Donald Trump: “Two Corinthians” and your vote

mikereynoldsRecently, the Rome News-Tribune published a column by the Rev. Nelson Price easing the conscience of thoughtful Christians who want to vote for Donald Trump but are offended by his sexual immorality.

“Can you be a Christian and vote for Donald Trump?” Rev. Price’s answer is “yes.” Christian disciples must occasionally make a sinful decision for the possibility of a greater good. In other words, the end justifies the means.

You can certainly walk the Christian path and vote for Trump; but, that is the easy question. The hard question is: If you attempt to follow Jesus, why would you vote for Trump?

A friend and I are both members of a Rome civic club.

He was disturbed by the blatantly partisan endorsement Rev. Price delivered from his journalistic pulpit. My friend asked me to write a response to the good reverend; it was not something I wanted to do.

The level of vulgarity, boorishness, and demagoguery Trump has demonstrated during this presidential campaign frustrates and bores me. At sixty-seven, I do not want to spend precious time writing about Trump; but, a friend had called on me.

On my bookshelf is a double-sided frame holding the Eagle Scout and God and Country awards given to me. For 50 years, they have had a place in each office I occupied over my professional career.

Scouting – and the men who devoted time to our Pack, Troop, and Post at Hawthorne Lane Methodist Church – shaped much of my childhood and youth. More than once over the years, those symbols of a clean heart, community service, competence, and unselfishness guided me in decisions of how and toward what ends I should conduct myself. The example of my troop leaders was present when the road forked.

While considering my response to Rev. Price’s endorsement of Trump, a memory from five decades ago surfaced, illuminating the dilemma of November’s ballot.

“Taps” during summer weeks at Camp Steere, included a long-used, scratchy vinyl record of Perry Como singing “The Lord’s Prayer” broadcast on a public address system. Immediately available for 99 cents on iTunes, Perry was again singing that very recording of The Lord’s Prayer in my kitchen. I was mentally in my old bunk in Cabin 4.

Over the muffled laughter, sounds of the summer night, and final admonitions from the men, who watched over us, making that final bed check, Perry Como’s voice expressed God’s love for all his people and creatures – right beside the Carolina clay-red Catawba River. While falling asleep, I was steeped in the fatherhood of God and His parental vigilance over every soul. Perry Como sang to us of God’s forgiveness and our duty to forgive others.

At a Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, Trump said he has never asked God for forgiveness. He did say he attends a Presbyterian church where he “drinks his little wine and eats his little cracker” and “supposes that is asking for forgiveness.” But as he said, “I really don’t bring God into that.”

So why should a Christian vote for Trump?

There is not any reason for a Christian, as a Christian, to vote for Trump.

In fact, there is a compelling spiritual reason a follower of Jesus should reject Trump as president.

“By their fruits, ye shall know them.” Trump’s fruits are those of all demagogues; he uses the distress of ordinary citizens, who are angry and afraid of a rapidly changing world, to inflame racial hatred and promote violence. His public contempt of those “others” he has no use for makes them less than human, deserving of a punch in the face or neglect. His vision for America is coercion, domination, war, and power for himself.

In his speech, Trump repeatedly incites violence as a solution to political conflict, legitimizes racial resentment, brutally degrades women, and approves of authoritarian (fascist) government. He denies his need for God’s forgiveness boasting of special status allowing him to use human beings for his purposes. Trump will corrode our Republic’s civic institutions, not produce a “greater good” justifying your vote for him.

Trump’s head, heart and hands are incapable of carrying the burden of 240 of this great American experiment in self-government. In this era of economic and social transformation, Trump will evoke the worst characteristics of our citizens by his appeals to our fears and racial resentment.

If you count yourself a follower of Christ, reread the Sermon on the Mount, before you cast a ballot for Donald Trump as president of the United States.

Or, at least, listen to Perry Como, sing “The Lord’s Prayer” when you go to sleep tonight.

Michael Reynolds, a Rome resident retired from Georgia Tech, is a graduate of the School of Theology at Boston University. He writes for the website Move Georgia Forward and may be reached at MoveGeorgiaForward@gmail.com.

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