Donald Trump and me

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I listened yesterday during morning worship as one of the elders at my church prayed for the United States, and I immediately sat up straight. I expected to hear the name of a candidate – one in particular.

I always listen to these prayers, of course, but most Sundays we pray for other countries – where the church is being persecuted, for example, or countries where we support missionaries – not for my country, the country where I have lived most of my life, the country that I still call home and hope to return to one day.

And it wasn’t one of those low-attendance Sundays, either, when the highlight is seeing everyone at coffee hour and enjoying the warm sunshine outdoors. It was Palm Sunday, and the church was filled. We had just seen a hundred or more children parade through the sanctuary while waving their palm branches and singing “hosanna to the King of kings.”

And then there it was – a prayer for the United States, “as it prepares to elect a new president,” or something like that. No specific candidate was mentioned.

Americans like to think that “the eyes of the world” are always on them, and that isn’t quite true. People who live in other countries are often oblivious to whatever is happening in the United States. But not right now, not with Donald Trump running for president and closing in on his party’s nomination.

I haven’t asked everyone I know for an opinion, but I have heard enough to say that the general mood where I live is “what are you thinking?” The feeling behind those words ranges from bemusement (the usual response to American behavior) to fear. What the country with the most powerful military force in the world does is naturally a matter of concern to others.

I have to admit that I am more fearful than bemused. I am especially concerned that so many evangelical Christians would be able to support a three-times-married reality television star, who has built a large portion of his fortune from casinos, who calls for targeting innocent civilians in war, who has mocked a journalist with disabilities, who has threatened the religious liberty of minority groups in the United States, who has gained the support of white supremacists for his demeaning remarks about African Americans, Mexican immigrants, Muslims, and Syrian refugees.

And then there is his well-documented attitude toward women.

Given all of this – and more – I would have expected a far different response from evangelical Christian voters. But I am wrong. At this time Trump is favored among evangelicals and continues to receive endorsements from prominent leaders in the evangelical world. One of them – Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University – even compared Trump to Jesus and Martin Luther King Jr.

I don’t know what more to write, but I know I cannot be silent. I hope the elder who prayed yesterday continues to pray for my country. I hope that all of our elders are praying. I am praying too.

(Photos: Nothing to do with Donald Trump, I know, but left from the most recent Israel trip and too good not to use.)

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About Doug

I have been a writer ever since fifth grade when I won second prize in a “prose and poetry” contest. I am also a Presbyterian pastor, and for several years toward the end of my career I lived and worked in Zürich, Switzerland. I am now retired and live just north of Holland, Michigan, along the lake.

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9 Responses to Donald Trump and me

  1. gordon schultz March 21, 2016 at 9:17 am #

    It does not increase my understanding for current American politics, I totally agree that our only response can be to pray for the governments of this world – Lord, have mercy!

  2. David Bayer March 21, 2016 at 9:39 am #

    I could not agree more, especially about the evangelicals.

  3. Bill Polkowski March 21, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    Other things to add to the litany of Trump outrages–inciting his supporters to violence and favoring the muzzling of the free press (“the law needs to be changed so that the press may be sued for their inaccuracies”–especially when it comes to their criticisms of Trump). Trump is a textbook example of a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. Among these characteristics is a sense of entitlement and a lack of empathy for others.

    • Kelley April 2, 2016 at 7:29 pm #

      I think it goes beyond narcissism, going into psycopathy. Scary thought that he’s got this far in politics!!

  4. Steve Stimpson March 21, 2016 at 10:10 am #

    This Presidential election had been the most entertaining one of my lifetime. Too bad it is a real life contest for the USA & the world. Trump is indeed non-Presidential, but what is less Presidential, Trump or former President Bill Clinton in the White House with no responsibilities. The scariest thing I can imagine is a three way contest among Senator Cruz as the Republican nominee, Trump as an Independent and Secretary Clinton as the Democrat nominee. Does anyone ‘fail to recall’ Bush-41, Perot, Clinton-42 in the 1992 election? 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22; 25

    • Doug March 22, 2016 at 12:55 am #

      Dear Steve, it’s good to hear from you as always. I cannot agree with your logic that a Clinton presidency would be just as bad as a Trump presidency. You won’t get a defense of Clinton from me. Everyone remembers those eight years. But Trump is of a different order altogether. So, no moral equivalencies here, please. Having recently read a biography about George 41, I long for the days when someone that decent, moral, honest, etc was in the White House. But they’re NEVER as exciting, are they?

  5. Agnes Kenton March 21, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

    Yes, I wonder what any thinking citizen can see the future with the choices before us.

  6. Marion Robbins March 23, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    I remain disgusted as Donald Trump continues to spew his hateful rhetoric while seeking the office of the president of the United States.

    One incident, in particular, was especially disheartening to me. As a court volunteer I am privileged to meet on a monthly basis with disabled adults and their caregivers living within DuPage County. Therefore, I found Trump’s mocking of a disabled reporter to be completely inexcusable. A brief moment, but perhaps a clue to the character of the man.

    Marion Robbins

    • Kelley April 2, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

      He has character???

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