What are we to make of President Trump?
If President Trump’s 2016 campaign was any indication, it was that we were in store for a wacky and wild first year in office. He did not disappoint. He started the year with a fiery inauguration speech and promised that “the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.” Since then, Trump has been intensely outspoken especially on social media. He’s used it as a tool to communicate his uncensored version of the truth, often calling out specific individuals for ridicule and shame. His original promise of taking a step back from Twitter after he’s sworn in seems to have been laid aside.
His tweets are often hilarious, but his opponents certainly don’t think so. Case-in-point: when Trump re-tweeted an edited GIF of him beating up a wrestler on WWE with the CNN logo photo-shopped on his opponent’s head. The public outcry was enormous. Whether you think it was funny or not, what is clear is we are dealing with a president unlike any other in history. The political landscape is changed forever. 2017 ushered in a new era.
The new political landscape is also more divided than ever. You have less people willing to engage in meaningful dialogue. Instead, it’s a contest of cutting remarks – who can-outwit the other side with the most biting insult. Lines have been drawn – you’re either on this side or the other. There is no room for compromise.
As Christians, we need to be better than that. Some of us fall into the “Trump can do no wrong” camp. His every action is defended, and any criticism of Trump is seen as a personal attack. What’s true is the president has been busted several times for either outright lies or severe exaggerations. For example, Trump said “we have the highest taxes in the world, and we will bring them down to the lowest.” At the time, America was actually somewhere in the middle. As Christians, we are committed to what’s true. We are not to compromise what’s true to score political points. What’s also true is Trump fails the character test – he’s on his third wife, is about as far away from humble as you can be, and has openly bragged about how easy it is to grope women when you are rich and powerful. That’s not someone who is going to be the bastion for what’s right and true. We need to recognize he can and will mess up.
On the other hand, there’s some of us that see President Trump who does nothing but wrong. This is fallacious thinking that is largely influenced by – let’s face it – a largely left-leaning mass media. There’s no such thing as a president who has done nothing but wrong. We ought to be of the persuasion that Trump should be criticized for doing what is wrong, and praised for doing what is right. For example, Trump has done more for Christians than any other president since Reagan: he’s intervened on behalf of persecuted Christians in the middle East, added a Christian to the supreme court, signed the “Religious Liberty Decree” giving Christians greater freedom of speech, and has fought on behalf of Israel against increasing anti-Israeli sentiment in Europe – something Christians should be very happy about. The Old Testament is very clear on this issue – if you are against Israel you are in for a bad time. Recent history also testifies to this.
The point is this: support him politically or not, we shouldn’t fall prey to false thinking. “Fake News” abounds on both sides of the political spectrum. Use your noggin.
In a cultural climate that demands we take a strong stance politically, it’s also important to remember this: our cause is not a political one. It’s a spiritual one. We are disciples of the truth of God’s Word. We reach out to Republicans and Democrats alike. When people get to know you, what do they see? A crusader for a certain brand of politics or a disciple of Christ? Our attitude should be that of the Apostle Paul’s when he writes in 1 Corinthians 2:2:
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.