Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Why Donald Trump is Not the End of the World

A truth that sometimes gets back-burnered:

“There is no authority except from God, and those [powers] that exist have been instituted by God.”
(Romans 13:1)

As has been pointed out ad nauseum (I heard it again this week), this verse of holy writ was written in a day when Nero was emperor. This would be the same Nero rumored to have had captured Christians dipped in oil and set on fire in his garden at night as a source of light, who executed his own mother and is alleged to have poisoned his step-brother.

Alongside that track record, Donald Trump’s history of womanizing, “unpresidential character” and snarky, distasteful personal remarks is weak tea.

Uncharted Waters

Further, Trump’s presidency is far from assured. Hillary Clinton — along with a very large number of resident and imported Democrat voters, not to mention a system so subject to corruption, hacking and cheating that it is questionable whether its results represent the will of a majority in any particular instance — stands in Trump’s way. Those Christians who find the prospect of his presidency toxic may still have reason to heave a sigh of relief in November.

The words “there is no authority” would seem to brook no exceptions. I suspect they remain true no matter how the “power” in question becomes a power. I wish I could find the article I read earlier this week in which an author suggested that authority that results from a democratic election is somehow exempted from this rule, but suffice it to say that at least one person believes this.

I see no reason to think so. Power is power, whether it comes out of a rigged computer, the barrel of a gun or by any other means. And whether power is acquired legitimately or illegitimately, wisely or foolishly, democratically or by other means, God remains just as sovereign as he has always been.

Fault with the People

Still, there are Christians who claim to believe in democracy but are losing their marbles over the expressed will of a large number of their fellow citizens in this election cycle. Matt Walsh, who purports to be a believer and writes for Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, says this:
“Even if nobody else will say it, I must make it clear that I’m leaving [the Republican party] because of these voters. Whatever else can be said of citizens who want a man like Trump to run the country, it cannot be said that they’re anything resembling conservative. Nor can it be said that we have anything much in common.”
Ah, the “Matt found fault with the people” argument, which boils down to “I don’t like your candidate, so you may have him and may you get what you deserve”.

Maybe. Maybe.

Despite his all-consuming ire, Walsh stops a hair short of presuming to speak for God. His boss is not quite so reticent. Glenn Beck declared, “I happen to believe that Ted Cruz actually was anointed for this time”.

If so, Cruz’s ascension to the presidency is going to have to come about in unprecedented fashion seeing as he has ceased campaigning.

A Long Step Back

Personally, I think it’s time Christians overexcited about the Trump candidacy took a long step back, a deep breath and a long nap (perhaps in Matt Walsh’s case a valium). Should he become president, Trump may do terrible things. Equally, he may not. He may demonstrate himself to be irredeemably liberal, in which case his presidency would not be substantially different from that of Hillary Clinton. He may turn out to be racially divisive, though how he could top the current president in that department is a mystery to me. He may build his wall, or congress may shut him down. He may listen to his voting base, or he may blithely ignore its wishes as every previous Republican candidate since Reagan has done. He may turn out to be the least presidential president in U.S. history, or (improbably) he may rise to the occasion.

One thing he will not be is Nero.

And even if he is, the powers that exist have been instituted by God.

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