by John Ellis
Leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election, I had started to generate some noise as a #NeverTrump writer. Becoming increasingly engaged in politics was exhilarating, and I began to understand the allure of rubbing shoulders with those in power. My articles brought me attention and I enjoyed it (death threats and all). I was having fun and beginning to see “John Ellis, Political Writer” on my future business cards.
After the election, though, I struggled with how to write about President Trump while still obeying the spirit of passages like Romans 13 and 1 Timothy 2. I believed and still believe that President Trump is a wicked man only concerned with serving himself. Sadly, I watched and continue to watch professing Christians defend President Trump without any concern for holiness. However, while pointing out the sins of Kings and those in high positions of authority can be a noble task, in my own heart I didn’t trust myself to be a “prophet” decrying President Trump without swerving into a self-righteousness that manifest itself in an openly unrighteous disdain for the man serving as POTUS. I mean, I had already begun to enjoy climbing the pedestal of attention. I had to ask myself, does writing about politics help or hinder my ministry to my church family and my neighbors? The answer seemed to be obvious – the negatives that come with writing about politics far outweigh the positives for me. By God’s grace, I redirected my writing attention and, for the most part, my pen has remained silent regarding politics.
Over the last two years, my worry and sadness has increased over my fellow Christians who dogmatically defend the President at every turn. President Trump’s words and actions are frequently examples of what self-serving pride that lusts for power looks like. Our President is not a man that we should be proud of. The office of President deserves respect, of course, but the man himself is not the type of individual that I would ever teach my children to respect or emulate.
So, what has caused me to poke my head out my self-imposed political writing exile? Well, several things, but I’m going to highlight just three.
One: A Facebook friend recently posted several lengthy status updates in which he respectfully pointed out the many obvious moral failings and leadership failing of President Trump and the hypocrisy inherent in the fawning over such a man displayed by many professing Christians. The overwhelming majority of responses he received were disgusting. Displaying the continued concern to elevate Western ideals of comfort above the command to pursue holiness and to not join ourselves with evil, commenters circled the wagons around President Trump while refusing to actually engage my friend’s arguments. Lord willing, I hope to serve as an encouragement to that Facebook friend as well as to other Believers who are dismayed by the support of Donald Trump by fellow Christians.
Two: This morning, the news broke that President Trump’s lawyer paid a man to rig online polls in favor of Trump. The Wall Street Journal article opens with:
In early 2015, a man who runs a small technology company showed up at Trump Tower to collect $50,000 for having helped Michael Cohen, then Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, try to rig online polls in his boss’ favor before the presidential campaign.
The article, which I’m not going to link to because the WSJ is behind a paywall (it won’t be hard to verify what I’ve shared), goes on to provide some details of John Gauger’s actions on behalf of Cohen, including setting up the Twitter account @womenforCohen as a way to improve Cohen’s status as an object of sexual desire. The whole thing is shady, unethical, and gross.
This morning, after the story broke Cohen tweeted, “As for the @WSJ article on poll rigging, what I did was at the direction of and for the sole benefit of @realDonaldTrump @POTUS.”
At this point, none of us have all the facts and we have no way of knowing if Cohen is simply throwing the President under the bus out of spite. However, even without hard evidence, no one who hasn’t swallowed Trump’s Kool-Aid believes that Donald Trump would have been opposed to such chicanery (possibly illegal chicanery, I don’t know the laws). The news itself isn’t surprising and neither is Cohen’s subsequent tweet. In fact, the news would generally elicit little more than a yawn from most people because this type of unethical behavior is par for the course in this Administration (which is actually part of my frustration with evangelical Trump supporters). What makes this extra news-worthy and what’s prompted me to put my #NeverTrump hat back on is that John Gauger is the Chief Information Officer for Liberty University.
I have no way of knowing how Liberty is going to handle this. I don’t know if Gauger will be reprimanded or even fired. For all I know, he may have broken laws in ways that back Jerry Falwell, Jr. into a corner. What I do know, though, is that it if Vegas were to create a betting line, the odds would be in favor of Falwell and the hordes of Trump worshipping evangelicals circling the wagons and defending their new savior. Doing so, of course, will require some tap-dancing in support of John Gauger. Or, possibly, making him a sacrificial lamb in the unholy worship of their new god.
