Trump Criticizes Christ; Goes Up in Polls

Proving he is the hugest thing ever to hit the American political scene, Donald Trump’s poll numbers actually went up this month after his recent criticisms of Jesus Christ. Trump bragged that by contrast, even the Beatles fell in popularity when, 50 years ago, John Lennon asserted that Christianity was in decline and the group was “more popular than Jesus.”

Trump’s controversial comments came in a wide-ranging interview for Decision Magazine with Franklin Graham, son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham. In the article, Franklin describes the 2016 presidential race as “the most important election of our time” and Donald Trump as “The Chosen One.” Franklin invited Trump to “open up for our readers about your views on Jesus.”

After clarification from Franklin that he was referring to “Jesus Christ — the one in the Bible,” Trump said, “OK, that guy. I admit it. I’ve got some reservations about him. For one thing, he allowed himself to be captured. In my book, that’s not what a hero does. They don’t turn the other cheek — you know, choke. I wish he had punched the Romans in the face. Knocked the crap out of Judas. Judas was a very bad dude. Had it coming.”

The transcript reflects Franklin Graham breaking into a coughing spell at this point, while Trump continues to propound on what Jesus had done wrong. “He praised the Samaritans — people who wouldn’t have been around if not for open borders. He said the meek were blessed. Did you get that? The meek are blessed. The other religions — I mean — they’re laughing at us.”

When Franklin resumed his composure, he pushed back, questioning if Trump meant what he said. “Oh, I know more than the generals about ISIS, and more than Jesus about living right,” Trump assured him.

Trump went on to list other areas of disagreement:

“Blessed are the peacemakers? It’s very weak. I’m going to make America so unmeek you’ll get tired of it.”

“Blessed are you when you are persecuted? I guess he couldn’t afford lawyers to stand up for his rights. Or maybe Roman laws were like ours: too much protection to people who tells lies about you.”

“Praying in private and secretly giving to the poor? I mean, what’s the point if the cameras don’t catch it? If it’s not on TV, it didn’t happen. Just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Asked if he could name one thing Jesus did right, Trump cited the ability to express memorable things in a tweetable 140 characters or less: “The Golden Rule, you know, that ‘Treat others like they treat you’ — Jesus said that in less than 40 characters and everyone in the world knows about it. It’s great, really great. Walking on water, that’s another thing I admire. Believe me, I really do.”

Franklin pegged religious freedom as “the No. 1 issue” and Trump as “100 percent right on it.” He compared this to Hillary Clinton being a Methodist, “which in the end is only nine letters away from Muslim.”

Trump noted with pride that he does “very well with the Jews, a lot of them are voting for me and are my close friends. They count my money. I trust them.”

Franklin wrapped up by admitting he resented Trump for making Christians choose between “political power and the Prince of Peace” but that Trump was right: Jesus spent “too much time with the needy — if Jesus focused more on flattering the political elite like I do, Herod and Pilate would have been his buddies.”

Trump nodded his hair in agreement.

 

[Originally appeared in September 27, 2016 Waco Tribune-Herald at 4A.]

My (Pitiful) Trump Endorsement

In response to Sammy McLarty’s Sept. 4 pro-Trump column in the Tribune-Herald, I also start with a quote:

“In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.” — Mark Twain

Behold how many areas of agreement McLarty and I have (with minor exceptions noted):

• Like the Founding Fathers, Trump will be independent of “the Establishment — the ruling class” (except the Founding Fathers feared mob rule as much as a king and, on the downside, excluded over half the population from voting).

• Trump “will not be bound by shady alliances/allegiances or beholden to special interests” (except for his ties to the most dangerous of our totalitarian enemies, Vladimir Putin, and his support from American nationalists who wish to overthrow our system of civil rights and due process for all). Trump surely will disregard the interests of big business (other than those of himself, his family and his cronies).

• Trump speaks “plainly, no matter whose sacred cow or favored groups are offended” (and only in one out of two speeches does he show disdain for women, “the blacks,” “the Mexicans” or some combination thereof).

• He will deal with “uncontrolled immigration” (by doing the same things President Obama is now doing: stopping entry at the border, prioritizing deportation of immigrants who commit crimes, increasing spending on the U.S. Border Patrol and keeping the net immigration of Mexican nationals at zero or lower).

• He will stop “unfair trade causing billions in trade imbalance” and “globalization at the expense of working Americans” (by devoting less time to his businesses that have relied on illegal immigrants, imports of cheap clothing from China and cheating small businesses out of the money he owes them that they would use to make payroll).

• He will stand up to big news media (except he embraced as a campaign adviser Roger Ailes, who headed the hugest U.S. news network — Fox — and was deposed over blocking career advancement of females not returning his sexual advances).

• Trump will end “juvenile” collegiate angst about “safe spaces, safe speech and safe thought” (except he wants to change the First Amendment to make it easier to sue journalists who criticize him; a couple of his followers have the habit of whining to the Trib when one of my columns ribbing Trump invades their safe space).

• Trump honors his supporters’ “madder’n hell” view of the world (except that their griping is odd given they live in the wealthiest nation in human history and claim to be oppressed whenever it is suggested others might be given the opportunities they were).

• The alternative is a return of “Bill and Hillary back in the White House” (and who among us could bear the economically prosperous, pre-9/11 world of the 1990s?).

• “Someone so opposed by so many must be doing something right” (except that opposition by those who traditionally support the GOP nominee could be a sign that Trump truly is a danger).

• In short, Trump will bring a political revolution, an earthquake of change in Washington (though the middle class tends to get screwed in revolutions and earthquakes create great destruction).

Frustration over the lack of “trickle down” to the middle class of the prosperity experienced by the 1 percent is understandable. We merely disagree over whether a huckster, influence-buying, small-business-busting billionaire is the solution.

This column originally appeared in the Waco Tribune-Herald  on Friday, September 9, 2016.