Much of the strong criticism that President Donald Trump receives from Christians typically comes from Mainline Protestants (especially non-fundamentalist African-American churches) or Catholic Democrats; Trump is still quite popular among far-right fundamentalist white evangelical groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. But one self-described evangelical who is furious with Trump and his apologists is Jay Lowder, who leads Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries in Wichita Falls, Texas and declares in a Washington Post op-ed that equating Trump with God is “blasphemous.”
Trump, this week, described himself as “the chosen one” when it comes to leading a trade war with China and claimed that Israeli Jews consider him “the King of Israel.” With the “King of Israel” remark, Lowder notes, Trump was echoing the rhetoric of radio host Wayne Allyn Root — who said that the “the Jewish people love (Trump)… like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God.”
Lowder, in response, asserts in his op-ed, “Christians believe and profess that the only true King of Israel is God, as clearly stated in Isaiah 44:6 — and that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, into this world. That makes the description of Trump as ‘the second coming of God’ shocking, blasphemous and sacrilegious.”
One need only spend some time listening to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (a practicing Episcopalian), Sister Mary Scullion (a well-known Catholic nun and liberal/progressive activist in Philadelphia), the Rev. Al Sharpton or some black ministers in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) to realize that Trump is by no means universally loved in Christianity. But as Lowder notes in his op-ed, Trump has an army of passionate defenders in the right-wing white evangelical community — and those evangelicals, Lowder writes, are being hypocritical when Trump says things they should be offended by.
“The silence from my fellow evangelical colleagues, ministry partners and friends” in response to blasphemous statements by Trump, Lowder writes, “is deafening. Many of them refuse to call out moral failures on the right that they have so vehemently attacked on the left.”
Lowder adds, “In the evangelical community, we have come to incorrectly believe that any critique of Trump only serves to promote the party on the left. But embracing critiques proves we are objective, not blind to the flaws in political parties or our presidents.”
Lowder laments that traveling around the United States, he often encounters a “growing antagonism toward evangelicals.” And he concludes his op-ed by stressing that this “antagonism” will continue to grow as long as fellow evangelicals show an obvious double standard where Trump is concerned.
“As evangelicals, we have taken a hard line on conservative values, but we have also been moving our standards to fit our narrative,” Lowder complains. “If we are going to condone or condemn certain actions, policies or behaviors coming from the current administration, then we had better be ready to do the same with the next president.”