I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Seven Deadly Sins. And if you follow social media, you’ve probably seen memes showing pictures of Trump living out the Seven Deadly Sins. These memes are indeed accurate. He has stated, himself, that he is “greedy, greedy, greedy;” he has expressed envy (such as his envy of Barack Obama’s inauguration crowd size); he inflicts wrath by means of Twitter on all who criticize him or stand in his way; he has been gluttonous, not only for fast food, but for all wealth and pleasure; he is slothful, in that he works less than any president in history; he has lusted for additional wives, playmates, and pornstars to the point of having sexual affairs with them while married; and, most of all, he is proud of all his sins to the point that he shuns repentance and, instead, doubles down on them.
It doesn’t stop there, however. Trump is the embodiment of something worse than the Seven Deadly Sins. I call it the Six Satanic Sins. You see, six of the Seven Deadly Sins are what you might call animal sins. These are things that animals do. But we often take these fight-or-flight/be-fruitful-and-multiply survival instincts too far to the point that we hurt others. That is indeed sin. But long overlooked are the sins that are the essence of Satan himself, sins that the animals do not commit to survive, but that people commit for love of sheer evil.
The first of these is pride, which is one of the Seven Deadly Sins and is the root cause of most other satanic sins. It’s the desire to exalt oneself above others. Trump, of course, has made a career out of exalting himself, claiming to be better than others, placing his name on buildings, and, as president, demanding praise from the populace.
The second is lying. As Jesus said, Satan is the “father of lies.” Not all lies are equal, of course. We’ve all lied (or deceived by omitting facts) to save our skin when in danger of getting in trouble for something, making ourselves look as innocent as possible when recounting what happened. That might be a survival instinct. But there are others who “love and practice lying,” as Revelation 22 says. Trump, of course, lies at a level no other president ever has, denying outright things that he recently said or did and making up events and numbers that have no basis, whatsoever, in reality.
The third is rebellion. Satan rebels against the one who has authority over him (God) and encourages others to do the same. Many who voted for Trump hate government, because they hate having authority over them (Paul wrote in Romans 13 that Christians should respect and obey the secular government “authorities” – all of them -not just the king or president). Likewise, Trump himself lashes out at all “authorities” in our republic who have the power to stop him from doing whatever he wants. He is a thoroughly rebellious person who loves to exert his power over others but will never willingly submit to those who have power over him.
The fourth is leading others into temptation, or as Jesus put it, “anyone who causes one of these to sin.” Of course, Satan’s first act was to lead Adam and Eve into sin. It’s a huge part of who he is. Likewise, Trump has tried to tempt many women into committing adultery with him, and he has enticed other men to copy his behavior by bragging to them about his exploits. Yet, what many of us overlook is that false teaching also leads others to promote and practice sin. Trump and the media that supports him encourage millions of us to hate and fear outsiders and the poor by misrepresenting what kind of people they really are, and they condemn programs and laws that would help or protect these people by falsely teaching that doing so is bad for everyone. He also encourages those who are greedy and dictators who are ruthless. Trump praises those who love sin (especially his sins) and directs his wrath toward those who condemn sin and call for righteousness (including the press).
The fifth is cruelty. Granted, there’s no Bible quote saying Satan is cruel. But if Satan tries to lead people away from God and toward punishment in the afterlife, that makes him cruel. Plus, many of the sins he wants us to commit are harmful to others and to ourselves. Satan especially loves cruelty when it’s inflicted on the innocent. Likewise, Trump loves cruelty inflicted on the innocent. He practices what I call lord-it-overism, where he loves to lord it over others and use his power to cause pain – from the pain of a contractor not being paid for all the work they did, to the pain of dreamers being shipped away from the only home they’ve ever known, to the pain of refugee children separated from their parents, to the pain of women who didn’t want him to kiss them, grab them, or see them naked in their dressing room.
And finally, the sixth satanic sin is unfaithfulness. Satan was unfaithful to God. Apparently, God gave him and all conscious beings life, thus making them family, in a sense. And in family relationships, parties on both sides have a responsibility to support one another. Yet, Satan abandoned God and tried to lead others against him. Likewise, Trump has been unfaithful to his wives, who were family. And, on a political level, he has been unfaithful to those who risked their reputations to support him, like Chris Christie and Jeff Sessions. He welcomed their support when it helped him and encouraged the nation to turn against them when he hated them.
So why am I relating the Six Satanic Sins to Trump’s behavior?
What right do I have to judge Trump? (That’s a question I’ve been hearing quite a bit from the Religious Right.)
My right to judge Trump comes from the authority given to me and to all citizens by the Constitution of this representative democracy in which we live. Just as a church’s council members or elders individually have the authority to each make a case to one another for or against firing, hiring, reprimanding, or instructing a church employee, so do we U.S. citizens have the authority to use our freedoms of speech, press, and assembly to make cases to one another as to whether we should vote for or against an incumbent or candidate, pressure our leaders to behave differently, or be wary of words, actions, and policies of leaders that will bring harm to others as well as to ourselves.
Our politicians are called representatives for a reason. They represent us! They work for us! We are their “authorities” that must be respected and obeyed. This isn’t an empire, like the one Romans 13 was written in. This is a democratic republic with a system of checks and balances accountable to voters. If the religious right doesn’t like it, perhaps they should relocate to a dictatorship. In the meantime, if they choose to remain in America, they should cease trying to silence us with guilt trips, and instead, preach against the sins of the Bible, most of which are embodied in the President they call “God’s chosen.”
– K. Scott Schaeffer
[My Christian writing is my only source of income (I live mostly off my dwindling IRA at age 49, due to a hyperactive vagus nerve. I receive no S.S. Disability). So anything you could donate would be much appreciated.]