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Trump and Christianity

Guest Commentary · Jan. 3, 2020

By Caleb Backholm

How is that being elected president is now also a stand-in for “Christian of the Year” award?

As I listen to some of my well-meaning Christian friends, plus some of the very hypocritical left, that seems to be the sudden consensus. Donald Trump isn’t just president; he should also be the best example of American Christianity we can find, and from his Oval Office we will now evangelize the world.

Only he’s not. So we need to remove him and replace him with … uh … Jesus, maybe?

This standard is impossibly high. Trump is not the best Christian ever. (That would be me, obviously, largely due to my amazing Christ-like humility.) So since I have occupied the “Christian of the Year” category from birth, and intend to keep it for the next several election cycles, at least, we can hardly hold that against the president.

What, then, is a legitimate gripe for a well-meaning Christian to support impeachment or oppose reelection?

That is the question, and the answer is too often met with silence or vague innuendos. When you can get an answer, there are two that are currently popular — Ukraine and immigration. In these areas, Trump does not behave like a good Christian should.

A Christianity Today article called Trump’s words with the Ukrainian president “profoundly immoral.” I profoundly disagree and am convinced that only someone who was already overcome with personal dislike for the president, or ignorant of the facts, could come to that conclusion.

By all appearances, Joe Biden was running a money-laundering scheme through a Ukrainian oil company. He was in charge of handing out U.S. foreign aid to Ukraine to help it reduce its dependence on Russian oil. Instead, millions of dollars went to an oil company, Burisma, and then right into the bank accounts of Hunter Biden and his friends, for zero services rendered. That may or may not be illegal, but it’s certainly a scam of American taxpayers. And far too common.

Remember Solyndra? The Obama administration handed out millions of taxpayer dollars to political donors so they could start a “green energy” company. They took the money, started the business, paid themselves handsomely, and then declared bankruptcy and closed up shop. No, they sadly weren’t able to save the planet, but getting rich at taxpayer expense isn’t a bad consolation prize.

This is why Washington, DC, is recession proof. Government spending greases the wheels of the connected. Not illegal. But pretty scummy Swamp behavior.

Lots of politicians don’t want a magnifying glass coming down on this practice. Trump is doing that, and that’s reason to impeach. How about that?

Maybe Nancy Pelosi was partly telling the truth when she said this wasn’t a political issue. Darn right! This is about the gravy train she and so many have been living on and ensuring doesn’t get derailed.

So what about Trump’s Ukraine conversation was so awful? Nothing. In fact, I hope he keeps pointing out corruption. Drain the Swamp.

But immigration still looms as an issue.

Jesus loves immigrants, but Trump hates immigrants, right? (Although I’m pretty sure he liked at least one immigrant. He married her.) But the rest of them he puts in cages, or puts their kids in cages, or makes them build walls, or something like that. Again, the accusations are always pretty vague, but they sound pretty bad.

So let’s put some meat on those bones.

It was under President Barack Obama that the policy of detaining illegal immigrants and then separating them from their young children began. Obama wasn’t being a monster; this is the normal legal approach when adults are arrested — their children don’t go to jail with them. They stay elsewhere.

Did you hear any outrage from Christians about how awful Obama was for this policy? I did not, and neither did you. There wasn’t any.

But now all of a sudden Trump is giving the church a black eye for doing the same thing? Never mind that he has greatly reduced the amount of time that children are kept apart from their parents. “Children in cages” is still thrown around like a Molotov cocktail, with zero context provided.

The greatest annoyance to me is how fixable this problem is. Here’s the fix: When people are caught crossing the border illegally, you send them back the same day. Easy and obvious. But that’s illegal right now. They have to be entered into the American legal system, and it can take months or even years before they are deported.

That is by design. The Republicans could have fixed this two years ago but didn’t. The Democrats could fix this now but won’t. They prefer the current system. Option one: Release the illegals into the country and basically eliminate U.S. borders. Option two: Put them in jail/detention and then cry about “kids in cages” or “separated immigrant families” and blame Trump for a problem he did not create and doesn’t have the power to fix without Congress.

It’s highly unjust, and if someone slandered you the way President Trump has been slandered in this whole immigration affair, you’d have the right to be quite upset.

And let’s not forget the issue of human trafficking. A significant minority of these kids being separated from their “parents” aren’t with their parents at all. They’re with human-trafficking scumbags. Failing to do everything we can to separate them from this human trash is indefensible. Human-trafficking arrests have risen in the past two years, partly due to increased border toughness. That’s something every Christian, every person of good will, should be enormously happy about.

Donald Trump has failings. There are reasons to support or oppose anyone. But if you are a Christian who thinks Ukraine and immigration are areas of huge moral delinquency for him, I submit that you have been deceived. You’ve been tricked by false narratives of those who hate many of the values you hold dear, who love only their own power, and who are outraged that they lost it to Donald Trump.

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