It is not news anymore that Christians around the world sold out Jesus and bought outgoing US President Donald Trump. From Lagos to Louisiana, from Soweto to San Polo, Christians bent what they knew to be right to get crooked Trump to fit in. They separated private morality from public postures just to let themselves sleep well at night.
As President Trump goes home to Mar-a-Lago, within the inner sanctuaries of churches, Christians now ask questions about how they allowed themselves to be fooled by a man who did not hide who he was for one second.
We need to talk. Yeah. All you, evangelicals, we need to have a serious conversation.
From the first day, Trump told the world who he was/is. The evangelicals didn’t believe him. Unlike President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, there was no doubt about the image Trump put out. The evangelicals simply ignored it. There were no complexities about what we knew about Trump. The real Trump was out there for everyone to see. He didn’t hide it from day one. For crying out loud, in four years in the White House, he only picked up the Bible once. When he attended church, it was for a funeral. He did not even pretend to go on Easter day. Unlike Buhari, Trump did not have sophisticated consultants to paint a different image of him to win an election.
So how did that happen that he was able to fool Christian leaders and millions of their followers? Christians need to ask that question urgently. The world had a lucky break in that Americans were able to stop Trump after one term. The next crooked political leader who would masquerade himself as a crusader for Christ may be harder to stop.
What did Trump do for evangelicals that made them throw away Christ for Trump? He promised to get anti-abortion Judges in the US Supreme Court. What did Trump do for evangelicals that made them close their eyes to his evil deeds? He moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Evangelicals gave Trump a get-out-of-jail card in exchange for crumbs. What will happen the day another political leader emerges who is willing to put on the table a willingness to lead a crusade to Jerusalem to expel all Muslims out of the holy land?
Did I hear someone say what is wrong with that?
As written by Mark Noll, the biggest scandal of the evangelical mind is a lack of rigorous intellectual engagement. It is getting worse by the day. It is going to doom the church and the evangelical movement.
Evangelicals, the people that used to be at the forefront of knowledge, have degenerated into a bunch of gullible fellows deep into the pit of conspiracy theories seen everywhere on the internet. They seem to have fallen into that rabbit hole and have no idea how to crawl out.
History will remember Trump for his final act as president- to incite his supporters on an assault on Congress, the symbol of democracy in America and around the world. According to the FBI, if they had their way; if things had developed differently, Trump’s boys and girls were ready to burn down Congress, kill opposing lawmakers and kidnap the rest.
The invisible obvious is that Trump and his supporters also attempted a similar assault on Christianity. They were ready to burn down the church, kill Christians who disagreed with them, and kidnap the doctrine.
How did it happen? I will tell you.
A simple answer is the same way Osama bin Laden emerged for some Muslim fundamentalists.
When a group clothes themselves in victimhood by internalizing oppression and suppression, when they imagine the whole world all against them, they make themselves vulnerable to any leader who promises to fight for them. It is that simple.
Decades of culture war in America have left evangelicals tired and exhausted. The moment Trump flew the evangelical kite, they lined up behind him, ignoring the racists and the nationalists all around him. Trump was an easy way out for evangelicals. Instead of the path that required hard work and winning minds and souls, the evangelicals opted for the “path of least resistance.”
To make the decision easy for those with the penchant to ask questions, evangelists have to confuse facts with fiction and buy into numerous conspiracy theories.
Trump’s presidency ended up in the mud. And that is where evangelicals now have to go to pick up Christianity.