Why I Must Oppose Donald Trump: One Priest’s Perspective

I am becoming more convinced that the era of argument is over. Whether in the public sphere, or sadly, even among family and friends, or communities I have witnessed the very swift decline of exchange of ideas, benefit of doubt, and allowance of nuance. I have certainly been guilty of contributing to this decline, perhaps even as I sit down to write this blog post. But I think about this a great deal when I reflect on why I feel such a heavy weight about discourse on issues, on politics, on morality or ethics. Certainly “there is nothing new under the sun” and I have recognized there is a definite hubris in thinking of the current era as being more significant, better or worse, than others. However I must admit that I have felt the weight more acutely of the disconnect, the fog, the fear, in the past few years than I ever have before.

Something is in the air.

As I’ve reflected on the root of my own inner ‘barometer’ I am coming to realize more that, what I thought was fear, being afraid of ‘what might happen’ is actually deep sadness, a profound sorrow. What masks itself in me or comes out as anger is really confusion and hurt.  Maybe that’s what many of us are operating out of, sorrow, confusion, and hurt, in the face of an uncertain future. Perhaps systems around us we see as clearly broken, decline in our perceived or actual security and ability to provide, and a shifting culture around us drive us to this. But instead of looking towards one another, admitting we’re troubled, confused, and hurt, fear makes us act out in displays of suspicion, anger, and defensiveness. I’ll be honest, I don’t feel like I can be totally open anymore. I’ve seen the unspoken (or spoken) “shut down” happen too often, the subtle shift in a community when someone who suggests something ‘off the agreed playbook’ gets quietly labeled and marginalized. The thing that’s most troubling is that it’s generally good-hearted people who end up doing this to each other, so I figure there has to be something else going on.

So, I’m not going to argue anything here. But I am going to share what is really going on in my heart and mind, as a Christian and a priest in the face of the ubiquitous election season, and specifically the Trump phenomenon. I feel I have to because my conviction says it would be immoral and denying my convictions to stay silent. But I want to be clear and speak in a way that is not rooted in anger, suspicion of anyone, or fear. I have felt these emotions, but I know those are not the truest reasons for what I have to say. Emotions are often unreliable, and reactions almost always so. I am convicted to speak because I am sorrowful, confused, and hurt. It is a weight I cannot bear anymore. I have considered the matter prayerfully and tried to make sure I’m not just taking some political position. I don’t believe that’s what this is. I have no interest in telling anyone how to vote, or, God forbid, use my position as a priest to manipulate people. As I have said before, I am not interested in controlling anyone. I left faith communities that handed out “voter’s guides” at the door and I don’t ever want to go back to that.  Maybe that’s part of the weight I feel. It’s when I see faith language start to creep into the support of Trump, or any candidate for that matter, or even the suggestion that a Christian somehow “should” support him in opposition to a “greater evil” – that’s when it starts to involve me, as someone charged with leadership in a faith community.

Here is the distinction I draw:

Do I believe a person can be a Christian and vote for Trump? Yes.

Do I believe that a person can support Trump because he or she is a Christian? No.

I have long believed that no party, Republican or Democrat, holds a platform that a Christian can really, fully, support. It’s always a decision of priorities, a decision which I believe Christians of sincere faith can come to different conclusions on. Many Christians I know call themselves “single issue voters.” Often this single issue is abortion. It is rooted in the core conviction that all life is sacred, and begins at conception. These Christians will check what a candidate’s position is specifically on abortion and vote from there. Other Christians, equally pro-life, I would say, consider the “life” question as being more complicated. This Christian voter may even vote time to time for a “pro-choice” candidate that they believe has a track record for alleviating the factors that surround abortion: access health care and education or issues of systematic poverty. I think both of these voters can vote the way they do in sincerity. I do not, however, believe a Christian can take the stance of being “pro-abortion.” Some Christians are against any and all war, which they can use Scripture to back up. Other Christians see the issue of war as being complicated, and sometimes justified – these Christians can also use Scripture to back up their position. Both can sincerely come to this conclusion, I believe. I do not, however, believe a Christian can be “pro-war.” Christians of sincere faith come to different conclusions concerning issues of guns, health care, LGBTQ rights, taxes, immigration, and many other political issues. Some things I think a Christian cannot support: torture, oppression, greed, exploitation, blatant immorality.

This brings me to the conundrum many voters who identify as Christians, voters who may have aligned themselves more often with the Republican Party, find themselves in. Can they support Donald Trump? I need to put the disclaimer on before I go further. I am not a single issue voter. I do consider myself thoroughly pro-life, which for me includes the issues of abortion, capital punishment and euthanasia, but also overlaps into issues of poverty, health care, war, guns, immigration, and protection of minorities. I try to look at every issue through the lens of life being sacred, all of it. Again, no party has a consistent platform for me, so I don’t vote party line. I try to prayerfully vote for the best candidate keeping in mind that scripture we hear every Sunday at Liturgy “Put not your trust in princes in sons of men in whom there is no salvation.”

I’ve been following the Trump phenomenon since the beginning of the primaries. Let me share what I have observed. I have watched him insult female candidates, candidates wives, and news anchors, usually taking a crude swipe at their looks. I have watched him demonize illegal immigrants, calling for building a wall and making Mexico pay for it. I have watched him call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country “until we get this thing figured out” (actual reason given). I have heard him speak of his own faith, which, I would never judge the heart of any man, only God can do that, but I do recall him publicly making the point that he does not feel the need to ask forgiveness from God. I have watched him degrade and belittle those who disagree with him, not with substantive counter-argument, but with name-calling, personal insults, and the suggestion they are “losers”. I watched footage of a rally in Louisville, where a young black woman was insulted, pushed, and spat on by a group of full-grown white men. I recalled Trump mentioning that there was a time when protesters could “get roughed up” and I recall him suggesting he might pay legal expenses for those who get in trouble making sure “to get those people out of here”. I recall a moment right before that incident at the rally in Louisville hearing Trump look over at protesters and ask “Are you from Mexico”? and then stirring up the crowd with his usual “get them out of here” command. I have heard him condone torture, I have heard him suggest that the families of terrorists should be hunted down and killed. In a rally in Indianapolis I heard him point out the journalists in attendance and call them “the worst people, very dishonest”, and then as “do we hate the media”? This was met with a rousing cheer. I have seen this man, time and again, tap into emotions and reactions that I, as a Christian, have been taught are the very worst of our broken human tendencies, things which we are called to repent of: fear, anxiety, tearing down the ‘other’, defensiveness, pride, vainglory, mockery. It is for these reasons I morally cannot support Donald Trump, and do not believe one can support him based on one’s Christian faith. Again a Christian may support him for other reasons, but to blend a reason of faith into the equation simply does not follow. I do not believe it can be justified.

I have done my homework on how Donald Trump made his fortune. I know he bankrupted several companies, of course getting rich himself off of it, but at whose expense? Ordinary working people I’m sure. He has made his fortune off of casinos. I even read the arresting fact that, if elected, Donald Trump would be the first president to have owned a strip club. I think the character of the man matters. Of course, in the arena of politics, one could argue a virtuous man or woman is hard to find. I’m not looking for perfection, but, as a Christian I cannot see how I could trust the judgment of someone who has made his fortune in such a way.

I am further concerned, as a Christian, by the claims made by Trump to be the one who can make things “great” again. He has asserted not that his ideas, but that he is the one who can unite and bring greatness back to our country. At the event in Indianapolis he had the hubris to say he would personally “fix” the drug problem in our country. His rhetoric has taken on something of messianic proportions – he is the so-called “outsider” (how a multibillionaire reality TV star can be considered the outsider who can ‘relate’ to the common man is beyond me) who has come to shake things up and set things right again. But there is a dark side to his promise. It is at the expense of the “losers”. Who are the “losers”? Immigrants, outsiders and those who disagree with him, who do not buy into the need to unite around him. Not only is this historically the recipe for a fascist dictator, his promised “greatness” is quite at odds with the Gospel. Seriously, read what Jesus stood for, taught, and the way in which He lived.  I cannot find any places where these two worldviews meet, which is, again, why I do not believe one can vote for Donald Trump based on any Christian values.

But what of the one issue voter? This past week I heard a report from a good friend that he had been told by some very devout, conscientious Christian friends that they had determined they must vote for Trump because the president of a well-known “pro-life” group, Operation Rescue, had written a letter to supporters saying while he did not endorse Trump, he could vote for him in order to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House. Trump’s inconsistent position on abortion aside, I would ask the single issue voter to seriously consider the ramifications of voting for Donald Trump. I am not endorsing Hillary Clinton either, but I am serious in my call to not overlook what should be seriously troubling to a Christian, morally and ethically, about Donald Trump’s rhetoric, means of gaining support, and positions. He has not proven himself ever to be truly “pro-life”, whether in the single issue voter sense or in the “seamless garment” sense. Furthermore, we must ask what spirit he would bring to the leadership of this country. As Christians, of course, our ultimate authority and allegiance is to Jesus Christ. The example of the early Christians was to be good citizens, but to not believe salvation or the “answer” was to be found in civil authority. However, as citizens of a republic in which we are called to have ownership by way of our vote and our voice, we who choose to vote are called to vote our conscience, from the place of our values, our beliefs.

