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So when our Cardinals, Bishops, priests, pastors, sisters, deacons, other religious women and men queue before Trump in celebration, what are they seeing in their new “king”? Are they seeing our faith, our true Christian values, and models for our children? Or are they seeing in Trump a salesman through who they hope to get “conservative” appointments?


“Jesus was born rejected by some and regarded by many others with indifference… Today also the same indifference can exist when Christmas becomes a feast where the protagonists are ourselves, rather than Jesus; when the lights of commerce cast the light of God into the shadows; when we are concerned for gifts, but cold toward those who are marginalised. This worldliness has taken Christmas hostage. It needs to be freed.” – Pope Francis. (2016 Christmas Message)

“…there are a number of people and I speak for myself…those feel that going out to sing for this particular candidate expresses conflicted message that may undermine the beautiful message that the Choir worked so hard to cultivate with so many people…it is not just American Choir, it is the world’s Choir too… ” – Jan Chamberlain, who resigned from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as a moral, ethical and religious critique of Donald Trump.

“Merry Christmas to all! Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Saviour who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King. We hope Americans celebrating Christmas today will enjoy a day of festivities and a renewed closeness with family and friends.” – Donald Trump’s Republican National Committee.

The Christian faith and Christmas have become punching bags in the hands of two sets of politicians – the secular ones campaigning for votes, and those of the clergy in cassocks, vestments and robes, and who are foot soldiers of the former. These clerical foot soldiers perform the job of “get out the votes” for the secular politicians. They are cardinals, bishops, archbishops, priests, pastors, religious men and women, and presidents of “Christian” Colleges who openly campaign for secular politicians.

We saw in full display when these religious women and men covertly campaigned for votes for Donald Trump in parishes and “Christian” colleges, in a manner primarily inspired by motives other than Christian values. All you need do to see this abuse of our faith in Christ by these clerical politicians in their un-Christian support for Trump is to ask if Trump represents any Christian value and which one(s). The response is always mum.

But this abuse of our faith by supporting politicians with no Christian value – made for reasons of deal making, such as the lobby to appoint the so-called “conservatives” to strategic public positions – happens in other countries when major issues are at stake and con-politicians run to their clerical political mates to help in securing votes.

A major reason for this in the last US presidential election was due to the covert lobbying for the appointment of Supreme Court justices. This is a thing many Americans know. However, how such contract with Trump is Christian, and of God, is the open question.

These two sets of politicians, both locally and globally, use our Christian faith to advance agenda which are often contrary and pernicious to our understanding of God as contained in the following scriptures – John 17: 21, 1 John 5: 12 and 1 John 4: 20. Yet, the essence of Trump’s campaign and the actions of his core supporters – the open and covert (such as the Ku Klux Klan, alt right, the white supremacist forces, their right wing media Fox News and Breitbart News) – fundamentally contradict these core scriptures.

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This explains why Donald Trump’s Republican Party’s Christmas message caught the attention of the social media. In the message, the party turned our faith to a tool of political aggrandisement by refering to Donald Trump as the new “king”.

What betrays this heresy is the play on “King”, an amphiboly and ambiguity in the message, which many Americans quickly rejected. Here is how the Republican Party put it, as refered to above: “Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King.” The question Americans, especially Christians, who read the message asked was: which new “King”? Donald Trump?

Sadly, to strengthen the view of Trump supporters of his being the “new king”, the United States of America is gradually moving towards a post-truth and post-fact era in which Donald Trump’s one line tweets – which are often false – are taken by his Republican supporters and the rightwing media as the gospel truth.

To show how ‘truth’ works in the world of the “new king”, it should continue to shock people that against reason and facts, according to a YOUGOV December 17-20 poll, about 52 percent Republican Party members and Trump supporters still believe that President Obama is not a natural born American citizen. They are convinced that he was born in Kenya – a falsehood promoted by Trump, his supporters and the rightwing media! And against common sense and simple arithmetic, the supporters of Donald Trump believe he won the votes of the American people in the 2016 election – votes popularly won by Hillary Clinton through a huge 2.9 million margin! But all Donald Trump needs to do is to deny common sense and arithmetic and tweet the denial, and it is believed! Perhaps this is the source of the blasphemy of the Republican Party, which is reason Trump is said to be the “new king”.

But Donald Trump’s Republican Party’s account of Christmas as a season to celebrate the good news of a new “King” crosses the line. It is nothing but blasphemy, a mockery of our faith. Globally, Christians must be vigilant against this blasphemy and heresy, as more is likely to come given the dangerous populist signs of the moment. These are signs that show a section of American Christianity as completely impervious to basic faith and Christian values in their politicisation and commercialisation of our faith and their readiness to either ignore, hide or explain away the profane history of their candidate.

