This morning, like most mornings now, I found myself reading an article on Donald Trump’s candidacy. Everyday I ask myself the question, “How can so many American Evangelicals support such an openly narcissistic, power driven man?” Sarah Palin endorsed him, Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, endorsed him, and not too long ago, a poll was released that showed that Evangelical Christians as a whole are gravitating to Trump.
But, this article I read today gave me a much needed answer as to why Americans and specifically republican “anti-establishment” Evangelicals are gravitating toward Donald Trump. The author, Gina Dalfonzo, asserted, and rightfully so, that when fear is driving a certain people group, they will seek safety and power in the wrong places. The author then went on to make the connection that the American people, specifically “anti-establishment” republicans, are putting their faith in Donald Trump, because he projects an unwavering, albeit narcissistic, strength. She even takes a particular jab at American Evangelicals it seems, when she states, “Some who have professed faith in Jesus Christ are lured by a man who openly puts all his faith in power and money, the very things Christ warned us against prizing too highly.”
Americans are scared. And, when humans fear they look for security. And, what appeals to humans seeking security? Strength. This is why Trump is so appealing; he exudes a certain unwavering cockiness that somehow appeals to people as “strength.” But, Evangelical Christians must remember that to exchange morality and virtue for strength and power is to reject an important Christian principle.
American Evangelicals, by voting for Trump, are rejecting a key principle from the message of Christ and his incarnation: personal power is not to be prized.
I could to try and sway Evangelical voters by pointing to Trump’s not so morally consistent business and personal history. I could easily point to Trump’s multiple divorces, his business endeavors, the fact he owned the nation’s first-ever casino strip club, the fact that he preys on the weak by using his power to take their land through eminent domain, his previous support of abortion, his sexist and racist remarks, and much more. But, more than all of these actions, the reason why Trump should cause Christians to cringe is what seems to be his deep, personal, one could say philosophical, love of power and not virtue.
Trump fails to realize that power is neither good nor evil in and of itself. Power can be a good, or it can be an evil. Power can be likened to a hammer. In the right hands it is a tool that builds up and strengthens a structure. In the wrong hands it can be a tool used for destruction or tearing apart a structure. It is the character of the man wielding the hammer that matters not the hammer itself. Power needs virtue in order to be good. But, Trump insists that because he is successful, because he is rich, because he is powerful, he deserves your vote. Remembering our illustration, it is as if Trump is saying, I’ll be a good builder cause I have a hammer. This, I believe, contradicts the virtue ethic of the Bible. And, the question every voter, not only Evangelical Christians, must ask is “How has he used his power? How has he used his tools?”
The Prophet Jeremiah writes, “Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.” This is a summary of the Christian message. The Christian message and ethic is that man’s boasting whether it be in money, power, or wisdom, gains him nothing. It’s worthless. But, God delights in men of virtue, of love, justice, and righteousness. Trump does not live a life of virtue, rather he boasts of all his money, power, and accomplishments to gain your trust and vote. Trump is successful; Trump is rich; Trump is powerful. I am not denying this, but American Evangelicals must question how he uses his money, success, and power. And, I believe if one questions this, he will realize that Trump’s actions show that he consistently uses his money and power unethically.
The Apostle Paul states in his first epistle to the Corinthians (not One Corinthians), “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast.” Jesus as our Leader, our Savior and King, did not rule this world with king-like power or with earthly riches. Jesus Christ lived a lowly life, a life of healing the sick, a life of serving the poor and the outcast. Christ lived a servant’s life, and he died a humiliating death to save mankind, even those who crucified him. Christ does not claim followers because of His mere power. Jesus Christ claims followers because of how he uses His infinite power. Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection show that true power comes from understanding virtue and enacting love, justice, and righteousness in our broken world. Virtue and morality is what builds and structures our communities, our cities, our states, and our union. This is what is called a Virtue-ethic. Man living for virtue’s sake not for personal gain.
That being said, there was a time when American Evangelicals voted from this Christian virtue ethic. Russell Moore says it well,
“One may say that Trump’s personal life and business dealings are irrelevant to his candidacy, but conservatives have argued for generations that virtue matters, in the citizenry and in the nation’s leaders. Can conservatives really believe that, if elected, Trump would care about protecting the family’s place in society when his own life is — unapologetically — what conservatives used to recognize as decadent?”
Some American Evangelicals want to elect a man who stands for the exact opposite of Christ’s message of virtue as true power. They want a leader who mocks, scoffs, and ridicules his competitors and dissenters. Some Evangelicals want to elect Trump as their political “savior,” but sadly they cannot see his blatant rejection of their very Savior’s virtue ethic. Like the blind leading the blind, so Trump leads scared and impressionable Evangelicals.
I am not saying that Christians can only vote for verified Christians, there is no religious test for office; I am not saying that Christians cannot vote for rich men; I am not saying that Christians cannot vote for powerful men. The point I am wishing to make is that Christians cannot vote for rich, powerful men who reject virtue and have both a flawed character and ethic. As previously stated, I do not care if Trump is rich; I do not care if Trump is successful; I do not care if Trump is powerful. But, I do care how Trump uses his money, success, and power. Therefore, I care that Trump is immoral; I care that Trump is arrogant; I care that Trump is narcissistic. And, all of these characteristics paired with his personal and business actions show his blatant opposition to Christ’s message of true power as virtue. Thus, to vote for Trump is to accept the message of this world: that the powerful, the rich, the successful deserve power and leadership. And, if that is true, then Jesus Christ would not have been a good leader according to modern standards.
Evangelical Christians must understand that to seriously support Trump is to politically forget that morality is to be prized over earthly power; that divine virtue is greater than human strength.
 Scott, Eugene. “Jerry Falwell Jr. Endorses Donald Trump for President” CNN. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
 Gass, Nick. “Poll: Evangelicals Flocking to Trump.” POLITICO. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
 Dalfonzo, Gina. “Nikabrik’s Candidate.” First Things. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.
 Sun, Feifei. “Top 10 Donald Trump Failures.” Time. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.
 Williamson, Kevin D. “Witless Ape Rides Escalator.” National Review Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.
 Malkin, Michelle. “Trump’s Eminent-Domain Empire.” National Review Online. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.
 Obeidallah, Dean. “Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand What ‘sexism’ Is” CNN. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.
 Edelson, Chris. “Donald Trump’s Moral Cowardice.” TheHill. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.
 “Conservatives against Trump.” National Review Online. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.
 Jeremiah 9:23-24. NRSV.
 1 Corinthians 1:27-29.