I Know of a Man

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I know of a man who is amazingly in love with himself.  I’m not talking about self-confidence.  I’m talking about hubris.  He believes that everything he touches is the greatest, the biggest, and the best.  He has openly stated that he is so smart that he doesn’t need any guidance from anyone else.  He stamps his name in gold on everything he owns.  He makes the people who work for him kowtow to him, praise him, and swear allegiance to him.  He has asked in public, “Why do I have to repent, why do I have to ask for forgiveness if [I’m] not making mistakes,” “When I drink my little wine and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness,” and “I fully think apologizing is a great thing.  But you have to be wrong…I will absolutely apologize sometime in the hopefully distant future if I’m ever wrong.” (Please know ahead of time that I am not using a single word that others have said about him – I use only his words that are easily verifiable online)  My dad used to say, “I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.”  He said it in jest.  In listening to this man say these things you won’t hear any hint that he may have meant it ironically.  I wonder if he has ever read:

1. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before me.”

2. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them…”

I’m going to tell you right now that I swear…way more than I should.  I’m also going to tell you that I don’t use God’s name in my swearing.  So far, this is what this man and I seem to have in common.  His swearing is public and aimed at people he doesn’t like and what he will do to hurt them.  Hey, maybe not so bad since he drops the F-bomb constantly but doesn’t use God’s name in doing so?

3 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

This man remembers not to work on the Sabbath.  Can’t really fault him there.  Although he claims to be a Christian, however, he doesn’t seem to dedicate the day to the Lord.  He is not in a church service.  He is not gathering with other Christians or spending the day in prayer.  Maybe he is praying in God’s creation, nature.  After all, he spends not only Sunday but the whole weekend at the golf course.  If the weather doesn’t suit where he is, he’ll hop in a plane to get somewhere with temperatures and conditions much more suitable.  

4. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”

No news is good news.  This man rarely talks about his parents other that to mention a business loan and that he “stood up to his father.”  After reading about his father, perhaps his behavior is a way of honoring the elder.

5. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

I don’t believe this man has ever killed or even been directly responsible for someone’s death.  I do know, however, that some of his own words show me that he wouldn’t necessarily be above doing it.  He is certainly willing to harm people.  Here are a few quotes to show you what I mean.  He has said, “When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it.  I always get even.”  Then there is the famous quote from him, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose” any supporters.  He encouraged his people in rallies to beat up people who disagreed with him. 

6. “You shall not murder.”

This man has been married three times – a beautiful, younger woman each time.  And he is on record saying that he sleeps with many women because he is rich and he can.  The Bible says that adultery isn’t just limited to actually having sex.  It also includes lusting after women.  He has also bragged about grabbing women in a sexual manner who are not only not his wife, but they are women he meets in business and social occasions with whom he doesn’t have a relationship.  He boasted that he used his power and position to be able to entertain himself by looking at naked women from around the world in various stages of undress.  We’re not talking about strippers or prostitutes who agreed to be stared at, but women who were merely changing their clothes in a room where they should have been safe.

7. “You shall not commit adultery.”

Now, you would think that a man this rich would certainly have no problem buying whatever he needs.  He certainly wouldn’t have to steal anything.  He especially wouldn’t ever need to steal from those with less means than him.  However, that is not true.  Greed is a powerful thing.  When someone always want more and thinks that he deserves everything and anything that strikes his fancy, he doesn’t see any reason to obtain it fairly and honestly.  This man has repeatedly hired people to do work and then not paid them for their work.  (Notice I didn’t say that he failed to pay them a fair wage.  I said, he refused to pay them for work they finished.)  He waited until they were forced to sue him for what was due knowing that they couldn’t afford the high-powered legal assistance he could.  [NOTE:  I had a friend who had this kind of thing happen to him. It took a small but successful company that had been in his family for three generations and put it out of business.  When a small business is doing a large job, they absolutely rely on being paid promptly in order to pay their employees and their suppliers. The theft goes well beyond stealing services for the work done.]

This man has also resorted to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections six times to avoid paying for things.  He profited by utilizing these rules to erase all debts for companies that were mishandled.  He himself had billions of dollars, but used the laws to his advantage to get out of paying his debts.

