Why I believe he means it.
One of the reasons I believe he means it is that Jennifer LeClaire likes what she hears, and Jennifer has discernment I can only dream of. But I have my own reasons for believing Trump means this, and doesn’t even rely all that much on what Lance Wallnau says, nor on what James Dobson says. It’s basically my own read on what Trump says, and here that is:
The argument of many evangelicals who are horrified by the rise of Trump is that he is the farthest thing from a Christian, and is in fact playing Christians by pushing our buttons and telling us what we want to hear – when in fact the Republican Party would be selling Christians out by nominating a man who has been a shameless adulterer and whose behavior and expressions about others reflects anything but the light of Christ.
Let me tell you why, while I have some sympathy for many of those concerns, I think statements like the one in this video show God is doing something different through Trump.
The direction of the American culture is decidedly not in favor of Christianity. Trump clearly sees this. So if Trump was merely looking to pander to cultural trends to con his way into the White House, the more logical play would be to follow the culture and push social cons away. Yet Trump does exactly the opposite. What would a cynical con man embrace the people who are most on the cultural defensive, especially when he more so than anyone else has demonstrated a mastery of the media and of how to command the levers of the public discourse?
If Trump was what the Max Lucados of the world say he is, he would trash evangelicals as judgmental prudes who stand in the way of progress. Yet he comes to Christians’ defense again and again. Politically it hardly seems like the thing to do.
The other reason I believe him is that he diagnoses the problem better than most Christians do, especially when he talks about the mealy-mouthed capitulation of businesses to the cultural trends of the day. It’s not that they care one way or the other about Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays (nor do I, to be honest with you). It’s that they’re scared. They know which cultural voices will scream at them the loudest if they don’t do their bidding, so they take the path of least resistance. That’s why Target is letting men use the ladies’ room. That’s why the NFL turned its Super Bowl halftime show into a big gay rainbow.
They really don’t care one way or the other. They just don’t want any trouble. What Trump is telling Christians is that they’re losing because the other side is willing to make all the trouble, and all Christians do is wring their hands and mope about the persecution.
Finally, Trump is exactly right on the use of tax exemptions to silence pastors, although I’d say the answer is to throw out the tax code altogether and replace it with one that has such low rates that no one – including churches – even needs to seek an exemption. The left is always complaining about churches not paying their taxes. I agree. I think churches should pay taxes, but the taxes should not be so crushing that it’s really a big burden.
I don’t think that’s what the left wants, though. They like having such high rates that churches can’t operate without the exemptions, because that gives the IRS power over the churches, and we all know what the IRS does with power like that.
Trump understands the short-term solution, which is to tighten the reins on the IRS and to change the law so you can’t bring the hammer down on pastors just for expressing an opinion. The longer-term solution is a new tax code, as I said earlier.
But no charlatan explains the problem this well, or acts so counterintutively to his own political interests. Trump is far from a perfect man, but he is on the side of what’s right here and he means what he’s saying. That’s more important than ever when the only alternative to him is now officially above the law.