Happily, and this is to the credit of global Christianity and the universal Church, not all American Christians have bought into how a section of American Christianity has abused and compromised our faith. Even if only a person, Jan Chamberlain’s example is worthy and commendable. The Choir of the Mormon denomination has been mobilised to perform during Donald Trump’s inauguration. But Jan Chamberlain as a member of the Choir chose to resign because singing for Donald Trump for her would undermine the message of the Choir, which is about the essence of Christ. And Chamberlain added something, which is a subtle but direct critique of Donald Trump (especially the claims on tape that he gropes women, sexually harasses them and gets away with his self stated abusive acts because he is a star).

Chamberlain said in justification of her resignation: “One of the things I respect about my faith is the value we place on family”, (and groping women, sexually harassing women is against family values, hence against our faith), “on thinking and researching issues, on acceptance of other people and un-conditional love…I feel that there is a large segment of the world that absolutely adores the Choir, and love its message to bring good will and hope, and inspiration to others, and going out to sing for this particular candidate expresses [a] conflicted message that may undermine the beautiful message that the Choir worked so hard to cultivate with so many people.” And to show that this is not about political difference but about the fundamental issue of our faith, Chamberlain added: “I value that in our country we have the freedom of speech, under the First Amendment, for me this is not a political issue however, because the Choir has gone out for other candidates, for me this is a moral issue … I am concerned about our freedom being in danger as the time goes by…” This is in reference to the same candidate that the American clergy politicians privately campaigned for!

This is why it is curious but laughable when Trump said he was bringing Christmas to the White House, as if Christmas ever left the place. It is obvious that he made this false claim to desperately show how “Christian” he is, as a marketing stunt and a political pay back of the clerical politicians! Yet his supporters and the Trumpsters gullibly believed the false claim. Learning from the experience of the recent election where the media took so many things for granted, the free, critical and democratic section of the American media promptly challenged this lie before it could again develop a life of its own in Trump world and become another Trump mythology.

The truth is that Christmas never left the White House. It has always been there, and has been throughout President Obama’s presidency. And it will always be there. So Trump lied again on a holy day!

But the more important thing for our faith is: Which is more crucial – simply mouthing “Merry Christmas” once a year or actually living out the Gospel of Christ on a daily basis? This is the relevance of Pope Francis’s Christmas and New Year message. On Christmas day at St Peter’s Basilica, the Pope said: “If we want to celebrate Christmas authentically, we need to contemplate this sign: the fragile simplicity of a small newborn, the meekness of where he lies, the tender affection of the swaddling clothes. God is there.” This is more important than (i) verbally mouthing “Merry Christmas” once a year, while failing to live the lessons of the Gospels in our daily lives, (ii) the politicisation and commercialisation of Christmas being witnessed in America and the world, which Trump is now using to continually sell himself to the clerical politicians.

The Pope added: “Let us also allow ourselves to be challenged by the children of today’s world, who are not lying in a cot caressed with the affection of a mother and father, but rather suffer the squalid mangers that devour dignity: hiding underground to escape bombardment, on the pavements of a large city, at the bottom of a boat over-laden with immigrants…Let us allow ourselves to be challenged by the children who are not allowed to be born, by those who cry because no one satiates their hunger, by those who do have not toys in their hands, but rather weapons.”

The unfavourable view of Christianity, which continues to empty the pews worldwide continued throughout 2016, but not many people are paying attention to the major causes of that unfavourable view. To destroy a thing, you attack its foundation. And this is what is happening in the world today to our Christian faith, whose core are agape unity and love. Donald Trump represents a fundamental violation and an attack of those two core values of Christianity.

So, it is laughable when someone whose whole life contradicts the core values of the Christian faith talks about bringing “Merry Christmas” to the white house. The millennial that we Christians seek to evangelise to return to the church are smart enough to see through this contradiction, this hypocrisy. This hypocrisy partly explains why today the churches continue to be empty in the United States of America and other parts of western society.

So when our Cardinals, Bishops, priests, pastors, sisters, deacons, other religious women and men queue before Trump in celebration, what are they seeing in their new “king”? Are they seeing our faith, our true Christian values, and models for our children? Or are they seeing in Trump a salesman through who they hope to get “conservative” appointments?

If this is the case, then are we not back to when Jesus Christ was with us in flesh and drove the traders, con-men and con-women out of the synagogue for they profaned HIS father’s house and turned it to a trading floor?

Adeolu Ademoyo, aaa54@cornell.edu, is with the Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.