Beware the Condemned Candidate
**Update: I altered the original title so as not to offend anyone, for such was not my intent. However, I still strongly believe that words mean things, and that we need so vile and profane a label for so vile a condition as standing condemned by God.** In the interest of full disclosure, I am slightly to the right of the Tea Party politically-speaking. But though this article concerns a present politician, it's not really about politics. It's about the collective soul of the church and how we've whored it out for a "swallow of the red stuff" (no pun intended) like Esau did long ago. I'm scared to death that the American church (however broadly or narrowly you want to define that) has too easily exchanged its integrity for security like Israel did when she clamored for a king.
I've watched with not a little disappointment as Donald Trump gains more and more support in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and, eventually, the White House. The reasons to be concerned about Mr. Trump are numerous. For one thing, he is a serial adulterer and is on record as having never asked God for forgiveness. I guess he didn't see the need.
As someone commented on social media, this did not preclude Mr. Trump from being a strong leader—God's leader. After all, King David was an adulterer, yet he was remembered as a man after God's own heart. Not withstanding the fact that David repented (as Psalms Five One and Three Two bear out), there is something about Mr. Trump's character that bothers me even more.
It's his ego.
If you listen to him speak for just three minutes, it's clear his opinion of himself is taller than any Trump Tower. I imagine that tiny piece of it is his schtick. It's who he is. It's for show. But I don't think all (or even most) of it is an act. I think it's real. I recently read a book on business and leadership written by Mr. Trump. In one of the book's essays, he actually claims that he is more humble than people give him credit for. I suppose if we awarded him a medal for his humility, he'd most likely wear it.
To be clear, I want a president who has a little bit of moxie and hubris. The right combination of such can be advantageous to a leader. I want a president who is likeable, approachable, and reasonable, but also willing to remind you that the 82nd Airborne is in his employ if you cross him.
But Trump's pride and arrogance are too much to take. And I'd argue any day of the week that his pride is as much a spiritual liability to him as is his adultery.
I don't live in a fairy tale world that says our leaders have to be choir boys and girl. Though I—like my father—idolized Ronald Reagan, even he was an adulterer until he was 50, and his wife Nancy didn't let him do anything without first consulting her personal astrologer (not exactly what I'd consider to be fine, upstanding Chrisitan behavior). As some people have remarked to me (in various ways), I realize we are picking a president, not a preacher. We're electing someone to the White House, not the church house. (Phrase it however you like).
The problem is that many of my friends weren't singing this tune when President Clinton was philandering in the Oval Office, and the double standard makes me want to scream and cry. Either we hold our elected officials to high moral standards or we don't, but we can't do so based on what party they're a member of—or who they're running against.
While we're being candid and judgmental, I think Hillary Clinton is wicked and evil. I think she's the second coming of Jezebel. In the Old Testament, Ahab was an aloof puppet—his wife was the real wicked power behind the throne, and I think the same is true for the Clintons. But please, let's stop the charade that Trump would be a moral improvement on Hillary.
The last time I read my Bible, I found some alarming statements about pride. Such as God "resists" the proud (1 Pet. 5:5; Jas. 4:6), a word in Greek that is military in nature. To put it more colloquially, God declares war on the proud. Proverbs 8:13 says God hates pride and arrogance; 16:5 says he detests them, and they won't go unpunished. Proverbs 26:12 says there is more hope for a fool than a proud man, and Isaiah 2:12 warns God has a special day in store for the proud. A proud look is one of seven things God hates (Prov. 6:16).
The most disturbing statement? "Thus says the LORD: 'Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD'" (Jeremiah 17:5). Translation: Anyone who puts his faith in himself vs. God stands under God's curse. And if I can help it, I don't want God's curse hovering over 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
All that to say this: Christians betray their integrity with God and lose their credibility with the world when we pretend that adultery in a Democrat vs. pride in a Republican ranks higher on God's revulsion scale. The Bible emphatically says that both are an abomination in his sight. To be sure, the Lord is plotting violent vengeance on those who commit adultery (1 Thess. 4:6), but he will be no less punitive when he declares war on the proud in his fiery wrath. Both stand under God's curse.
Please, Christian. I beg you. Beware the condemned candidate.