Donald Trump and the travesty of Christian tribalism

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, on January 18, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, on January 18, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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Anyone who offers or falls for "Christian" tribalism separates himself from the God revealed in Jesus Christ.

  • Rhonda Eubanks

    Though I am aware that human nature never really changes, I continue to pray that brave Christ-followers like you will become increasingly vocal! I have recently been reading about the human atrocities committed by Hitler’s army. As I ponder how one can reconcile the following quotes, all by Hitler, I realize how vulnerable fear renders mankind.
    1. “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.” Adolph Hitler
    2. “Humanitarianism is the expression of stupidity and cowardice.” Adolph Hitler
    3. “it’s not truth that matters, but victory.” Adolph Hitler
    4. “I do not see why man should not be just as cruel as nature.” Adolph Hitler
    Tribalism is an outgrowth of replacing faith with fear!

  • Thank you for mentioning atheist Americans, agnostic Americans, and spiritual-but-not-religious Americans. We, too, wonder (and worry about) what our role would be in a Christian theocracy. We appreciate finding solidarity with people of faith who understand the threat posed by this kind of candidate to *everyone*’s freedom of conscience.

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  • Jack

    Good points — and chilling quotes.

    Trump is certainly not Hitler, but the phenomenon of evangelical Christians supporting Trump shows how little they know or have learned about history and its lessons.

  • Jack

    Mary Ellen, freedom of religion includes freedom to choose atheism as well as theism. We are not going to become a Christian theocracy. For millions of us who love Christ and believe that freedom is a gift of God, America will become a Christian theocracy, or any other kind of theocracy, over our dead bodies. We believe that the Gospel itself requires freedom to choose atheism as well as theism, because we believe that coerced faith is an oxymoron. For faith to be efficacious, people must have the right to say “no” as well as “yes.”

  • Roy

    Thank you, Pastor Gushee, and those who have posted thus far in response to your article. To further borrow and adapt the words of others, . . . let us have “more light” and more all-inclusive compassion and humility. Too bad such virtues don’t seem to generate votes. . . .

  • Jeff

    Dr. Gushee, how do you reconcile the article you wrote a few weeks ago critical of clergy endorsement of politicians or any kind of public political involvement (which I agree with you 100%) with the numerous articles and Facebook posts you’ve written just within the previous year alone expressing your political views?

  • Religious articles are like the mission Impossible tapes. They self destruct in 5 seconds.

  • Paul

    I wonder how Luke 9:50 applies here.

  • David Gushee

    I believe the comments I make fall within my own guidelines. Of course, I may be wrong. But a check of my articles against my proposed rules will, I believe, find no inconsistency.

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  • Scott Shaver

    The “phenomenon of evangelical Christians supporting Trump”, Jack, shows that being a Christian is not dependent on what folks “know” about “history and its lessons.”

    Nor is it dependent upon who they choose to vote in an American political election (which is a game of smoke and mirrors for decades now).

    The hypocrisy of politically superior “Christians” is what’s driving evangelicals by the thousands to Trump. Russell Moore may be responsible for more Southern Baptists voting the Trump ticket than any other individual. What polictically superior Christians have learned about “history” and its lessons sure hasn’t seemed to help them much in the area of common sense……also a gift from God.

  • Scott Shaver

    Can’t reconcile it. Politcally superior Christians don’t have to give an account for their hypocrisy. They’re enlightened 🙂

  • Scott Shaver

    Definitely think it would apply more to the Christian enemies of Trump than vice-versa based on observation.

  • Scott Shaver

    The “proposed rules” may be source of problem.

  • Kay

    I’ve seen the same tribalism take over my former church, plus hostilities toward gays grew there to where it was sucking the life out of me. I am a straight mom of a gay child so I felt targeted and harmed (like others who’ve been sharing their experiences). I appreciate you and others who share my perspective on this and other topics.

  • Jack

    If I’m not mistaken, Scott, I believe Russell Moore was among the writers in the most recent National Review issue titled “Against Trump.” So I don’t see how you can say that Moore is helping Trump, except in perhaps driving anti-Moore people toward Trump.

    I am no fan of Moore because I think he’s too accommodating to political correctness, but I certainly appreciate his standing up to Trump.

  • Jack

    Jeff, I think you’re confusing two very different things — political endorsement of candidates and taking stands on issues. The laws concerning tax-exempt status, for example, make a serious distinction between the right of clergy to speak out from the pulpit on issues of the day and the prohibition against overt endorsement of particular candidates for office.

    It seems to me that David Gushee is making a similar distinction. I would say that even if there were no such laws, it is wise and prudent for Christian leaders to try to avoid endorsements of particular candidates and stick with speaking on issues of concern to Christians.

  • David A. Toth

    Good read. I’m not sure I would label the tribe as being “white and fundamentalistic.” I almost wish it were true! White to be sure but do serious Christians really believe that a significant number of Trump’s so called Christian followers are serious about Biblical faith? I think not. They are a hoard (my terminology instead of tribe) of people who are using their brand of faith as a red carpet walk way to express their angst about an already corrupt political DC gang. Unfortunately they leave behind the stench of corrupt Christianity in the wake of their unguided political overtures.