He broke every rule in the book – but what now?

He broke every rule in the book – but what now?

We need to get used to waking up the morning after a big vote to discover that the impossible has happened.

At one point Donald Trump said “… we’re gonna do a BREXIT”, and to be fair to him, he did “do a BREXIT”,  beating every expectation, contradicting every poll and alarming every world leader (except for Nigel Farage, Marie Le Pen and Vladimir Putin – but that’s a pretty eccentric fan club).

Most of us can’t remember a more cartoonish election than the one we just witnessed, with two less likely candidates. The most powerful nation on earth is electing a new leader. That’s OK. The razzmatazz, giant balloons, ticker tape all start up, and the rock stars all line up. Even that’s OK – hey this is America. But then the stories come in one by one. Even in the 4 weeks leading up to the election 11 women accuse Trump of sexual harassment, and, lest we forget, the FBI re-open and hastily re-close their investigation into Hilary Clinton’s emails. This stuff just doesn’t happen in real life!

“Uniquely unqualified”

There’s no point going over Donald Trump’s litany of misdemeanours – we’ve all seen them on the news. Barack Obama provided a concise summary last week when he described Donald Trump very simply as “uniquely unqualified” …  a unique blend of everything an American president simple cannot be.

And yet many of our brothers and sisters in Christ saw something different. Why?

We don’t need to turn to the Christian media. Even this mainstream BBC news report calculated that 70% of America’s evangelical Christians supported Trump. What did they see in him?

Well not so much in him, as in his stance on a few highly charged but clear issues including abortion and gay-marriage. Both of these separate Clinton and Trump, with Trump of course representing the conservative “anti” position. Of course there is more to being President than this. But on the rest of it … commerce, government, defence, education, there is give and take on both sides, and it becomes very complex. Topics such as abortion and gay marriage are easily understood, and always highly emotive.  This excellent article in Christianity Magazine provides an overview on the thinking that drives many US evangelicals.

And of course it wasn’t just evangelicals. This was another occasion –like BREXIT – where there was a compelling appeal to those who felt hard done by. Trump drew support from the least well off, the unemployed, the have-nots, and revealed an ideological chasm between rural and urban America. And when you have never been in government, you can always rally a protest vote.

So where do we go now?

 Unqualified, Unlikely and Unholy

You may have been in church when someone did that talk on how most Biblical leaders would fail the test of what we expect in a leader, and yet they were used by God. So, David was an adulterer, Paul was a persecutor, Mark was a quitter etc etc.

I’m not saying that Donald Trump is some kind of Moses. But I am saying that people can change, God can change people. If we don’t believe that we don’t have a Gospel.

This Gospel often requires us hold in balance conflicting ideas. Paul tells us in Romans 13 to give our due to the governing authorities of this world. That includes affording them respect.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established”

But at the same time, one page earlier, Paul tells us to not be taken in by the patterns we see around us:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve God’s will”

We can do this not by ignoring what Donald Trump did in the past, but by expecting him to do better in the future. His misdemeanours need to stay in the past, he needs to rein in his temperamental offensive remarks for the future. In short he needs to govern in a different way to how he has lived.

In this regard I was encouraged by two things since the election result. The first was Trump’s acceptance speech – sensible and mature. The second was a note I saw in the Huffington Post.

For several months now the Post has published this text at the end of every article that discussed Donald Trump:

“Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”

Today they removed this note and stated:

“Our thinking is that he’s now president, and we’re going to start with a clean slate”

If the Huffington Post can give a man a clean slate, we as Christians can do the same.

This article by Chris Goswami was first published by Premier Christianity, and later by the Baptist Times.

  • Paul Grundey

    Hello Chris,

    Thank you for publishing this post, it was edifying to read. It was informative, I’m now more aware of the attitudes of the Huffington post editors.

    I thought there was some nice succinct political analysis in the post. We could all do with reading a bit of that every now and again.


  • Paul Hobson

    Thanks Chris Crazy couple of days. Wasn’t surprised he got in after Brexit

    • Yeah – we need to stop being surprised – I believe tranquilizers sometimes help ….

  • JohnWalton

    Like Brexit it is was it is the people have spoken they want a change and as they say it can be as good as a rest.He is no different than any other person in a position of power they promise lots but deliver little and there all the same.You could post on here for ever about what they do and what they dont and nothing will change ever.The only time things will be right is when Jesus returns for the Book of revelations to be put into action and that day cant come soon enough in my mind.We could as if Clinton should be moving into the White House but we would never come up with the answer would we?No because we all have views different to each other and thats where the Crux of the problem is and it will never change.We need to concentrate on our own country and leaders because we have more than enough problems of our own dont we?Why are we so concerned about America is it because we dont agree with whats being said?or is it us just us as a country sticking our oar in where its not required?A few weeks ago we would not really have been thinking about it or talking about it so why are we now i want to no?God has it all in hand and we must trust him in all circumstances surely this is what God requires of us?Pray for all and everything in the whole world but let God worry about the big things i say because in the end its what God wants does and always will.Let us concentrate on the harvest in the fields its needs looking after and that in my mind is what we need to do or there will never be a ripe harvest for us to bring in if we dont plant the seeds.Let America get on with there business and let us get on with ours.Remember we all have to stand face to face with our creator one day and answer for our actions thats when all things will make sense and there all our problems will end,may that day be soon I pray AMEN.God forgive us now for how we are and how we treat each other and the world you gave us shine your light through us we pray although sinners we are here ready to do your will and not ours Amen

    • Well I think I pretty much agree with all of that. Well said! …… Except …. I do think we can focus on kingdom building here in the UK and STILL show interest in what is happening in what is after all the most influential country in our world, whether we like that or not. Thanks very much for your reading and commenting John!

      • John Walton

        Your welcome always enjoy your posts.See you Sunday if your there if not Monday.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtfE2W1a1KQ VP – Pence christian

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPNe-pFeHyo – Pence lies

    Pence is a classic example of the religious right that espouses Christian values/views but fails to apply them (in their own life or in their church).

    “Biblical leaders would fail the test of what we expect in a leader, and yet they were used by God.”

    And God will use Trump in mighty ways, one of which may be to open our eyes to the hypocrisy of the religious right. The huff post doesn’t look very different from the religious right in their flipping positions on Trump.

    • Well that is very interesting Brent! I must say (shame on me) I don’t think I have heard Mike Pence speak even once before today.
      So in the first video he certainly comes over well (….not so well in the second but then as the commentary says how could anyone else defend those views).
      “Hypocrisy of the religious right ” – you may be right – but lets’s see
      Thanks for posting – I hope to hear and see much more of Mr Pence!

      • “we shall see”

        We have already seen the hypocrisy of the religious right and it is appallingly not going to stop anytime soon. Another example, in the last election Graham supported Romney and even took down articles on his website that declared mormonism is a cult.

        “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14).

      • Marilyn Scott

        He is a Christian (pence)he is very pro life

  • Fascinating video with Mike Pence – I’ve never heard him speak before either. The challenge is going to be who is the team around Donald Trump as well as the checks and balances within the American political system. Will they be able to hold and contain the more controversial and outrageous aspects of Trump’s personality and temperament?

    • I think temperament and tendency to make off the cuff comments are definitely the biggest issues that Donald Trump needs to master. He does need the strong team but, in the international arena especially, he cant expect to always have people following him to smooth feathers he has ruffled. Thanks Sunil