by Gallagher & Schleicher
Readers of our column (and related blog) gave us a hell of a time over our last piece asking “What if the Devil ran for office?” It seems everyone assumed we were talking about Donald Trump. Good heavens. We’re convinced he knows far too little scripture to ever make a great Satan, but nonetheless we’d like to make amends.
The president’s recent retweeting of a suggestion he was the Second Coming of God, combined with his all-powerful tweet ordering U.S. companies to cease doing business in China, inspired us.
If readers were offended at the thought that he smelled of soot, surely they’d be pleased by an Almighty comparison. So we turned to our Bibles (the same King James Version that Jesus used) and found these startling commonalities between descriptions of the Creator of All Things and our Commander in Chief.
1. He’s not especially fond of the disabled (remember his mocking of reporter Serge Kovaleski?). Compare to Leviticus 21:18-21 (disabled not to make offerings in the temple) and Deuteronomy 23:1 ([too graphic for a family newspaper]).
2. He sees children as an especially effective means of inflicting pain on the disloyal. Compare to Leviticus 26:27-30 (unfaithful will end up eating flesh of their offspring) and Psalm 137:9 (dashing children against rocks).
3. He insists on absolute loyalty. Compare to Matthew 10:35-37 (must love God more than one’s own son or daughter).
4. He sees things the rest of us don’t. Compare to Deuteronomy 33:17, Isaiah 34:7, Psalm 22:21 (all referencing unicorns).
5. He won’t take — and doesn’t believe he needs — anyone’s advice. Compare to Isaiah 40:13-24.
6. He’s subject to unanticipated fits of rage. Compare to Leviticus 10:1-3 (in response to a surprise offering, God caused the fire to consume those who had presented it).
7. At times he has an unusual orange glow. Compare to Exodus 3:2 (God appearing in the form of fire).
8. He believes that all of Earth’s rulers owe him something. Compare John 19:11 (telling Pilate he holds his position only by God’s permission).
9. He’s rather wealthy. Compare to Psalm 50:10 (owns the cattle on a thousand hills).
10. He never plans to leave office. Compare to Exodus 15:18 and Psalm 146:10 (will reign forever).
Now, you skeptics are sure to argue that Trump is among the least godly of our presidents, what with all that greed, lust and pride. That he ignores Old Testament commands to show kindness to immigrants and New Testament commands to love one’s enemies and to surrender one’s wealth. That may all be true, but we can think of yet another way in which our deific president aligns with Biblical portrayals.
Consider that when the Messiah first arrived triumphantly in the capital city, the crowds enthusiastically shouted their praise for him, so much so that the establishment urged him to quiet them down (Luke 19:28-40). Yet, when later faced with a binary choice of him or another, they chose the other (Matthew 27:21). That is, we suspect that by November 2020, the rabble-rousing crowd will be looking elsewhere for a hero.
There will always be among the religious some who find appealing the portrayals of God as angry, jealous and obsessed with receiving the praise of his people. Others remain certain that the fuller, more accurate picture is that of a deity who commands us to love even our enemies, to focus our attention on caring for the person deemed the least among us and to both seek and grant forgiveness.
We suspect that the former picture is rooted in a time when to be all-powerful meant one necessarily was king. And that those who embrace such traits in their god or their favored candidate at some level miss those days. We don’t.
This piece originally appeared in the Sunday, September 1, 2019 Waco Tribune-Herald, where the Davids are on the Board of Contributors.