Tag Archive | presidential race

America’s Trump Morality

The difference between Donald Trump and his explicit exploits and many guys on the street is not one of morality. It’s one of power and publicity. Sadly, there are many “average Joe” versions of Donald Trump and Anthony Weiner.[1] I have heard many “men” nearly quote Trump and recount worse exploits in various work environments.

Welcome to America. Welcome to our morality: “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Pleasure,” wherever and however it might be found. This is our county’s mantra, even if not said in so many words.

Much of the American economy is marketed to our lust. Just look at advertising. We all know it, sex sells. Pornography is a booming market and so, sadly, is sex-trafficking.

To hear that Trump has appeared in XXX films and said a lot of bad and very inappropriate stuff is sad. But, it is sadly not surprising.

Are we really shocked by Trump’s inappropriate comments? No. Concerned? Yes.

“Grabbing women by…” whatever is, sadly, much of today’s culture. As a culture, we care about the quick and exciting. We care about bursting bosoms and one night stands. We care about quick fixes, porn, and pleasure at someone else’s expense (especially if no one knows and we can get away with it).

We care about having it our way. We care about following our passions, no matter what they are. We care about people’s freedom to do what feels right. We care about the right for no one to tell us what is right.

Pornography, Tinder, and all the advertisements that feed us represent where we are as a country. It represents the underlying desires of much of America. There’s many mainstream magazines and media forms–Men’s HealthGQ, and many musicians and movies (e.g. Fifty Shades of Grey),–that embody Trump’s morals even if they don’t say it outright.

So, are Trump’s words that surprising? For a presidential candidate, it’s unprecedented but it’s not surprising. That’s where we are as a country. Porn use to be something only under people’s beds and available at seedy XXX theaters but now it’s in our pockets, piped into our living rooms, and greeting us on billboards.[2]

Trump is vocalizing what many men view, say, and others often think. Obviously, I don’t agree with Trump. I think it’s sickening. But I also think we as a country have almost lost grounds on which to critique him. I clearly condemn Trump’s actions but I am afraid that much of America’s moral outrage is a hypocritical contradiction: Trump is made in our own image. 

How can America say pornography is perfectly normal and acceptable and yet condemn the person that lives out what is idolized on the screen? You know what I think?! I think that Trump is not the only problem or the biggest problem; he is a harbinger of things to come and an echo of what has gone before. He is a visualization of many people’s secret sins and inner hearts.

Trump is not excused obviously! He is despicable. However, as has been said, “we see that all the time in movies” and we hear it and watch it on our phones. Trump is a problem but he is not the problem. Trump is fruit from what has been sown for quite some time. He is in many ways, I’m afraid, the personification of many people’s dreams.

What is morality after all? Isn’t it might that makes right? And Trump has plenty of “might.” Or if we measure morality by the social construct theory Trump, sadly, wouldn’t be wrong. The social environment has basically said his actions are not wrong time and time again. After all, aren’t we as people just “matter in motion” and isn’t sex just “an exchange of fluids”?[3]

In Trump’s own words “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab ’em by the @#$*!…” And sadly, that is often true. We often do anything for a star, or for money. And sadly, when someone “consents,” when someone lets someone else do… or whatever, we look at it as okay because there was consent.

Perhaps, we can all agree that it’s a shame that Trump made those comments since it reflects poorly upon the USA and offends some, but from a moral point of view on what foundation can America criticize him?

This, friend, is our world. This is where we are. And most people are fine with it.

However, doesn’t Trump’s example make it clear that it is wrong to ever look at a woman as an object in that way? Don’t we see how depraved his statement is? Don’t we see how debauched much of American society is?!

Women are not objects. Men are not objects. Pornography is wrong. And by implication, much of our advertising is wrong too. And many of us are wrong. It’s not just Trump. It’s the way we look at the Kardashians. It’s the way we idolize sexy bodies and always having it our way. It’s the way we forget what’s right and just want what we want. The problem is not just external (Trump), it’s likely to a large part internal (in our own heart).

America, wake up! We made Trump. We are Trump and Trump is us. We can’t have our cake and eat it too. We can’t indulge in licentious sexual “freedom” without the forging of certain “fetters.”

John Adams once said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Why did he say that? He said it at least in part because if we are not a moral people, a people who believe in a divinely given morality, then we will elect very corrupt officials. We will create and elect people who reflect our own character.

