Friday, October 14, 2016

The Enemy of God

I am not a believer in absolutes. I am not prepared to cast anyone as the perfect hero or the perfect villain. Absolute good and absolute evil can exist but I do not believe such absolutes to be the norm. A garbage dump may contain a diamond; that diamond in turn may be flawed.

I recently had the gut punch realization that a person I regard as a friend has a point of view that is completely anathema to my view, my ethics, my morality. His name is Chad and I've known him for over a decade. He's smart, clever and funny. It was an honor and a pleasure to know him and to work with him. I regard him as a friend.

I've always known that Chad's politics were to right of mine but I didn't let it bother me too much. I never engaged him in any discourse on the subject of politics and he never probed me on my views. It was much more fun to riff on pop culture references and write funny sketches for work training classes.

I also have always been aware that Chad's faith was more conservative than mine. But it wasn't like I'm some kind of a full on uber atheist and he was a fanatically devoted priest so any differences on matters of faith and religion were not to my mind all that wide. 

But recently he's been posting on Facebook defenses of Donald Trump based on one basic premise:

Hillary Clinton is the enemy of God.

He describes Hillary as the enemy of faith and religion, the enemy of children and family. I am not exaggerating. The word "enemy" is how he describes Mrs. Clinton. He doesn't espouse that the former Secretary of State has different views on faith or has different views on protecting children and supporting families. No, Clinton's views and policies are not a simple difference of opinion but are completely antagonistic to all that he holds dear.

And Chad holds forth that the weapon available to defeat this enemy is Donald Trump.

Chad does not defend Donald's transgressions, his attitudes towards women and minorities, his decidedly non-Christian approach to life's problems. Chad concedes Donald Trump is a flawed person but God has a history of using flawed people. And right now, Donald Trump for all his flaws is the weapon that God has given the people to fight the enemy, Hillary Clinton.


I don't want to get in to a Biblical debate on this. Chad does have a point about flawed people serving God on Earth. Moses, Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon...these are some really messed people! But it should be noted that the stories of these men resonate not because of their flaws but because they can rise above them and the terrible consequences that can occur when you don't.

I don't see Donald Trump as a flawed person trying to be a better person. I see Donald Trump as a flawed person who revels in his flaws, who in fact does not see himself as flawed.

Now if we want to get all Biblical on you, allow me, if I may, to reference the story of Jesus Christ alone in the wilderness when he is tempted by the Devil. The Devil urges Jesus to throw himself from a cliff into a valley below, knowing that the angels of heaven would swoop down to save him. But Jesus refused. It was his mission on Earth to live as a man and ultimately die as one. His divinity would manifest itself in the aftermath and the conquest of death. But until that moment, this meant he would have to do things the hard way. But it would be the right way, the best way if Jesus was to succeed in his mission to save the souls of humanity.

Now I'm recounting this story because it seems to me that Donald Trump is offering us easy solutions. Solutions so easy that they don't even have details, just "Trust me! I will save you all!" Even the problems are described in simple terms: everything is a disaster. And Donald's best answer is he'll do awesome stuff to fix it. 

Donald Trump is tempting us to throw ourselves in the valley below.

No, I'm not saying Donald Trump is the Devil. I don't work like that way. As I said at the start, I don't believe in absolutes.

But listening to what Donald says and seeing what Donald does, I don't see a weapon or a warrior for the forces of good. I see a man offering an easy path that appeals to our most base instincts.

And if I'm not going to say Donald Trump is the Devil, I will not describe Hillary Clinton on the other side as an angel. She has her flaws, she has her positions that not everyone can agree on. But she does have plans, specific plans, plans that involve people working together, getting things done. They're not perfect plans but Hillary Clinton isn't promising to personally save us and making a sweeping grand gesture to restore our nation to greatness.

Hillary is not an easy person to love, is not an easy person to follow. And all she can promise is that things can be better... but only if we work at it.

For Christians, particularly evangelical Christians, I can see where supporting Clinton would be hard, difficult, maybe even nigh impossible. As a Democrat, Clinton favors a number of social positions the more conservative Christians disagree with.

But from a Christian perspective, I can't see supporting Donald Trump at all. This is a man who has done virtually nothing for his fellow man and almost everything he's ever done is for his own aggrandizement.

Ultimately, Chad and others like him will believe what they will and I don't foresee anyone changing their minds. Not when the people on the other side of a political spectrum is regarded as the enemy.

As much as I don't like Donald Trump, I will not see him as the enemy. I just disagree with him and of the two candidates, Hillary Clinton is for all her flaws the better choice. She's not my friend or my idol and she's certainly not my savior. Just on balance, the better choice.

And Chad, Hillary Clinton is not the enemy of you or your God. She's just a person trying to forge a path for a better America. You may not like where she leads and you have every right to stand up and say you don't agree with her. But to name her an enemy while seeing a man who is not the hard working man and loving husband and father you are as a weapon to strike her down is, to my mind, a repudiation of the very basic foundation of Christian faith. Why does God need to send Donald Trump or anyone else for that matter to be our weapon? Isn't Jesus Christ the only weapon a Christian needs? 

Thanks for your time and attention. And remember to be good to one another.

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