Viewpoint: Why Trump Is Terrifically Bad for America

Since I founded ReligiousLiberty.TV in 2008, we have avoided recommending that readers vote for or against any particular candidate. Having said that, this election season is unlike any other. It demands our attention.

In 2016, the voters are frustrated. Republicans are upset about failed campaign promises and an abject failure of the "elite" to listen to their constituents – voters feel like what candidates promise on the campaign trail is dramatically different from the reality when they get to Congress. Democrats are upset about the coronation of a single candidate and the "superdelegate" system that will give a third of the votes to carefully selected individuals who, in the words of DNC leader Debbie Wasserman Schulz, ensures that the chosen candidates "don't have to run against grassroots advocates."

Add to this two decades of televised reality shows where the strong survive and the meek lose, the social suppression of politically incorrect speech, and other forces which have built up pressure deep within the volcanic mantle of society which threatens to be released this November. When asked, most people say that they prefer a genteel type of politics, but most Americans really seem to crave violence and disruption in their entertainment choices which now translate into political choices. Americans watch television shows and sports that immerse them in bloodsport without the blood—from football to boxing, to zombie movies, NASCAR crashes, and violent video games. Americans are primed and ready for battle and they gravitate toward it on the campaign trail. This is no longer the age of the elder George H.W. Bush where the people could be sold on a "thousand points of light" and promote a "kinder, gentler nation." Americans want to see carnage—the enemy destroyed and the American way of life vindicated.

While the GOP has traditionally promoted the most boring candidates in the primaries, Americans are not accepting it this cycle. Instead, the most troubling candidate in modern history, Donald Trump, is now leading in almost every poll and is virtually guaranteed to make it to the finals in November, if not the White House in January. Trump is the quintessential bull in the china shop, repeatedly saying things that would have sunk most of his rivals long ago. He's got the vote of the frustrated electorate who is not afraid to shake things up and see what will happen, not realizing that a Trump presidency may cause irreversible damage to the moral fabric of this nation.

Some will vote for Trump thinking that he makes extreme statements only to win negotiation points or that he is simply posturing in order to win the election but that he will suddenly become more reasonable and restrained once in office. Even if that were true, Trump isn't backing off and I doubt that he will. Betting that the Trump in office will be different than the Trump on the campaign trail is a dangerous gamble.

There are several things that Trump has said that should be of great concern. Last Friday, Trump said that he planned to change libel laws in the United States so he could sue news organizations. "One of the things I'm going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we're certainly leading. I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We're going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected."

By implying that he would restrict the freedom of the press, Trump's campaign promise runs contrary to the First Amendment which states that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the free the freedom of speech, or of the press . . ." If Trump were to succeed in doing so, Trump would probably go after both the conservative and liberal media outlets who dare to question him. At worst, Trump would be imposing lèse majesté on the American people, at best he would be imposing restrictions on the press that are present in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Trump is also capitalizing on his superficial version of Christianity in order to gain votes. He claims to be a "very proud" Presbyterian, but his attempt to harness the power of religion to win this election without recognizing what he's doing is a dangerous combination. At a campaign stop in January in Sioux City, Iowa, Trump made a bizarrely conflated the alleged "War on Christmas" with Christianity and said, "I'll tell you one thing: I get elected president, we're going to be saying 'merry Christmas' again. Just remember that. And by the way, Christianity will have power, without having to form. Because if I'm there, you're going to have plenty of power. You don't need anybody else. You're going to have somebody representing you very, very well. Remember that."

I don't know what Trump means by this, but if there's one person who should not be representing Christianity, it's Donald Trump. Trump's bid to become an American pope seems misplaced, particularly when Trump seems to have no basic understanding of what Christianity means other than saying that he's great and that he's a Presbyterian. He's certainly enjoyed taking the opportunity to question the faith of his opponents, including Ben Carson who is a Seventh-day Adventist.

Trump's understanding of Christianity is superficial at best. At the same time, Trump has been gathering steam among members of the evangelical community, particularly Jerry Falwell, Jr., the president of Liberty University, who has heartily endorsed Trump, and recently used a required student assembly for a Trump rally.

Last July, CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Trump if "asking for forgiveness" was something Trump did as part of his faith life. Trump said, "I try not to make mistakes where I have to ask for forgiveness." Then Trump said, "I think repenting is terrific. "Why do I have to repent or ask for forgiveness, if I am not making mistakes?" asked Trump. "I work hard, I'm an honorable person."

