Anyone who has been following Donald Trump should know by now that he knows close to nothing about religion. Despite his claims that the Bible is his favorite book, when pressed for favorite scriptures, he has refused to name any. He once answered that all the Bible verses were his favorite. For someone who lies so often, you would think he would have improved at it by now.
The former reality TV star continues to attempt to show Christian faith in a cheap ploy to win votes from the religious right, all while going against nearly every core principle of the faith. While Christ preached humility and praised the meek, Trump has mocked the poor, the overweight, and the physically handicapped.
While Christ preached nonviolence and turned the other cheek, Trump has advocated the potential use of nuclear weapons and the murder of terrorists’ family members. While Christ preached that one could not serve both wealth and God, Trump is a billionaire who defrauded his customers at Trump University.
The latest blunder is that Trump has finally chosen a favorite Bible verse. The only problem is it’s not actually what Christ taught. It’s a merciless philosophy of justice that Jesus rejected. In a recent interview, Bob Lonsberry asked the candidate about his proclaimed faith. Despite being a self-professed supporter of Trump, the interviewer still managed to trip him into being foolish when he asked:
“Is there a favorite Bible verse or Bible story that has informed your thinking or your character through life, sir?”
Trump responded by saying:
“When we get into the Bible, I think many, so many…an eye for an eye, you can almost say that.”
Of course, those of us who went to Sunday school know that eye for an eye is most definitely not what Jesus taught. It is a paraphrasing of Hammurabi’s Law from ancient Babylon. What Christ taught was forgiveness. He famously asked that an adulterer be shown mercy, and even forgave his killers as he died on the cross.
The brutal justice of eye for an eye was the norm in Jesus’ time, and part of what makes Christ so inspiring to so many believers and nonbelievers alike, is that he stood up to that brutal system and encouraged mercy.
Of course, bullies like Trump are not genuinely interested in these ideas. For him, Christianity is just another way to pander and get votes.
Featured Image by Getty/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez