enemies that aren’t real so they’ll be distracted from problems that are. Evokes images of himself as Jesus, persecuted by a tyrannical government out to get them, not him … he’s just standing in the way.

“We must come back to God or watch our country be destroyed.”

Another non sequitur, this one egregious because so many believe devoutly in both ends, neither true and no correlation between them. Isn’t religion a personal choice, most often based on little more than the happenstance of where we were born? If you feel the need to go back to your God, by all means go, but quietly, please, and please don’t tell me I have to go with you. And don’t try to coerce me with the threat of our country being burned while you and yours are holding the match with which to set it alight.

One thought on “Christian nationalists pinning hopes to a huckster

  1. Publisher’s note: Earlier comments on this editorial and my replies to them have been deleted, along with others on an additional two letters, after I discovered the three, each with a different name, came from a single, non-working email. — Mike Weland

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