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Christians and the new golden calf

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My Baptist preacher dad could make the story of the wayward tribe of the of fleeing Hebrews come vividly alive in his unique, fiery sermon delivery. Distraught that the Promised Land seemed to be a distant mirage, with Moses, their leader, absent, they decided to settle for a “god” they could see and touch, a god that would save them from their current state of despair.

As always with those who deem themselves as “followers of the way,” the Israelites made a tragic mistake. So, it is today when we, who say our faith is in the one true God and seek to follow His Word, turn to earthly powers to save us and lead us — the end result will be tragedy.

In a tongue-in-cheek article in the satirical publication The Babylon Bee, I discovered the following: “In a poll, we found that 72 percent of self-identified evangelicals would vote and even campaign for the prince of fallen angels should he promise to promote Republican policies while in office.”

“Most of those surveyed agreed that they would in fact vote for Satan, as long as he verbally supported pro-life and pro-Second Amendment platform positions.”

Keep in mind that this is nothing but satire. But there is also a grain of reality when compared to the message of the words and life of the “Prince of Peace” and the core of His teaching as found in the 25th chapter of the book of Matthew.

How many Christians sold their souls in 2016 for a political savior, their new “golden calf,” to save them?

Phil Zukerman, in his article in Psychology Today titled, “Jesus, Trump and American Morality” with a subtitle, “The hypocrisy is truly staggering,” sheds more light on this contemporary golden calf.

Zukerman writes, “…three-fourths of evangelicals love Donald Trump. This is a man who holds little faith in the sanctity of marriage, mocks the disabled, denigrates women, engages in juvenile name-calling, disparages our Hispanic and Muslim brothers and sisters, encourages the Russians to hack our emails —and above all — has devoted his life to the greedy accumulation of as much money as is possible to accrue. And Evangelical Christians love him.”

I must ask, “Would Jesus vote for Trump?”

Jesus defended and met the needs of the poor and spoke of our obligations to them. It was the rich and the powerful who he most often condemned as hypocrites and the self-righteous.

Jesus? Trump? The two men could not be more different. How can they have so many worshipers in common is well beyond understanding.

When many Evangelicals are pressed on these differences, they respond with the argument, “But the economy is booming, there are more jobs, the stock market is at an all-time high. Trump is great!”

As so, Evangelical Christians, who are supposed to care about the truth, morality, the poor and the oppressed: Have we traded our souls for a new golden calf — economic prosperity and political power?

Edward “Ned” Walsh of Princeton is a retired Baptist denominational worker who served as executive director of Johnston County Habitat for Humanity from 2004-08.

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