LEWISVILLE, TX: The name Jesus Christ is often an expletive, but it is also the name above every other name. Before it, every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. In the past few years, the once avoided f-word has become an acceptable adjective/adverb of expression in movies and in common conversation. Likewise, the name Jesus Christ is profanity to express joy, contempt, disgust, anger and other emotions.
The relaxation of media standards has softened the use of the f-word, which has become as popular as the name of the deity to express strong emotion. A generation ago, the f-word was used in locker room talk, but not in public discourse. In many cases, it has taken the place of “Jesus Christ”.
Political toxicity in America
Anyone can see that political rage and strife in America have reached toxic levels. Simple political contention has given way to open hostility. Donald Trump has fostered that antagonism more than any figure in recent memory.
Just to say the name “Donald Trump” is to incite strong emotions.
When a man with a shriveled hand was healed by Jesus, as recorded in the New Testament, instead of being happy for the man’s good fortune, political adversaries accused him of breaking the Sabbath laws. Whatever Jesus did, he had his critics.
When researching his historical novel, They Called Him Yeshua (Hebrew, Jesus): The Story of the Young Jesus, this author was reminded of the poisonous political atmosphere that hovered over the tiny land of Israel. The polarization of Jews who wanted to revolt against Rome or peacefully remain within the Empire set the stage for the ultimate death of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem.
It was a toxic political atmosphere.
To many Jesus could do no right; to others, he was the Messiah. The miracles of Christ were some did cry, miracles by the power of Satan.
Donald J. Trump: What’s in a name?
Peculiarly, the name “Donald Trump” is as divisive. It arouses feelings of hate, but also of affection in the U.S. and abroad.
Trump’s followers see him almost as a political revolutionary messiah—making America great again. Detractors see him as Hitler re-incarnate. Regardless of what he says or does, it is either messianic or a link in the chain of fascism.
When distracters begin questioning President Trump’s health, a doctor examined him pronouncing his health as “perfect”. His supporters gave a collective sigh of relief. A political opponent observed spitefully, “Well, his health is all downhill from here.”
In no way is this comparison meant to equate the demonstrably flawed moral character of President Trump with the character of the God-man, Jesus. The point is that both names create extreme emotional responses.
Even Trump’s most avid supporters dislike his tweets and self-promoting narcissism. Jesus is flawless in his life—he was the savior of the world. Christ wanted to make humanity “great again”—through forgiveness and regeneration. Jesus was feared for his authority and power, not for his tweets or over-the-top rhetoric.
Respect or contempt?
Islam has warned non-Muslims against the disrespect of their prophet, Mohammad. As one writer observes:
“In today’s distressed political climate, it is important to speak to and about members of other cultures [including religious culture] with respect, just as it is important to be able to describe your own culture and people appropriately.”
It seems that Muslims receive respect (perhaps out of fear of reprisals, often carried out by the U.S. press) while Jesus, the Christian Messiah and the foundation of Christian culture, receives no such respect.
Worldwide contempt toward the name “Jesus Christ.”
Modern America shows more hostility and contempt toward Jesus and Christianity than towards other world religions or cultures. Negativity toward Jesus Christ as the answer to world problems may be due to traditional Christian positions and values. Many are now unpopular with the unbelieving world, and even with some modern liberal expressions of Christianity. They include positions on abortion, defined Judeo-Christian moral standards, the definition of marriage, and sexual identity to name a few.
President Trump’s support of many of these views adds to the list of things many like and don’t like about him. His actual deeds seem far less important.
Perhaps it is naïve to hope for America to come to its collective senses and begin to think once again as rational, non-spinning political pundits and evaluate, and yes, even respect well-founded ideas regardless of their origin.
Believers in Jesus are commanded to pray for leaders and those in authority.
“I can tell you with confidence that I have heard Mr. Trump verbally acknowledge his faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his sins through prayer, and I absolutely believe he is a Christian who is growing like the rest of us. I know that from many personal conversations,” Pastor Paula White of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida, told The Christian Post in an earlier interview.
“The Trump I know is extremely giving, charitable and doesn’t seek the credit for the numerous acts of kindness he does. I wish everyone could know the Trump whose children praise him and see their personal interaction as a family.
“I wish everyone could know the Trump who prays and asks for prayer or the Trump who came from a strong spiritual heritage or the Trump who I once watched go far out of his way to an entry level worker who was raking a sand trap on one of his properties just to thank him, acknowledge his work and to shake his hand. He’s a good man, and there are far more stories than I have time to tell,” White added.
Secularists should want to be objective and evaluate ideas according to their merit—not according to where they came from—if diversity is important.
The name Jesus Christ should be respected. The office of the President, currently occupied by Donald J. Trump, should be respected. Non-Christians are free to disagree with Christianity, and Trump’s political adversaries can have diverse opinions but both should be respected.
Donald Trump is President of the United States and Jesus is the biblical Messiah.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Lead image: Pastor Paula White of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida leads a clergy laying of hands and prayers for Trump/Pence candidates