Maybe those in the Christian right who have been courting Trump are hoping that he will be a malleable President whom they can shape at will in order to facilitate their theocratic dreams.

I don't know what Jerry Jr.'s father, who founded the Moral Majority, would think about his son throwing his signature institution behind Trump, a man whose morality is fleeting or coincidental at best. Through an amazing rhetorical approach, Trump has sold this nation on the idea that he is a truly moral guy who has simply used immoral means to make money because he knows how the world works, and that somehow he will change when he is in the White House. Trump's name is on a casino with a strip club, he recently supported partial-birth abortion, and there's no denying that he is a complete narcissist. Trump is a man who has made a selling point of not having moral convictions when it comes to almost every area of human endeavor. Not too many parents of sound mind want their children to emulate Trump's behavior and character.

Trump is a man who has made a selling point of not having moral convictions when it comes to almost every area of human endeavor.

Trump is so arrogantly sure of his success that he publicly stated, "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." There is no indication that Trump would actually kill somebody on Fifth Avenue but the fact that he has so little regard for the moral qualms of his voters is troubling. Even more troubling is the fact that this revelation has not affected the polls at all.

When Bill Clinton was going through his sex scandal, the religious right, indeed much of the country, was up in arms about Clinton's immorality and in the next cycle candidates proudly proclaimed that they would bring dignity back to the White House. The effect of Clinton's moral stance on American society was profound. Supporters argued that Clinton could still be a good President despite his moral failings, and studies track Clinton's effect on the sex life of American young people. According to a University of Kentucky study of sexual definitions, Clinton's activities changed the way that college students thought about oral sex, with only 20 percent considering it sex in 2010, half of the number who considered it sex in 1991 and 1991-2001.

Trump is not ashamed of his moral status. Soon after Princess Diana died in a car accident in 1997, Trump was a guest on the Howard Stern Show. Stern asked him, “Why do people think it’s egotistical of you to say you could’ve gotten with Lady Di? You could’ve gotten her, right? You could’ve nailed her.”

Trump replied: “I think I could have.”

In 2000, Trump returned to the Stern show and Stern asked about Diana again, “Would you have slept with her?”

“Without even hesitation,” replied Trump.

According to the Daily Beast, Trump sent Diana massive bouquets of flowers, and a friend of Diana's said that Trump gave Diana the creeps. (The Daily Beast)

There is no question that Trump will forever alter the moral tone in America to an even greater extent than Clinton did, particularly since he is actively promoted by some in the center of the evangelical circles. They know what they are getting themselves into. Trump is not is a hypocrite – he is proud to be a nymphomaniac.

Added to his previous statements about registering Muslims, and his repeated pattern of standing by or even encouraging his supporters to pummel protestors at his campaign rallies, it is clear that we are on the verge of electing a dangerous demagogue who has no allegiance to anything but himself.

Now is the time to speak out. We cannot afford to stand by and hope for the best as we watch Trump take over the leadership of the United States.

Michael Peabody, Esq. is editor of ReligiousLiberty.TV.

Photo Credit: Flickr / Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons / Trump at 2011 CPAC

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7351

Hmm . . . , I suspect that Mr. Peabody is preaching to the choir here. I don’t know anyone personally who likes Trump, or who would vote for him. No matter who wins, it appears that it will be the evil of two lessers this time.

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My friend Michael Peabody makes some good points, including that Trump’s Christianity is at best nominal, to phrase it charitably. But I have an almost completely different list of reasons not to like Trump:

  1. He’s a latecomer to the Republican party and to conservatism (and that’s generously assuming that his purported conservatism is genuine, not just an electoral ruse).
  2. He’s still soft on abortion, as per his continuing defense of Planned Parenthood, which is to be expected given that he was a pro-abortion New York liberal 16 years ago.
  3. His mercantilism and protectionism are wrong, and potentially disastrous (Smoot-Hawley made the Great Depression much worse). Like Bernie Sanders’ socialism, protectionism and mercantilism are crackpot nonsense.
  4. He’s wrong about Kelo reform–eminent domain should be strictly reserved to necessary government needs, not expanded to allow casino owners to condemn old ladies’ houses to build parking structures.
  5. He wants to be an unbiased, neutral mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, demonstrating that he has learned absolutely nothing about the nature of Islam in the 15 years subsequent to 9/11.
  6. He admires dictators and strongmen like Putin, and one suspects that this is because he desires to be a caudillo himself, as intimated by his hostility to speech critical of politicians, as Michael rightly highlighted.

