By Dominic Covvey
and David Zitner
Both of us were raised in religious traditions, one as a Christian and the other as a Jew. The Bible has definitely affected our lives.
One of us was more affected by the Old Testament, the other by the New. One even studied in a monastery, immersed in theology. Like many of you, neither of us can quote chapter and verse of the Scriptures. However, we share a comfortable familiarity with what’s there.
In some sense, we find ourselves uncomfortably burdened with a deep quandary regarding United States President Donald Trump. We don’t understand how believers – imbued with God’s biblical messages, lessons and commands – can tolerate and even approve of his behaviour.
We wonder if we’re all squandering an opportunity for recognizing evil and deciding for good. We can’t understand how those who believe the literal word of the Bible are tolerating the status quo.
Particularly relevant is how the Bible describes the qualities of leaders. How is it that a person who doesn’t have those qualities can be accepted, trusted and so blindly followed?
There are many small points – and we’re all flawed – but Trump has blatantly contravened many of the commandments. Yes, we all do from time to time, but we apologize or express our sorrow and seek forgiveness. He never does.
He has committed adultery, being unfaithful to several wives, borne false witness almost every day, behaved in an almost idolatrous way with respect to himself, vitiated many who worked for him, as well as many who have given everything for his country. He has cheated, in fact stolen, from people who laboured for him, abused the name of God and prized the state of the Dow Jones above all else.
Galatians 6:9 tells us not to become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up. Trump has allowed thousands of people to die unnecessarily in service of his re-election and is working to cut off health care to millions, while never delivering on promises. That’s not doing good.
In Hebrews 13:7, God recognizes that people imitate their leaders who spoke God’s word to them and advises us to consider the outcome of their leaders’ way of life and imitate their faith. How can we do that with this president, who exhibits none of the qualities God teaches and we value?
Matthew 7:12 says to do to others what you would have them do to you. Trump does to others what no one should do to them: he lies, speaks insults, labels them hatefully, turns them against each other, ignores mass death, disregards the suffering of migrants, separates children from parents, and demeans the impaired and people of colour.
In Philippians 2:3 we learn that we must do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, we should value others above yourselves. What could be less descriptive of the president’s behavior?
Remember also that Philippians 2:4 tells us not look to our own interests but each of us to the interests of the other. The only thing of importance to Trump is being re-elected, clearly in his own interest.
Our leaders, according to Timothy 3:2, must be above reproach, faithful to their spouses, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach and so on. This man lacks all those characteristics.
If those points were not enough, then consider the deadly or cardinal sins, especially pride, wrath and greed. Narcissism is pride incarnate, his throwing people under the bus is the definition of wrath and centrating on the stock market is greed personified. These are the sins that tend us towards other sins; recovering from them is extraordinarily difficult.
Could today’s scourges, like COVID-19, be consequences of the evil we see and hear every day?
Sodom and Gomorrah suffered those consequences and God visited plagues on people who didn’t heed the word. We’ve recently suffered terribly from massive fires, repeated disastrous floods, societal instability, storms and viruses.
The Bible tells that afflictions like these were insufficient to influence the words and deeds of many in the past and they don’t today. Is COVID-19 the 11th plague?
Many leaders have done little to support and preserve our natural, God-given world. Rather they inflicted harm. Some seem determined to pillage our environment by interest-driven support for projects that ravage the land and poison the water and air, not to mention removing health care and social supports. Regarding our environment, both in Genesis 2:15 and Leviticus 25: 1-5, God gives humans stewardship of the Earth – responsibility for its care.
Trump reportedly recently said that an important benefit of the pandemic was that he was spared from shaking hands with his “disgusting” supporters. Is this not the opposite of the message of Christ’s loving and healing the lepers?
We don’t wish to participate in the partisan wrangling, so we won’t suggest for whom Americans should vote. However, we will ask them to consider for whom not to vote. We ask they examine their conscience and decide if a wrathful, greedy, arrogant, lying, deceptive person who only pays lip service to God’s word and uses the Bible and a churches as photo ops is more likely to be an acolyte of Lucifer, who would do anything to get what he wants.
Remember that Lucifer is seen as wise and very convincing, able to take on many forms.
Revelation 3:19 suggests a solution: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
Perhaps it’s time for us all to repent, resolving never to support evil like this again.
Dominic Covvey is a retired professor, author and founder of the Canadian Organization the National Institutes for Health Informatics. David Zitner is a retired family doctor.