New York Times Gets Serious About Christianity -- to Attack Trump
Despite Wehner's scathing critique of The Donald (and similar attacks from leaders like Russell Moore), many conservative Christians are supporting Trump. Infamously, James Dobson recently declared that "Trump appears to be tender to the things of the Spirit," meaning the Holy Spirit.
Eric Metaxas, author of books about virtue and popular biographies of William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, has said Christians "must vote for Trump, because with all his foibles, peccadilloes, and metaphorical warts, he is nonetheless the last best hope of keeping America from sliding into oblivion, the tank, the abyss, the dustbin of history, if you will."
Dobson and Metaxas are known for their integrity, which led this reporter to question how they could support The Donald so thoroughly. In an interview with radio host Mike Gallagher, Metaxas recalled an underreported part of Trump's meeting with evangelicals last month.
The one thing that was not reported on, and this is big, Cardinal Dolan walked him to the catechism [sic -- I think he meant the baptistry] and baptized him in front of 750 people. He is now a Roman Catholic. It's unbelievable.
Indeed, this event would be "yuge," and would help explain why so many Christians with integrity have begun insisting that Trump is indeed a Christian. Roman Catholics believe that salvation is given through the Sacraments, and baptism is the first of these. Even non-Catholics hail the importance of baptism, as even Jesus was baptized.
Although Trump may not fully appreciate Christian doctrine and live by it, his baptism does suggest at least an openness to faith. The problem is that Christians are called to recognize one another by the "fruit of the spirit." The Donald seems especially lacking in these qualities: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. First Corinthians (not "one" or "two Corinthians") emphasizes what is meant by love, and it's very service oriented -- "it does not boast, it is not proud."
Nevertheless, the stunning news today that presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will face no charges involving her private email server suggests that Metaxas may be right about Trump being "the last best hope" to preserve America. Hillary's escape from justice presents a huge threat to the rule of law in this country, and if she becomes president that could arguably signal the downfall of American values.
Clinton has taken stances on abortion and religious liberty which would push our country even farther left, alienating conservative Christians and removing their ability to live by their values. Worse, she has shown a terrible sense of ruthless political maneuvering which she could only have learned from Richard Nixon himself. The idea that Hillary will nominate the next two Supreme Court justices also does not sit well with values voters.
With Trump and Clinton disliked by huge segments of the population, there is a non-zero chance that a third party candidate, like the Libertarian Gary Johnson, might be able to steal states and force the election into the House of Representatives. From there, Congress would have to decide the president.
Nevertheless, with the Republican Party most likely to fall in line behind him, The Donald may be the only hope of keeping this morally heinous woman from the Oval Office. Christian leaders like Metaxas do not deny Trump's sins and errors, but they sadly may be right that he is better than the alternative.
It is telling that when the New York Times does go out of its way to present Christianity well, it is only to attack the presumptive Republican nominee. While Wehner is not a New York Times reporter but a guest columnist, it seems unlikely that the newspaper would have published his column if Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio had won the Republican primary.