On the positive side, he has a healthy contempt for political correctness, and he’s said some truthful things about immigration, including Muslim immigration, that greatly needed to be said. But I’m afraid that he is a blank canvass onto to which understandably frustrated Republican voters are projecting their own issues and enthusiasms. I suspect that, were he elected president, he would not turn out to be a champion of freedom and smaller government. I suspect that, were he elected president, many of his supporters would be very disappointed, perhaps even disappointed by what he actually does regarding his signature issue of immigration.

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Is the “Republican Party” Headquarters, what ever and who ever that might be, want to run a Dark Horse candidate at the Republican National Convention to be the Republican Presidential Candidate?
What would happen then if that person became the Candidate?

Trump is certainly gaining in popularity among the “grass roots”.


This comes in various formats.
thanks kenn.

How about a Turmp-Cruz or a Cruz-Trump ticket??

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Donald Trump is the logical result of Republican leaders’ gross disrespect of American values and institutions exhibited during President Obama’s administration. Republican leaders have cultivated the smear that President Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim, which explains why over 60 percent of Trump’s supporters believe the smear. Republican members of Congress have refused to work with President Obama, even to the point of refusing to pass the typical sort of bills, such as infrastructure bills, that have been routinely voted during previous administrations. Despite t-bill rates that are close to zero, Republicans have tried to starve the economy, knowing that the stimulus of government spending, which would be helpful to suffering Americans, would also benefit President Obama politically. The refusal of Senate Republicans to act in good faith with respect to President Obama’s forthcoming nomination to the Supreme Court is flagrant in the disrespect shown to the office of president, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution. Standards of decorum have been undermined to such an alarming extent that many rank-and-file Republicans, simple as they manifestly are, believe that Trump is a credible candidate for president.

Republican political strategist Alex Castellanos is correct in what he said today: “If our self-indulgent Republican party establishment had really wanted to prevent a takeover of the GOP, they should not have gorged on political power while they failed to do anything to prevent the decline of the country. Our leaders could have led. They could have done more than say ‘no’ to Democrats while offering no alternative.”

America needs a strong two-party system. That the Republican Party on so many levels is in existential crisis should not be cheered by anyone. Republicans are beginning to learn that the sullying of American values and institutions necessarily causes self-inflicted wounds. We should all understand that a strong two-party system is necessary to preserve our civil liberties and national security.

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i actually believe trump is a tad smarter than people give him credit for…perhaps he’s being an outward narcissist because he knows it suits him, and he’s correctly calculated that this is how he’ll best win the nomination…everything i’ve seen suggests to me that he’s quick on his feet, and will do and be what it takes to be successful…my sense is that beneath the veneer, he does have core values that guide him…

but whether trump’s tell-it-like-it-is tendencies can possibly survive the level of political sophistication hillary brings to the table is very doubtful…i really think hillary is one of the most outstanding people in the world at the moment…but trump will give it his all…in the end, a loss will still have given him the rise in life that his business successes have probably long ago lost any capacity for…the point is, if ivana, marla and especially melania are any indication, trump is ultimately a good and simple person…he deserves his moment of challenge and excitement…

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I voted Republican in every election since 1972, but I will not vote for such a low ball demogog as Trump. He represents the worst in American politics right now and it ceases to amaze me how he has risen in the polls.
He will say anything and insult everyone and what’s more he is getting away with it. I guess it is survival of the filthiest in 2016. We have been taken over by wingnuts, Republican rightwing nuts and democrat leftwing nuts.

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Trump as POTUS is no longer an empty slogan, devoid of reality. His march to the White House is a done deal, in my humble opionion, (if I am proven to be wrong, I will be wrong and so be it). The American nation will then have to wait for their next Trump. I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet but I happen to believe that he or she will come, as surely as day follows night, or the other way around! Most White, conservative, working and middle class, Americans are ready for some radical medicine when it comes to the threat of Islam, the illegal foreigners in their midst and gender-sexual confusion (same sex marriage, LBGTQI, transgenderism etc.). They are craving for an autoritarian, no-nonsense, un-politically correct, not part of the political establishment, figure who can put things right and give them back what they claim to be their Christian country, get rid of mosques,
and make it even greater than it’s ever been, nothwithstandintg the historical fact that it once belonged to the Red Indians and they thenselves were illegal immigrants that took over the country by ruse and force. They have their ultimate authority messiah in Trump. As one “Christian” poster puts it, “Than you Lord Jesus for Donald Trump.”

