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When The Mocking Hits Home

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The Left mocks religiosity.  It is par for the course at this juncture.  It is usually not worth the time of day.  But yesterday Frank Bruni had an op-ed in the NYTimes which has the usual mocking tone, but the content is just a little too true for comfort.  It is just too bad that Bruni does not see that his tone amounts to the same “sin” he is so busy deriding.

Bruni is baffled by the Evangelical embrace of Trump. He goes on and on about how Trump is the more or less the chief of sinners.  Such is a typical charge of the left against the religious – never quite getting that the point of religiosity is not perfection, but the effort to achieve it.  But that gets us to where I do think Evangelicals ought to have a problem with Trump.  Last week at a gathering of Evangelicals in Iowa, Trump said:

I’m not sure I’ve ever asked God for forgiveness

That statement sounds to me even less on the Christian target than the mocking tones Bruni uses in his op-ed.  Moreover, that statement is Obamaesque, and that is frightening on a political as well as a religious level.

While Christianity comes with a complex ethical code and it is incumbent on any person wishing to call themselves Christian to work hard to comply with that code, such is not what defines Christianity.  Christianity acknowledges that we cannot of our own accord actually achieve compliance with that code.  There is something broken in us that prevents it.  That being said, the ethical code is less legal limits and boundaries and more a signpost pointing us to the fact that we are broken.

The essence of being a Christian is to acknowledge that we are broken and endeavor to allow God, in some supernatural fashion, to fix whatever it is that is broken.  When the repair has been achieved, something we also know will not happen in this lifetime, the ethical code will become transparent.  We will comply with it of our nature and not because we “have to.”  But that starts with acknowledging our brokenness.

Whether it is Trump’s overt denial that anything is broken, or Bruni’s superior tone that does not allow for any brokenness, I cannot imagine anything less Christian.

And this all matters in a presidential election because character matters.  Obama also lacks this essential acknowledgement of his own brokenness.  The disaster that has been the Obama presidency is transparent to any that are willing to look at it without agenda.  A conservative president with the same character flaw may have policies more in line with Christian ideals, but his presidency will fail for the same reasons the Obama presidency has.  Policy by hubris cannot help but fail.

Nope, I don’t get it with Trump and Evangelicals.  God help me not to be a jerk while I am not getting it.


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