“Between Donald Trump and anything resembling Christianity,” there is only a great void -- a “vast, empty, and dark space,” declared gay Catholic pundit Andrew Sullivan in a Friday column for New York magazine. “I don’t believe that there is a Christian politics as such,” Sullivan stated, “but I do believe there is a Christian set of core human virtues and values…and that those virtues are rooted in the Gospels. We all fail the virtue test, of course, including yours truly.”
Nonetheless, opined Sullivan, “it is very hard to see Donald Trump as anything but a living, breathing, shameless refutation of every single one” of those virtues. He described Trump’s worldview as “the antithesis of Christianity -- and his life proves it. He is neither religious nor irreligious. He is pre-religious. He is a pagan. He makes much more sense as a character in Game of Thrones, a medieval world bereft of the legacy of Jesus of Nazareth, than as a president of a modern, Western country.”
Specifically, Sullivan wrote, Trump “thrills to the use of force, while Jesus preached nonviolence, even in the face of overwhelming coercion. He is tribal, where Jesus was resolutely universal…He is proud, where Jesus was humble…He despises the weak, whom Jesus always sided with. He lies to gain an advantage, while Jesus told the truth and was executed for it. He loathes the ‘other,’ when Jesus’ radical embrace of the outsider lay at the heart of his teaching. He campaigns on fear, which Jesus repeatedly told us to abandon.”
Sullivan speculated that were Trump to “issue his own set of beatitudes, they would have to be something like this:
Blessed are the winners: for theirs is the kingdom of Earth.
Blessed are the healthy: for they will pay lower premiums.
Blessed are the rich: for they will inherit what’s left of the earth, tax-free.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for oil and coal: for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciless: for they are so, so strong.
Blessed are the liars: for they will get away with it…
Blessed are you when others revile you and investigate you and utter all kinds of fake news about you. Rejoice and be glad, for the failing press is dying.”
Sullivan in effect charged Christians in the Trump administration, from Mike Pence on down, with complicity in Trump’s anti-Christian policy agenda:
Trump’s proposed budget, released this week, would eviscerate basic support for the poor in order to reward the already stupendously superrich, and would lay waste to the natural world so that our collective wealth, already greater than any country’s in human history, could be goosed some more. His party’s health-care plan would throw 23 million people off their insurance, even as he pretends it will cover everyone. Every pillar of Trump’s essential character is a cardinal sin for Christians: lust, gluttony, greed, envy, anger, and pride. We are all guilty of these, of course, but there is in Trump a centrality to them, a shame-free celebration of them, that is close to unique in the history of the American presidency. I will never understand how more than half of white Catholics could vote for such a man, or how the leadership of the church could be so terribly silent when such a monster stalks the earth.