The world-class ego, narcissism, and arrogance of Donald Trump have been on public display for decades. He can hardly complete a sentence without exalting himself as the richest, smartest, biggest, and bestest at whatever he attempts or proposes. There is absolutely no trace of humility in the non-stop parade of vainglorious self-promotion that he exudes.
This annoying character flaw would be bad enough if it was constrained to his business exploits and personal self-appraisal. However, Trump has recently enlarged his bubble of pride to encompass his faith as it relates to his presidential candidacy. When asked by Republican “Word Doctor” Frank Luntz if he had ever asked God for forgiveness, Trump said “I am not sure that I have […] I don’t think in terms of that.” While that answer fits perfectly with Trump’s signature pompousness, it also reveals why he is so reluctant to apologize for anything, including his blatantly offensive remarks about immigrants and Sen. John McCain’s status as a war hero. If he won’t ask God for forgiveness, why the hell would he ask anyone else?
Yesterday Trump expanded on his spiritual principles during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. He was asked to revisit his previous comments and given an opportunity to refine them. He rejected that opportunity and, as usual, he doubled down on his immunity from needing to seek God’s grace.
Trump: Well, I like to work where I don’t really have to ask for it. I like to do the right thing where I don’t actually have to ask for forgiveness. Does that make sense to you? You know, where you don’t make such bad things that you don’t have to ask for forgiveness. I mean, I’m trying to lead a life where I don’t have to ask God for forgiveness. […] Why do I have to repent? Why do I have to ask for forgiveness if you’re not making mistakes?
Talk about your Original Spin. Trump is effectively saying that a good Christian can avoid having to seek forgiveness from God by simply never making any mistakes. Who knew it was that easy? Of course, to do that would require a level of perfection not seen in about two thousand years from the perspective of believers. And yet he argues that he has achieved this pinnacle of purity. But if you ask the Presbyterian Church, of which Trump claims to be a member, they have a completely different interpretation:
“Presbyterians believe the Bible when it says that ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). Unlike crime, which involves the breaking of human law, sin is a condition of the heart or an expression of that condition where we are estranged from God and fail to trust in God.” […]
“Presbyterians believe God has offered us salvation because of God’s loving nature. It is not a right or a privilege to be earned by being ‘good enough.’ No one of us is good enough on our own — we are all dependent upon God’s goodness and mercy. From the kindest, most devoted churchgoer to the most blatant sinner, we are all saved solely by the grace of God.” […]
“Presbyterians believe it is through the action of God working in us that we become aware of our sinfulness and our need for God’s mercy and forgiveness. Just as a parent is quick to welcome a wayward child who has repented of rebellion, God is willing to forgive our sins if we but confess them and ask for forgiveness in the name of Christ.”
Trump seems to think that forgiveness is something that you request when you have told a lie, cut someone off in traffic, or cheated in golf. His understanding of religion is on the level of a four year old (no offense to four year olds). He has no concept of the tenets of his faith that regards all men and women as sinners. And setting aside the scriptural rendering, Trump doesn’t seem to think that his own mistakes (of which he has none) rise to the level of sins. That means his three marriages and serial infidelity are wholly virtuous in God’s eyes. His four bankruptcies that left thousands of creditors in the lurch were just divine accounting. His fraudulent Trump University that ripped off hundreds of “students” actually taught them a valuable lesson in dealing with charlatans. And these say nothing of his sins of greed, lust, and pride.
To make matters worse, Trump has assumed the posture of a beleaguered victim of the dark forces of Hell (aka the media). He believes he is being crucified by his enemies in the press and the Republican Party. This persecution may lead to his self-excommunication and a holy war via a third party candidacy for the White House. Oh God please, we pray.
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If there’s one thing that has been made clear, it’s that The Donald doesn’t need the forgiveness of God or anyone else. That’s because he is his own deity with omnipotent powers to solve every problem bigger and better than any mere mortals. And just as he remains certain that he will win the votes of the Latinos he has insulted, and the veterans he has demeaned, he is equally certain that evangelicals and other faith-based voters will flock to his holiness despite his heresy, profanity, and obvious Messiah complex. By the way, these are the same people who have been calling President Obama the Anti-Christ for seven years.