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Becoming Heretics and Idolaters for Donald Trump

David French’s latest column discusses the dark path that many Christian Trump supporters are heading down.
Donald Trump
(Gage SkidmoreCC BY-SA 3.0)

In his latest column, David French excoriates the dangerous idolatry of Christian Trumpism (emphasis mine):

I’m going to be as blunt as possible: Language like Metaxas’s, like the Texas GOP’s, and like some of the statements you’ll read below embody a form of fanaticism that can lead to deadly violence. There isn’t a theological defense for it. Indeed, its fury and slander directly contradict biblical commands. When core biblical values are contingent, but support for Donald Trump is not, then idolatry is the result.

We’re way, way past concerns for the church’s “public witness.” We’re way past concerns over whether the “reputation” of the church will survive this wave of insanity. There is no other way to say this. A significant movement of American Christians — encouraged by the president himself — is now directly threatening the rule of law, the Constitution, and the peace and unity of the American republic.

I strongly recommend reading the entire piece, including what French has to say about the willingness of conservative Christians to condemn Critical Race Theory as opposed to the conspiracy theories and Christian nationalism lurking in their own churches and pews. Suffice to say, I’ve found French to be a very welcome voice of reason during these crazy times.

I’ve written before concerning the disappointment I’ve felt as Christian leaders have fallen all over themselves to support someone like Donald Trump. But their actions have moved way beyond merely being faithful to Romans 13:1 – 7 and its admonition to “be subject to the governing authorities.”

Watching some of the speeches from the recent Jericho March, and the language used to describe Trump — Rod Dreher’s extensive Twitter thread is as eye-opening as it is disheartening — it’s increasingly clear that many American Christians are now placing their faith in a different gospel: the Gospel of Trump. They’re fast becoming heretics and idolaters. And what’s particularly sad is that they don’t even realize it because it’s all so wrapped up in patriotism and love of country — both of which are often touted, not just as “good” things (which they can be), but as “ultimate” things (which they are most definitely not).

French is absolutely right: “When core biblical values are contingent, but support for Donald Trump is not, then idolatry is the result.”

On a related note: If you’re a Christian and you voted for Trump because you honestly believed that he was the better and more competent candidate, that he had better plans and policies, etc., I strongly disagree with you — but at least that’s something that can be discussed reasonably, preferably over a (socially distanced) pint or two. But as Dreher’s tweets point out, Trumpian rhetoric has now moved beyond reason into the realm of faith and divine revelation.

I hope you realize that and reject the dangerous and increasingly religious/cultish language emerging from your side (which, for a long time, was my side as well). And I hope you’re willing to call out the obvious and blatant falsehoods and deceptions that have been steadily emerging from Trump and his supporters over the last few weeks concerning the election results.

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