Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him by Stephen Mansfield
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It’s an odd book. I appreciate Mansfield’s honesty about what Trump is, and how he accurately portrays his fellow conservative Christians. He pulls no punches, well maybe a few, but overall he doesn’t shy away from Trump’s character flaws, moral failings, and general horrible behavior.
It is odd because with no explanation he implies Trump is a good thing. Oh wait, this may take a while so let me give a condensation of his accurate presentation...
Trump is a horrible, horrible, person and the religious leaders are hypocritical horrible, horrible people too. And the one ring that binds them all is the fiery ring of anger. Everybody is really pissed and conservatives Christians revel is their anger and scream to drink in Trumps venomous rantings Really not that complicated and he convinced me. Although Mansfield might phrase it somewhat differently.
But first. THINGS I WANT TO GET OFF MY CHEST…
The guy is a little irritating in that he writes as if he is being even handed, but he ain’t.
He HATES Hillary Clinton...
With virtually no evidence, after acknowledging her religious bone fides he rates how real her Christian faith is (amazing insight he has into another human’s soul). He makes some weak arguments about a supposed seance she participated in while first lady (we have to forget about Nancy Reagan and bringing an Astrologer in regularly) . Pretty bad huh?
Except the author has never hear about snopes.com. Yeah there some screwy imaginative therapy, but no communing with the dead. Anyway he parlays this into “The truths of her Methodist upbringing were no longer enough”. Pg 120. What does that even mean? He never says, but he implies it is pretty bad.
“Her advocacy for abortion knows no bounds….the most outspoken about her faith and the least clear about the meaning of that faith. It is possible to wonder if her religion was nothing more than mystical justification for whatever she wanted to do. Did she have any ethical content? Pg 122
Jiminy Cricket, knowing what he knows about Trump, how can he criticize Hilary's religious commitment with a straight face? I haven’t even come to his accurate demonstration of Trump’s lack of religious knowledge and how he contradicts almost every conventional Christian traditions. The old ones that I remember like humility, compassion, patience, forgiveness, and even love of neighbors. Of course most Christians don’t follow these models, but the point is Trump does the exact opposite!
He should have just laid the pro-choice label on Hilary and say it is a Christian deal breaker even though otherwise the evidence shows that she is pretty damn good Christian by any objective standard. And that is really what rubs Mansfield and the rest of Conservative Christian world the wrong way, Abortion (and he gets some digs in about gay marriage). If you are pro-choice you are a relentless, leftist, socialist, and that cannot be allowed at all.
Later he makes a big deal about Hilary/Obama having a litmus test for Abortion and if you are against abortion you are somehow a "target" of Obama. But he doesn’t see that he and his world are the ones with the litmus test with the difference that if we use his test he gets to tell me how to live, but if we use my litmus test, I don’t tell anybody what to do. So who is the one imposing their will on whom? And if you are pro choice you are one big evil target.
MANSFIELD’S PROOF OF HOW TRUMP IS A HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE PERSON
“I realized then and there,” he later recalled, “ that if you let people treat you how they want, you’ll be made a fool. I realized then and there something I would never forget: I don’t want to be made anybody’s sucker.” Pg 52.
TRUMP speaking... “man is the most vicious of all animals, and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat. You just can’t let people make a sucker out of you” Pg 63
In 2005...He told the audience that he “loved losers because they make me feel so good about my self” He also insisted that good business leaders should trust no one, good employees in particular. “Be parnoid,” he advised “because they are gonna try to fleece you.” Finally, he counseled, “Get even. If somebody screws you, screw ‘em back ten times over. At least you can feel good about it. Boy, do I feel good.” Pg 69
[F]or at least the first five decades of [his] life, there was little evidence of a defining Christian Faith. Instead, his religion was power, vengeance, and, notably himself. He seemed not to know that the ideal of revenge to which he devoted so much time and an entire chapter of a book was contrary to the teaching of the religion he served. He did not know or did not care that truth mattered in his faith, that his preference for "truthful hyperbole"—an"innocent form of exaggeration . . . and a very effective form of promotion"—was little more than lying and forbidden by his religion. It was the same with his sexual mores, with his language, and business ethics, and with his lack of evident concern for the will of an all-knowing God. (Pg. 70).
Colonel Theodore Dobias..spoke words he thought would ignite character and passions in Trump’s soul....Dobias also made him an unofficial basketball coach. ….[Trump] ..recalls mainly that he learned how to manipulate Dobias to get what he wanted. Pg. 52
All in all a ton of stories and they are pretty much all bad.
There was more stuff with straw men arguments about cake decorators and Hobby lobby dictating their religion on their employees (you probably know he can’t see a contradiction that he thinks it is Obama who is persecuting all of them and not the employer persecuting the employees and customers). I could buckle down and dissect his sentences to show how it is fallacious, or point out how half of his listing of Trump’s successes went on to be failures...but what is the point.
Still...he comes up with a pretty good insight...
The truth is that much of the appeal of Donald Trump is the way he speaks publicly in the same way millions of Americans do ...Crass, insulting, bullying, sometimes ill informed, always opinionated, usually prejudiced, Donald Trump is the private voice of millions of Americans. Pg 126
The evangelicals are really angry and are drawn to Sith Lord anger of Donald Trump. So he again correctly sees that Trump is horrible person and the people who like him are just like him
And somehow he inexplicably comes to this conclusion...
To the extent that the Trump presidency is built upon eternal principles and timeworn truth, it may accomplish noble things. Pg. 161
But right after that he includes this H.L. Menken quote
The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. HL Mencken. Pg 162
I guess it boils down to Mansfield is a conservative Christian so he has to accept Trump as the savior of the country....Go figure.
Oh yeah, he really hates Obama also, so I would be kind of scared to see his book on Obama's faith.
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