As I write this on Wednesday, March 2, 2016, the results of Super Tuesday are in the books. Trump won – maybe not a huge victory, but big enough that taking him seriously is now a requirement for many who’d thought the circus would eventually leave town. Trump won and Christians helped him do so. Christianity Today examined the body of Christ in their article “8 Charts on Which Evangelicals Will (and won’t) Vote Trump on Super Tuesday.” Author Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra notes a survey that shows Trump “came in first among non-evangelical born-again Christians … notional Christians, all born-again Christians, all non-born-again Christians, Protestants and Catholics.” That’s quite a swath of Christendom, isn’t it?
Donald J. Trump – the man who took some time before he disavowed David Duke, calls for the increase of torture, says that families of terrorists should be killed, has described women as “fat pigs” and “disgusting animals,” vows to ban all Muslims from entering the country, drops the F-bomb repeatedly at rallies, advocates a foreign policy of bombing the s#&t out of ‘em, ridiculed a reporter with a physical disability, dubs opponents “idiots” and brags about his conspicuous, ostentatious wealth – comes in first among many of Christ’s followers. Just sit with that for a minute.
I live in Lee Atwater’s backyard. I drove on Strom Thurmond Boulevard this morning. Mud slinging, race baiting, flat out fallacy in order to gain victory – I know these tactics are no anomaly when the political stakes are this high. I am never surprised by how low people will go to gain power. I have seen politicians sidling up or distancing themselves from Jesus for the sake of electoral expediency. And in all of that I have thought: Well, God alone is Lord of conscience. But what I do not understand is this convergence of meanness with those who claim to follow the One who blesses the meek.
While I might hope for better from those seeking the highest office of this land, I do not expect it. What I cannot remain silent about is the large number of Christians supporting Trump. Why are we seeking to be great? Aren’t the greatest in the kingdom the least, the last, the servant of all? Aren’t we to outdo one another in love? Forgive seven times seven? Be known by gentleness? Look to the interest of others? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger? How does any of this geehaw with xenophobia and advocating war crimes?
It seems Super Tuesday trumped Good Friday. It would appear that as we draw ever closer to the cross of Jesus liturgically, we grow ever farther from it in our thoughts, words and deeds. William Placher, in the introduction of his book “Narratives of a Vulnerable God,” notes, “the kind of God in whom we believe has implications for the kind of life we try to live.” He goes on to write, “Most people today, whether or not they believe in God, think that God is about power and think that power is about the dominion of others, through violence if necessary, just as human success is about wealth and career advancement and national greatness is about military triumph.” Sound familiar? Placher then masterfully makes the case that Christians don’t have a God of that sort of power; our God’s power comes in the form of freely given vulnerable love. He says, “Instead, we get the slaughtered Lamb.”
It is time to remember “we get the slaughtered Lamb.” We claim the One who first claimed us, sinners though we are. We sit at the feet of the One who gave the Sermon on the Mount, the One who welcomed outcasts, touched lepers, washed feet and forgave the very ones who murdered him and the kind of God in whom we believe should have implications for the kind of life we try to live and the kind of life we wish for others and the kind of leader we elect. I don’t expect much from Trump or any other politician at this point, but I do expect more from those of us who call ourselves the Body of Christ.
Don’t let Super Tuesday trump Good Friday. Remember, we get the slaughtered Lamb and live accordingly.