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The parable of the mustard seed is a popular Christian teaching. It compares the vast, reaching Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed, saying that with care and tending, faith the size of a mustard seed can grow into something great.
Faith can be born from the most precarious circumstances, but so can hate.
Our President-elect Donald Trump ran on a campaign that sowed the seeds of fear, watered them with unfounded claims and prejudicial, hateful rhetoric, and tended to his hateful seedlings carefully until they became terrifying, broadly sweeping national sentiments. Along the way, he craftily courted the Christian vote.
Trump has targeted numerous groups — immigrants, Muslims, African-Americans and women are a few of many – and has depicted each member of these groups as horrible, as dangerous or as hateful criminals. This kind of broad discrimination is so un-Christian that it becomes an ironic mystery that he identifies as being a Protestant, and that a large base of his voter demographic are evangelical Protestants.
He has positioned religion against religion, instead of advocating cohesion among groups. He called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” an image that elicits thoughts of a modern-day crusade. As president-elect, he has already evoked large amounts of dangerous, immoral and loathsome sentiments from the American population. He has, literally, called for walls to be built up to separate people.
To be transparent, I don’t label myself as a member of any religion. It does, nonetheless, pain me to see an astonishing number of people be manipulated by a leader who attacks them through their blind, but good-willed, faith.
Trump has already been forced to confront the most powerful Christian in the world’s view on his policies. Pope Francis said in February, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.”
Of course, Trump was obligated to chime back at the Pope, calling him “disgraceful.”
What kind of humble, God-fearing Christian would disrespect the Pope? It’s apparent that Trump sees himself on equal standing ground with the Pope (and probably God, too).
But Trump did take conservative stances on being against marriage equality, saying he opposed the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. He said earlier this year that there should be “punishment” for women who get abortions. And both of these positions are undercut by the fact that he’s said he’s pro-choice in the past, and he said he’s “fine” with same-sex marriage being legalized after the election last month.
It’s not an ungrounded claim to say that Trump relied on a religion to earn him the white evangelical Christian vote and help gain himself the presidency. But his sexual transgressions and infidelity, his unscrupulous business dealings and of course his unsympathetic rhetoric are those of a faithless man. A leader who manipulates the rules of religion to appeal to voters is deceitful, immoral and should not be trusted. (But we already knew he was all of these things, right?)
Religion has been the starting point for countless atrocities in the past, and it’s no question that it will be the starting point for atrocities in the future. I hope that the Christian voters that made up such a large portion of his voter demographic will open their eyes to how their candidate, and now our nation’s president-elect, is viciously manipulating their unconditional faith. His policies are vastly un-Christian (and inhumane) and he is debasing Christianity by claiming that he is a Christian.
Contact CU Independent Opinion Writer Kim Habicht at email@example.com.