8. “You shall not steal.”

Lying.  Everyone tells little white lies now and then. But we’re talking whoppers here.  This man tells lies in the face of physical evidence proving him wrong.  He will answer a question one way today and with a completely different answer tomorrow.  He has to be lying one of those times.  If he says “I did” something today and tomorrow says, “I didn’t” and on the third day says I never said that, what are you supposed to believe?  I’m not talking about things that a person perceives differently from someone else.  I’m talking about facts, statements recorded on video, that are there for all to see.

9. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

Some of the lies he told or accusations he has made are directed at his predecessor.  He spent years trying to discredit the man so that he could have the other man’s job.  Some of the lies are meant to make himself look like he has the focus, determination, and vision to carry out the job as well as others have.  He raged on and on about how the other man spent time golfing and traveling which he would never do if he had that job.  That lie has been proven in pure logistics, photographs, dollars and sense.  Some of the lies are meant to make him look like he has more intelligence.  This all amounts to coveting the job and life that another person has.

10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.  You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Obviously, you will have recognized the current resident of the oval office in this.  I could go on to other common commandments and beliefs of Christians like “love your neighbor as yourself,” (Matt. 22:38 and Galatians 5:14) “whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” (Matt 25:40) “do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2).  I could quote but instead ask you to read Lev. 19:33-34, Lev. 19:9-10, Deut. 10:18-19, Ezekiel 16:49, Luke 10:29-37 for words on refugees and the needy.

I have read Donald Trump’s words about God and faith.  I have watched him answer questions about the topic.  One video in particular stunned me when Trump was asked basically the same question that Peter was asked in Luke 9.  “Who do you say that Jesus is?”  He stumbled around and gave a long review of the sermons of Norman Vincent Peale.  Eventually the interviewer (Cal Thomas) repeated the question.  Go on line and listen to his answer  (http://www.gq.com/story/donald-trump-sure-is-bad-at-pretending-he-loves-jesus).  He certainly doesn’t answer it in the manner which all church people have been taught much less in a manner of someone who believes in and loves Jesus. 

I am not here to question his heart, his soul, and his thoughts.  I am looking only at his words and actions that I can see and hear.  Whatever he believes is between him and God.  Having said that, however, as a voter talking about a politician and government leader who wants our support, I have to make decisions about his honesty, his sincerity, his character.  I could vote for someone who was not a professed Christian if I thought the candidate had sound reasoning, had the best interests of our country in mind, had the best interest of all Americans regardless of faith, economic standing, political party, and other factors in mind, and was of good character. 

I don’t vote based on any one issue.  For example, there have been really good leaders with whom I have differed on education (an issue near and dear to me), and there have been some who had a great stance on education who would never see my vote.  I have to look at the entire spectrum.  We elect human beings.  No matter for what job, position, or leadership role we are casting our ballot, we will end up with a flawed human being.  I just want to look for one who is honest, caring, smart, willing to learn, compassionate, and capable of focusing on the broad picture. 

I have been distressed by this man since the first time I heard him speak and even more distressed since November.  People say, “Get over it.  The election is over.”  Where were those people for the last eight years as Trump questioned very loudly, continuously, contentiously and publicly whether President Obama had been born in the U.S. and had the right to hold the office?  Proof meant nothing. I understand that legally, he won the election.  I don’t have to like it.  That’s what happens in elections.  Someone wins, and someone loses.  I’m not bemoaning who lost the election.  We had two extremely flawed candidates, and I didn’t like either one.

Here is what I am questioning.  He was and continues to be so staunchly supported by Christians in the Evangelical community even when his actions are so counter to Christian beliefs.  Given what we know of this man, why?  How can you justify supporting him then and continuing to support him?  How can you see him as one of us?   His supporters stand by and justify what he does.  However, I heard him asked a question in an interview in which he showed that he doesn’t have the same loyalty to them.  When asked if he understood that many of his policies would hurt the very people he voted for, he had an unusual response for him.  It was only a one word answer.  “Yes.”

