“I usually get angry when members of my tribe worship at the feet of Trump. This time, I just felt sad.”
– John Fea, history professor at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, PA, describing his reaction to a Donald Trump rally at King Jesus International Ministry in Miami.
In his editorial, Fea went on to write: “I am used to this kind of thing from Trump, but I was stunned when I witnessed evangelical Christians – those who identify with the “good news” of Jesus Christ – raising their hands in a posture of worship as Trump talked about socialism and gun rights. I watched my fellow evangelicals rising to their feet and pumping their fists when Trump said he would win reelection in 2020. Trump spent the evening mocking his enemies, trafficking in half-truths in order to instill fear in people whom God commands to “fear not,” and proving that he is incapable of expressing anything close to Christian humility.”
“You know what? Trump is a test whether you’re even saved. Only saved people can love Trump.”
– TV evangelist Jim Bakker, the “Jim Bakker Show”
Bakker’s comment actually elicited a few laughs from the show’s studio audience. Donald Trump – who has ingratiated himself with far-right Christians and somehow found Jesus squatting in the basement of his Manhattan skyscraper – once declared that he’d never asked God for forgiveness. And, when you have that much money, who needs God?!
Those of us in the U.S. of a “Certain Age” vividly recall the Jim Bakker of the 1980s; the self-proclaimed preacher who, along with his perky makeup-clad wife, Tammy Fay, spent more time promoting his godly hotline seeking donations than actually preaching the word of God – whatever that’s supposed to mean. His and other evangelical scandals of the period were the worst of daytime dramas (the fluff formerly known as “soap operas”), but provided delicious fodder for the tabloid press and comedians.
“President Trump, if you look at what he’s done, he believes the word of God and he’s living according to that. President Trump was willing to live his faith unlike any other leader I have ever seen in history.”
– Religious-right activist Laurie Cardoza-Moore, founder of the Christian Zionist group Proclaiming Justice to the Nations
Let’s look at what we have with Trump: a two-time divorcee now married to his third wife, a former teenage model from Eastern Europe with dubious immigration credentials; had trysts with an adult film “actress” and a nude model; supported by White supremacist groups; unpaid business debts; no confirmation of paid taxes. That’s all on top of his narcissistic, quasi-psychopathic behavior and verbiage, which is often a matter of perception to we level-headed personas. If Trump qualifies as “Godly”, then atheism might be the only viable option.
“We want to be clear that, while we love our congregation, we believe that the United Methodist policies on LGBTQ+ clergy and same-sex marriage are immoral. Depending on how this church responds to the general conference action, we will decide at a later time whether or not to become officially confirmed. But until then, we will continue to stand up against the unjust actions that the denomination is taking. We are not standing just for ourselves, we are standing for every single member of the LGBTQ+ community who is hurting right now. Because we were raised in this church, we believe that if we all stand together as a whole, we can make a difference.”
– An entire confirmation class at First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Nebraska, in a letter announcing to their congregation that they have decided not to become members due to the church’s stance on LGBTQ issues.
The National UMC has preliminarily decided to split into two distinct factions: one that will uphold traditional values, and another that will allow LGBT clergy and members and will perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental American value, but it’s not a license to discriminate. Elected officials shouldn’t be allowed to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to pick and choose which taxpayers they would serve. If a government official can’t treat everyone equally under the law, then it’s time for them to find another line of work.”
– Dan Quinn, spokesman for the Texas Freedom Network, on the public warning Texas’ State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued to Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley for violating ethical standards by failing to treat LGBTQ people fairly in her courtroom.
“I confess that when I hear some speeches by someone responsible for public order or a government, I am reminded of Hitler’s speeches in 1934 and 1936. They are typical actions of Nazism which with its persecutions of Jews, gypsies, people of homosexual orientation, represent a negative model ‘par excellence’ of a throwaway culture and a culture of hate. That’s what they did then and today these things are resurfacing.
– Pope Francis, expressing concern about modern language he’s heard targeting Jews and the LGBTQ community.