Say bad things about me and I’ll destroy you

I ‘destroy’ careers of Republicans who say bad things about me.
Say bad things about me and I’ll destroy you.
This was said by our president (now past President) – Donald Trump.  But it’s OK.  As he went on to explain:
“I only destroy their career because they said bad things about me and you fight back and they go down the tubes and that’s OK,” he added.
No, it’s not OK – as I’ll go on to explain.

Say bad things about me and I'll destroy you

If you read carefully, you noticed this was written while Trump was President. I was going to leave all that behind. It’s a topic that generates too much hatred and backlash. However, Trump is still around. And Trump still generates lots of hatred.

That’s a bad thing for everyone. But for Christians, it’s even worse. For too many Christians, far worse than we/they imagine.

I can no longer tolerate the I’ll destroy you attitude

My own feeling, initially, was that him running for President might be a good thing. Not a politician. Not beholden to anyone. Free to do his own thing. And presumably, that thing would be good for us, the people.

Unfortunately, Trump was, and is, beholden to someone. Himself! And he turned out to be freer than any other President I remember to do his own thing, for himself. And it all came from fear and hatred. It still comes from fear and hatred. Just the presence of so many things about Trump that bring up those two words – fear and hatred – should be more than enough for red flags, flashing lights, loud alarms, and all sorts of other things – that Christians should be running away from this guy.

I did. In fact, Trump alone was enough to make me question a whole lot of things about being a Republican. I should say, former Republican. Truth is, there are all sorts of non-Biblical things going on in both parties. But the self-righteousness and hypocrisy from the conservative/religious right have really turned me off.

At least, that’s what I believe. Throughout everything I’ve written about him, and what will follow as long as he endangers the souls of fellow Christians, I will explain why. You are, of course, free to disagree. But please, let’s try to stay away from the hatred? And try to be honest, in the Biblical sense of the word?

Say bad things about me and I’ll destroy you

With that as the backdrop, let’s get to what I wrote back in August 2018. With a few additions along the way.

Say bad things about me – I’ll say worse things about you

Say bad things about me – I’ll say worse things about you. That pretty much sums up Trump’s approach. So how did so many Christians come on board with Trump? There was an article in The Hill, titled How Trump won with evangelicals — and won big, that was very revealing.

Trump often boasted during the campaign “the evangelicals love me,” and few in the media recognized just how deep that alliance went. 

Based on election results, Evangelicals really did love Trump.

Donald Trump won the white evangelical vote by historic margins, taking a bigger share with the group than Mitt Romney, John McCain and even George W. Bush did, according to exit polls.

In so doing, the president-elect overcame what many assumed would (a) be paralyzing disadvantage for the thrice-married Manhattanite who once favored abortion “in every respect and as far as it goes.”

Trump closed the deal with born-again leaders and voters by telling them, in his blunt way, exactly what they wanted to hear. He made unprecedented promises, including releasing his potential list of Supreme Court justices ahead of time. He also added a litmus test, vowing to only appoint “pro-life” justices.

What can I say? Evangelicals supporting someone who once favored abortion “in every respect and as far as it goes.” Given everything else, did people really think Trump changed his mind so drastically? And why were they so willing to just accept every promise and claimed belief from his mouth, when his behavior said something so very different?

Say bad things about me – I’ll destroy you and get Christian support!

There’s quite a laundry list of things that led to these Christians supporting Trump.  If you want to check it out, I recommend reading the whole article.  Here’s just one sequence from it.

Few evangelical leaders saw early promise in Trump. Among the few who did was the Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. 

Most evangelical leaders, however, remained skeptical about Trump long into the primary season. They observed a man who had been married three times, bragged about committing adultery, and said vulgar things about women on Howard Stern’s radio show. Some of these leaders never got there with Trump.

Others, like Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America, finally came to support the GOP nominee. She didn’t view Trump as a moral authority. She saw a man who, in her judgment, would be far preferable to a Democrat campaigning with the enthusiastic support of Planned Parenthood.  

So it’s not like Trump’s behavior and his previous way of life weren’t known. How did it suddenly become unimportant or maybe even irrelevant? Was someone who wasn’t a supporter of Planned Parenthood really enough to make that happen? And even there, what about Trump’s previous stance on abortion?

Nance even went to Trump Tower last week to rally evangelical women. She said she supported Trump “not on gender or personality” grounds but “in defense of the Supreme Court, the sanctity of life, religious freedom, national security, and economic freedom.” 

Rallying women to support a man with the character that Trump exhibited up to this point? Seriously? And even, in the process, admitting that he’s got huge flaws? But claiming that the Supreme Court the sanctity of life, and religious freedom were reasons to overlook what were his stated beliefs on and opinions about being pro-abortion, bragging about committing adultery, and degrading women on the radio? Wow.

Social conservative leaders warmed to Trump around the time of the convention because he didn’t fight them on the party platform. Instead, Trump’s team supported the most conservative platform in the history of the party, according to Perkins.  