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On point, thank you. Tz

I do not think Spectrum should be used as a political soapbox.Spectrum reaches across national borders and there are some that could not care less who your PONTUS is.

I cannot see that Trump is anymore immoral or un Christian than any of the Presidents who have gone before.Truman used the A bomb on an already defeated nation.Vietnam under Nixon and LBJ was a war crime .Both Bushs were mass murderers in Iraq.Clinton was no paragon of virtue and Obama murders suspects in cold blood with drones without the benefit of due process of law and much collateral damage to innocent women and children.

Given the history of theUSA Trump is an ideal choice for president.

Heard a news clip this morning with Dr Carson saying how rotten the US political system is. Didn’t hear him saying that last fall when he was high in the polls; sounds like sour grapes to me.

Let the world hope Trump wins the election and builds his walls.What keeps others out will keep the Americans in and make the world a safer place.

Thank God for Donald Trump

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Should we assume, and be happy that you are unable to vote for Trump? In what type of government do you presently live? Does it meet with your approval?

All governments can, and have been corrupt. But it takes humans to make them corrupt. The U.S. Constitution is better than any other known system, but people will always find way to deceive and when given the power will harm more than the ordinary citizen.

Personally, I have lived and voted in U.S. elections since the mid '40s and have yet to see anything that rivals the possible POTUS positions today. Few, if any, have so publicly damned individuals in both high and low places. If Trump wins, it will be difficult if not impossible for him to be accepted by the leaders of other nations as a legitimate and trustworthy negotiator. Our only hope is that wiser heads will begin to see the future disaster if he is elected. Would you suggest your nation’s leader as better than any of the current U.S candidates today and would you welcome Trump as your president?

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Though I don’t care about your political leanings…you look disingenuous when you criticize Spectrum and then you use it to sing your praises of Mr. Trump. Just saying.

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Well, it seems only a certain type of “separation of church and state” applies to many contributors at Spectrum. If one has a “progressive” political agenda then it seems perfectly ok to call on the moral imperatives of “what would Jesus do.” I would remind many that we are not voting for a preacher. We are voting for someone who supposedly will back the Constitution and the laws of the US without any partiality. We are not voting for a “pacifist” but one who IS authorized to “use the sword” nationally and internationally as needed with justice. “This” is separation of “church and state” because the church/religion should not have this power.
Illegal immigration, bad trade deals with currency fixing, poorly conceived health care laws, a wall on the border and temporary banning of groups that are “infiltrated” with those who might harm the country are not “separation of church and state issues.” For the pope to suggest building a wall is morally or a Christianity wrong position IS mingling in an area where “separation” is needed.
Unfair trade and illegal immigration are simply an affront to common sense. Protectionism IS using currency manipulation and trade tariffs (as in China and other countries) for a competitive advantage is morally unfair and only assist certain groups of people to the diminishing of the whole…Illegal immigration IS against the law and to not say so creates "lawlessness."
So, at the moment I will vote for Trump not because he will be a good Christian minister or is “perfect” any more than the majority of politicians but because Falwell’s son using great common sense “does not seek a religious figure agenda” as he recognizes presently the 1st Amend, realized this guy speaks a lot of truth and does not try to seek advice from the “Bernie Sanders” pope (as described by a priest of who most represents the pope’s economics) on economics or immigration policy or whether or not “anthropogenic global warming” is a reality. Now perhaps those things have entered the realm of confusing the role of “church and state.”