Regardless of how this plays out over the next few hours and days, I have full confidence that fellow Christians are going to bring shame to the name of Christ by continuing to blindly defend President Trump.
Three: At this moment, I should be finishing up a PJ Media article that I began writing two days ago. The article is in response to the conservative backlash over Gillette’s “toxic masculinity” commercial. Now, before you assume too much about what I believe and think, please wait until that article is published before condemning me as a man-hating liberal. For the purpose of this current article, though, one of the things that prompted me to write a response in the first place is how several prominent conservatives, including professing Christians, are spinning the Gillette ad as a direct attack on the President. According to them, Donald Trump is an example of masculinity.
No. He. Is. Not.
Jesus is our example, and Donald Trump has next to zero in common with Jesus. President Trump is a bully who rarely (if ever) colors his words with charity and grace. He is self-aggrandizing and scornful of anyone and everyone who dares disagree with him. His many, many lies have been well-documented. And as he continues to lie, his supporters embrace a “we’ve always been at war with Eastasia” approach. His primary concern, if not only concern, is self-promotion. Jesus calls his followers to take up their cross and follow him. If Donald Trump even thought about it, he’d force a lackey to pick up his cross for him and then publicly berate that lackey for not carrying the cross the best way.
Donald Trump has a history of exploiting and dehumanizing women. Jesus came to earth to bear the punishment for the sins of women who place their faith in him so that they can be given new life and adopted into God’s family. Donald Trump owned strip clubs (still may, for all I know), reducing women to their sexuality; in fact, going a step further Donald Trump encourages men to steal the sexuality of women (he’s done that many times himself). Jesus Christ elevates women to the respect and dignity that they deserve because women are made in the image of God.
Jesus values meekness, charity, and self-sacrifice. President Trump views those traits as negatives.
I could go on, but I have other articles to write for which I get paid. And I want to conclude with an appeal to my brothers and sisters in Christ: please consider abstaining from voting in the 2020 Presidential Elections.
Look, both the Hill and the White House and all the blocks in between are cesspools of greed, lust for power, and disdain for God’s justice. Neither the Democrats nor the GOP care one bit about pursuing holiness. And as citizens of a heavenly kingdom, we don’t have a responsibility to vote in this nation’s elections; we have a responsibility before God to pursue holiness. Brothers and sisters in Christ, I submit to you that voting for a man like Donald Trump may be an unrighteous act.
To those who consider yourself a Republican, I urge you, before the 2020 presidential election, consider the character of the man; don’t simply dismiss President Trump’s wickedness as the price to pay. God hasn’t called us to embrace the lesser of two evils; He has called us to embrace righteousness.
Consider how supporting such a man hinders your ability to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with your neighbors. Preserving our Western definition of comfort is not worth more than the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, throughout his epistles, and echoing the teachings of Jesus, the Apostle Paul calls Believers to surrender our rights for the sake of others. That is an utterly counter-culture thought. Republicans, Democrats, and everyone to the farthest right and the left fight tooth-and-nail to defend their rights. The rights that are defended differ, to be sure, but the idol of individualism is the glue that binds the right and the left together. It’s also one of the reasons why followers of King Jesus should not identify as neither a Republican nor a Democrat.
So, fellow Believers, pray and consider the possibility that as a follower of King Jesus, you should abstain from supporting, even with your vote, a man like President Trump who characterizes the things that God’s children are called to reject. President Trump is not concerned about promoting God’s justice nor in pursuing righteousness. He is serving himself. We are called to serve Jesus and others. Supporting Donald Trump is supporting and even promoting the exact opposite.
Praise God that we serve a King who is the epitome of selflessness. Why in the world would subjects of Jesus dirty themselves by aligning themselves with a man who is almost the mirror opposite of our King?
Soli Deo Gloria