We will, in the words of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, pursue worthlessness, and become worthless (Jer. 2:5).

[[Two Postscripts: Please note that I do not support either candidate. 1) I loathe Hilliary Clinton and her pro-abortion stance (see here for example) and don’t trust her. 2) I don’t trust Trump either. Two verses to consider for those trusting Trump because he will (supposedly) “save” the Supreme Court: Ps. 118:9, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes [or their modern equivalent]” (cf. Ps. 146:3) and Ps. 40:4, “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud [certain political candidates], to those who go astray after a lie!” These verses are true even when considering such serious subjects as the future of America and unborn babies.]]

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[1] Actually, it is sadly my own disposition. I am myself not beyond struggling with lust. However, by God’s grace, I am not enslaved to it and loathe porn. I have seen the chaos and curse that sexual sin brings to individuals and society through people close to me.

[2] The porn industry is one of the biggest industries and has the largest presence online. In fact, porn sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined. Pornography is also very potent. I’ve read that it’s as addictive or more addictive as heroin or cocaine. Social media very often, even if it’s not officially labeled pornographic, is teaching and influencing how we think about sex and act out sexually (see e.g. Gail Dines, “Is porn immoral? That doesn’t matter: It’s a public health crisis” in The Washington Post).

[3] E.g. Richard Dawkins has said, “There is a bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, not good, nothing but pointless indifference… We are machines for propagating DNA” (Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow)

Politics?

 

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How can we know as Christians if we should be involved in politics or even care about politics? Does the Bible teach us anything regarding this question? The Bible is our authority “for faith and practice.” So, yes, the Bible does address politics. Which I personally thank God for, because without God’s Word I’d be on the metaphorical back-roads of eastern Kentucky without a working GPS.

What does Scripture teach us? It teaches, “Significant Christian influence.”[1] The Bible does not tell us what exactly each individual must do. However, we can establish principals that help guide us through the maze that is politics. First, we must realize that we all have different callings, we are not all called to be a William Wilberforce. However, we are called to have significant Christian influence. Ok, you may ask, but where do we see this in Scripture. I am glad you asked.

We see many examples of this in both the New Testament (NT) and Old Testament (OT). Most of the prophets in the OT addressed the sin of Israel and even the sin of other nations. Daniel had a lot of influence in a secular government and used it well (Dan. 4:27). Jeremiah told the Jewish exiles to have a good influence on the city in which lived. This would surly mean influencing laws and the government within that city (Jer. 29:7). Remember, also, the role that Joseph had? He had a huge influence on the government (Gen. 41:37-45; 42:6; 45:8-9, 26) and, of course, there’s Moses. We should also note Nehemiah (Neh. 1:1), Mordecai (Esther 10:3 and also 9:4), and Esther (Esther 5:1-8; 7:1-6; 8:3-13; 9:12-15, 20-32). Thus, we see a precedence for political involvement in the OT.

In the NT, we also see political involvement. I think of John the Baptizer and the Apostle Paul for example (Mark 6:14-20; Matt. 14:1-12; Acts 16:35-39; 24:25; 1 Tim. 2:1-4 also see Rom. 13 and 1 Peter 2). Wayne Grudem rightly says, “Influencing government for good on the basis of the wisdom found in God’s own word is a theme that runs throughout the entire Bible.”[2]

The overarching principle we see is that we are called to political involvement, though this is to varying degrees. We are not all called to be the President, congressmen (Excuses me, “congressional representatives,” I should be politically correct here!), or mayor, and I, for one, thank God for that! But that does not mean politics don’t have their place and importance, they do. We as Christian Americans have ample opportunity and thus responsibility to effect good change in this country. And we, unlike Daniel, won’t be thrown into a big furnace for it (yet!).

I, obviously, can’t tell you who or what to vote for on certain things but there is clear scriptural warrant for us to vote since we have the freedom to and to vote in a way that accords with the teachings of Scripture. May we be faithful with the stewardship that God has given to us as Americans who have such freedom, indeed a responsibility, to do good to God’s glory.

For further study I recommend Russel Moore’s book Onward and Wayne Grudem’s book  Politics According to the Bible.

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[1] See Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010) esp. 58-62.

[2] Ibid., 61.

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