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Trump, Jesus and the Evangelicals

By Mark Christensen - posted Thursday, 22 February 2018

There exists a novel explanation for why evangelicals support Donald Trump, one that is overlooked by the political and media establishment because of its radical – and threatening – nature.

The president goes with his gut, what he feels is true. Which has the effect of upending the political order, a system of rules, conventions and temporal power that favors cognition and language over transcendent authority; that naturally prefers the secular and explicable to enigmatic faith.

Jesus inverted so much of the world's familiar lessons: don't protect yourself in a dangerous world, make yourself vulnerable; don't seek revenge on those who have wronged you, give them another chance to wrong you; don't just love your friends, but love your enemies; don't live abstemiously, give everything you have away to the poor; don't worry about tomorrow, today will be taken care of; by all means obey the rules but never if they violate the deeper rule of love.


God forbid, Trump is not the subversive figure described by Andrew Sullivan. But he is the next best thing when confused, self-important elites are hopelessly out of touch. He senses America's epic journey toward moral perfection involves a climax far too sublime for head-before-heart politics. And he acts accordingly, with come-what-may conviction, a trait missing in other Republicans.

Recall George W. Bush in the 1999 Iowa Presidential Debate:

BACHMAN: What political philosopher or thinker do you most identify with and why?

BUSH: Christ, because he changed my heart.

BACHMAN: I think that the viewer would like to know more on how He has changed your heart.

BUSH: Well, if they don't know it is going to be hard to explain.


Once in office, the inexpressible truths of the heart soon took a back seat to grand political schemes and old-time Western imperialism.

In July 2012, Mitt Romney was heavily criticized for his failure to back new gun controls after a mass shooting in Colorado. The presumptive Republican candidate suggested that rather than more laws "changing the heart of the American people may well be what's essential."

In its editorial, The New York Times torched Romney for not providing "a clue on how he plans to reach that heart."

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This article was first published on Thermidor.

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About the Author

Mark is a social and political commentator, with a background in economics. He also has an abiding interest in philosophy and theology, and is trying to write a book on the nature of reality. He blogs here.

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