There are many things I don't understand about American politics and it has been suggested - just last week, in fact - that as a non-American, I shouldn't write about American issues. But I can't stay quiet about Trump. Especially not when I heard that a large portion of his support comes from the Christian Right.
So, one of the first things I fail to understand about American politics is how influential the Christians are. In the UK, our politics are largely secular - Christians do lobby for specific causes but they don't work together as a bloc. And most individual Christians I know tend to be quite left-leaning - working on the Acts principles of pooling our resources for the common good (some more literally than others). So the concept of a powerful Christian Right that can change the outcome of an election is quite alien to me.
But even most alien to me is how anyone who calls themselves a Christian can possibly consider voting for Trump. He is a despicable person. Let's start with his attitude towards women - he talks down to them, makes sexual innuedos, advocates sexual assault. Does this sound like a person you should be voting for?
He has no understanding of reform and redemption. When caught out on camera describing his technique for "grabbing" women, he just dismissed it as being ten years old and said he'd changed since then. But how has he changed? Has he repented for talking like that and demonstrated his reformed character? I see no evidence of it. We as Christians believe that no-one is beyond redemption but to be redeemed, you first need to repent. You need to be sorry. He is only sorry that he's been caught.
Then there's the xenophobia. Of the many things that were remarkable about Jesus, what was the most controversial at the time? I would argue it was his love of the foreigner. When he talks to the Samaritan woman at the well, he breaks two of the great taboos - talking to women and talking to a Samaritan. In this act, he shows his great love for all humankind despite contemporary prejudices and traditions. Compare this to Trump's Mexico wall. And ask yourself - is this a Jesus-like way to behave?
Onto the taxes and I know it's one that not all Christians subscribe to, but I believe it's godly to pay your way in society. What did Jesus say when challenged on the issue? "Render unto Caeser what is Caeser's". He also had a few choice words for those store up riches on Earth - forever building bigger barns - so you have to wonder what he'd say to the super-rich Trump. Also, he lies all the time...which I believe is breaking one of the ten commandments.
I'm not one for taking specks out of others' eyes and so I wouldn't want you to think I'm just sitting here and pointing out Trump's sins for fun. I'm doing it because I truly believe this man would be a danger to the world if he's elected. He would push women's rights back by a century, stir up hatred and violence and quite possibly detonate the nuclear arsenal. He's impulsive and easily angered - is this someone you want in the role of leader of the free world? As Christians, we carefully select our church leaders on the basis of their integrity, leadership skills, godliness, truthfulness, wisdom....the list goes on. If you're a Christian, ask yourself - does Donald Trump display all of these qualities?
I can see why he appeals to the Christian Right - I really can. There is, regrettably, misogyny running solidly through the American church and so Trump's women-denigrating isn't bothering the Evangelical Executive Advisory Board. He claims to stand for Family Values - i.e. he's pro-life - and obviously, he has XY chromosomes, which makes him instantly more qualified that the other candidate.
But assuming you're not a far-rightist who sets fire to abortion clinics, can I urge you to think and pray about this decision? Trump is not a Christian. He doesn't act like a Christian. Sure, he claims to attend church and collect Bibles but his character tells us otherwise. And if you can't scrutinise a man's character when he's attending the most important job interview in the world, when can you?
So analyse, scrutinise, think and pray. Don't wait and then regret. Don't be on the wrong side of history.Suggest a correction