We may be given a gift from the Lord in the presidential race here.
—Joe Biden, January 28, 2016
or a while, I admit it, he had me fooled. I thought he was just a vulgar rich guy with a big mouth and and even bigger ego who wanted to be the CEO of America. But nope. He’s more than that. He’s God.
Come on, I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. God, in an attempt to save the world, once allegedly hid himself in the body of a Jewish builder in a Galilean village who hung out with hookers, right? Is it so hard to believe that he would hide himself today in the body of a Presbyterian builder from Queens who has owned casinos with strip clubs and been married three times? Huh? Think about it. It would be the perfect disguise these days, especially if your message is that you are the savior with superhuman powers to set the world right—but you require an enormous amount of faith to believe the otherwise unbelievable.
Consider this famous scripture from Hebrews:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
That pretty much describes the miraculous power that props up the Trump campaign. His central message is embarrassingly non-specific: “I will do all of these great things, if you will only trust me. Just believe in me and you will see.”
Or consider that in The Art of the Deal, Trump said, “Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition.” During this campaign he has spent a lot of time doing that, especially the candidates on his own side. But guess who else was good at denigrating his competition, including those ostensibly on his own side? Yep. Jesus didn’t have much good to say about his competition either, calling his fellow Pharisees “whitewashed tombs” who were “full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Then he topped it off with this: “You snakes! You brood of vipers!” The art of the deal, indeed. All that is missing from that New Testament scene are the American flags behind the podiums on the Republican debate stage.
Or think about that time when God said to his followers in the book of Exodus: “I am making a covenant [deal!] with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.” Doesn’t that sound like Donald Trump to you? Come on, admit it.
What about the time when Trump said he didn’t bother with asking forgiveness from God? Of course not! God doesn’t have to forgive himself, does he?
How about when Trump once wrote: “When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can.” Have you ever read the Old Testament? God did that kind of stuff all the time. Just ask the unfortunate Midianites from the book of Numbers. God commanded Moses to slaughter them all, enslaving only the young virgin girls, all for the supposed sin of enticing “the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord.” Sounds like a Trumpian response to me. And don’t even get me started on the Book of Revelation, where most of the folks will die horrific deaths and end up in hell in eternal torment. Donald Trump’s denigration and exclusion of Mexicans and Muslims from America fits right in with the biblical idea that most people aren’t welcome in Heaven.
And then there is the idea that I encounter when I talk to hard-core believers in God. I bring up things like the slaughter of the Midianites, and other atrocities committed either by God or with his permission, as recorded in the Bible. Or I’ll bring up God’s creation of hell, with its unquenchable fire and unending torture. The faithful almost always say something like this: “Who are you to question the ways of God? He must have had his reasons for doing those things because he is, well, God.” That response is what I thought of when I heard Donald Trump say the following recently:
They say I have the most loyal people — did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters. It’s like incredible.
It is incredible—for a normal human being. But apparently not for God. Because no matter what the God of the Bible does, he never seems to lose any voters. He can slaughter thousands of innocents, commit unspeakable atrocities, create an everlasting pit of torment for most of the people who have ever lived, and his poll and pew numbers stay strong. So, is it beyond possibility that he has incarnated himself into a Republican who says horrible things about other people and thinks he could murder someone in the middle of the street and not “lose any voters”?
You tell me.