Michael Gerson: Christians Are In “Grave Spiritual Danger” Under Trump


Michael Gerson continues his full-blown frontal assault on Donald Trump from the pages of The Washington Post.

In yesterday’s column Gerson admits that evangelical Christians may have it easier under Trump.  For example, today Trump reinstated a ban on using U.S. funds to promote abortions in foreign countries.  We will see if this appeal to evangelical concerns continues when Trump gets around to appointing a Supreme Court justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia.

But evangelicals, Gerson argues, must take seriously three other important dimensions of their faith and political witness in the age of Trump.

  1. Trump is a nativist who devalues immigrants.  Evangelicals must take him on when he demeans other human beings this way.
  2. Evangelicals need to remember that religious liberty does not only apply to them.  It applies to Muslims as well.  If they refuse to grant the same degree of religious liberty to Muslims they are ultimately shooting themselves in the foot. As Gerson writes, “hypocrisy is a form of self-harm.”  Evangelicals should not fail to show love to their Muslim neighbors, especially since they fear what will happen to them now that Trump is President.
  3. Evangelicals should be cautious about seeking political power.  Gerson writes: “when religion identifies with a political order, it is generally not the political order that suffers most.”

He concludes:

In politics, Christians should not be known primarily for defending their institutional liberty, as important as that is. They should be known for a Christian anthropology that puts the dignity of life — of every life — at the center of the political enterprise. And they should be known for courage in applying this commitment, without prejudice, to every party and ideology.

There are temptations of pride in this prophetic role as well. (Obviously, some of my regular readers might sigh.) It is easy, through an excess of outrage, to become the parody of a prophet. But Christian faith, at its best, points to a transcendent order of justice and hope that stands above politics. So it was in the abolitionist struggle and the civil rights movement. So it needs to be in the Trump era.

Read the entire piece here.

One thought on “Michael Gerson: Christians Are In “Grave Spiritual Danger” Under Trump

  1. I appreciate this piece. As for the three warnings to evangelicals: I agree with number 1, but think it has been vastly overblown by the media. Granted, Trump’s “foot in mouth” did him no favors. I like Gerson’s thoughtful question and statement: “What could evangelicals do to show they made a difficult, fallen political choice in spite of Trump’s nativism, not because of it? That is a worthy topic for discussion for the endless cycle of evangelical conferences.” I hope we see more of this type call for discussion and understanding rather than the “blame game”–(on both sides). As for number 2, Trump again stumbled on the Muslim/terrorism question, but in the end stressed a moratorium “until we can figure things out.” That is probably too vague from a practical standpoint (not to mention that it came across as too exclusive), but at least shows that his intent was mainly about protection of innocents, not arbitrary prohibition of Muslims as such. Nevertheless, Gerson reminds us of the importance of liberty for all religious (I would add–if peaceful) expressions. I agree completely with number 3. In fact, it is a good statement for a 2k perspective.


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