Monday, August 24, 2015

Donald Trump: I Love the Bible and Other Panders

by Catherine Giordano

Donald Trump Alabama Rally
Donald Trump at his  Alabama Rally
Donald Trump is at it again--pandering to the Christian Right. He picked Mike Pence as his VP, a man who said "I am a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican--in that order." Funny, how he left out "American." Pence is evangelical and he has no compunctions about mixing religion with government.

Trump's new pander is his stated intent to allow religious organizations--churches--to have BOTH tax exemptions and the right to endorse politician and be openly involved in political campaigns. 

Donald Trump pandered to the Christian right from the very beginning.  At one of his first political rallies in in Mobile Alabama. he wanted everyone to know how much he loves the Bible. “What’s my first favorite book? The Bible! The Bible!.” His second favorite book is, of course, his own book The Art of the Deal, but he was quick to add that his own book “doesn’t even come close” to the Bible."  

He piled on with “The War on Christmas.”  “It is the greatest assault on Christianity ever." And “I go out of my way to say “Merry Christmas.”

And then he threw in Billy Graham for good measure. Referring to the size of the crowd that had turned out to hear him (about 20,000 people) he said, “I know how Billy Graham felt.” And “I love Billy Graham.”

Donald Trump began his campaign for the Republican nomination for president by speaking his mind. If nothing else, he was honest. His refusal to be politically correct or to pander was the basis of his appeal. Now, the polls have gone to his head. He’s still politically incorrect—the Republican base likes that. What else does the Republican base like? Religion!. So now Donald Trump who never had much use for religion –he called the communion wafers “crackers” just a few weeks ago—talks about religion as if he was a Christian revivalist.(In reality, Donald Trump is a Presbyterian who seldom goes to church.)

A few days later,  an interviewer asked Trump, "What are one or two of your favorite Bible verses?" It could have been a gotcha moment. Trump sidestepped the question. "I wouldn’t want to get into it because to me that’s very personal. You know when I talk about the Bible it’s very personal.I don’t want to get into it.” The interviewer pressed him for an answer and Trump continued to evade the question. His final comment was "The whole Bible is incredible.... I think the Bible is something very special."  Nice try, but Trump is not so easy to catch. 

On September 15, another interviewer—this one from the Christian Broadcasting Network-- tried to get Trump to reveal his favorite Bible verse. This time he had an answer. "Proverbs, the chapter 'never bend to envy,'" he said. "I’ve had that thing all of my life where people are bending to envy." Only one problem—that phrase is not in the Bible.

Remember Trump has now had several weeks to actually take a look at the Bible and choose one. (Or have one of his assistants do it.). Evidently he did finally have one of his assistants look it up for me and they found one that at least included the word “envy.” Trump aides told called the interviewer and said that the candidate was referring to Proverbs 24:1-2: "Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief."  Is Trump casting himself as an “evil man” who people should not be with because they “study destruction” and “talk of mischief.” It seems so. Maybe Republican primary voters should study Proverbs 24:1-2 very carefully.

Trump made a fool of himself again on January 18, 2016 when he tried to quote the Bible at Liberty University (a Christian school). "In Two Corinthians ..." he began. He meant "Second Corinthians," which appears in the Bible as "II Corinthians." (Evidently, the Roman numeral threw him off.) 

Trump is so easy to parody. Donald Trump talks in superlatives and makes short simplistic statements. He doesn’t have to deal with pesky facts. His campaign is like religion in that way. His pronouncements don’t have to make sense, they just have to make people feel good.

Bill Maher gave us the King Trump Bible for his mid-show comedy segment on 9/18/2015. It’s hilarious. See it for yourself. 

The Art of the Deal Donald Trump
The Art of the Deal

It should offend sincere Christians that Donald Trump often uses the Bible as a segue into his pitch to buy his book. He said his book, The Art of the Deal, is his second most favorite book (after the Bible.). And it is not even close to his first favorite book, The Bible. 

But which book does he hold up for the television cameras at every opportunity? The Art of the Deal. He's still a businessman and he doesn't earn royalties from the Bible.
Maybe you would like to get the truth about Donald Trump, instead. Read the unauthorized biography, Never Enough, and/or The Truth About Trump.  by Micheal D’Antonio, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. This book answers the question, “Who is Donald Trump?"  The book reveals that he is a promoter, builder, performer, and politician who from his earliest days has pursued success with a drive that some might call obsession.
Never Enough
Truth Trump book
The Truth About Trump

You might also like these essays: 

Is the United States a Christian Nation?: Democracy, Not Theocracy

Does Religion do More Harm than Good?

Should Churches Be Tax Exempt?  

Donald Trump: Move Over Jesus

Bill Maher’s Guests: September 18, 2015  

Jorge Ramos:  Anchor of Fusion’s America with Jorge Ramos Univision’s Noticiero Universidad. Everyone knows who Jorge is--He’s the one Donald Trump threw out his press conference. He has written several books about the immigrant experience, including A Country for All: An Immigrant Manifesto 

Mark Cuban: Entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Maverick’s basketball team member of the Shark Tank team. (The 7th season begins on September 25th.)  He is also the author of How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It

Chris Matthews: host of MSNBC’s  Hardball with Chris Matthews. He is the author of six best-selling books; his most recent book is Tip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked.

George Pataki: Former Governor of New York and a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. He is also the president of The Pataki-Cahill Group which works in energy, infrastructure, and clean-tech. In 1998 he wrote an autobiography (with Daniel Paisner) Pataki: An Autobiography

See the full recap and review of this episode at High Energy