When things in our lives are defective, we get rid of them.
When they aren’t functioning properly, when they no longer serve their original intended purpose, when they present a clear hazard to people—we stop using those things. We remove from our presence and from those we love, stuff that has the potential to do more harm to them than good. In those cases we value life enough to protect it from threat.
There are Christians sitting in pews and perched in pulpits who need to seriously rethink their God—because their God is hurting lots and lots of people. Their God is not functioning properly—and good, beautiful people supposedly made in that God’s image are getting killed in that God’s name.
Texas Pastor Robert Jeffress, one of President Trump’s spiritual advisors (it took all my strength not to use air quotes there), recently said that he’s perfectly fine with using nuclear weapons against North Korea because, God. The Bible he claims, gives Trump full authority to blow up whatever he wants to blow up—and since God has ordained him as leader, he has carte blanche with all the fire and all the fury. (God, it turns out, is a big proponent of reckless, immoral, lecherous white men tossing out weapons of mass destruction like 5AM Tweet rants.) How this God supposedly co-signed Donald’s ascension to the Presidency but dropped the ball for the last eight years with Barack Obama—is curious to say the least.
In addition to being Trump’s counsel in matters of religion and war, Jeffress is a career fear monger; an Olympic level homophobe, whose belief system (like many American Bible Belt Evangelicals), is built upon a steady flood of toxic terror; of Muslims streaming in to destroy us, of Transgender predators supposedly lurking in bathrooms, of immigrants polluting our workplaces, of Democrats letting the Antichrist loose in America. Over the course of his ministry, Jeffress has created a resume for God that reads like a white supremacist’s Tinder profile.
Jeffress’ and Trumps’ God is a nasty, petty, grudge-holding deity, devoid of anything remotely resembling love, compassion, kindness, or mercy,—which is why the name Jesus is rarely mentioned in their diatribes. Jesus wouldn’t tolerate this sanctified nonsense, because Donald Trump’s life is the antithesis of the Jesus found in Scriptures, because opportunistic religious men like Jeffress are who he spends his days throttling and warning good people to flee from—because Jesus was a cheek-turning, foot-washing, enemy-blessing lover of life. It’s almost impossible to get that Jesus to consent to bombing the hell out of anyone for any reason, and they know it.
It’s time for Christians in America to take a hard look at that God they believe in, whether that God comes from their parents or their preachers or some interpretation of words someone wrote down four thousand years ago, in another culture, in another language.
At some point it’s rather simple: If your God is cool with nuking an entire country, but not with two guys marrying—you might need to rethink that God. You might consider exchanging that God for something more loving, because that God is hurting people, perpetuating war, excusing discrimination, justifying violence. That God is turning you into a heartless jackass—and something tells me that’s not what God is supposed to do, and at your core, not what you want either.
I think someone’s God should make them more benevolent toward the world; more protective of marginalized people, more tender toward the hurting, less inclined to drop bombs or take away health insurance or beat the hell out of them from the pulpit. I think God should produce life. I don’t see any life in Robert Jeffress’ ministry and I certainly don’t see any life in the actions of this President. I see wealthy, angry white men who want a God in their image that they can make the world bow down to while growing wealthier and angrier. We can do better than that.
If your God results in you treating people who aren’t like you with less dignity, if that God makes it easier for you to disregard or oppress or kill them—that is a God who is no longer helpful. If you are more prone to bigotry or more driven to violence or less willing to welcome the outsider because of that God—I seriously don’t know why you’d want that God.
God help me—I just don’t.