People frequently ask me how, as a committed, Bible-believing Christian, I can support President Trump. This often comes from my liberal Democrat friends — who have suddenly located a puritanical moral streak for this president after misplacing it for others — and who are just looking for a “gotcha!”
But sometimes it comes from conservative Christian friends. One whom I respect, recently asked this: Considering my Christian faith and mission commitment to Haiti, how can I reconcile supporting Trump and what he (allegedly) said about Haiti?
So I’ve decided it’s time to simply explain to the world exactly how it reconciles for me. It’s not easy or comfortable. I wish it wasn’t necessary. But it is.
The answer has three components. At the end, I’ll turn the question on my friends.
1) The place of the presidency in the lives of Americans
This is not a question of tastes, or manners, or language or general comportment. It’s a matter of proper expectations of the person and office.
Americans for too long have placed the president on far too high a pedestal. Many talk of the president as a father figure, as a moral leader, as the national emoter in times of tragedy (which is why they all visit areas after national catastrophes, because it is important for Americans to see the president caring), making the person into a form of our national identity. This is a wrong view, dangerously wrong, and not the one intended by the framers who envisioned the president as much more of an executive of laws, and not approaching kingly status. They were rightly wary of a powerful presidency.
The president is the chief executive and is meant to “execute” the laws of the land faithfully, make temporary appointments to help in doing so, set and carry out foreign policy and to be the commander in chief in times of war. That’s about it.
As a Christian, my hope and trust is in the Lord, not a man. All people of faith should understand clearly that the president is not our pastor, not our priest, not our rabbi, not our imam — in no way meant to be our moral guide. He or she is the chief executive.
The function of the presidency over the centuries has changed dramatically. Some was maybe inevitable with the culture of modernity. But the rest we as Americans have mistakenly placed on the president to our national detriment.
So if you take this view, as I do, then the primary yardstick by which to judge the president is his policy and appointments. On executive branch appointments, President Trump is a bit of a mixed bag. On judicial appointments, he has been outstanding. On policy, he’s been an almost shockingly rock-ribbed conservative like I would have hoped for from a Sen. Ted Cruz presidency. (I supported Cruz and voted for him in the primary, but quickly switched to Trump in the general because…Hillary.)
So there really isn’t that much to “reconcile” because the president just is not that relevant to my personal life (and shouldn’t be) and therefore his personality and demeanor are not that relevant — particularly when on the foreign stage his conduct has been much better and, again, his policies good. Obviously this is not the way the media sees it, but I do, because the president’s policies will affect me and my children much, much more than a boorish manner. If I knew him personally as a Christian friend, I’d open up Scripture and talk about what God says on personal comportment and much more. But I don’t know him personally. And he doesn’t know me.
I’ve said over and over and over to my anti-Trump friends that I do not like his language or manner. But I do like his policies and appointments so much more than I expected, that I would vote for him over Hillary with even more ease now than I did. And I’m not alone. I know of some conservatives who did not vote for him in 2016 but are open to it in 2020 simply because of his policies and judicial appointments. I think those are the right measuring sticks.
2) Vulgarities and Haiti
Regarding the statement itself, I don’t use vulgarities or approve of them. As Christians, I don’t believe we’re supposed to. But in case it is not already clear, our culture is becoming more vulgar by the day and many of the people aghast at Trump’s language contribute to the basening of culture. (I.e., the pink “pussy” hat march in Washington after his inauguration or supporting a known sexual predator such as Bill Clinton.) So as far as the vulgarities, he’s not much different from most of our presidents. (See below.)
In the alleged but totally believable statement at point, I hear Trump, in his frequently careless fashion, summing up this thought: Why do we have to take unending numbers of people who are without skills or education and drive down American wages? By their very actions, these people are obviously saying they are desperate to get out of their countries, which means their countries kind of stink. Why do Americans have to suffer from increased crime and expense due to this?
Of course, Trump does it in his own verbiage. I’ve been to Haiti about 20 times and love those people and have sacrificed for them. Many are incredibly hard-working and they are some of the bravest, most faithful Christians I’ve ever met, in some terrible conditions.
