Op/Ed By George Payne
White, born-again, evangelical Christians reportedly voted for Trump in monumental numbers.
He received 81 percent of their vote, which was more than Romney received in 2012.
In the process of brandishing Americanized Christianity as a downtrodden white man’s religion in need of fortification, Trump was successful in convincing 26 percent of the electorate (94 million people) that he is, at worst, better than Clinton, and, at best, the redeemer they have been waiting for.
It should come as little surprise then that the president-elect would find the compulsion to violate the Constitution almost impossible to suppress, once he steps into the Oval Office.
Although this living framework explicitly states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” it appears obvious that Trump, and his advisers, will begin to institutionalize their version of Christianity as the national religion, as soon as they can.
In fact, during one of his campaign speeches, he foreshadowed these unlawful intentions: “I’m a true believer. And you’re many true believers — I hope all — is everybody a true believer in this room? I think so. But Christianity is under tremendous siege…The power of our group of people together, I mean, if you add it up … it could be 240, 250 million. And yet, we don’t exert the power that we should have. Now, I think some of the churches are afraid of their tax status, to be honest…But you know the fact is that there is nothing the politicians can do to you if you band together. You have too much power. But the Christians don’t use their power,” Trump said. “We have to strengthen. Because we are getting — if you look, it’s death by a million cuts — we are getting less and less and less powerful in terms of a religion, and in terms of a force,” he continued.
Sadly, far too many of Trump’s proposals resemble the ideas and techniques of history’s worst autocrats.
Talk of Muslim registries, deportation squads, border walls, legalized torture, arresting flag burners, proliferating nuclear weapons, threatening political opponents, undermining free press, demeaning the disabled, pillaging the earth for material resources, encouraging cyber attacks, and generally dividing human beings into artificial categories in order to confuse and manipulate them, are all recycled moves from the playbook of yesterday’s defeated tyrants. They are also fundamentally un-Christian.
Wherever Christianity is elevated at the expense of other religions, it always ends up degrading itself. In other words, when Christianity is enshrined as the authorized faith of the government, it always ends up seeking power over compassion.
When this happens, a life-giving force degenerates into a parasitical virus which infects every capillary of society.
And, it does happen.
The transformation of Christianity, from a pure and beautiful expression of God’s love into an evil force of intimidation, ignorance, and impunity, has happened far too many times in history to be written off as unwarranted pessimism, or fear mongering partisanship.
Instituting Christianity as the state religion certainly smears the basic integrity of the U.S. Constitution.
In Jefferson’s first draft, he nailed it: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”