Trump did himself further favors when, instead of shifting to the secular center, he doubled down with evangelicals in the general election period. 

In Reed’s judgment, Trump made “the most full-throated, aggressive and unapologetic appeal to evangelical voters” in a general election environment since Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign. 

The obvious question here is, why didn’t Trump fight any of these things that were obviously against his own personal beliefs? Why was he so bent on doing whatever the religious conservatives wanted? In Reagan’s case, he really was a Christian. But Trump? Little, if any evidence to support a claim to living a Christian life.

Trump made numerous appearances in evangelical settings during the general election period, Reed notes. These include his September address to the Values Voter Summit and his October appearance with Christian leader Pat Robertson at Regent University in Virginia Beach. 

“For the most part,” Reed said, “the modus operandi of the national Republican Party has been to embrace these voters, their leaders and their organizations and issues in the primaries; and then keep them out of camera range and at arm’s length in the general election.

“Donald Trump never played with that playbook,” he said. 

A number of evangelical leaders mentioned the final debate as a key moment.

“The point at which Donald Trump closed the deal with evangelicals was at the last debate,” said Perkins, “when he gave the most concise definition of late-term abortion that any Republican or any presidential candidate in the general election has given.”

Good grief. So the man can define late-term abortion. So can every doctor who performs an abortion. Being able to read some words has nothing to do with actually believing those words. Plus, there’s one issue, mentioned earlier on, that looms incredibly large on all of this. We’ll return to it shortly.

Trump attacked Clinton in graphic terms for supporting late-term abortions.

“If you go with what Hillary is saying,” Trump said, “in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. 

In what may be the ultimate in abortion hypocrisy from Trump, those words define his own beliefs on abortion, right up to the moment he decided to go after the Evangelical vote in his run for President.

A telling conclusion was reached by Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition:

Reed concluded that if evangelical voters had “stayed home as some thought they’d do,” or, he added with a smile, “if the rapture occurred,” then Trump would have lost the election “by a Johnson-Goldwater type margin.” 

And so, the Evangelicals, as they say, put Trump over the top. However, if you know much about the Goldwater loss, they also kept Trump from an epic loss.

What did Jesus say about this “say bad things about me” behavior?

Love for Enemies – Matthew

Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

Yes – Jesus said this.  Christians should remember it.  Trump admittedly has it as a way of life.  And it works for him, even with Christians. That fact is shocking and very disappointing.

However, Christians should also remember that Trump said something else after that sentence.

44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Oops.  So much for the idea of “Say bad things about me and I’ll destroy you”.  At least, it should be a case of so much for saying that. Unfortunately, yet again, it’s not enough. It gets even worse.

So Trump either doesn’t remember, doesn’t know, or doesn’t care about what came after “hate your enemy“.  Just the opening of “you have heard it said” should be a clue that what was said is wrong.  Quoting out of context is quite dangerous.

But what about all the alleged Christians who support Trump?  Maybe they didn’t get what they were hoping for.  Even though the evidence showed that he didn’t exactly live a Christian life.  Even though he completed showed the “Say bad things about me and I’ll destroy you” right from the start.

Even allowing for unexpected consequences, how does our president continue to keep Christian support?  How does a man who says “Say bad things about me and I’ll destroy you” fit in with what we’re taught as Christians?  How do the things he does that are in line with that attitude fit in with the kind of life Christians are supposed to lead?

Have we lost the teachings of Jesus so much that we don’t even see it?

The last sentence of the passage from Jesus is Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  Granted, we’ll never be perfect.  But how should Christians feel about someone who isn’t even willing to try?

What do you think?  Is “Say bad things about me and I’ll destroy you” a Christian mindset and way to live?

Conclusion – Say bad things about me and I’ll destroy you

I was hoping to let this topic die over on the old site. However, with Trumpism and even Trump still hanging around and maybe even coming back stronger, I can’t do that.

It just feels wrong to not be a voice to try to remind Christians of what we believe. What we claimed to believe when we became Christians. And how wrong all of this feels against the backdrop of Jesus’ life and teachings.

And so, my message in this article and others in the same category is a twofold one.

To Christians – I honestly don’t believe this is what we signed up for as Christians. This kind of person is leading us astray.

And to non-Christians, please don’t judge God by Trump and his followers. They are not indicative of the God I see in the Bible. While Trump and his followers think he is the Greatest Of All Time, I can’t help but believe he’s actually a different kind of goat. The one described below. Please – don’t be misled by him, his words of hatred, and his actions that are laid out in verses 41-46.

The Sheep and the Goats

Mt 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Mt 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Mt 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

Mt 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Mt 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

Mt 25:44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

Mt 25:45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Mt 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Which one do you think you are – a sheep or a goat? Why? Something you think you deserve? Something someone else told you about Christianity? Or what the word of God says?

Honestly, as I’ve said before in other articles, this isn’t between you and me. It’s between you and God. After all, you and I don’t get to decide which way we go. Jesus does that. And so, it’s really His word that we need to examine and try to follow. Not mine. And not our own. Only The Word of God. Jesus.

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