On Friday, Donald Trump will become America’s 45th President.
Thank God, and praise Jesus.
(At least, that’s what many conservative Christians maintain our response to this outcome should be.)
Prior to the election, numerous right-wing/extremist politicians and preachers predicted the end of the world if Hillary Clinton was elected President. Apparently, if she was our Commander-in-Chief, Gabriel’s Trumpet would sound, and the Conquering Jesus would descend from heaven, mad as a hornet at this national catastrophe.
Clarification: In the Bible, the Sounding of the Trumpet typically implies consequence. Something significant has, or is about to happen, such as the arrival of a royal dignitary. Most often, it has to do with military action—prior to an attack or following a victory.
In Fundamentalist theology of the end times (Eschatology) the trumpet signals the return of Christ, this time as King and Warrior to set up his Kingdom on earth. It is accompanied by the resurrection of all the saints. (cf: 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
There are elaborations that involved the Rapture, multiple trumpets, plagues, the devastation/destruction of the world, the final overthrow of Satan, a second Rapture, the defeat of the Anti-Christ, etc. (cf: Revelation 8) It’s all very complex, confusing and (in my opinion) convoluted. I’m only sharing here for context.
Surprisingly, this bogus narrative of false theology and manufactured fear was effective. We can breathe a sigh of relief; the Biblical cataclysm has been averted...at least in the minds of these Fundamental “Christians.”
We were “spared” Armageddon and Donald Trump is the president.
Thank God, and praise Jesus.
But even though we apparently escaped divinely orchestrated annihilation, I’m still concerned about an apocalyptic upheaval to our country. Unlike those who also claim to be part of my faith, I’m not listening for the Trumpet of Jesus, but I am hearing some unsettling, alarming noises since the election. Because they're connected to Donald Trump, I’m calling them TRUMPet sounds. I fear the intent behind this clamorous caterwauling could prove as devastating...at least for many of us...as the Fundamentalists’ prophesies of Judgment Day.
1. The TRUMPet of shameful religious hypocrisy.
It’s beyond shocking to me that 81% (EIGHTY-ONE!!!) of Fundamentalists/Evangelicals voted for Trump, a man whose life and history is an absolute contradiction of everything Jesus taught.
There was a time when this man—with his opulent, lascivious “lifestyle” and arrogant demeanor—would be the example given in pulpits on Sunday mornings of how NOT to live. His words, his past, his behavior...his character would have been considered “ungodly.” His gambling empire, adultery, multiple marriages, shady business practices, defrauding others, scam operations would have made him a target for intercessory prayer, not the object of their zealous political support. Now, right-wing religious leaders herald him as “God’s anointed” to lead our country back to righteousness and prosperity.
What kind of upside-down, topsy-turvy brand of religiosity is it when bad is not only good, it’s embraced, endorsed and exalted?
With this action, I think Fundamentalists/Evangelicals have abandoned any semblance of the core principles that define our faith, not to mention our Founder, whose example we promised to emulate—love, peace, compassion, grace, mercy and kindness. They sold their soul to the devil to rule the kingdom of earth with power, force and intimidation. (cf: Matthew 4:8.9) Instead of “beating their swords into plowshares” (cf: Isaiah 2:4), they instruct their flock to arm themselves. Along with studies of the Scripture, the training of new “ministers of God” will now include a gun range.
What happened to the Prince of Peace?
Jesus vigorously instructed us to care for those in need. He came for the poor, the oppressed, the downtrodden, the brokenhearted. He told us to look after the widows and orphans. He said Love for others would be the primary evidence of our faith, and our attention to “the least” among us would be the ultimate expression of our faith. None of those qualities are embodied in the person of Donald Trump, or part of his campaign rhetoric! (I might add, they are also absent in the leadership surrounding him.)
2. The TRUMPet of relentless pontifications from an unstable demagogue.
Those who voted against a made-up email scandal are now witnessing the ruthless antics of a man who uses social media to attack anyone who criticizes him—political allies, businesses, colleagues and celebrities. (How can we trust this man with the serious problems of our country when he seems obsessed with what Alec Baldwin or Meryl Strep said about him?)
He brags in political superlatives and hyperbole—everything he will do is great, or excellent or the best or "bigly"—but offers no specifics. Nonetheless, he insists: “believe me.”
He attacks the media, going so far as not taking questions from outlets who have been disparaging of him. (If you don’t know how dangerous that is, I encourage you to study history and rise of dictator. Or watch this video.)
He lies persistently and openly, never admitting when what he says is shown to be wrong. Even when his lies are easy to verify, he won't back down. He...or his spokespeople...will interpret, explain or deny it happen.
He’s thin-skinned, easily offended and gets his feelings hurt easily, but shows no sense of concern about hurting others.
This man is dangerous!!
3. The TRUMPet of emboldened hatred.
Donald Trump ran a campaign of marginalization, with bullying, ridicule, racism, bigotry, sexism, misogyny and xenophobia to motivate his followers. Since his election, we are seeing an increase in hate crimes. Everything from vandalizing a synagogue to painting a swastika on the sign at a Jewish college to verbal attacks by those who see his election as their mandate to openly express their bigotry. A woman at a craft store launches into a racist attack on two cashiers, and yelling about her superiority because Trump is now president. One man burst into an inclusively church office and unleashed a tirade of anti-LGBTQ hatred. He said he felt he’d been given permission by the election of Trump. Anti-LGBTQ activists see his election as their battle cry to roll back the advances of equality and resume their policies of intimidation and exclusion. The platform of the Republican Party (and the new Vice President) supports "ex-gay" programs that promise to change sexual orientation.
He issued a call to Make America Great Again, but he’s engendered a climate of Allow Americans to Openly Hate.
4. The TRUMPet of “pro-life” duplicity.
Trump pandered to those who oppose abortion, promising to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. But as is so often the case, the idea of pro life seems limited solely to the unborn. Trump and his administration have already begun an assault on the most vulnerable of our country by seeking to take away healthcare, de-fund programs for women and cut funding for social services.
People will die without these protections. (I would have been unable to continue my cancer treatments if not for the healthcare policy I purchased through the ACA, aka "Obamacare.")
I could go on and on; my original list included numerous additional TRUMPet sounds that disturb and frighten me.
We should not be complacent.
We must not be silent in the midst of the tumult of this chaotic cacophony.
Years ago, in the TV series Melrose Place, the residents of the apartment complex (the primary setting for the show) learn an unbalanced woman is planning something horrible. In the climactic scene, she assures them “It's not what it looks like.” Then she pressed the detonator. “It’s worse,” she proclaims as bombs destroy the building.
Some who voted for Trump have insisted to me that he doesn’t really believe the outrageous stuff he says. It was just to get the votes, or media attention.
Some contend he’s “not that bad.”
Some say they voted for him because he was “the lesser of two evils.”
I’ve had discussion with those who accuse me of being an alarmist.
To these folks, allow me to make my own prediction: from the “trumpet” sounds I’m hearing, it’s worse!