I don’t usually talk or write about specific political figures, especially online. I keep my opinions about candidates private and I vote my conscience in private. In fact, I generally limit political discussions to matters of principle or policy.
However, when Dr. James Dobson—a man whose judgment I once trusted—posted a photo on social media (August 27, 2018) that fully embraced and endorsed President Trump, I responded on my own Facebook wall.
One might argue that Dobson had been naïve or misled before the election or even during the first year in office. But today, after all that has come to light, any suspicion must yield to acknowledgement of the truth . . . unless one willingly chooses not to see. (More on that in a moment.)
My comments were more about the perplexing hypocrisy of Evangelical leaders than about Trump himself. I suppose I took it for granted that Trump’s character flaws were a matter of public record, especially where his sexual behavior is concerned.
I was wrong to assume. Heated replies from Christian friends and at least one honest question revealed my own naiveté. The honest question was this:
“What is evil and reprehensible about Trump? I’m honestly asking. I hear so many people say he’s a bigot, homophobe, racist, xenophobe, etc., etc., but without citation of specific examples where he has demonstrated such behavior.”
I don’t know about Trump’s bigotry, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, etc. Those epithets are too subjective for me to process and the shrill from the left makes honest examination difficult, at least for me.
My first and still primary issue with Trump is the same issue I had in 1992 with then candidate Bill Clinton. Trump is a serial philanderer with a history of using the power of his position and celebrity to use women for his own sexual gratification. Clinton and Trump are sexual predators. Not violent, but manipulative.
Because this issue is definitive on its own, questions of bigotry, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, etc. are superfluous, at least for me.
Ironically, Evangelical leaders—Dobson among them—took great issue with candidate Clinton because of his well-known history of philandering and using his power to cover up his infidelity and predatory sexual pursuits. And they led the charge on impeachment proceedings when Clinton obstructed justice to cover up his using a female intern. Meanwhile, Evangelicals proclaimed, “Character counts!”
Democrats minimized and excused Clinton’s behavior then. Today, many Evangelicals use the very same arguments to defend Trump, whose sins are just as numerous and no less serious, simply because he shares their political and social platform. I find that hypocrisy galling.
In 1 Corinthians 6:18, Paul articulated a spiritual and moral principle that applies to all people—not just Christians or Christian leaders—all people. He wrote,
Flee sexual immorality! “Every sin a person commits is outside of the body”—but the immoral person sins against his own body. (NET)
The part in quotes was likely a popular slogan in Corinth, which had become a popular destination for sexual tourists. The Temple of Aphrodite famously accommodated flocking worshipers with temple prostitutes. The church in Corinth, consequently, struggled with sexual immorality and some members adopted a cavalier attitude, dismissing all sin as “outside the body.”
In other words, they tried to compartmentalize sexual immorality from other spheres of life to suggest that “what someone does in the bedroom is private and has no bearing on public or professional life.” Democrats in 1992. Evangelical leaders today.
Paul countered, saying in effect, “No, sexual immorality is, in fact, a deeply personal kind of sin that carries unique and far-reaching implications.” In the “flee sexual immorality” passage (1 Cor. 6:12–20) he states that sexual sin feels like a victimless, personal activity, but in truth affects everyone, including one’s spouse, one’s community, even one’s relationship with God.
Of all categories of sin, sexual immorality is arguably the most self-serving and self-obsessed. And these traits do not remain neatly in their own compartments. They spill over. Everywhere.
It’s important to note that, while all of us have sexual sin on our records, some individuals do not “flee sexual immorality” but, instead, allow sexual immorality to serve as co-pilot and navigator. Sexual immorality, for some, has become a character-defining feature that is symptomatic of a self-obsessed, destructive person with astounding ability to rationalize and minimize almost any behavior. Both Clinton and Trump display most of the indicators on the Sexual Narcissism Scale (Widman & McNulty, 2010), and these traits undoubtedly inform their approach to all issues of morality and integrity.
Trump’s sexual narcissism is plainly evident in his recorded chat with Billy Bush, transcribed here.
Pretend for a moment that this isn’t Donald J. Trump, but a candidate for the position of office manager in your small business or professional practice. I challenge you to read it slowly in this context.
. . .
His predatory, manipulative, near-obsessive pursuit of adulterous sex with a resistant prey is very telling.
In real life—not the abstract realm of TV, celebrity, politics, and the news cycle—in our own personal spheres of life, we would not allow the person in this transcript anywhere near the people or things we value.
A reasonable person hiring for a position in his or her company would find this a deeply disturbing indicator that the person in question should not be trusted.
Guys in locker rooms make fun of hounds like the man in this transcript; we distance ourselves from them as undeserving of our respect. Most men find this behavior juvenile and embarrassing.
We would have very valid concerns about allowing the girls and women we love to be alone with the man in this transcript.
Candidly, if someone spoke about my wife or daughter in this manner, I’m likely to smack his disgusting, filthy mouth.
In fact, I challenge you to re-read that transcript and replace the name, Arianne Zucker, with the name of a woman you love. Your wife. Your daughter. Your niece.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
. . .
Since taking office, Trump has lied so effortlessly about his covering up affairs with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal—just to name two women. There are so many sexual offenses—consensual and non-consensual—going back so many years, long before he was a candidate.
Trump’s obsession with loyalty above correctness is, therefore, not surprising. Loyalty to him, personally, is his one guiding principle. It stands in stark contrast to the approach of his favorite President, Abraham Lincoln, who packed his cabinet with dissenting voices precisely because he wanted advisors who would argue passionately for alternative points of view—because he coveted truth more than unquestioning loyalty.
Most righteous men do.
As a social and economic conservative, I’m glad for a strengthening economy. I like Trump’s unconventional approach to foreign trade policy and much of his handling other foreign affairs. I affirm the need for more secure borders and tough immigration enforcement. I even like some of his kid-gloves-off, smack-mouth approach to the disingenuous left and their accomplices in the mainstream media. Those are reminiscent of Reagan’s better qualities.
But Trump is no Reagan. He lacks Reagan’s communication skills, Reagan’s intelligence, and Reagan’s moral compass. Trump’s personal style comes off as petty and petulant. Trump speaks impulsively and often contradicts himself within the same ten-minute speech.
Those are style issues I can tolerate, even as I shake my head and wish for better. That is, if I trusted the character of a man who can keep it in his pants.
In the coming months, I will not be surprised to see more lies exposed and a shocking level of personal corruption revealed. I think we have only seen glimpses of a man whose universe revolves around himself. And do not be deluded; this level of personal corrosion is never self-contained.
Those are my reasons for wanting another candidate for president in 2020. You may have reasons to stick with Trump, but let’s not pretend he’s just a run-o-the-mill sinner like the rest of us.
Where most people repent of their sins, this President doubles down.