D. Stephen Long is the Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics at Southern Methodist University. In his recent piece at the religion and ethics website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, he makes the case that we should start calling Trump “antichrist.” Here is a taste:
Anyone who grew up in evangelical circles in the Midwest, as I did, will be well-aware of this kind of end-times theology. Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth was a staple in the movement, predicting how a clash between the United States and the Soviets would usher in Armageddon. When the Cold War ended, putting an end to his interpretation, Lindsey then speculated that the antichrist would create a one world government through a cataclysmic war. The antichrist will be smart, well-educated, and attractive, which means at least that one should be very wary of education. Films like A Thief in the Night (1972) and songs like Larry Norman’s “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” prompted evangelicals in the 1970s and 1980s to be ever vigilant against the threatening reign of the antichrist. How odd, then, that when one appears, they have lost the religious sensibility to recognise him.
Yet I think it appropriate that reasonable people of faith begin to refer to Trump as antichrist. I don’t come to that conclusion lightly. When Trump was elected, I regularly referred to him as the “Orange Vulgarian.” I still find that reference descriptively accurate, but a friend admonished me that calling the president names was not the best strategy to win over his supporters. Since many of those supporters are family, friends, college classmates, and others, I thought it best to refrain from such epithets and attempted to make reasonable arguments on behalf of a different kind of Christianity and politics than the one that gained ascendancy with Trump.
Recent events, however, have led me to conclude that such a strategy leads us nowhere, especially when it comes to the war Trump and his allies are waging on black America. The necessity to stand with black neighbours against the current injustices that repeat old patterns requires something different. The obvious contradiction between Trump and his administration’s response to white supremacists and to those protesting on behalf of black lives demonstrates a demonic force at work that must be named by all of us who at baptism pledged to resist sin, death, and the devil, “the spiritual forces of wickedness,” or “the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God.” It is time that we call Trump what he is, an antichrist, and pastors and faithful Christians must start doing so from their pulpits, Sunday School classes, bible studies, and whatever means are available.
Read the entire piece here.