I’m Grateful for Trump

I’m Grateful for Trump

I’m grateful for Trump…

Not for the nationalism… Not for the anti-trans policies… Not for calling white supremacists “good people.”

Not for any of that…

I’m grateful for Trump because he was a catalyst.


Before MAGA hats and Lets-Go-Brandon t-shirts, evangelicalism masqueraded as a force for good, as a force for God, claiming the moral high ground while hiding its more sinister political roots.

Evangelicals weren’t anti-feminist; they were “reflecting the different roles God gave us.” They weren’t homophobic; they were “standing for the sanctity of marriage.” They weren’t nationalists; they were trying to “turn a nation back to its Christian heritage.”

It was about being a “good Christian,” not necessarily about being a good republican.

They just so happened to always coincide.

But all that would change as Christian leaders double-downed on their allegiance to a man who kept kids in cages, grabbed women by their pussies, and refused to acknowledge the systemic pain endured by Black Americans. As they pledged allegiance to Trump, their true colors flew…

Flew boldly…

Loudly.

“Sundays Are for Jesus” by Grant Whitty via Unsplash

And as a result, for the first time ever, my straight friends were forced to confront what they believed, forced to examine if they wanted to be associated with those who screamed “all lives matter” while storming the capital because they didn’t want to wear masks.

But I didn’t have that luxury…

As a gay man, I couldn’t wait till Trump shined a light on the problems within Christianity. I had to examine it far earlier — I had to examine them the second I stepped out of the closet.

For two-and-a-half decades, I had tried to change my sexuality, praying every night for God to make me straight. I was terrified to be lumped in with “those people,” horrified to struggle with “that sin.” In the end, I was left with unchanged attractions, regardless of how many times I masturbated to straight porn at the behest of my local pastor.

So since my sexuality couldn’t change, maybe something else needed to…

Maybe I needed to look at those verses that condemned me a bit more closely…

Maybe I needed to analyze the people I identified with and the damage they’ve caused my fellow man…

Maybe I needed to examine what I truly believed about myself and the world.

And for this reason, I will be forever grateful for my sexuality…

Because now I’m not okay with misogyny masquerading as complementarianism…

Because now I’m not okay with “God bless America” at the expense of the entire world…

Because now I’m not okay with using verses that legitimize genocide, the Crusades, and Manifest Destiny.

My gayness was a gift…

Because now I’m not okay with any of it, regardless of if there are verses to back it up. Because bigotry and oppression should never be supported even if there are verses to back it up. Period.

My sexuality forced me to take stock, to analyze and see if what I believed was actually something worthy of believing — if it was good and beautiful and right for all, not because a book said it was but because it naturally was.

And to be honest, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to deconstruct. I didn’t want to sift through all my beliefs, placing everything that had shaped me under scrutiny. I didn’t want to expose myself to ridicule and uncertainty.

No one does…

And yet in a recent sermon, Matt Chandler calls deconstruction a “sexy thing,” as if turning your life upside-down is some trend like mullets and low-rise jeans.

Scancode Productions via Unsplash

Matt must be completely disconnected from those who are leaving evangelicalism; because if he had one conversation with any of us, he would quickly learn we were terrified to even raise a question.

None of us wanted to leave a faith system that has given us a semblance of security and community and identity. None of us wanted to pass into the void of unknowing, uncertain of where we’d land. We had seen what has happened to those who dared to raise questions, to those who didn’t fall in line and submit. We had seen what it cost them, and none of us were willing to pay that price.

Which makes sense — any sane and rational person would think and feel the same. Everyone naturally wants certainty and safety; we want things to stay the same, if possible. After all, “An object in motion wants to stay in motion unless something greater acts upon it.”

But then “something greater” happens…

My “something greater” was my raging homosexuality, and for a lot of my friends, their “something greater” was Donald Trump.

As churches and Christians allied with him, regurgitating his rhetoric, my friends, by necessity, finally asked, “Wait… is this what I believe? Is that what being a Christian looks like? Does being a Christian mean America first before everyone else? Straight people before everyone else? White people before everyone else? Men before everyone else?”

For many, the answer was absolutely not.

So they left…

But it’s not just my friends…

If it were, Matt Chandler wouldn’t be warning about this “sexy” trend from the pulpit, and the band Skillet wouldn’t be anxiously “declar[ing] war against this deconstruction Christian movement” in a recent edition of Relevant Magazine.

A “trend” is not just me. A “movement” is not just my friends.

According to a recent study by Pew Research Center, those who identify as Christian have decreased by 15% since 2007, and in an interview with Faith and Leadership, David P. Gushee, an author who has written extensively about deconstruction, especially in his most recent book After Evangelicalism, estimates that 25 million people have left evangelicalism since 2016 because of “intellectual incoherence or matters of moral objection and, in some cases, trauma.”

Because of intellectual incoherence…

Because of moral objections…

Because of trauma…

Weird… I guess David didn’t get the memo that sexiness was a variable in people overturning their entire belief system.

Roughly three-in-ten adults now religiously unaffiliated

In contrast to Matt and Skillet, ministries and churches, I’m not anxious about this movement. I’m not scared that people are critiquing and leaving the church.

In fact, I’m grateful…

Because for the first time since I’ve been alive, I’m witnessing people who grew up Christian finally caring about racial equity, finally reading books about the intentional oppression of women in the church, finally not labeling me a depraved abomination because I happen to be attracted to the same gender.

A decency and humanity is being resurrected from the ashes of deconstruction, and I think it looks more like Jesus than the church ever did.

In the words of James Baldwin, “If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him” (The Fire Next Time).

Trump’s Christianity didn’t make us larger; it made us a country scared of poor immigrants seeking asylum.

It didn’t make us freer; it barred trans individuals from expressing and confirming themselves in the military and now in two States.

It didn’t make us more loving; it made Christians riot against their fellow man, scream “go back to your own country” to non-white bodies, and chant “All lives matter” in response to Black pain.

This wasn’t larger…

Freer…

More loving…

This was pride.

This was selfishness.

This was fear.

And where there is fear, no love may abide.

A religion that claimed Love as their God forsook Him for a man because the truth is something quite sinister: What we are experiencing within evangelicalism isn’t something new; it’s always been there, lurking in shadows, cloaked with words like “God bless America,” “respect authority,” and “love the sinner hate the sin.”

All of it has always been there, hidden in their hearts.

The only difference now is that the evangelical church had a champion to protect and condone their bigotry, and what was buried came roaring to the surface.

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known.”

In the end, Trump didn’t change anyone; he simply gave permission, and that’s all that evangelical America needed to reveal its true nature.

A nature of heteronormativity… of misogyny… of white supremacy… of nationalism… of greed… of animosity…

And those of us who came to church looking for Jesus — the one called God incarnate, the one called Love — can’t find Him, so we left. Because it’s not the church that’s worthy of worship; it’s not the political agenda of pastors, nor their power-hungry ways. We came for the compassion of Jesus, but He was nowhere to be found.

In the words of Caitlin J. Stout, “[I]t was the kids who took their faith the most seriously who eventually walked away. Those of us who tearfully promised that we would follow Jesus anywhere eventually followed him out the door.”

If Christians are scared and angry at this mass exodus, they have but blame one person — their hero: Donald J. Trump. As for me, I’ll sing his praise.


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One response to “I’m Grateful for Trump”

  1. Trump was a catalyst for me, too. Or maybe he was the last in a long line of individual things I just couldn’t stomach anymore about evangelicalism. My therapist and I have talked extensively about it!

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