I want to ask all who are Christians who are voting this November to consider prayerfully and seriously what the Gospel and Scripture as a whole teaches about care for the oppressed, the fruit of the spirit, the trappings of wealth and pride, the characteristics of true Wisdom, and how one should see ‘the other’. Also reflect on Who it is that truly saves, and what kind of man He was. I am not saying that the president of the United States needs to be morally perfect and completely in tune with what we believe are the highest of values. But I do believe we as Christians cannot support someone who stands utterly at odds with what we hold true, and who has given such energy to the spirit of fear and pride, spirits at odds with the one Who has proclaimed “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear“, love which “is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, and is not proud.”

Read the follow up to this post: Opposing Trump: Six Months Later

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122 thoughts on “Why I Must Oppose Donald Trump: One Priest’s Perspective

    1. “The character of the man matters.” That’s entirely true. Given the character of such a significant number of priests, archbishops and even the vatican in attempting to hide sexual abuse of children and pretend that no harm has come to those who suffered the abuse, I find it appalling that any representative of the Catholic church has the audacity to judge anyone, even someone as reprehensible as Donald Trump. In Minneapolis, we’ve read for an extensive period of time about the sexual abuse by archbishop Neinstadt and his seemingly endless denials and disregard for those innocent children whose accusations were nothing more than a tiresome bore to him. I agree with everything in this article and feel that serious thought went into writing it; however, I have to wonder if the author has ever spoken out in regard to sexual abuse on the part of Catholic clergy or if that particular subject merits putting his head in the sand. If only we didn’t have to know that this article was written by a priest…

      1. Playing the sex card again. What lead to the sex scandal was a complete absence of judgement.

      2. Except that he’s not a Catholic priest. We Orthodox have our own scandals and challenges (which we often handle badly as well), but if you’re going to try to dismiss a thoughtfully written article on an ad hominem basis, at least make sure it’s a relevant ad hominem. He was also very careful to reject ‘judgment’ and try to stick to observed behavior…an example of the ‘nuance’ which he mentioned was missing in most conversation today. In all honesty he did an excellent job describing his thoughts on a very risky subject. Well done Father.

      3. Are you not judging this Priest on the actions of other church clergy that he had nothing to do with? I find this man to be very honest about his feelings with his opinions here.

      4. I believe the author is an Orthodox priest, not part of the Catholic Church under the Pope. Prayers for all those affected by the sexual abuses and the cover ups.

      5. I too find the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic church horrific and evil, especially as a Christian. That said I do not believe it disqualifies every Catholic priest from during their job of speaking out their convictions. Its not like a company where you can just quit and apply somewhere else. Sadly the church has dark days, today and in the past, but it gets through them and mostly does good. If every priest that hated what is going on left than things could never change.

      6. By all appearances, the priest who wrote the article is an Orthodox priest. It would be unseemly for him, as a member of the Orthodox Church, to speak out about abuses in the Catholic Church+

      7. I am supporting Donald Trump, because in this Cultural Marxist Dumbed-Down society, he has enough sanity left to understand that JIhadism is REAL and an Existential threat to our society, and that if you give up control of your borders to “international Globalist bodies, commissions and courts” you NO LONGER have a country.

        Mary Orth, I want to address you impression of the Sexual Abuse scandal in the Church. I wrote this, this morning to one of the self appoint “watch dogs” of Church abuses, who has made a living off her “non-profit” while “amplifying” the Church scandals out of all proportion. And she used the same reasoning you use, basically that the Church had no right to make “moral judgement.” This FAKE priest who wrote this article is neither a priest or Orthodox – I’m pretty sure I recognize the part of the face he shows, and his writing style which is as distinctive as my own. But anyway, for what it is worth, I would like to give you some fact, the Media will never tell you.
        +++

        Melanie, I am not at all surprised that you want to divert the conversation from your Cultural Marxist motivations, that is, in your own words, that the Church DARE to define what is moral and immoral behavior, or that you are relying on very old statistics and that you site a LONE Psychiatrist, who is most likely of the same ilk as yourself, also Cultural Marxist, and probably gay, since the numbers of both in that profession out number per capita the general population by eons.

        Are you, yourself gay? I’m suspecting you are. I’ve always suspected you are.

        Actually the figures I referenced are gleaned primarily from Pew Research over the years which I clearly stated in my first response on this thread and also a study done by the United Methodist Church of Mainline Protestant clergy and church workers done in the 1990s, which showed the problem worse there by a magnitude of many and multiple surveys and studies done on sexual abuse via various “help professions.” But I too was going on old data since I have not followed the subject with much interest, except to monitor the psy-opts value of the witch-hunt hysteria generated by the Cultural Marxists for their goal of dismantling the Church, a goal you obviously share, since you are offended that the church DARE define what is moral and immoral behavior.

        FROM 2002 TO 2011 in the Roman Catholic Church according to the Bishop Accountability Board created by Pope Benedict, who as you know tackled sexual abuse head-on, there were approximately 16,000 confirmed victims of sexual abuse involving roughly 3700 clergy. There are 415,000 Roman Catholic Priests in the world, and more, if you add deacons, seminarians, monks, nuns, teacher etc. So you do the math, if we take the lesser number of just Roman Priests, that means that less than one percent of Roman Priests have been involved in sexual abuse (a figure too high) and that compares to ONE in FIVE (20 percent of) psychologists and psychiatrists. Let us say that only one out of ten make a claim of abuse, among the victims, let us say that the number is 160,000, instead of just 16,000 – do you know what percentage of the population Roman Catholic population that is? Even at the inflated figure of 160 thousand, that is less than ONE TENTH of ONE PERCENT of Catholics. Those abused by nurses in hospitals is many times that, and never mentioned in the media. And this statistic is from an internal insurance study done by the Humana Corporation.

        The story of abusive Catholic and Orthodox Clergy is as inflated as the importance of Jews in the world, also accomplish by the same Cultural Marxist promoters in the media. This isn’t an anti-Semitic statement but a statement of statistics vs perceptions. The plight of the Jews, fear of antisemitism, and concern for Israel is nearly constantly in the press and the Cultural Marxist media. Yet there are only fourteen million Jews in the world of 7.3 Billion people, more than half of which live in the U.S. under very favorable conditions, and in Israel under condition more favorable in some ways, and less favorable in others. They represent only TWO TENTHS of ONE PERCENT of the world’s population. But from there representation in the distortions of the Media one would assume the country to be 30, 40, 50% Jewish. The exaggeration of the numbers of Gay people in the world is an equally created Cultural Marxist Myth. Both aimed an making Christianity and the Church appear “minimal.” Christians are frightened to say “Christian Culture” or “Christian Principles” the brainwashing is so complete they say, Judeo-Christian Culture, etc.

        It is hard to find worldwide statistics on sexual abuse by health and help professions, but in the U.S. it is rather easy, and as I said in my first entry, the statistics of abuse among the professions I named, in the U.S. is astronomically higher than in the Church Clergy.

        BTW My cousin, Bella Dodd, one of the founders of the American Communist Party (who died a repentant Catholic) stated in her book, “Heart of Darkness” that the infiltration of the Roman clergy was a goal of the Communist Party U.S.A, following the model created by Gramsci, outlined in detail in his “Prison Notebooks” of which I suspect you are familiar. They operated primarily in the North East U.S., in the “seats of power.” and that in 1936, alone they placed more than 1000 men in the Roman priesthood, most chosen by the communist, BECAUSE they were homosexual or otherwise perverted. The RC sex Scandal that you report in Boston was part of the logical out come of that subversive insurgency and was reflected primarily on the East Coast in the U.S. and more recently in Ireland, in both places it accomplished its goals, discredited the Church and ended in the National Institution of the Cultural Marxist/Gay Agenda Goal of Sodomite Marriage.

        So understand, I SEE YOU. I know who and what you are. And you are NOT an angel of mercy seeking for the well being of people in the Churches, since you have no safer place to offer them. Your goal is to amplify every incident of sexual misconduct for Cultural Marxist goals, nothing more, nothing less. And make people believe the Church’s clergy is corrupt far, far, far, far, beyond the FACTS and that Church grounds and congregations are UNSAFE places. You Cultural Marxists paint the same picture of “oppressive and dangerous” Traditional families, where the father is a tyrant and the mother abused and the children living lives of chaos, screaming to get away. Folks, it is all outlined in detail in Gramsci, read it and know the Luciferian plan.

      8. Don’t understand why this is only about Donald Trump, and you never said anything about the good things of Donald Trump, and there are many. Didn’t read one word about the 20+ years of corruption regarding Hillary Clinton.

      9. Nothing here says that this priest is especially allied with Rome. Although Eastern Orthodox clergy typically do not expound on subjects of a political nature, he has much more the look of Constantinople about him than Rome.

      10. So sorry that you would disregard a thoughtful article because of a “group” the author is a member of.

      11. You do know that sexual abuse rates are higher in public schools, in Protestant circles, etc., right?

        Do you dismiss everything every school teacher and coach and Protestant minister have to say?

      12. Darlene, keep in mind there are not many Christian groups arguing that it is your Christian duty to vote for Mrs. Clinton. There are quite a few arguing it is to vote for Mr. Trump.

    2. Talk about using your collar and religion to judge, look down on and hang a man on a cross! I’m sure you burn witches too. Where is you documentary on the lying theiving murdering name calling Hillary? Shame on you preacher for using your religion to hang people to get your way

      1. How about Wikileaks or the FBI? Both seem to have highly compelling data against Clinton.

        …and I agree with Stealthmama – This priest needs to address Clinton at the same level that he addressed Trump. I can’t imagine that he would have much favorable to say about her from a Christian perspective. As a Christian myself I can’t say that I see God shining from either of them. Clinton just seems to have an aura of evil though. In good conscience I could never vote for her.

        On a side note, considering the details that were released from Wikileaks regarding how the DNC colludes with the media, Fox News and the others you noted are looking way more trustworthy and reputable than MSNBC, CNN, NBC, etc., etc., etc. These “news” organizations have damaged themselves by losing their objectivity. I doubt that I’ll watch much going forward.

    3. Thank you father for your honest and thoughtful reflection. Shameful comments regarding judgements passed on the whole of the Catholic church because of the behaviour of the few – no church (save moslem clerics) has ever condoned sexual abuses of children. Neither has the teaching or medical profession, scout masters or janitors, court officials, judges…yet every one of those groups has had perpetrators guilty of offences.

    4. Father, I agree with you and have struggled myself with most of his issues, but hasn’t GOD used unworthy people to do extroidinary things before. That is my hope and prayer for this election. But considering the other choice, at the moment, I can no way consider Hillary with any kind of faithful, moral or patriotic conscience. I wish you would post how you feel about her too.

  1. Glory to God….finally found someone who has put into words what I feel inside about this whole atmosphere of our country. Thank you Fr. Joel. I have shared this on my FB feed.

  2. Well written, I would only challenge you to try to understand why people would vote fore Trump. Simply saying its fear and suspicion is not enough,and misleading. Our political environment has created a vacuum. Trump my insult and malign people, but many people feel insulted and maligned by the current admin. The political system is pathological. The two party system seems closed and bent in on itself. Trump is the first nationalist we have had in a while, mostly because nationalism is looked down apron and derided as primitive. Many don’t mind his insults because many are fed up being told what can and cannot be said. Trump is a symptom caused by the broken system. For many Hillery is just another system member. Bush, Romney, McCane- they are all more of the same. Anyways, as our society declines it is going to get interesting. Some will vote for trump thinking that he will either fix the sinking ship or sink it quicker rather than simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I’m sometimes think that Prists should not (or should not be able to) vote.

    1. I would actually agree with what you’ve stated as reasons people are voting for Trump. And, I have tried to understand the phenomenon as it clearly does indicate something deeper. I have thought that Trump may just be the logical conclusion of a very broken system. Maybe the fact that an actual reality TV star and shady businessman is the real candidate is more real than the facade we have endured for so long. And, yes, I absolutely see the lack of appeal of any ‘establishment’ candidate. I was trying to address the very specific issue of faith getting mixed in with support for Trump, which, I have thought very long about and really can’t find a way to marry the two. I understand the angst and even disenfranchisement people feel. I get the appeal of nationalism, even if I disagree with it and find it troubling. I’ve tried to do a lot of listening to people who make the case for Trump. Arguments based on his economic policy, etc. while I disagree, I can understand and respect. However, my point is that I have seen and heard excuses or passes given by Christians for some of his positions/actions. I come back to the point that he is, by his rhetoric and even some positions tapping into and fanning the flame of attitudes, I think as Christians, we are not to champion or make excuses for. Even the idea of being ‘fed up with what can be said an not said’ and finding someone who just ‘says what he thinks’ I have trouble matching up with Gospel precepts. There is a reverse victimhood attitude happening, which is also not a Christian attitude – because its about “me” “my country” “my money” and the fault is with “them” “those people” “this culture”. Is this the place from which we are supposed to operate? My concern is on the spiritual level, not the policy level.

    2. And – to priests not voting – I think there is a good argument for that too – I’ve thought the same thing from time to time.

      1. I agree with you that if we are voting based on our Christian faith than Trump would be out. However, I also think Hillary would be out. Either way most votes will be based on fear and desire for power wrapped in our country’s obsession with victimhood and the anger that all people are blinded with. I think that both candidates, from a Christian perspective, Are unacceptable. People have often said to vote for the lesser of to evils. In some sense the The blood is on their hands, whether it is the blood of the innocents or the blood of war. Pick your favorite issue It seems a revolution is coming to me.

    3. I agree with Theophan. Yes Trump has faults. But not voting for him is to vote for Hillary. At this point of the game you have to decide do you want this country to continue as it has for the last eight years or do you want to take a chance on something different….maybe better but maybe worse. But if you don’t vote or you vote for Hillary you will only get more of what we have had. I believe God can use and/or change a person. When you Look at all the issues I like what Trump says. I was raised in the south so a lot of it is trashy but you have to look at where he was raised….not in the south. But he has very intelligent and respectful children and that counts a lot for me. What about all the people protesting Trump….they are doing more damage!! It’s awful how they are allowed to continue in their violent manner. If voting for Trump can ultimately end that then I’m all for Trump.

      1. Well said. This priest is totally clueless, claiming to have done his homework. Well too bad, he didn’t study the alternative. He enjoys criticizing one but fails to see the consequences of not voting for the man.

      2. The “people protesting Trump are doing more damage”? What kind of damage? They’re asserting their First Amendment rights. I haven’t seen violence except that pushed by the Trump campaign.

      3. How can you ignore the progress that has been made in the past 8 years? And how can you ignore the damage Trump (and those like him) has already caused in this country – and will cause the world if elected? The pure, vicious, Hate that spews from him only fuels more and more Hate! Our government was established to represent, protect and promote the welfare of ALL the people: hence a Democracy. How can you vote for someone who only wants to promote his ego, brings out the worst in everyone, stirs up civil unrest and wants to exclude anyone who disagrees with him? Trump is the epitome of the greed, deceit, and corruption that has increasingly poisoned this country for the past 4 decades. If we can trample the venomous Trumps of the world, we would all have better lives. The antidote has only been allowed to work for the past 8 years. We need to KEEP striving for better lives for us ALL.

  3. If the revolution is coming, perhaps that is one of my concerns as a priest. Will Christians, and Christian leaders point the faithful back to Christ and the cross, or will the message be blended/co-opted into nationalism, or something else like that. Where I live I see a decent amount of Guns, Rights, and America getting mixed in with Christianity. I just hope the Church isn’t part of the movement to revolution except to be the ones taking care of the wounded, caring for those persecuted and pushed out, and proclaiming the true Kingdom. Our only way is the cross.

    1. I agree, the Church needs to be on the ground taking care of the souls and bodies of the wounded and disenfranchised. Also I agree that the Gospel message should not be blended with nationalism. However, nationalism is not the only threat, and there can be a healthy nationalism. I some ways I wonder if nationalism is less of a threat than some of the other ideologies that have co-opted the Gospel. The nationalistic people I know are good and moral citizens who desire to help others and take pride in our country. On the more “progressive” the Gospel is often reduced to a social gospel or a Gospel that helps people embrace their sin or delusion as their identity which I assume is just as dangerous if not more than having nationalist tendencies. My guess is that most people rioting and protesting in our recent history were not inspired by nationalism.

      The other issue is that the emphasis on victimhood in our society has created a problem. In my opinion there is no such things as “reverse-discrimination” or “reverse-victimhood”. You either feel victimized and discriminated against or not. When you make being a victim into a badge of special honor that the whole of society needs to cater to the consequences are that everyone eventually wants to be a victim. This of course drowns out the voices of many really tragic lives and situations. It is questionable whether a society can survive catering to the 1%, whether the 1% is the super-wealthy or gender dysmorphic.

      As far as guns go it seems our political dysfunction is what has caused the failure of positive gun control. It seems people are no longer able to be nuanced or direct. It seems the bills that get put forth always have a mixture of other items in them that politicize things. The anxious environment makes it hard to have rational discussion. For instance, we can ban assault rifles, but hunting (semi-auto) rifles are often as or more powerful and have the same capabilities. It doesn’t make sense to ban a military look. The deluge of data on both sides of the issue is often dishonest. For instance I heard a stat recently that compares us to other countries but it did not take account or acknowledge the difference between illegally obtained gun deaths versus legally obtained gun deaths. Without actually discussing the depths of all these issues there can only be sound bytes and feelings and most importantly the desire for power and control.

      I’m dropping the mic…. Bill out

    2. I totally agree about Trump & Clinton being two evils. Cannot vote for either one as an Orthodox Christian unless the Lord reveals one to me. I do have to say that under our current administration I have seen the oppression of Christians. They seem to have NO rights but all other religions do. I have a friend who worked at Nordstrom’s and wanted to have Orthodox Good Friday off and she was denied, but her Muslim co-worker needed a place to have her daily prayers and they converted a dressing room into a prayer room for her. At my sons school we use to have prayers before all events and we were able to end with…”In Jesus’ name” but now it’s not politically correct to use His name. All prayers now are… Those of you who have a God that you pray to may bow your heads and pray along if you wish. Cannot mention Jesus but (for now) we can say God, I am sure that soon prayer will not be allowed at all. They already are not allowing our men in the military to have Bible’s. Sometimes the Bible is their only comfort. A woman who didn’t want to bake a cake for a gay couple was crucified by the media. I didn’t agree with her, but she has that right. It’s her shop. What if someone wanted a porn cake? She must do it? I heard about Subway restaurants removed pork from their menus to appease the Muslims. What about people who want pork? They have taken prayer out of schools, they want to remove the words God We Trust from our money and God out of our Pledge of Legience. We cannot say Merry Christmas we should say happy holidays, because that’s politically correct. At Christmas time in our schools, we can talk about Hannakah and draw pictures about this Jewish Holiday, but you cannot draw anything about Christ and His birth, nothing about Jesus, not even Santa anymore. Just snowflakes and reindeer. We are being oppressed as Christians. I just want it fair for all religions. The same across the board. Christians are being beheaded and nothing is being said about that. Why? I can go on and on and I’m sure there is more out there I haven’t heard. Unfortunately, we have two awful choices. I still cannot choose either candidate at this time. All I can do is pray for our country and Christians everywhere. Lord Jesus help us.

