“A little more moderation would be good. Of course, my life hasn’t exactly been one of moderation.” – Donald Trump
Earlier this week, Donald Trump made “headlines” by declaring in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network: “I believe in God. I am Christian. I think The Bible is certainly, it is THE Book.” (I used the “scare quotes” around “headlines” because it did get on somebody’s headline, in this case Politico.)
The Donald is plausibly running for president in 2012. I sincerely doubt he’ll be getting my vote. First, I don’t have any clue (and perhaps he doesn’t either) about what his actual governing principles are. As far as I can tell, it’s “winning” (much like Charlie Sheen), but nothing greater or statesman-like, such as “the purpose of the government is to defend life, liberty and property” (that would be Frederic Bastiat’s set of principles). I think the Donald believes that as long as the government is going to do all of these things, meddle in markets, meddle in foreign affairs, meddle in every single thing they can about life – then they ought to do it with an eye towards winning.
Note that none of my intention to vote for or against Donald Trump is related to his religion. I don’t believe you have to be a Christian to be president. I certainly don’t think it’s a bad thing, but Christianity does not make an appearance on my list of useful “single issue litmus tests.” (Not that religion would be totally off-the-table, but simply not being a Christian doesn’t disqualify someone in my book.)
In America though, it seems that you have to be a “Christian” to run for president. There are enough people out there who will not vote for somebody if they are not a Christian. This is a most interesting turn.
Once was the day in this world (and still is in many places), where naming the Name of Christ was a death sentence. Some were beaten, some killed, some tortured, some mocked and ridiculed, some had property seized, some were shunned by everybody they loved in life. It was not seen as a mark of pride, but one of shame; to those outside anyway. The only reason, the only reason, to be a Christian, to call yourself a Christian, was that you actually believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and had made a decision to follow Him in this life (and the next). That’s it. The risks were great, and you wouldn’t dare incur them unless you actually were a follower of Him, and had your eye and your heart fixed on something greater.
Not so in America.
A while back we wrote about Barack Obama’s religion. I don’t believe him to be a Christian, nor do I believe him to be a Muslim – I think he’s a secular humanist. He’s not alone, there are lots of secular humanists in the world. But, to be president, he has to put up some facade of Christendom.
Now we have the Donald saying “I believe in God, I am a Christian, I think the Bible is THE book” – ummm, Donald, we don’t say it like that. We don’t say things like “I believe in God – I’m a Christian.” Simply believing in God is no descriptor of a Christian – “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19). We don’t say things like “I believe the Bible is THE book.” We say it is “THE WORD OF GOD.” We don’t talk about how we store away the Bibles we get from fans.
We don’t say things like “I’m a Protestant, I’m a Presbyterian. And you know I’ve had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion.” Instead we talk about our relationship with God, our relationship with Jesus Christ, our conversion to the faith regardless of our upbringing.
Look, I’m not the gatekeeper here. Nobody is going to get to the end of this life and hear “well, you believed in Me, but others didn’t think you were a Christian, so I’m sorry, you can’t come in.” But we are told that we will know His followers by the fruit in their lives (Matt 7:16). And there’s nothing about Donald Trump, or Barack Obama for that matter, that would lead me to believe they are Christians.
Even in America, Christians at various times face ridicule for their beliefs. This is the mildest possible form of persecution, but still we work to remain true and not shy away from our beliefs. Interesting that American political system has turned this on its head. It is the secularists who now are ashamed of their beliefs (or their disbelief in Christ), and feel an urge to tell the world they’re something they’re not.