Evangelicals, and Our Cult of Trump

By: David McCaleb
David McCaleb is a writer and national bestselling novelist. Books →


To the Christian church,

The support for Trump expressed by many evangelicals approaches cult-like status. Our worship of him is absolute, ignoring his missteps and many warning signs. Despite his distinctly non-Christian displays, we prop him up as a national savior. The Oxford Languages dictionary defines a cult as, “a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.” Trump may be an adept president. I even agree with many of his policies. However, assigning Christian values to him and trusting that man as our nation’s redeemer is woefully misplaced.

Evangelicals, though we are instructed not to judge, we are also exhorted to shrewdly discern wolves from sheep among our leadership by observing their “fruit” (reference Matthew 7:15-20). Why, then, have we thrown aside reason to pursue a leader whom we cannot trust due to his overabundance of words and festering fruit? We are looking to a false messiah, one found in politics and governance, and are thus guilty of the same blindness the Pharisees displayed in the gospels.

While observing our former president, whether standing behind the campaign pulpit or sitting next to his defense counsel, can we say he exhibits the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (ref. Galatians 5:22-23)? No. Instead we see anger, contentiousness, denigration, slander, and rebellion (ref. Colossians 3:5-9). Even while I acknowledge the national media’s too-obvious bias and the blatant misuse of the judicial system, I have a difficult time witnessing healthy fruit upon his branches.

Recently, when confronting an evangelical friend regarding his adamant pro-Trump stance despite the former president’s putrefying fruit, his reply was all too common. “All politicians are corrupt. He’s no worse.” OK, but that didn’t answer the question, nor did it address the issue. Because supporting Trump for Christian reasons is akin to supporting Putin because of his professions of faith. After all, several close to Putin report that he prays daily, that he maintains close contact with church leaders, and that he hasn’t removed his infant baptismal cross since 1993 when it was blessed at Jesus’s tomb while on visit to the holy land. In addition, Putin’s strong public stance against the LGBTQ agenda lines up with evangelical beliefs. And he’s vocal against abortion. Since his rise to power, abortions have dropped 75% in Russia, and now stand at half those performed in the U.S. But evangelicals, rightly so, shrewdly see through Putin’s false front due to the rest of his person, his fruit.

"Supporting Trump for Christian reasons is akin to supporting Putin because of his professions of faith."

Why, then, do we refuse to apply the same measuring line against Trump? I get it. We’re frustrated with our nation drifting from Christian values and cozying to those of hedonism. We’re sickened by society’s weak-willed acceptance of the LGBTQ not-equal-but-special-rights agenda. We’re appalled by how, in a post-civil rights society, we still allow masters to kill their fellow human “property”, lying to ourselves that abortion can be justified as a right exercised by the privileged – the parent.

But instead of attempting to fix these issues through political means, we should instead observe the teachings of scripture. Though our nation’s elected leadership is crucial, our sickness is spiritual, and therefore must be healed through spiritual means. Answers aren’t hidden in scripture, rather they are plainly stated. To fix our nation, the church must first fix its own heart.

The future of America is planted firmly at the feet of the church. However, its seed is hidden beneath a special kind of soil – a rare, unnatural one that can’t be purchased and is only obtained through effort. This soil is called humility and, once its seed begins to sprout, its fruit can change the world. “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). This promise does not depend upon our nation’s leaders, but a group even more powerful: the church.

The message of John the Baptist? Repent. What did Jesus preach to the masses after his baptism? Repent. What message did Jesus give to his disciples when he sent them out? Repent. How do we fill the spiritual chasm within our nation? Not with political promises, but through personal repentance, humility, and prayer.

Evangelicals must vote according to our godly convictions instead of searching for godly convictions to support our vote. We errantly place our hope in a carved figurine, an idol, telling it, “You must represent Godly character and lead our land.” We place it upon the mantle at the center of our home, the throne of our soul, shooing away the living Man already seated there. We, the church, need to repent. Today, may each of us, as individuals, begin a long season of personal, complete, and total repentance. For the sake of our nation, we must.

Now, who to vote for in 2024? Yeah, good luck with that!


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