    3. The largest concern for the people is not nationalism, but the rights that come with being the citizen of this country. Being an American permits us the freedom of our religious beliefs. Many, such as myself, see what is happening as a threat to those freedoms.

    4. Well the church is the people and not the building but I believe that is what you were alluding. I agree with the article but I also think that we need to look just as thoroughly at Hillary all the way back to Watergate to see what her track record is and it is just as ugly and full of deceit. Neither candidate is a great choice but not voting should not be an option either. It reminds me of in the old testament when the Israelites were crying out for a king and no longer wanted to be led by a prophet. Be very careful what we ask for, God just might give it to us regardless if it is what is best. Not a fan of either candidate but in my mind as a pastor, former military officer, father and leader in reaching the nations for Christ I believe the better of the two candidates is Trump. Certainly not great, but lesser of the two evils so to speak. I want to have an opinion and I believe that by not voting, we lose our chance to have a voice. Regardless of the outcome of the next election, I will be praying that God will have a say in the leadership through a member of their cabinet or through a pastor who will have influence on the next president.

      1. What will our children and those who look up to our leadership whatever it may be think or learn from this . I believe there is good in all men sometimes it’s misconstrued through there actions. Hillary Clinton has had her chance to prove herself. Personally I feel she has failed. As secretary she failed us . But I don’t want to start a bashing synopsis here. I believe God can intervene at any time and cause a man to repent. Mr. Trump should be given a chance and I challenge those in spiritual ineptitude to get on your knees. God is watching and of course always waiting

      2. I think this is the most thought out reasonable answer I’ve read yet. I read it to my husband this morning over breakfast and he agrees with it too. This is how we will be voting for Trump praying that the Lord will use someone of influence over his life. Thank you for this great answer Todd Greer!

      3. There was one more thought to Todd Greer’s comment from my husband. If Trump wins and Penci. becomes our President through accident or health reasons, he is a great one to be our next President. He is against abortions.

    1. Fr. John,
      Glory to Jesus Christ!
      No, I have not. This post was not intended to be an endorsement of Clinton or Obama. I tried to make clear that I am not saying a Christian can’t or shouldn’t vote for Trump. It’s not “why you must oppose Donald Trump – the Orthodox perspective” it’s “why I must oppose… one priest’s perspective”. Its a perspective I came to after much prayer and thought and it has to do with the spiritual issue behind it, not the politics. Perhaps I failed in communicating this, as I have received several responses like “but what about Hillary?”. I wasn’t writing about Hillary. I have plenty of reasons to oppose Hillary, and I may write about them at some point, but I’m not a political pundit, I’m a priest. If I write about her, it will probably be from the place of my deep concern of the platform of the dems going even further left when it comes to abortion during this campaign cycle. But I’m not going to start writing to debate political sides. I don’t feel a call to do that at all. I listen to many sides, and I do believe a person can be a democrat or a republican or a libertarian and be a devout Christian. I did feel the need to address the Trump issue because I do think its different. Many may disagree, but I was very disturbed when he began courting Christians in the spirit he did. I am not judging his soul or his Christianity, but I do oppose and feel the need to critique what he presented as “what he can contribute to Christianity”.

      1. With all due respect Father, when you write an article about why you “must” oppose Donald Trump, then you are de facto endorsing Hillary Clinton. Like it or not, one of these two will end up being elected. To oppose one is to endorse the other. If you are going to point out the flaws of Trump, you could equally comment on the fact that a candidate who is not trusted by most Americans, who is felt to be a liar by most Americans, is somehow the choice of the Democratic party, and perhaps will be the choice of the nation, as a leader. What does THAT say about our country?

      2. “I tried to make clear that I am not saying a Christian can’t or shouldn’t vote for Trump.”

        That’s the way it may have started – as a personal opinion piece. But there seems to be some conflict. “Do I believe a person can be a Christian and vote for Trump? Yes.”

        And yet…

        “But I do believe we as Christians cannot support [what you just spent quite a few words describing Trump as being].” This seems to imply doubtful opinions about whether “we” can, in fact, be Christian and support Trump. Coming from a priest, that may come across as bordering on calling the Christianity of Trump supporters into question.

        And then there’s “Many Christians I know call themselves ‘single issue voters.’ Often this single issue is abortion. It is rooted in the core conviction that all life is sacred, and begins at conception. These Christians will check what a candidate’s position is specifically on abortion and vote from there.”

        And yet…

        “…I do not believe one can vote for Donald Trump based on any Christian values.”

        Isn’t the “conviction that all life is sacred” rooted in Christian values? The belief that children are a gift, that human beings were created in God’s image by God Himself, that Christ is the Giver of Life – these are Christian beliefs behind that conviction.

    2. Great question Fr, John Whiteford, would like to hear the answer. Trump may not be the perfect candidate but one world order and chaos and suffering from wars worry me a lot and that’s what Hillary is going to do. More wars,NATO expansion,and chaos.

  4. As a priest I privately support who I privately support but I certainly don’t write articles about it… How about you write an article on the nature of the Holy Trinity father, not our election… That aside I have been threatened with suspension for saying WAY less than this priests did in his article. But of course that is because I’m libertarian and do not support leftist policies… Clerics who happen to be members of the Christian Left are mostly free to speak their political opinions both from the pulpit and social media. After all they support feel good well meaning policies, don’t they? That makes it ok.

    1. Fr. Boris,
      Glory to Jesus Christ!
      Forgive me if you took my article as supporting a political candidate. I do not talk politics from the pulpit, ever, but I do feel the need to speak a word when the idea of “Christian” gets co-opted by politics, either on the right or the left. I did not say in my article who I am voting for, or if I am voting at all. I would not do that. Nor have I said who people should vote for. I think people need to vote their conscience. To the point of the so-called “Christian Left” (I don’t like labels) being free to speak, well, where I am from, it is quite the opposite, to be honest. The assumption is that people are conservative, and so public or private, even “off hand” comments that lean right nearly always get a pass, because that’s the culture. I am not an advocate for the Left, I have plenty of issues with the Democratic platform, but I’m not a political pundit, I’m a priest. I am trying to call out and challenge assumptions that I see drawing us away from allegiance to the Gospel and towards allegiance to something else, whether that be nationalism or the religion of ‘social justice’. Its never simple for a Christian – we’re kind of always strangers, right?

      1. Fr. John, I have to say thank you so much for being a leader in addressing a political person/issue as an Orthodox Christian. When Mr. Trump uses Christians, it is our responsibility to speak up, not to go along with his claims.

    2. Dear Fr. Boris
      I am deeply troubled by your comment. It assumes a Christian should be a conservative. Well to be honest i view a lot more of our Lord’s Jesus’ tolerance and love in what we call ‘democratic’ principles rather than today’s republican hypocrisy. I also view much of the Pharisees’ hypocrisy in what is today’s republican politicians. This kind priest wrote what he felt and as an American citizen he’s entitled to do so and as members of the public we would benefit from (and in fact are in need to) listen to his opinion. I think many people would rather hear the truth about someone who puts on the clothes of sheep but is indeed a wolf (trump and today’s republican politicians). Either way brings priest doesn’t negate also being a citizen in a free country where people are allowed to speak their mind without fear of retribution.

    3. This is America…just because you are not versed enough to write outside your chosen profession does not mean others who ARE brave enough to enlighten with their insights should not! And if everyone would concern themselves with well meaning policies, we would all be better for it.

  5. Early in my priesthood, I served under the omophorion of a bishop who felt, his priests should be apolitical. This was a position, that I did agree with, at the time. I am beginning to see the wisdom, in that bishop’s thought process. We in the priesthood, have the sacred obligation, to minister to conservatives, liberals and independents, as well. Rather than endorsing a particular political ideology, we must consistently uphold the teaching and traditions of our Holy Church, making those teaching the measuring stick and let the faithful make their own choice based not on the whims of politicians, but rather on the proper standard, Holy Scripture and Tradition.

    1. I actually agree, Father. I was taught in seminary that if we are political from the pulpit especially we have immediately alienated part of those we are called to minister to. I did not endorse a candidate, nor will I. That was not the intent of this post. I specifically tried to make clear I was not advocating for the “other side” but wanted to raise some concerns, that have been weighing on my heart. I also made the point that I think a Christian can vote for Donald Trump – I just wanted to pose the question of whether there are “Christian reasons” to do so, coming from a perspective, which I share, of trying to vote based on the standards of Holy Scripture and Tradition. Each person must follow their conscience, but I do believe a Christian could vote for either party. I am willing to take correction – if you can find anything in my actual post that seems to endorse a candidate or be specifically “political” I am willing to listen.

