Two leading mouthpieces of the Christian Right are out with a new book next week, The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual biography. One of the authors, Christian Broadcasting Network’s Chief Political Correspondent David Brody, has been conducting groveling interviews with Trump for a long time. The insights gathered from those discussions no doubt inform the book.
Presumably Brody is working with great material like this:
God is the ultimate. I mean, look at my golf course. The funniest thing about Brody’s interview style is the way he asks leading questions and then desperately wills Trump toward the right answer, but Trump can’t help but talk about himself or go off on irrelevant tangents.
With all these spiritual depths to explore, I’m sure the authors have had difficulty fitting everything into 300 or 400 pages. You can browse a sample of the upcoming book, courtesy of the publisher.
Popular evangelical mythmaker Eric Metaxas has written the foreward to the book, and he begins this way:
When my friend David Brody told me he was writing a book titled The Faith of Donald J. Trump, I was tempted to laugh.
My dear evangelical friend, this is one temptation to which you can safely yield. It is important to Metaxas that you know precisely how close he came to yielding. So, a page later:
But I must say it once more, that at first, I really was tempted to giggle.
Oh, my friend. Live a little. Let that giggle out.
Somewhere in Metaxas’ subconscious is the knowledge that he has become absurd. That knowledge is leaking out onto the page. He really wants you to know that his instinct, like that of any conscious person, was to laugh at Brody’s project.
Alas, Metaxas suppressed that instinct and came around to a more considered opinion:
But the terrifically stubborn fact is that Donald Trump has been embraced by many serious Christians, and this has caused many Christians and non-Christians alike to seethe with fury at the seeming hypocrisy of the whole arrangement. One vital clue to solving this thorny riddle has to do with what may well be the most fundamental dissonance and misunderstanding in the history of the world. I’m talking about the difference between moral behavior on the one hand and grace and faith in the God of the Bible on the other.
….the God of the Bible does not ask us to be morally perfect so that He will accept us. He asks us to admit that we cannot be morally perfect, to see that only He can be morally perfect…
People who understand this therefore understand the concept of grace to those who—as they are—are morally imperfect…
My first instinct was to laugh at the idea of taking Trump’s spirituality seriously, Metaxas says, but then I realized that the Christian concept of grace could be used to excuse and justify any kind of behavior. When you apply the concept of grace to unrepentant people who are really powerful, it shows you how big grace really is! Brilliant!
In the introduction, the authors get right to the point many evangelicals want to know: is Donald Trump really a Christian? We’re not going to tell you, they say. But they do have a quote from Mike Pence:
President Donald Trump is a believer. I say that with great conviction.
Pence always lies with great conviction. When the authors went looking for a quote from Trump himself testifying of his faith, the results were a bit underwhelming:
I would say that the faith is that I am a believer. I believe. And when you believe, many good things can happen. And hopefully, those good things will happen for the nation.
Ok, so the power of positive thinking. But many evangelical readers will find this highly significant:
One major theme of Part II of this book will be that Donald Trump seems to be on a spiritual voyage that has accelerated greatly in the past few years as he has regularly interacted with evangelicals.
As a baby Christian, Trump is still learning who to hate, and how best to hate them. Don’t worry, he will get better at it.