Regardless of bigotry and hate spewed by the Republican candidate for President of the United States, the American Christian Right has been among his strongest supporters. Following the disturbing video of Donald Trump discussing sexually assaulting women, many Republicans have jumped from the Trump Train and openly condemned his comments. While some supporters continue to cling to the derailing campaign, particularly Evangelicals including Vice Presidential candidate Michael Pence, one must question, what would lead them to disavow this candidate? Many thought a Trump Contrition was coming during the October 9th debate; and it was a true repentance that would allow Christians to overlook his bad behavior.
Trump’s original response that his 2005 conversation with Billy Bush was nothing more than locker room banter was not enough and his follow up apology offered an insincere repentance that claimed the video was nothing more than a distraction and something that should be of no interest. He then went on the attack, condemning Bill Clinton’s behavior and claiming that Hillary Clinton “bullied, attacked, and shamed” her husband’s victims.
During the October 9th debate, rather than a contrition, Trump demonstrated his misogyny, abusiveness, and poor temperament time and again. To begin with, he attempted to humiliate Hillary Clinton by filing in women who have claimed sexual assault by Bill Clinton. He then used his time to respond to questions to attack Clinton for her response to her husband’s infidelity and argue that Bill Clinton’s behavior is far worse than his own. At points it seemed reasonable to wonder if Trump knew which Clinton is running for President.
As the debate continued, the Republican candidate responded in classic Trump fashion, deflecting, blaming, and attacking. When a Muslim American asked how she could ensure safety for her family, Trump responded by saying that Islamophobia can end if Muslims become responsible for reporting terrorism. When asked if he could truly be a leader for all Americans, he responded by saying that Clinton is the one who called his supporters deplorables. When asked about not paying taxes, he responded affirmatively saying it was Clinton’s fault for not changing the tax laws.
Trump commented that Clinton has “great hate in her heart.” His repeated interruptions, crude remarks, and lurking demonstrated abuser like traits and his visible uncomfortableness being forced to share a stage and allow a woman to speak was evident.
In a time where Trump should have responded with humility and admissions of poor judgment, where he should have apologized to Nancy O’Dell and Arianne Zucker, and to all women for his blatant misogyny, he demonstrated his true character by refusing to accept responsibility, shifting focus to the Clintons, and using a grade school like ploy arguing: “but they are worse than me.”
Following the first debate, polls reported that Trump had a 60% approval rate among Evangelicals. No doubt, it is curious that Trump’s strongest supporters are Christians. Perhaps the foundational messages of love, inclusion, and social justice have become lost among Western culture’s efforts to create an Americanized Jesus. Nonetheless, one must wonder, at what point will those who claim to follow the message of Christ back away from a candidate who encourages violence hatred, bigotry, misogyny, and so on? A Jesus like candidate in the political arena surely does not exist. Nonetheless, Trump has proven himself to lack basic human compassion and respect for others. It is time for Evangelicals to realize that a vote for Trump is an unholy vote.
Gina Messina, Ph.D. is an American feminist scholar, Catholic theologian, author, and activist. She is also Co-founder of Feminism and Religion. She writes for The Huffington Post, has authored multiple publications and is the co-editor of the highly acclaimed Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay. Messina is a widely sought after speaker and has presented across the US at universities, organizations, conferences and on national platforms including appearances on MSNBC, Tavis Smiley, NPR and the TEDx stage. She has also spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations to discuss matters impacting the lives women around the world. Messina is active in movements to end violence against women and explores opportunities for spiritual healing. Connect with her on Twitter @FemTheologian, Facebook, and her website ginamessinadysert.com.
8 thoughts on “The Trump (Non)Contrition by Gina Messina”
It seems to me that the Christian right views Christianity as supporting patriarchy and war with God on our side. These people may believe that God has ordained patriarchy and there certainly are many precedents for this “interpretation” of the Biblical texts. They may also believe that God has ordained certain nations as His chosen people destined to bring a light to the other nations. There is also precedent for this “view” in Christian history.
This is not how I would interpret the Bible if I were a Christian or a Jew, but it is how many have interpreted it in the past.
Your view that the decision to support Donald Trump is “not Christian” seems to deny that many Christians are not and have not been “Christian” as you would have them be Christian.
Donald Trump is certainly is not a saintly figure (if saintly means caring and compassionate), but then again, many Christians who believed in patriarchy and the divine right of kings or nations have not been particularly saintly either.
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Gina, thanks for posting this. Carol, thanks for your reply. I understand neither The Donald nor the Christian Right. I do know they are both highly patriarchal and authoritarian. And highly warlike, too. I voted by mail last Saturday. Y’all know who I did NOT vote for!
Thanks Gina, as regards “nothing more than locker room banter,” I saw a post which very sincerely disagreed with that insult towards sports people, really a marvelous reminder of the prejudice in that statement. It’s at Huffington Post if anyone is interested, authored by Alanna Varianos, and begins with this insight.
“High school athletes are reminding the world that sexual assault is most definitely not ‘locker room banter.’”
There’s quite a bit of annoyance by athletes on the topic out there apparently — a photo shared to Facebook on October 13, shows six young male athletes (both blacks and whites) standing in a locker room sporting shirts that call themselves “Wild Feminist.” The young people in the photo are basketball, football, soccer and cross country athletes from Centennial High School in Gresham, Oregon. Hooray for them. And the sidebar states emphatically: “Sexual Assault is not locker room banter.”
Oh, I love hearing about these young wild feminist multi-racial male athletes! Hope in my heart!
Trump’s remark that Hillary “has great hate in her heart” is pure projection of his own self and other hatred. How anyone could be taken in by this disgusting and arrogant buffoon remains an anathema to me unless I consider that hatred is in the hearts of many…
For those of us who try to live according to the teaching of Jesus, it is painful to be in any way connected to people who persecute or hate others in the name of “Christianity”. If I was looking for a “Christian” to vote for, I’d pick Bernie Sanders. His atheist heart is closer to goodness and truth than many advertising themselves as “Christians”.
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Well said. I cannot understand it either.
Christian is a label that covers a huge variety of types of people. A Christian act these days could be carried out by an unbeliever. All of these widely differing persons will claim to be following the Bible but if we examine their behavior we will find huge variations.
Politics is about getting elected to the ruling class which holds the purse strings and the power and politicians will slip on any hat or viewpoint to get votes. The originator of Christianity had no time for politics or money but spent all his time loving his fellow man and in the end suffered crucifixion just as he would today.