Donald Trump continues to give my clinical mind plenty of “stuff” to play with though much of what he does and so is very scary for the sake of my country. One thing that staggers my imagination is how that he is handily winning the evangelical Christian vote over a much more egregiously Christian candidate, Ted Cruz, and in spite of stances and statements which are anti-thetical to everything Christians stand for. It is as if evangelical Christians have said, “My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with facts.” He can so or do anything and his numbers will continue to rise. In fact several months ago, he brazenly declared that he could stand in the streets of New York city and shoot somebody and “my numbers would still go up.” And even with that contemptuous observation about his constituency, he numbers continued to rise!
Two significant evangelical pastors have endorsed him. Jerry Falwell Jr, the son of the founder of the Moral Majority and the present founder of Liberty University, declared Trump an “outstanding Christian” as he endorsed him at Liberty University and then proceeded to listen to Trump use expressions like “What the hell” several times in his speech before the student body. I was thirty years old before I used that expression! And the pastor of First Baptist of Dallas, Robert Jeffress, endorsed him early in the campaign but did not cover his awkwardness real well. When Trump opened his arms to embrace the pastor, I remember noting that the pastor looked like a girl at the high school prom who was forced to embrace a disgusting football jock who she found repulsive.
But I think I understand why the Christian constituency is willing to overlook basic teachings of their faith and support such an unsavory man. Early in the campaign I was listening to one of Trump’s speeches on TV and had to share with my wife, “Wow, I understand why he is so popular! I want to give him at ‘atta boy.'” For his populist fervor and rhetoric appealed so readily to memories of my past when his simplistic solution to complex problemsappealed to me. “Make America Great Again” appeals to me still on some unconscious level though my reptilian brain is now countered by self-reflection.
Several evangelical voices have dared to confront their “family” and pose the question, “What about simple decency?” For example, Trump has publicly made fun for one of his critics for having a physical deformity, a physical deformity similar to what Jesus described as a “withered hand.” (This man’s entire arm was “withered”.) And on another occasion, he ridiculed a Fox commentator who is disabled from the waist down for not being able to stand on his own two feet. I was, and still am horrified with these two events. And evangelical Christians merely overlook it! And, furthermore, Trump has repeatedly revealed on TV that he has incestuous thoughts about his beautiful daughter but we never hear anything about that…other than Trevor Noah!
I can just imagine what other countries are thinking now as they witness this spectacle. And, the amusement and horror are justified as this phenomena does reveal something about our character, not just that of the Republican party.