      1. ” if you can find anything in my actual post that seems to endorse a candidate or be specifically “political” I am willing to listen.” -Padre Joel There are two candidates running for president. You just picked apart one of them.

      2. Fr. I hope you write soon an opinion/article with the focus on Hillary. Just to balance things out. In my opinion she is worst.

    2. Fr. Loejos, With all respect, I cannot agree. There are times when Orthodox Christians,and all Christians, are called to confront the issues of the time. Political movements and candidates often have moral implications associated with them. The kingdom of God is not primarily about politics, but in this world it cannot be entirely disassociated from politics. There have been instances in the past when Christian bishops have failed to exercise leadership in opposing clearly anti-Christian movements, with disastrous results. It is part of the prophetic vocation of Christians to call good and evil for what they are.

  6. Dear Father,
    Thanks for your post. It is thought provoking.

    Many have commented on your post and there are also good things to consider in them. I will have mercy on everyone and keep most of my dubious thoughts to myself. However, there is one issue that I would like to talk about because it has served to be an irritation for a long time.

    I find myself amused when it is suggested that clergy and/or churches and/or Christians should be “apolitical.” Usually this is not clearly defined, but you get the idea that (wink, wink) we all know what that means. My feeling is that we are always political and always should be. If I leave this here without further explanation, then I am guilty of doing what has always irritated me. So, let me press on.

    If by the term “apolitical” we mean to say that we should not blindly align to one candidate or party, then I would agree that we should not be political. However, it seems to me that what is often meant is that we should somehow remove ourselves from the political realm, and just be available to stand with the victims. If this is what is meant, then I disagree with the idea.

    Some parts of the Book of Revelation are difficult to unpack, but one thing seems to be clear. Since, according to St. Paul the spirit of Antichrist is in the world, Revelation points out that this spirit seeks to incarnate itself in political systems. These systems then persecute the Church.The history of the Church is rife with examples of what happens when the political system oppresses the Faith. Revelation then serves as a textbook of how this evil incarnates itself and how God brings judgment upon it. Every time the spirit of Antichrist incarnates in political systems, we are again in “end times.”

    The ancient Church recognized that it existed in “the fulness of time” and this meant that although The Roman state was a persecutor, the Pax Romanum allowed the Church to grow and spread throughout the empire. In like manner, the civil religion of America, begun by our Founding Fathers, provided a type of pax americana, that has allowed Christianity to spread and grow. Now, this should not be taken to mean that America was free of error, persecution, racism, and other moral evils. Far from it.

    I would propose that what has occurred over the decades since the 1950s is the erosion of this civil religion. Now, under the Obama administration, we have begun to conceive of a bleak future for the Church. The civil religion has become more antichrist, and this spirit now uses terms that we find hard to argue with – inclusion, equality, fairness, etc. Who can debate with such ideas? In the hands of the antichrist, these ideas leverage God from the public sphere, and laws are now developed that will muzzle us unless we choose the path of the martyrs (recent Supreme Court decisions as an example)

    I am sure that the martyrs of the Communist yoke, the patriot saints of Greece, the victins of the Holocaust, etc. would advise us to be anything but apolitical. So, did I say vote for Trump or Clinton? I tend to ignore personality traits as a key to my vote. I tend to look at who will further the spirit of antichrist and who will not. As an old professor use to say, “Pay your money and make your choice.”

    Sorry, this is too long. Thanks for listening. Forgive any errors of thought. I am an old man and no longer quick on my mental feet.

    1. Dear Father Redneck. They also say, “with age comes wisdom”. As an octogenarian, I agree with your premise. Don’t sell yourself short!

  7. Father, I do not disagree with any of the points you have raised regarding Trump. However, I do believe that my faith compels me to vote for Trump for one reason: During the term of the next president, it is likely that there will be at least 3 vacancies on the Supreme Court. I believe that Trump is more likely than Clinton to nominate justices that will render opinions on social issues thats are more compatible with the Christian faith. Arguably, nominations to the Supreme Court have longer lasting effects than the presidency as justices regularly sit on the bench for decades if not an entire generation. In short, my vote for Trump is not a vote for Trump but rather the next Supreme Court justices.

    1. Yes, minalegal! You hit the nail on the head. Your reason for planning to vote for Donald Trump is precisely the reason I plan to vote for him. We can agonize and wring our hands and lament the times in which we live until the bovines come home but, if we sit back and let Hillary take the Oval Office, we shall be complicit in the deaths of thousands of innocent yet-to-be-born children. There is a time for philosophizing and there is a time for cutting to the chase. If I have to choose between Adolph and Benito, I’ll take Benito any day. Benito is a scoundrel, no question about it, but, as far as I know, he has no plans to wipe out the Jews. (That’s meant to be an analogy.)

      1. It is so kind of you to worry about the birth of the unborn, may I assume you will also love, feed and care for these unborn once they are here? This never seems to be on the agenda when demanding pro life. Just asking. When might I expect to see this happen? And yes, I do give time and money to children who are born to people who do not want children but feel compelled to have and keep them in their homes, not nurture and love them, but keep them.

    2. Amen! Voting for Trump and praying he will open his heart to JESUS Christ. I am a Christian, and I have prayed long and hard about my decision. And I am at peace with it! Also agree the exact letter should be written on why you can’t support Hillary!

      1. How fascinating…. you *hope* with your dearest heart that Trump with turn to Jesus Christ- you are not afraid to risk the country on your hopes. I’m glad you’ve prayed hard, as have many who disagree with you. It’s further fascinating that you want someone to write on why they can’t support the opponent- why? If that’s your calling then YOU should pen the letter, not demand that someone else feel the way you do.
        That’s the oddest thing- you think that others have to feel the way you do.

    3. Then you are perpetuating the polarization of our system which should have never extended to the third branch of government.

  8. I don’t understand why Orthodox Christians continue to LARP (live action roleplay) the days of old Byzantium and/or 18th century Tsarist Russia in the United States. The United States never was, is, nor shall be a monarchy. It is a two-party candidate system. Wake up and smell the Turkish coffee.

    Which leaves us with these questions:

    1) Do you wish to choose a candidate who is for abortion, pontificates that Christians should abandon their Biblical values, rallies behind illegal immigration to ensure that her party is in power for the next century with the promise of huge social projects paid for on the backs of middle class Americans**, and supports the very organizations and institutions that are at its root Cultural Marxist and anti-Christian?

    2) Do you wish to support a candidate who, in the very least, is in favor of protecting those things that shaped our nation and preserving the middle class and blue collar workers by promising to stop an immigration crisis that threatens our existence as a nation. Not as a country. As a nation. A country is nothing without a nation — its people.

    Or we can blog about our own sense of moral superiority, do nothing, and dream about having an emperor like in the good ol’ days. Either way you’ll end up a serf.

    **I footnote this because soon, quite soon, those social projects, which come from tax dollars, are going to run out. Tax dollars I might add which are collected from middle class Americans — a demographic that is decreasing quickly, not just financially, but also because we cannot/will not breed fast enough.

    1. I find it interesting to note the decline of the middle class population. There is a school of thought that divides breeding behavior into two groups. Those groups that use ‘R’ selection and those that favor ‘K’ selection. The ‘R’ selected groups breed frenetically, preferring quantity over quality, and demonstrate less care for offspring. ‘R’ selected groups possess a generally lower IQ than ‘K’ selected groups. The ‘K’ selected breeding strategy involves producing smaller numbers of offspring which are nurtured longer and benefit from greater parental attention. ‘K’ selected groups also possess higher IQs. When you think ‘R’ selection, think rabbits; ‘K’ selected groups include wolves. If we apply these strategies to human populations, you can observe the following:

      If your population is cosseted, deliberately discouraged from academic performance (think about men in college), distracted, even ignored by the powers that be, expect the ‘R’ selected breeding strategy. Expect a generally less intelligent population and prepare for voters that want handouts, that don’t want honest work. Expect a population that prefers welfare and is uninterested in warfare. Little concerns them except providing endless support. Now, notice which party panders to this rapidly expanding group of voters.

      There is no need to wonder which political party will win in the next election, ‘K’ selected groups are heavily outweighed demographically, never mind what weighs on your soul. Trump cannot win. The welfare state will persist… Until it has no choice but to collapse under the weight of the ignorant, the ill informed, and the indifferent.

  9. Anyone who thinks Trump is the “Christian” choice for President does not know the meaning of the word.

  10. Padre while you have a right to your opinion, I see nothing where you have an issue with Hillary commuting at least four counts of manslaughter and putting a country at risk because of her blatant carelessness of top secret documents. As a practicing catholic I would prefer you to worry about preaching the word of God and leave your political views to your self. Or if your poliical views move you to this point recuse yourself from the faith and voice your opinion at that time. I do not go to church to hear your personal beliefs expressed.

