Saturday, January 23, 2016

Donald Trump and Seeking Forgiveness

He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 
He said to them, 
“When you pray, say: 
Father in heaven, 
hallowed be your name. 
Your kingdom come. 
Give us each day our daily bread. 
And forgive us our sins, 
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. 
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
Luke 11:1-4

Have you ever asked God for forgiveness?

For most Christians that is not a difficult question.

Some of us might want to clarify the question and explain that we were using symbolic language. But apart from scholarly theological discourse, most Christians would see it as a simple and straight forward question.

The answer is, “Yes.”

And we might follow up by asking, “Is this a trick question?”

Nevertheless, last summer when pollster Frank Luntz asked presidential candidate Donald Trump whether he had ever asked God for forgiveness, he said it was a tough question. But after reflecting briefly, Trump said that he did not think that he had ever asked God for forgiveness.

Since he also says that he regularly attends church, we might wonder what he thinks he is doing when he recites the Lord’s Prayer.

Apparently this does not matter to a vast number of Evangelical Christians, who consistently name him in public opinion polls as their favorite candidate.

Go figure.

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni writes: “Let me get this straight. If I want the admiration and blessings of the most flamboyant, judgmental Christians in America, I should marry three times, do a queasy-making amount of sexual boasting, verbally degrade women, talk trash about pretty much everyone else while I’m at it, encourage gamblers to hemorrhage their savings in casinos bearing my name and crow incessantly about how much money I’ve amassed?”

Bruni goes on to observe that the Donald “just about runs the table on the seven deadly sins. He personifies greed, embodies pride, radiates lust. Wrath is covered by his anti-immigrant, anti-“losers” rants, and if we interpret gluttony to include big buildings and not just Big Macs, he’s a glutton through and through. That leaves envy and sloth. I’m betting that he harbors plenty of the former, though I’ll concede that he exhibits none of the latter.”

More recently, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Jake Tapper asked him about some of the attack lines being used against him, including that statement that he has never asked God for forgiveness.

Trump was unfazed by the question. “I have a very great relationship with God,” he said. “I like to be good. I don’t like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don’t do a lot of things that are bad. I try and do nothing that’s bad.”

In Romans, Paul writes, “There is no one who is righteous, not one . . . no one does good, not even one.”

But then again, Paul never met the Donald.

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