So, what we have here is the author slamming Trump and others comparing/criticizing him to Hitler and Mussolini. How ridiculous. In responding to a comment back to me Friday implying Trump was “a devil” also, I responded “getting in bed with a devil” was like who, Bill and Hillary, Bernie or Donald and pointed out the insatiable “sell your soul” lust for power and money of Bill and Hillary.
I would suggest that the most “duce” type people are those who do not seek “limited government” but larger and larger statism. Silly me. They are “inclusive” except to dissenters who must be silenced because they are obviously out of sync with accepted "political correctness."
Regards,
Pat

PS. I witnessed an unbelievable action of anarchy tonight 3/11 by protesters in Chicago and CNN who tried to justify the actions of those who hate free speech. How many Trump supporters have stopped the “free speech” rallies of Clinton and Sanders. How many? Who is “Hitler and Mussolini like?” There is no tolerance on the part of these type people and the media for opposing views to what has now become “political correct anarchy.” There is no other name for it. I repeat , who ARE the people who want to stop free speech?..
FYI from the “bern’s pope” and anti-capitalist Vatican history

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I agree. I’ve been saying ever since the 2012 election that Republicans have been shooting themselves in the foot. They’re way off balance in the way they’ve been reacting to Obama’s presidency. He is a pillar of good citizenship, and they’ve been acting like fools trying to oppose him on everything he does. Now this stupid Trump candidacy is an outgrowth of that mentality.

Wake up, America! Send Trump packing. Please.

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Jeremy,
Thats some pretty thick veneer. I haven’t seen anything about Trumps “fruit” that would suggest any core values associated with Christianity. To think that someone that uncouth could become president is appalling. Today he is talking about a sex act with respect to Romney.
I guess the necessary pretense of being Christian to become president has now been show for what it is, a joke. Give me a principled atheist any day. As long as trump has grandma’s Bible thats all that matters, doesn’t matter that he doesn’t know the front from the back.

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Jeremy…

What you say about Trump sounds eerily similar to how observers viewed Hitler at the outset of his megalomania. Many thought that he was simply being politically shrewd as he played to Germany’s anti Semitism. Little did they realize the violent insanity that he was poised to unleash, and the depth of his belief in its rightness.

Trump is playing to xenephobia, American disillusionment, and disenfranchisement from the political process, with the promise to make America great again. He threatens the sanctity of a free press because of his own narcissism and vanity. All things Hitler also said, did, and was.

The problem is compounded by the fact that the democratic party is offering no wonderful alternative, notwithstanding your thought that Hilary is so outstanding. The cover ups in which she has participated throughout her political career, and the ethical questions about her character going all the way back to her law school days, seem to belie your observation.

Thanks…

Frank

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I believe it is wrong for Spectrum to get involved with the political fight we are witnessing currently.
There are so many “hot button” issues mentioned in the article that I am sure we could go on arguing “ad infinitum”.
The fact is that our nation is ideologically split like no time I have witnessed during my lifetime. The country remains center right in its political leanings and Trump has hit the “jugular” of political frustration and that is what is propelling his candidacy.
Political “correctness” is anything but correct!!
Common sense is a lost concept in todays world.
Truthfulness and transparency are a joke in government today.
My advice to Spectrum and the SDA church periodicals and church administration is “stay out of this swamp filled with alligators”.
God raises political leaders for His purposes and I am satisfied to go with His judgement even though I may not understand presently.
I will not be surprised to see Trump elected to POTUS.

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There are several levels to this discussion…

  • Some focus on the political agenda of Trump and share their agreement or disagreement. I wonder whether Trump indeed is or even wants to be a politician.
  • Some discuss the Christian virtue of Trump. Well, surprizingly some see virtue in Trump. In a country which prides itself in separation of church and state this discussion is weird - or should be irrelevant.
  • Some predict the outcome of the elections. I am surprized the Adventist Right hasn’t brought up the Sunday laws in this context (what Mr. Trump thinks of minorities is on record).
  • Some make historical comparisons. I remember how in the late 60s and 70s it was unfathomable, how a nation of Dichter und Denker (poets and thinkers) could vote for and hail a narcisstic, incompetent and hateful dictator. In various countries (including Germany) we now can observe and study this phenomenon live.

To report and comment on these developments is not really taking sides in party politics, but far more fundamental. The question whether this is wise or further gives importance and thus credence to the candidate and his followers, may be open to discussion. In Europe, at least, Trump was not taken seriously in the past … but as the process unfolds, the prospect is frightening.

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Well, to vote for ‘the devil’ just because it keeps ut the seperation between Church and state is going at bit too far if you ask me :wink:

Well Elaine, apparently some people believe that Satan has many “delegates” around, though God has more… That’s why they trust God…

This idea that God is in control of elections is just nonsense. Exactly the same as concerned to GC Presidents. Humans vote according to their beliefs, frustrations, and biases. And all blame God for their disappointments.

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