  11. The isolation you are feeling, and why you think conversation is over is because the conversation has moved out of the false paradigm of Cultural Marxism you have accepted, which you think is a measure of sophistication and maybe even piety. You recoil at the idea of a nation state taking control of its borders, and at a people taking control of its government, which has been lawless for some time, operating on the 1976 National Emergency Act, and that FACT kept out of the media, and out of the knowledge of the American People. It was not classified, just never reported, each of the 30 plus Declarations of National Emergency that give the President absolute dictatorial powers, of which Stalin would be proud. There is no place for the equivocations you offer, when our Nation is one election from either surviving as a nation or being absorbed into a Globalist System that is drastically FAILING and causing chaos all around the globe. Ever argument you make against Trump is a Cultural Marxist argument thinly veiled in religious pretensions and hubris mascaraing as “humility.”

    I asked an academic who two days ago made almost mirror image remarks to me and I offered him this very real fact. Love is expressed in many, many different forms. Then I ask him, “Would it be wrong for me to touch your wife’s breast?” He answered, “Of course it would.” “Would it be wrong for me to touch her crotch?” He answered, “Of course it would.” Then I asked, “What if she were drowning, and fighting me while I was trying to save her? Would you care where and how I had to touch her to save her life?” This is directly analogous to the present situation where our nation is drowning, by any measure it is drowning. It is not the time for Cultural Marxist niceness, you know as Political Correctness, it is time to grab hold of her and drag her across the waters, and hoist her onto some solid ground, no matter how ugly and vulgar it may look while we are doing it. It is what LOVE demands for the sake of generations next.

    1. Fr Symeon,
      How do you reconcile love for Christ with the love you seem to have for a state? I don’t know much about what you say regarding cultural marxism. My understanding of Marx is that he rejected God. Have you also? Your words do not say love to me, except maybe for the state.
      Scott

  12. Fr without being too harsh or judge mental let me just give you my knee jerk reaction.
    You listed everything Stupid thing Donald Trump ha said as a candidate. They were accurate and they were many. Anyone reading that especially coming from a Priest would likely want to get as far away from Donald Trump as possible. Then you make a point to say you do not endorse Hillary Clinton which gives the impression you are just simply stating facts as to why a person should not vote for Donald “because” they are a Christian. Honestly Father you did a lot more than that. What you didn’t say about Hillary and so many other politicians who would never be caught saying such things but think and do much worse. Every word they say is well thought out and planned and since they never say such things we should see them as far superior. Please give me a break. I much prefer I sinner willing to show me his sins than Someone hiding their real feelings pretending to be something they are not. And if anyone has been paying attrntion over the years who they really are is quite evident.

    I will assume you were really trying to speak to the poont you said you were speaking to but leaving out an equal assessment of Clinton leaves a question in my mind.

  13. I vote for Donald Trump because is seriously sought the Lord to show me His will..not my will or conclusions!

  14. Father,

    I don’t wish to pile on. I, too, am opposed to Trump. This is a bit easier for me, living in California, as my vote for or against him would be meaningless in any event. At the same time, I think you’ve taken a rather shallow view of this. You’ve seen “things you don’t like,” if you will, without examining the more fundamental issues that lay at the base of these public behaviors.

    At their core, the shifts in perspective that have brought us here are those that have spread from the *left* to the *right*. In other words, egocentrism as a “positive” thing, populism, cult of personality, mob mentality . . . these have been the tools of the left for decades and decades, if not centuries (as the French Revolution so ably demonstrated).

    I agree with Blessed Seraphim Rose that there is no compromise with the revolution – that these foci of the left were inevitably going to become the generally “accepted” foci across the political spectrum. The ever-waning influence of the ever-declining remnant of Christian culture in the Western (non-Patristic) world was doomed to defeat at the rise of the elevation of man to the role of God. As a result, we see those who are on the “right,” who should be “conservative,” employing leftist/liberal/progressive methodology and worldview. At this point, it is simply a matter of who is in charge, not what massive cultural changes any party/ideology will present.

    The argument for so, so many who support Trump is not just that “well, he’s not Hillary. He sucks, but he’s not Hillary.” That I can at least understand (and, to a degree, I can understand someone who supports Hillary for the same reason vis a vis Trump). Unfortunately, there are far too many who actually think he’d be a good president for the very characteristics we *used* to abhor in our politicians. Eventually, those were characteristics that the right abhorred in its politicians. And, now? Now, neither side seems to see these characteristics as negatives. Indeed, Trump has actually used his role in the subversion of politics as a *positive* in his proclamation that he can “clean things up.”

    Many on the right, justifiably, denounced Obama’s rampant egocentrism, his constant I’s and me’s in every speech, his claims that only HE could fix things. Remember when he talked about how his nomination was going to be when the earth began to heal and the seas stopped rising? Or “we are the one’s we’ve been waiting for?” The egocentrism by proxy that is at the heart of the cult of personality, LONG a staple on the left, found its peak with Obama. Now it’s ascendant on the right.

    So it isn’t so much a lack of civility or culture or decency in Trump – he has those things in spades, as to LBJ and many others long before Trump – it’s that now they’re a feature, not a bug. With Obama, the cancerous disease of self-esteem, as so many of the Fathers saw self-esteem, became a *good* thing.

    All we’ve seen with Trump is that the same mentality that gets those on the left to vote for a Clinton – first or second – or an Obama is what is getting them to vote for Trump. THAT, to me, is the truly worrisome aspect of all of this.

    All the negativity and bad behavior? Have you read the stuff that took place between Jefferson and Adams and their supporters? This isn’t really that new. What IS new is the *mentality*, the *worldview* of those supposedly on the right – generally speaking, mind you – that mirrors the general worldview and mentality on the left. Now it is no longer of adhering to any concept of standards or absolutes. Now it’s just a matter of who gets to be behind the steering wheel.

  15. Father, Bless.

    Thank you SO much for writing this. As an Orthodox Christian I believe that I am called to be accountable for what I say and how I act, and this includes how I vote. I have, laughingly, said I may vote for my cat (no scandals-she has been fixed, she loves everyone she meets, yet is not afraid to meow her mind) but in reality I will probably vote for a third party candidate. I just cannot bring myself to vote for either of the candidate in the two party system. For me, it comes down to being able to answer to God for my vote. I am trying to put into practice the verse from the the Bible and Divine Liturgy you quoted: “Put not your trust in princes in sons of men in whom there is no salvation.” (Psalm 146:3)

    Praying for God’s guidance as we, as a nation, face a difficult election.

  16. I won’t say you’re not a Christian if you vote Trump but there’s no way a Christian would vote for Trump. Welp.

    It’s good to see this aired because the comments can work out the emotions he’s having. Seriously. The news is directed at making you have emotional reactions, and it’s up to us to get this all out of our systems and see if it’s really worth reacting how they want us to. Note that he doesn’t talk much about big issues. Just gaffes he’s seen in the news.

    One note, “I did my homework, I know he built his riches off casinos.” No, he lost money on casinos, every #nevertrumper will happily tell you that. He built his wealth on real estate.

    I hate to say it, but if you must oppose Trump, you’re not a one issue voter, you’re not talking third party here, and you devote one line to Hillary – definitely sounds like you’re voting Clinton.

  17. God said He is using Trump as a trumpet. He is shaking up Washington and I believe Trump will turn to God this year, hopefully. He also said the enemy will try everything possible to get a witch into the white house and that she will not be the first woman president. She is not acceptable.

  18. 3 supreme Court vacancies is the bigger issue. The president rotates out. Abortion is the bigger issue in all of it, father.

  19. Thank you for these timely and wise words, Father.

    The mental hoops people in these comments are jumping through to justify support of Trump is alarming.

  20. Thank you, Fr. Joel! As an African American in the Orthodox Church, I find that Trump’s candidacy has spawned a permission to act out hate. greater that what was already building as supremacists have attacked our current president in effigy through violence against innocent Black citizens. It is past the point of inducing collective racial trauma for Blacks who have been encouraged, since the ’60s, to believe that hard work and playing by the rules will be rewarded even for us. Now we see upstanding citizens–I’m thinking at this moment of a college student, a school teacher, and a psychotherapist, who have been brutalized and even shot by the police for no culpable reason.
    Thank God we await a kingdom that is not of this world. But in the meantime, for my fellow Orthodox who are Trump supporters, please do not come up to me during coffee hour, glowing with your enthusiasm for Trump, completely oblivious to the fact that you are stabbing me in the heart.

    1. With all due respect, I think the seemingly recent increase in racial tensions and violence began years before Trump announced his candidacy. And our current president encouraged it.

  21. You could make the same case to not vote for Hillary Clinton. In fact I think if you did as much homework on most any politician as it appears you have on Donald Tump, you would most likely not be able to vote for any of them. This would be especially true of those that approve of abortion of a child at any point during a pregnancy.

