Dear Christians Who Support Trump,
I get you more than you may realize. I’m one of you, which is to say a follower of Jesus. We may understand the meaning of that phrase differently, perhaps, but I consider Jesus to be the Logos, the Word, God incarnate. If we want to know what God is like, we need look no further than Jesus of Nazareth.
Which makes your support for Donald Trump all the more troubling. I presume, and correct me if I am wrong, it is because he is willing to check all the boxes that you’ve been wanting checked since we marched in Washington for Jesus in 1979 and rejoiced when Reagan was elected the following year. Forty years later, you can taste victory. Forty years later, I recognize how young, arrogant, and foolish I was.
You want to overrun Roe, so you want a conservative Supreme Court. Check.
You want someone who wants to return America to “traditional Judeo-Christian Values”. (I.e, MAGA). Check.
You want an end to “the homosexual agenda”. Check.
For all those things, you’re willing to overlook Trump’s various weaknesses. I won’t list them. You know them already and they don’t matter to you. Or you’re at least willing go overlook them in the name of the boxes.
But here’s the thing. Most of what you seek, Trump – indeed no president- can deliver and if you think he can, you either do not know the facts or the Constitution.
Let’s talk about abortion, as a case in point. Ever since Francis Schaffer and C. Everett Koop produced the film “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?”, conservative Christians have been incensed over abortion. It’s a worthy debate to have. When does life begin? When does life become a “person”? When should it be subject to protection under the law? When does the life inside the mother have the same rights as she does? And, what about her rights? Does she have autonomy over her own body? All are important questions of philosophy and law. The problem is, we aren’t really debating them. We ignore the real questions.
It’s all come down to an argument over a single Supreme Court decision and two separate immovable opinions based upon world view and not Constitutional Law. One side immovably believes that human life begins at conception and is therefore entitled to protection under the law from that moment onward, the same as a human being after (s)he is born. The other side can not fathom this view. They believe- just as immovably and with equal emotional investment- that a collection of non-sentient cells can’t be a human being and treating it as such infringes upon the rights of the woman. There are differing opinions in the so-called “pro-choice” community as to when that fetus becomes a “person”, but those differences aren’t really relevant at the moment and are altogether meaningless to “pro-lifers”.
So, my Christian Trump-supporting friends, I get it. If Trump nominates enough pro life judges and justices, Roe can be overturned and abortion will be eliminated.
Except it won’t. Not by a long shot. In fact, overturning Roe (hear me now) WON’T MAKE MUCH DIFFERENCE.
1. Prior to Roe, states could regulate abortion. Overturning Roe would merely return the matter to the states.
2. Abortion would undoubtedly be severely restricted or banned in many states. But, in those very conservative states, there are already very few abortion clinics and abortions compared to other states. The number of abortions in those states would drop, but as a percentage of the whole number nationally, the impact would be small.
3. The largest states with the most abortions are also the most liberal and would maintain unfettered access to abortion services. Some states have already preemptively passed such laws.
At the end of the day, overturning Roe would result in abortions being reduced, but not by a lot and certainly not a total victory. Not even close.
I hate to say it, Roe is a red herring and if I am correct, your whole reason for supporting Trump is a fallacy. Yes, he’s promised you (us) something (judges and justices) and has delivered. But his promises don’t matter because they won’t impact the issue about which we care. And to make matters worse, are his policies on care for life *after* it’s born. Immigration of suffering families with children, family separation at the border, et al. all are issues that don’t seem to matter to you. I’m going to call you out. You’re pro birth, not pro life.
You may push back and say a human life amendment could be passed that would enshrine the pro- life position in the constitution. Fair point. It could. But if you recall your high school civics class, a constitutional amendment requires 2/3’s of both houses to pass and 3/4 (or 38) states to ratify. The president is not part of the process. And if you think 2/3 of Congress will pass such an amendment and 38 states will ratify it, you are (and I use a technical medical term here) “nucking futs”.
There are undoubtedly other reasons you support Trump. That is your right, but we must drop all pretense of your support being based on moral issues of import to people of faith. Maybe you want lower taxes, thing climate change is a hoax, and that the Russians really just want to be our friends. Maybe you believe that a White America is a better America. Maybe you believe that a the country needs a businessman at the helm.
Or maybe…. you’re just hateful and spiteful and believe that God looks like you. When I was growing up in fundamentalist and evangelical circles, we were taught to beware of those creating God in our own image; never once considering the possibility it was *we* who were doing just that. If you believe in a God that condemns people to quite literally burn in Hell for all eternity (a concept that has more in common with the Greeks than the Hebrews), then it’s a very small intellectual leap to become that god of your own little universe. The Love Me or Else God becomes the Love Me or Else David, only giving that which is earned. That kind of love is not grace-full. It’s a mere business transaction.
So Trump Supporting Christian, I kinda get it. But I believe you are wrong. In one case (on abortion and Roe) objectively so. Math doesn’t lie. But if you strip that away, why do you still support him? That’s a question you need to answer for yourself.