Donald Trump is a fool. Before I argue this point, let me offer a few disclaimers:
- Donald Trump is highly entertaining. The success of The Apprentice speaks for itself.
- Donald Trump is a fantastic communicator. He speaks with passion. He uses simple words. He makes eye contact. He utilizes repetition. He speaks with confidence.
- Donald Trump is a successful businessman. Just ask him. He’ll tell you.
- Donald Trump is refreshing as a non-career-politician in the midst of career politicians. His straight forward, non-political talk is a welcome change.
- Donald Trump is not the only ‘fool’ running for president, nor is he the worst candidate running in 2016. No, I’m not going to name names, but I don’t believe he’s the worst option available to voters this year. When November rolls around, he may end up being the least-bad-option.
- Donald Trump is not worth dividing the body of Christ. Even though I think the man fits the biblical definition of a “fool,” I’m not advocating the type of separation practiced by the most fundamental of Christians. If you support Trump, I’m not going to question your faith or separate from you as a heretic.
With those disclaimers on the table, let me return to my main point. Donald Trump is a ‘fool’ in the biblical sense of the word. I don’t think this point is debatable in any way. Donald himself said, “Nothing beats the Bible!” So looking to the Bible, in particular the book of Proverbs, it seems to me that Donald Trump does a remarkable job of embodying the biblical definition of a fool. Consider these 15 verses from Proverbs:
- “Give me neither poverty nor riches … lest I be full and deny you … or lest I be poor and steal …” (Proverbs 30:7-9) This is the only prayer in Proverbs, and I’m not certain it’s a prayer that has ever or would ever cross the lips of Donald Trump.
- “As an ox goes to the slaughter … he does not know that it will cost him his life.” (Proverbs 7:22-23) Proverbs 5 and 7 describe the folly of the adulteress and all who succumb to her temptations. How does this relate to Trump? He owns a strip club. He profits of men and women who are like cattle marching to their death.
- “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” (Proverbs 11:4) I’m not suggesting that Trump thinks his money will get him into heaven. I do know that Trump admitted to never asking God for forgiveness. If that’s true, and if Trump has not sought the righteousness of Christ, Trump is a fool.
- “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.” (Proverbs 20:3) I realize running for president involves conflict. But seriously, does anyone want to describe Trump’s campaign as one that tries to avoid quarreling?
- “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.” (Proverbs 14:31) I can’t evaluate Trump’s generosity. I can insist that the casino industry has done nothing to help elevate the poor in this country. As a casino mogul, Trump has profited from many people who could not afford to lose.
- “A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.” (Proverbs 26:16) Without questioning Trump’s work ethic, I simply want to say that he’s like the sluggard in at least one way. He thinks he’s smarter than everyone else, and any time someone disagrees with him he resorts to childish name calling.
- “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.” (Proverbs 21:4) Trump is known for boasting about his character, money, accomplishments, wisdom, friendships, etc. He’s known for boasting and haughtiness and pride.
- “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.” (Proverbs 23:4) I realize this verse strikes at the heart of the “American dream.” But clearly Proverbs wants us to be wiser than the man who works only to accumulate great wealth. While I don’t know all of Trump’s motivations, I know he boasts about his wealth.
- “Honor the LORD with your wealth.” (Proverbs 3:9) How does one do this? First, giving back to the LORD from your abundance. Second, admitting that everything you have is a gift from God, not a result of your hard work. I haven’t seen Trump’s charitable contribution record, nor have I heard him thank God for his wealth.
- “It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (Proverbs 16:19) No comment needed. I just don’t think Trump agrees.
- “Hatred stirs up strife … Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense.” (Proverbs 10:12, 11:12) I realize presidential politics is a tough game. Nevertheless, when a man regularly belittles those who disagree with his positions and boasts about his ability to counter-punch, there’s good reason to doubt his wisdom.
- “A man of quick-temper acts foolishly.” (Proverbs 14:17) Again, Trump loves to talk about his counter-punching-ability, and he loves to use Twitter for quick insults.
- “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.” (Proverbs 24:17) When a man’s campaign and persona are built on the idea of “winning,” it’s hard to argue that Trump doesn’t rejoice when the enemy falls. An obsession with winning indicates a man who delights in the fall of others.
- “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” (Proverbs 17:27) Trump is constantly complaining about the unfair treatment he receives from certain news stations and news papers. He does not display the character of a man with a cool spirit or the ability to restrain words.
- “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth.” (Proverbs 27:2) Again, I realize presidential politics requires a candidate to “sell” themselves. But I think any objective observer would agree that Trump has taken this to a new level.
Please understand … I’m not trying to tell you who to vote for or not to vote for … I’m not suggesting that Trump has no redeemable qualities … I’m not even suggesting that Trump is the worst candidate in the field. I’m simply saying that much of the wisdom offered to believers in the book of Proverbs is not found in Donald Trump. If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you need to be honest about who you support in the political realm. The effusive praise heaped upon Trump by many evangelical leaders is embarrassingly pathetic. Casting a vote is one thing. Carrying water for a fool is another.
My suggestions? First, avoid the temptation to cozy up to a “winner” for the sake of “winning.” Second, pray for Donald Trump (1 Timothy 2:1-7). Third, pray for wisdom as you think about who will receive your vote (Proverbs 2:1-15).
Originally published January 28, 2016 on landoncoleman.com.