But having been all over it, I can say that is one of the worst countries on earth. Ceaseless political and governmental corruption and land pillaging, persecution of Christians in many areas, and near anarchy outside a few cities. Living standards are literally Medieval. Everything is done through bribes or threats. It is a barely functioning civilization. That’s just the tragic truth of the matter.
So alleged vulgarity aside, his statement is accurate from my perspective — which has a lot of personal experience behind it, far more than those now yammering about what Trump really meant. Should we allow Haitians to immigrate? Yes, in limited numbers. If they come legally and — this really needs to apply and has not — they accept the American ideals laid out in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. This should be mandatory on all immigrants. And we should realize we cannot take all the poor of the world, or there will no longer be a shining city on a hill. That light will have gone out.
Let’s remember further that Haitians hardly thrived during the Obama or Bush or Clinton years. In fact, under Obama, it appears the Clintons coldly and despitefully enriched themselves at the expense of Haitians through the now-discredited Clinton Foundation. Considering the suffering there and the wealth of the Clintons, this is geometrically more despicable than Trump’s alleged gutter language.
3) The failed role of media in context
A final point on this is worth making. If the media had hyper-focused on past presidents’ personal peccadillos like they do Trump’s (and granted, Trump is of a very different mold, but also living in a different time) we would not be all aghast at much of this. Let’s just take some recent presidents.
We now know — or at least it is public information, not sure how many really know it — that beloved John F. Kennedy had a stream of drugs, prostitutes and young women in and out of the White House. One time would be bad enough. But this was regular. Wildly scandalous, but the media actively covered for him and created this Camelot fiction. Even recently, such media outlets as Esquire make light of and understand JFK and his voracious lust for “poontang.”
Lyndon Baines Johnson said to two governors on Air Force One regarding Great Society welfare giveaways: “I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”
Johnson was well known to have a foul mouth and deep racism. But he also apparently enjoyed displaying his manhood to others in the men’s room, commenting on its size and naming it “Jumbo.”
With Nixon there was a lot to know, much of which came much later, including a foul mouth that shocked Billy Graham when he heard him on tapes.
Imagine if a sexual predator such as Clinton — who also has a foul mouth — had been covered (instead of covered for) like Trump is covered. And apparently the F-bomb amongst other foul language comes pretty easily to Obama. Obama’s official Twitter account even posted one. But the media chuckled it off as nothing.
Lastly, Robert F. Kennedy was not president, but almost assuredly would have been. In 1961 as U.S. Attorney General, he said: “I did not lie awake at night worrying about the problems of Negroes.” Kennedy later authorized wiretapping the phones and bugging the hotel rooms of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
If Americans were already aware of JFK’s drugs and prostitutes, LBJ’s “n*ggers”, racism and penis infatuation, the real level of Clinton’s sexual predations (and not just as some partisan attacks, as they were reported to be) and Obama’s vulgarities, Trump’s statement about “sh*t house” countries would not be shocking or hugely newsworthy.
None of this is to approve of profane language and certainly not sexual predation. It is to provide context. The media denied Americans’ context over decades, then lasered in on Trump as though his vulgarities are astonishingly out of the norm. What Trump is not doing is cavorting with prostitutes and interns in the White House, he’s not an overt racist. And his potty mouth is pretty much in line with a lot of recent presidents.
So now I’d like to ask my conservative Christian friends
Knowing that Trump is appointing originalist judges ruling much better on law (and maybe overturning the morally and judicially horrific Roe v. Wade) and that his policies are quite orthodox conservative from tax reform to regulatory reductions to, amazingly, actually keeping his promise on Jerusalem unlike Obama, George W. Bush and Clinton, and seeing how much better off average Americans are by every index, why do you still oppose him?
Is it all about his manner? Would you really rather have Hillary Clinton, who as a person seems measurably worse and far more corrupt than Trump?
I understand discomfort with his verbiage and the way he comports himself. Same here. It can be really distasteful to me. But how is that possibly more important than what he is actually doing for the country — which, frankly, has been really good.
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.
Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.
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