  22. Thank you for expressing a lot of your points in making you decide not to vote for Trump. What you have expressed strongly of Trump were first known to me a year ago when he decided to run.and got to know him better as the primaries progressed. All those points you mentioned are well known not by me only but millions of Americans who watched seventeen field of contenders, most of them claimed very good conservatism as in the case of Ted Cruz. Mike Huckabee is a pastor and was also the governor of the Great State of Arkansas. As for the Clintons, I have known them for years in Little Rock Arkansas. Moreover, the governor’s mansion is not far from our parish church, so it is like having a good mirror in our church lawn that can project even the most conspicuous activity being held at the mansion grounds.. It was a nice feeling, however, to be near a famous residence where you can easily be fed first hand news of the first couple of the state of Arkansas. Trump may not be the perfect guy with lots of crookedness coming from his mouth. On the other hand, both Bill and Hillary are not the best of married couples in the state that can truly depict a role model for the State.. They too had serious troubles not only in their married life, but in public life. There were a lot stories that circled around the first couple and what was bothering about them was that they continued on to be the same controversial figures when they were in the White House to extent that the White House was belittled, demeaned and diminished. After Bill Clinton’s presidency, Hillary’s turn to take the spotlight from his crooked husband. Their White House Chief of staff, who was Hillary Clinton’s law partner at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, was found murdered just a distance from the White House. Hillary did not do a good job as a Senator and later as Secretary of State. She lied many many times when interrogated about the many scandals as Secretary of State. I have concluded that her judgment cannot truly fit the person whom I would chose for the Presidency of the US. I prefer Donald Trump.

  23. This blog post doesn’t present anything new. As a Christian first, and a voting Repub that is not a single-issue voter (although I think the unborn is the most important issue), reading the article one can tell that this priest has bought into the Liberal rhetoric of what and how they think Repubs think. Therefore, I would not trust on this issue what he says any more than I would a consistently voting Dem.

    The abortion issue is one of the priorities for the Dems couched in terms of being pro-women. I would also say that being pro-life is not the priority issue of the Repub party (although I think it should be), so I would have mentioned it as well. BUT if the GOP is seeking women votes, knowing that many women vote Dem, that may not be the most prudent thing to do to mention the “A” word knowing it is an issue that truly divides this country. As much as being pro-life and single-issue voters on the Repub side for LIFE, the same is true for many on the Dem side that are pro-abortion and being single-issue voters that only vote Dem because they are a woman and because they think we need the right to abortion. So, again, I think this priest is wrong.

  24. As responded to on a FB post:

    This priest doesn’t present anything new. As a Christian first, and a voting Repub that is not a single-issue voter (although I think the unborn is the most important issue), reading the article one can tell that this priest has bought into the Liberal rhetoric of what and how they think Repubs think. Therefore, I would not trust on this issue what this priest says any more than I would a consistently voting Dem.

    The abortion issue is one of the priorities for the Dems couched in terms of being pro-women. I would also say that being pro-life is not the priority issue of the Repub party (although I think it should be), so I would have mentioned it as well (in the GOP convention). BUT if the GOP is seeking women votes, knowing that many women vote Dem, that may not be the most prudent thing to do to mention the “A” word knowing it is an issue that truly divides this country. As much as being pro-life and single-issue voters on the Repub side for LIFE, the same is true for many on the Dem side that are pro-abortion and being single-issue voters that only vote Dem because they are a woman and because they think we need the right to abortion. So, again, I think this priest is wrong.

    1. This commentator doesn’t present anything new. This commentator has “bought into the conservative rhetoric”. Therefore I would not trust on this issue what this commentator says any more than I would a consistently voting Repub.

  25. What would Jesus do? Jesus was a radical. Jesus spent his time, we are taught, with sinners, with tax collectors, with lepers. Jesus said it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Whether one is Christian or not, it seems, to me, hypocritical to say I would vote for one candidate or the other because I am a Christian, because, surely, Jesus would not do as Trump does. Hillary, much as I may dislike her, has an actual record over many years of advocating for children, long before she was known politically. Hillary is a lifelong Methodist. Trump is…what, exactly? In truth, neither candidate’s religious beliefs, or lack thereof, matters. Ours is a pluralistic society, not a theocracy. Sanders is a Jew. Many still believe (ignorantly) that Obama is a Muslim. So what if he were? While, as christians, we may be called to follow Christ, we are also called to do as Jesus did. I have a great deal of trouble finding anywhere where Trump has done as Jesus did, and at least some places where Hillary has. At the end of the day, what has always been true, based on actual facts, not beliefs, is that the “left” has done more for the poorest among us than the “right” ever has. The War on Poverty, civil rights, care for the elderly (in the forms of social security and Medicare, for example), these have been done by the politicians of the left. So, what would Jesus do? Close the borders? Throw out immigrants? One other thing… Did not God create the WHOLE world? Or just the United States? I’m appalled by the idea that somehow, globalization is unchristian.

    Padre, thank you for your post.

  26. We didn’t get here over night so obviously we aren’t going to get to a better place overnight. Is either candidate good? No, not really, however if we can get the slide at least to stop then that is a start. There has never been a candidate that is all thing to all people nor will there ever be. So for at least the last several decades we have been forced toto pick the lessor of two evils. Some how personal responsibility has went by the wayside. I absolutely regulate who comes in my house and I have the expectation that we regulate who comes into my country. I look at everything thru the lense of logic not feelings. Would I ever let a stranger in my home that I absolutely no nothing about? No. Is it worth the risk to my family no I am tired of typing. The last questions. Is trump going to fundamentally change who you are and what you believe? And lastly what do we have to lose electing a non politician. I would say in viewing Hillary’s time as a politician we know or have a strong idea of where she might lead us. There is no third party candidate that is going to jump on the national stage at this point. We need to vote for down ticket third and forth party candidates and help strengthen a third partY. That would help in generl a two party system is permanently flawed

  27. I agree with you Fr. Joel. Really, truly the bigger evil is what led to his uprising in the first place. Divisiveness, anger, self-righteousness, hatred and fear….all based on politics, evident through BOTH sides of the coin. I see myself and others getting swept up in this “them vs. us” mentality that is so very very dangerous. Both political leanings have horrible faults as well as redeeming qualities. Fr., please pray for our country. We need to be able to show love, understanding, and peace in this time of unrest. We need to quit calling names, and try to understand why the opposition feels the way they do. I am guilty of anger and fear as all the others. We need to all pray for Hillary and Donald, as one of them will be our leader, neither of them our salvation…and we need their choices to be the right ones. The fighting needs to stop. We serve God, not mortals and our fellow Americans are not evil or stupid for their beliefs…they have their reasons. Come on America, can we get it together??

  28. Thank you, Father. I agree. I can respect the argument that one chooses to vote for Trump because “Hillary is worse” (though I disagree…. I believe they are equally disastrous for the country, in different ways). I cannot, however, accept the argument that it is one’s Christian duty to vote for Trump.

    I have chosen to withhold my vote for president (or write in a candidate) this election, and will instead focus intently on local and state elections. Meanwhile, I will attempt to raise my children to place religion and compassion before politics, become deeply involved in my parish and neighborhood, and look for as many opportunities to serve as I can. This is how I have determined I can best vote (and act) with prudence and mercy in the face of national and international developments.

  29. Dear Joel,

    Although you’ve obviously put a lot of time and effort into writing such grave insults of a man who has done more for individuals & families than you or I will ever do in a thousand lifetimes (research all Trump has done for the needy, that should enlighten you); you fail to acknowledge that Hillary is a far worse choice than Trump. The same type of Supreme Court Justices that she will chose are the ones who allowed slavery in America to remain and just like the ones who permitted Roe v Wade. If you would put as much effort into studying Hillary & the atrocities she’s either committed or overseen, you might have a change of heart of Trump.

    Personally, I worked as a missionary overseas for nearly 2 decades & I saw how little help the Clinton fund brought into Haiti. What funds did arrive there got swallowed up by Bill’s Haitian cronies. Truly less than 10% of the money that they brought into Haiti actually benefitted the general populous!

  30. This is very interesting point of view. I found myself putting up walls right away but forced myself to read this objectively. I can definitely see your points. This is a very difficult election and puts us in a very difficult situation.
    I do wonder though, would you write the same type of article about Hillary? Her stance on abortion? Her name calling & labeling others? Her lies and deceptive practices? Her blatant disregard of our nation’s security?
    Where do we go from here?

    I would appreciate your reflection & response on this.
    Sincerely,
    jeff in Omaha

  31. The Chinese have a saying that if you save a person’s life you are then responsible for all good and evil deeds the person commits thereafter. Is this true for voting as well, at least in a philosophical way? During the 2008 election 57% of Catholics voted for Obama despite the fact that he was documented to be a radical pro abortionist, even willing to allow a failed abortion live child to die uncared for. At the time, Catholic radio was teaching that we should vote based on our “well formed conscience”. I just read that 90% of Catholics believe that they are proficient in Church doctrine as taught in our catechism. However, when taking a simple test on church teachings, only 40% of Catholics received a passing grade. So what then is a well formed conscience, who has one, and how does one get one? That I would say is primarily the responsibility of the parish priests as led by bishops.

    In light of what the Chinese say, if a priest were to teach that voting for a pro choice (pro abortion) candidate is in reality a vote in support of abortion, would he be political, or would he be a good shepherd to his flock?

  32. Thank you, Father. I agree. I also think that many Christian Americans have forgotten or, sadly, have not been imbued with the idea that one’s vote is a reflection of one’s own character and one’s own beliefs. So often it is solely about preventing something or someone else from taking office or precedent. We voluntarily relinquish our voice when we do that to ourselves. If our nation is to be an expression of the character and beliefs of its citizens, then we must fight the urge to vote for any other reason than the positive expression of our own character and beliefs. It is not for me to judge Mr. Trump (or Mrs. Clinton), but my discernment tells me that BOTH do NOT express my character or beliefs. Thank you for your words of devotion. Peace be with you.