I read a post on Facebook earlier today.  It was only one of several written by a distraught mothers who have a child born with multiple physical needs.  The child is not ambulatory, cannot speak, cannot do anything for himself and risks losing support if the current health care changes go through.  The current proposals go absolutely counter what Trump promised in his campaign when he swore Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security would not be touched.  She was writing an open letter to Vice-President Pence who had a post on Twitter earlier about returning to a health care system based on “personal responsibility” among other things.  He called the cuts to Medicaid, a program which supports disabled children, the “American way.”  In her response was a paragraph that said, “Mr. Pence, I know a lot of people who really like you, especially where I live. They voted for and tolerate that moron who picked you as his running mate, but you are the one they think is going to turn this country around, and make it “great” again. Why? Because you’re a Christian, and are pro-life. You claim to have Christian values and are going to bring God back into our country. Ok, great. I’m a Christian too. And I love Jesus. But like Ghandi, I don’t really like a lot of Christians these days, because they are so unlike my Christ. And honestly, I’m sticking you in that category too. There is absolutely nothing Christ-like or pro-life about gutting Medicaid and making the sick and the poor suffer while the rich get richer. Your brand of Christianity is the prosperity gospel- work hard enough, and be the right kind of person, and you will be rewarded. Real life, REALITY, doesn’t work like that. Good, hard working people get sick all the time and need expensive care, care that is often the reason they are poor. You think Jesus would agree that the value of Grayson’s, or anyone’s life, has a monetary limit?”

Have some in the Christian community become so focused on being anti-abortion that they have forgotten about taking care of the lives of our families and neighbors here?  Have they come to hate people of other faiths so much that they are willing to ignore the lesson of the prodigal son parable and the Great Commission?  What is it that allows them to adamantly support someone who is living a life so contrary to biblical teachings? To do so seems to say, I know what is right but I don’t care.

I am a Christian and attend an evangelical church regularly.  I have never heard this church talk about politics or push any one political agenda.  For this, I am grateful.  I hate to paint all Christians with the same brush.  But when I see some of the things that people say in the name of Christ, I am horrified.  I feel much the same way I assume many Muslims feel when they hear the rhetoric and witness the actions of ISIS, like opposing sides in Ireland did in what was labeled a religious war between Catholics and Protestants but had nothing to do with Christ, what many Christians may have felt in the Crusades, and what all Christians should feel when they hear the KKK claim to be a Christian organization.  There have been way too many atrocities throughout history that have been committed in the name of God.  I’ve read the Bible enough to know that it never preaches hate.  It never tells us to harm our fellow man.  In Matthew 22 verses 36-40, Jesus was asked, “which is the greatest commandment?”  His reply was/is “Love the Lord your God with all your hear and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  It also appears in Mark 12:28-31.  This second commandment was reiterated in Luke 10 and John 13 and appear in the red letters (and we all know what that means).  It doesn’t say “love your neighbor if he sins the same way you do.”  It doesn’t say “love your neighbor who has the same skin tone as you.”  It doesn’t say “love your neighbor who has enough money and prestige to be of use to you.”  Any other message than that contained in the words of Jesus is the result of humans bastardizing the gospel!

I want to know.  Seriously, I want to know how someone can justify holding this man up as an example and being afraid to disagree with him just because you voted for him.  The only answers I ever get don’t tell me why they think he is worthy.  They tell me what was wrong with Hilary.  There were others in the Republican race that certainly stood with more character than Trump.  We had other choices before that point, but he became the nominee.  Besides, telling me how bad she is doesn’t answer my question about how people steadfastly stand behind him.  It doesn’t tell me what you see about him that deserves your respect.  (And don’t start with honesty, because, as I said before, he contradicts himself enough to know that he isn’t honest.)  I am truly frightened when I see what he is capable of doing when he isn’t worshipped and adored without question, when he is acting in retaliation, and when he is looking only at how the rich can get richer.  I firmly believe that, before the end of four years, he and those who have created the current health care proposals under consideration could have blood on their hands. 

To watch the interview where Donald Trump says some of the things I quoted watch and listen to him at the Family Leadership Summit in 2015, by going to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3l0e6nS9oI   Notice the message under the video that tells you to read 2 Timothy 3.

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