Last week, it was announced that a veritable troop of “evangelical leaders” has been invited to a closed-door meeting with Donald Trump. The reason, according to Tony Perkins, is to “have a conversation that could lead to a better understanding of what Trump has to offer the country.”
Sadly, I will not attend.
One reason is that I was not invited. That part is understandable. I am not that important. Then again, my absence is probably for the best. Because unlike Perkins, I have seen quite enough of what Mr. Trump “has to offer the country.”
But aside from not being invited, and not needing more info on what Mr. Trump is “offering,” I also have a third reason for not attending:
I know a“meet-cute” when I see one.
And the outcome of this one feels, sadly, predictable.
What, you ask, is a meet-cute?
According to Google—a trusted source for university professors like myself—a “meet-cute” is a scene from romantic comedies in which an odd couple (two people who would never normally see eye-to-eye) comes together through a zany encounter, and finds unexpected chemistry.
In this case, picture John Cusack from Serendipity, except older, orange, and with a comb-over that defies Newtonian physics. Burn that image in your mind. Meditate upon it. Selah.
And as for the meet-cute between Trump and evangelicals, the movie trailer writes itself. (Pro tip: Use that special movie trailer voice).
They’re so different! He’s a foul-mouthed billionaire, with misogynistic tendencies, xenophobic tirades, and a penchant for conspiracy theories.
She’s a small town good girl who likes Chris Tomlin records, Beth Moore Bible studies, and has long since “kissed dating goodbye.” It should never work!
But then the unexpected happens. And as Paula Abdul told us, opposites attract.
Coming June 21st (since that’s the date of the meeting).
All kidding aside, I can’t say for certain what will happen at this pow wow between Trump and evangelicals. Perhaps it’s just a chance to speak truth to power. Still, I do have an unfortunate prediction.
My guess is that in the weeks that follow, we should expect an increasing number of statements like the following from the “evangelical leaders” in this romantic tragedy:
While we’ve had differences with Mr. Trump in the past, we were very encouraged by our time together. He really listened to us! And we feel confident that our goals align in many areas.
In the end, this election is just too important for evangelicals to sit out. We must defeat Hillary Clinton in November. And that is why I am prepared to pledge my support to Donald J. Trump for Sultan, I mean, PRESIDENT of the United States.
Sincerely, Dr. Faustus.
Or as a clever cartoonist captioned recently, the revised baptismal declaration runs as follows:
“Do you renounce Satan and all his works?”
“I do. But I’ll still support him if he’s the nominee.”
I’m having a bit of fun with this, but the prediction about more evangelicals endorsing Trump (after the meet-cute of course) is serious. And I hope I’m wrong.
IF I WERE ATTENDING
But since I’m not attending, there are a few things that I would like someone to have a “conversation” about. So if you were invited (Russell Moore; were they brave enough to invite you?), feel free to pass this along.
Or just tweet it.
I’m sure @realDonaldTrump will give a thoughtful response, per usual.
You’ve been reported as saying that “Laziness is a trait in blacks.” Did you mean to include Mexicans in that? Or do you see them as hard working “rapists” and “murderers”?
And about your theology: You brag frequently (as only you can) about your Christian faith. Jerry Falwell Jr. even likened you to Jesus! That’s huge Mr. Trump. Jesus is like the Steve Jobs of the evangelical org chart. I know, I know, you prefer Messiahs who didn’t get captured, but still, take it as a compliment.
Anyway, given all that Christian fervor, Mr. Trump, how is it that you claim NEVER to have asked God for forgiveness? Not even once!? That’s impressive. Maybe you are more Christ-like than even Mr. Falwell thinks. (He can ask you for forgiveness later.)
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of the misogyny, the vulgarity, the extramarital affairs, the over-the-top boasting of sexual prowess, the recent and vocal support for things like abortion, Planned Parenthood, and, oh yeah, Hillary Clinton (as late as 2012).
Then there’s the way you repeatedly misspell the word “White” in your campaign slogan (Seriously, “G-R-E-A-T” isn’t even close, but I guess spellcheck wouldn’t catch that). And the way you repeatedly incite supporters to acts of violence in exchange for legal fees. Classy stuff. Very Christian.
I could go on and on.
But I realize now another reason why I was not invited to the evangelical meet-cute:
I would totally kill the When-Harry-Met-Sally buzz.
In closing, I must clarify that this post is not a veiled attempt to support Mr. Trump’s opponent come November. I’m sure that will be the pushback, but it doesn’t fly. Because fears of “the alternative” do not justify complicity with the kind of shameful nonsense detailed above. And endorsements equal complicity.
Likewise, I do not begrudge anyone for attending the meet-cute. I hope they do. (Especially folks like Russell Moore; we need them there.) And I hope they tell Trump, more graciously than I have, why they can’t support him.
But that hope does not change my above prediction.
Whatever happens, one point stands supreme: As Christians, we must remember that the Kingdom of God—and not some partisan loyalty—is our true political affiliation.
Lordship is a political concept after all–and we follow the Lamb. Not the Elephant. Not the Donkey. Certainly not the Donald.
So while many evangelicals may be swayed by the caviar and cocktails (er…, iced tea) at the upcoming meet-cute, I will not be.
And not just because I’m not invited.
Vicit Agnus noster; eum sequamur.
 Unlike all other quotes in this post, this one alone cannot be corroborated with video evidence (hence the qualifier, “You’ve been reported as saying”). The quote comes from the former president of the Trump Plaza Hotel, John R. O’Donnell, in a Trump biography. When asked about the allegations, Trump did not deny them, saying that “The stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true. The guy’s a f*#king loser.” This acknowledgement came in Trump’s 1999 interview with Playboy. Again, all very classy.