  33. Who wrote this article? It would be nice to have a face and a name…to defend this. Nice article though.

  34. While Trump has definitely said those things….imagine what hillary thinks and says behind closed doors. If hillary wins….the moral decay of society will rapidly accelerate. With Trump it could reverse back to solid Christian principals. He WILL surround himself with the best and brightest. And don’t forget the Supreme Court nominee. If the dems win…..we are screwed for decades. Trump is a VERY young Christian. I’m willing to give him time to grow…..just as we all have. As far as the bankruptcies……get over it and read the Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 278e forms) for both candidates.
    As you will see, Trump currently lists over 500 current businesses and many of them supply jobs to people all over the world. Remember, over 75% of American businesses never get off the ground within one year. The ones that last more than one year are considered a success. I would consider Trumps business savvy at the very top. I suspect very few people could start over 500 successful businesses with only a small handful of failures.

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2175187-trump.html

    On the other hand, Killery’s filing lists her “honorarium” status for many groups and foundations. Honorarium simply means she accepted payment for “professional services” (speeches and appearances) that are rendered nominally without charge. In other words, this was her compensation and it’s not likely she created many long term jobs at all.

    https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2082788/hillary-clinton-financial-disclosure-form.pdf

  35. Father,
    Do not give up. The age of argument might be over but never let the age of integrity die. Something IS in the air. We were taught that it will come, and it will get worse. Right now, the entire country suffers from Stockholm Syndrome. Drinking the koolaid does not make it any better. I don’t want to vote for either candidate.

    I am predicting a 100 foot idol of the first lady president to be erected within the two years.
    Either way, I am optimistically working harder to bolster my local community. They will need it. Charity never fails!

  36. I disagree. A lot of your message states “fear”. Praise Jesus, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. I do not believe, from my gut, that this country cannot afford to have another four years of the oppressive Democratic Party. It is a shame that more people do not listen to what the “right” thing to do is. Trump is truthful and honest, Hillary Clinton is not.

  37. unfortunately Fr. all the character flaws you list for Mr. Trump also applies to Hillary Clinton. though nothing that Mr. Trump has done rises to the level of violating the law. Hillary on the other hand has a long history of law breaking, security violations, admitted lying under oath, corruption as a public official and many other serious crimes (not to mention her desire to use tax payers money to fund abortion). the voters have left us the choice of either a despicable character with no history of public office, so he may or many not make a good president, or someone with a history of federal law breaking, corruption and incompetence in office. Not much a choice.

    1. Hello Father,

      I have a different view of this election I would like to share with you and the other readers and then people can say how silly I am. Line upon line, precept upon precept. God is real and He would like us to be reconciled to Him through a relationship with Jesus. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit related to famous people in history as well as non-famous. One key principal is grace; which is unearned blessing and anointing from God. Rabbi Saul of Tarsus was a persecutor of the early Christians and certainly did not earn the baptism of the Holy Spirit he received to become the great anointed apostle Paul to the Gentiles. In modern times, you can read in Wikipedia how in his early life, Abraham Lincoln was an iconoclast; someone who not only did not believe in God, but apparently made fun of people who did. Yet when he became president, there are many quotes of him saying things like he felt the Spirit of the Lord guide him on key decisions to make while he was in the Oval office. Finally, his last words to his wife before he was shot was that he wanted to visit the Holy Lands. An atheist would not want to visit the Holy Lands in 1865; so what happened to Lincoln to convert him so powerfully?

      1 Cor 1:27 states that God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Donald Trump clearly has said many foolish things, and many readers here would say that Trump is a foolish thing. But I am noting that he is confounding the wise; or ‘ticking off the establishment;’ and therefore fulfilling this verse in a prophetic way. Normally, a candidate who made so many outlandish statements would have been filtered out of the process a long time ago. But Trump seems to have the anti-fragile property of winning more votes and primaries the more he is attacked. If I did not know any better, that seems like God’s anointing for His purpose, which is different from our purposes (re: Isaiah 55:8-9). Anointing and grace is not fair or logical on our level. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed in battle, yet God still blessed David. One reason was for the higher purpose of establishing Israel. Trump did not earn God’s anointing because of any good works or good words, but in spite of his bad works and bad words. Which set fits God’s principal of grace?

      There seems to be a wave of anti-establishment social mood growing (e.g, Brexit, new president of Philippines, etc.). It seems that Donald Trump may be more open to the Holy Spirit, with his all-over-the-map positions that change, than Hillary Clinton. Tragically, Hillary has a 30 year history of stonewalling and obstructing justice. With the recent absolution from the FBI, she may be less open to counsel from the Holy Spirit than Trump, as her heart may have hardened to counsel even more. My prayer, in accordance with 1st Timothy 2:1-2, is that whoever wins the election will be knocked off of their high horse by the Holy Spirit when they step into the Oval office, so that we may lead a peaceable life.

      Thanks,

      Steve

  38. Father, you are misled in one critical component of your essay. You lump abortion in with all the other maladies of our society as if they were all on equal footing. They are not. Abortion and Euthanasia are by far the worst and all other calamities pale next to them. Without respect for life at its most vulnerable there can never and will never be respect for life at any other stage.

    And in case you have not heard, in the last several weeks, a number of U.S. bishops have openly proclaimed exactly what I have just written.

    In spite of Trumps flippancy concerning abortion, at least we have hope with him. With the HAG, we know that she will do all within her power to promulgate and aggressively promote the butchering of the unborn in ever increasing numbers and at whatever cost. The HAG truly is in bed with the devil, while Trump…well, maybe he peeked under the sheets.

  39. What is truly unfortunate is that the so called ‘News Media’ named FOX has drowned the nation with so many opinions, twisted stats and outright lies in the faux name of ‘Fair and Balanced News Facts’ that people (like many posting here) just repeat what they hear blindly believing it’s the truth.

    If you would read the original article again, the good Father only refers to information he himself heard and saw – just as we all have – and it is from this first-hand knowledge that he makes his declaration. I am relieved to see someone still thinks for himself and is brave enough to stand behind his decision.

    As for the people commenting on here about how great a business man Trump is, do your own research into commission reports and especially court records about how many thousands of businesses, contractors, laborers – average middle-class Americans trying to support their families – who were not paid for the jobs completed for Trump. See for yourself how many billions of dollars he stole from your neighbors. Learn the real truth with your own eyes.

    And then for those of you saying things like Hillary has killed people. Did you see her kill someone?

  40. Hello Father,

    I have a different view of this election I would like to share with you and the other readers and then people can say how silly I am. Line upon line, precept upon precept. God is real and He would like us to be reconciled to Him through a relationship with Jesus. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit related to famous people in history as well as non-famous. One key principal is grace; which is unearned blessing and anointing from God. Rabbi Saul of Tarsus was a persecutor of the early Christians and certainly did not earn the baptism of the Holy Spirit he received to become the great anointed apostle Paul to the Gentiles. In modern times, you can read in Wikipedia how in his early life, Abraham Lincoln was an iconoclast; someone who not only did not believe in God, but apparently made fun of people who did. Yet when he became president, there are many quotes of him saying things like he felt the Spirit of the Lord guide him on key decisions to make while he was in the Oval office. Finally, his last words to his wife before he was shot was that he wanted to visit the Holy Lands. An atheist would not want to visit the Holy Lands in 1865; so what happened to Lincoln to convert him so powerfully?

    1 Cor 1:27 states that God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Donald Trump clearly has said many foolish things, and many readers here would say that Trump is a foolish thing. But I am noting that he is confounding the wise; or ‘ticking off the establishment;’ and therefore fulfilling this verse in a prophetic way. Normally, a candidate who made so many outlandish statements would have been filtered out of the process a long time ago. But Trump seems to have the anti-fragile property of winning more votes and primaries the more he is attacked. If I did not know any better, that seems like God’s anointing for His purpose, which is different from our purposes (re: Isaiah 55:8-9). Anointing and grace is not fair or logical on our level. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed in battle, yet God still blessed David. One reason was for the higher purpose of establishing Israel. Trump did not earn God’s anointing because of any good works or good words, but in spite of his bad works and bad words. Which set fits God’s principal of grace?

    There seems to be a wave of anti-establishment social mood growing (e.g, Brexit, new president of Philippines, etc.). It seems that Donald Trump may be more open to the Holy Spirit, with his all-over-the-map positions that change, than Hillary Clinton. Tragically, Hillary has a 30 year history of stonewalling and obstructing justice. With the recent absolution from the FBI, she may be less open to counsel from the Holy Spirit than Trump, as her heart may have hardened to counsel even more. My prayer, in accordance with 1st Timothy 2:1-2, is that whoever wins the election will be knocked off of their high horse by the Holy Spirit when they step into the Oval office, so that we may lead a peaceable life.

    Thanks,

    Steve

  41. Dear Father,
    Unfortunately you cannot support Mrs. Clinton either, no Christian can, as her policies are absolutely anti-pro life: she support euthanasia and abortion on demand. But more than that, The Clinton Foundation has a record of donations from people and places that harm others, so she is doubly tainted.
    Add her poor performance as Secretary of State and her willingness to bend rules, I think we have to conclude that although we might not like Donald Trump, at least he came to his nomination according to the rules, unlike Clinton. We are between a rock and a hard place, but a scorpion lurks under hers.

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