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Did you vote for Donald Trump? Because your salvation apparently depends on it.

A few weeks back, right-wing Christian activist, David Barton, made the following statement in hopes of getting Christians to cast their vote for the GOP’s potentially fascist and definitely anti-Christ candidate, Donald Trump:

We will stand before God one day and answer for everything we’ve said and thought and done. God will say, ‘I gave you your country, what did you do with that?’ ‘Well, I didn’t do anything because I didn’t like any of the candidates.’ Really? You think God is going to buy that? In Matthew 25 and Luke 19, the guy who was given something to do and didn’t do anything with it, he’s the one who got in trouble with the master. He’s going to say, ‘I gave you a vote. What did you do with that vote I gave you?’ ‘Well, I couldn’t use it for anybody.’ And again, we’re back to Matthew 25 and Luke 19 where Jesus turned to him and said, ‘Wait a minute, you didn’t do anything with what I gave you, at all?’ And that is the one who got thrown into outer darkness.

Wow.

What an ego this man has, to speak on behalf of both God and Jesus—and to be certain that God’s most pressing posthumous queries into our lives will be about our political ideologies, and whether we cast our vote for an overtly xenophobic, racist, and bigoted New York billionaire named Donald Trump. Bravo! It must have taken some special insight to know such things about God. Should we just call it Gnostic? Yeah, I think that works.

But seriously, how do we know God gave us Donald Trump? Why is Donald Trump, of all people, God’s anointed? Simply because he is the GOP nominee? What if Ted Cruz became the presumptive Republican nominee, would he have then been God’s candidate? Ted’s dad thought so. So did Ted’s wife. Oh, and so did Mr. Barton, during the Republican primary. Rick Perry’s wife Anita thought Rick’s candidacy was of biblical proportions, comparing her husband to Torah legend, and all around enemy-slaying-bad-ass, Moses. Rick Santorum—same sort of thing. Mike Huckabee—you know the drill. And on and on the carousel goes. Do you see how silly this sort of thing is?

Now, I’m not saying, then, that Hilary Clinton is God’s choice—I’m trying to shed the platonic dualism engrained in my Western self—but why can’t she be? If Mr. Barton won’t write off Trump for being all the anti-Jesus-of-Nazareth things that Trump is, and cites biblical leaders like the murderous adulterer King David as justification (which he does), then why write off the “lying” and “aborting” and “war mongering” Hilary Clinton? In all actuality, she is the one who sounds more like King David than anyone, including Mr. Trump.

Do you see the hypocrisy here?

Moving on . . .

What irks me the most about statements like Barton’s, is that there always seems to be an out-of-context appeal to the Scriptures as justification for such a myopic view. In this instance, Matthew 25 and Luke 19 are the go-to passages, and I’m assuming Barton means Matt 25:14–30 and Luke 19:11–27, The Parable of the Talents and the Parable of the Ten Pounds respectively. In these parables (which are really just two versions of the same story), one of the more obvious things we should glean is that we are to do something with what we are given. Somehow, someway, Barton then makes the giant and might I say non-sequiturial leap and takes this to mean that we are to vote for Donald Trump because God gave us the right to vote for whom God appoints, which is of course Donald Trump.

Huh? What? Why?

Because Barton has special gnosis about the divine, as we’ve already established, and Trump has been divinely sent to make the USA great again in the same way Saul, David, and Solomon were sent to make Israel great. And if we don’t heed this call, if we don’t act on behalf of the GOP—I mean our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—then we will be sent to the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, and most likely a bunch of liberals like Barack Obama.

Ironically—and this is the kicker—when Jesus tells parables like those above, he is often speaking directly to or about the more judgmental of folks . . . folks who would use the words of God himself to threaten others into voting a certain way, for example. Jesus takes the view of a God who kicks the shit out of his enemies—which is not coincidently always synonymous with “our” enemies—and then turns that view on its head. So for instance, in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matt 25, Jesus teaches that it is not those who say the right things or believe the correct doctrines who can call themselves a sheep, but those who do the right things for the least fortunate of society in spite of their lack of “correct language” who are worthy of such a title. To that end, it is these who are afforded “eternal life,” not the other way around. Or, as my friend Jeff Turner once said:

In the parable of the sheep and the goats we find that God considers sacred the actions of those so in love with humanity that they never even think to figure God into the equation, but vain the actions of those so enamored with God that they never think to figure humanity into the equation. Service to humanity with no religious motivation is far more Godly than service to God with no humanitarian motivation.

Religion, including Christianity, tends to say the opposite. For those like Barton, it is all about voting for whomever the GOP, and thus God, puts forth as leaders. It is all about making America great, or in other words, powerful, again. For Jesus, however, it is all about what you do for the least of society—the starving illegal immigrant from Syria perhaps—not what you think you are doing for God (and country!).

All in all, I really doubt God is too concerned with who is in charge of the world’s greatest empire. Did it matter to Jesus who Caesar happened to be at the time? So why do his followers care so much about who the next American Caesar is going to be? Jesus is Lord over all, and his kingdom is not defined by being made great again, it is defined by radical love, grace, peace, and forgiveness. And so, instead of God inquiring into our voting habits to make sure we bleed deep Republican red, I think God will be inquiring into whether we showed love, grace, peace, and forgiveness, even to our enemies, or whether we didn’t.

And to those who didn’t, well, I think you know how Matthew 25 ends.

Topics: Politics. Ages: All Ages. Texts: Matthew.

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