[THIS APPEARED AS COMMENTARY IN THE OKLAHOMA GAZETTE. WRITTEN BY A SENIOR MINISTER OF THE MAYFLOWER CONGREGATIONAL UCC CHURCH, ROBIN MEYERS)
Oklahoma was the first state west of the Mississippi to be called for Donald Trump, and what prouder moment could there be for followers of Jesus? If Hollywood designed the perfect candidate to represent the anti-Christ for evangelicals, he would be thrice married, twice divorced, a builder of casinos, a sexual predator (unless the women are ugly), a liar and a man so in love with himself that his fondest wish is to die in his own arms.
In the Jesus spirit of the open table and unbridled compassion for the last and the least, deeply religious Oklahomans joined the majority of Americans in electing a man who mocked a disabled reporter; insulted women for menstruating; invited a foreign power to interfere in our elections; bragged about paying no taxes after losing other people’s money; refused to release his tax returns (which would have revealed how little money he gives to charity); and insulted Mexican immigrants, John McCain and Carly Fiorina — the latter for having a face no one would vote for.
He blamed Bush for 9/11, made lewd remarks about his own daughter and regularly encouraged violence at his political rallies. If the Middle-Eastern Jesus himself came knocking, Trump would deport him. Who could blame the Prince of Peace for saying, “With friends like this, who needs enemies?”
In the 31 years I have been in ministry in Oklahoma City, I have heard Republicans insist that character counts for more than anything, especially as it applies to Bill Clinton. “By your fruits you shall know them” they quote scripture, while sparing us no lurid details about Clinton’s infidelities.
Democrats are all secular humanists, they said, and the problem with America is that not enough people go to church. If we had the Ten Commandments in plain sight, they say, morality and virtue would return to America. Really? If you vote for someone who violated all 10 of them, then obviously something else matters a lot more to you than the religion you are wearing on your sleeve. As for the seven deadly sins, see Donald Trump.
This is the unmasking of evangelical religion in America. It is not, in the end, about character or virtue. It is not about what love does to transform the human heart. It is about power, it is about fear, and Donald Trump tapped into widespread economic frustration and a smoldering rage about the displacement of the working class, especially less-educated white workers. They believe that Trump is the strongman who can save them. He is the first president ever elected who has never held office or served in the military and does not seem to understand why nuclear weapons cannot be used.
He doesn’t go to church; he mocks communion by saying that he “eats those little crackers and drinks those little cups of juice,” and then he boasts about his sexual conquests and calls his opponent a “nasty woman.” We almost elected the first woman president of the United States. We almost sent that unforgettable message to women and girls everywhere. Instead, we elected a sociopath and think he is an answer to prayer.
God help us.
(Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers is senior minister of Mayflower Congregational UCC Church and professor of social justice in the Philosophy Department at Oklahoma City University. | Photo Gazette / file)