The moral and ethical difference between the life and ministry of Jesus and the life and career of Donald Trump – Baptist News Global

In view of Donald Trump’s growing legal problems – and especially the prospect that he could be charged with criminal conduct – we should reflect on his continued popularity with people who call themselves “evangelical” followers of Jesus, or to be more precise, white “evangelical Christian” followers of Jesus .

According to media reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents seized (that’s the proper legal term) 11 sets of documents – including some marked as “classified/TS/SCI” – during a search (that’s the proper legal term). proper legal) of Trump’s West Palm Beach, Florida residence known as Mar-a-Lago on August 5. TS/SCI is short for “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information”.

The FBI is a criminal investigation agency of the United States Department of Justice. What FBI agents did on August 5 at Mar-a-Lago was a search conducted under a warrant issued by a federal magistrate judge who reviewed sworn affidavits or recorded testimony. The warrant authorized FBI agents to “search and seize” property because the magistrate judge was satisfied that there was probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime would be found at Mar-a-Lago.

Wendell Griffin

The August 5 search at Mar-a-Lago was not a “fishing expedition”. It was not a “raid”. It was a search for evidence of crime(s). The items discovered by FBI agents during the August 5 search were “seized” because Donald Trump did not consent to produce and deliver them after federal agents asked him to do so.

No one should be surprised that Trump and his supporters strongly criticized the search and seizure of Mar-a-Lago documents. Trump is the subject of a federal criminal investigation. People under criminal investigation typically complain when law enforcement officers search their premises, find items believed to be evidence of a crime, and seize them. Trump’s complaints are merely an effort to portray himself in a favorable light to his supporters and demonize federal investigators.

Federal law prohibits the unauthorized possession of classified information and material. Federal laws prohibit the misuse of classified information and materials. Federal law prohibits the unauthorized possession and retention of government records. Federal investigators and prosecutors are currently reviewing the material seized at Mar-a-Lago to determine what evidence applies to specific statutes.

After completing their assessments, federal prosecutors will present evidence to a federal grand jury along with any arguments that Trump and/or others will be charged (indicted). If the grand jury votes to issue an indictment, Trump and the other accused persons will be arraigned before a federal judge, arraigned on the indictment, and enter a formal plea to each charge. Then the world will watch and wait to see if federal prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump and the other defendants are guilty of the charges.

Trump’s political cheerleaders in the Republican Party are complaining that Attorney General Merrick Garland owes Congress an explanation for seeking and seizing felony evidence at Mar-a-Lago. Information and evidence obtained in the course of a criminal investigation are protected from public disclosure in order to protect the due process rights of potential suspects and to safeguard confidential sources. The time to release this information, if released, is during trials after charges have been filed.

“Their complaints about the search warrant and the seizure of potential evidence prove that they are more loyal to Trump than to the law and its enforcement.”

Garland owes no explanation to Congress to apply for a search warrant, not to mention the seizure of items found by FBI agents during the search that constitute evidence of the crime(s). Trump cheerleaders know that criminal trials are conducted by judges, not lawmakers. Their complaints about the search warrant and the seizure of potential evidence prove that they are more loyal to Trump than to the law and its enforcement.

It is obvious that Donald Trump is suspected of having violated these laws. If charged and convicted of doing so, Trump could face jail time and be ordered to pay substantial fines. He could also be banned from public office for the rest of his life.

Another group of federal criminal investigators are interviewing witnesses and reviewing information and documents to determine whether to seek a federal indictment against Trump for his conduct surrounding the insurgency at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2022 Depending on their findings, federal prosecutors may seek to indict Trump on criminal charges surrounding this incident.

Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney and Georgia investigators are interviewing witnesses and reviewing information to determine whether to seek an indictment against Trump for his attempt to influence Georgia election officials to manipulate popular vote counts for presidential candidates after the November 2020 general election. Depending on their findings, Fulton County District Attorney (Fani Willis) may seek to indict Trump for criminal violations of state election laws.

A fourth criminal investigation involving Trump has been ongoing since the fall of 2021 in New York County, New York State investigators have interviewed witnesses and state prosecutors have reviewed information to determine s It is appropriate to seek an impeachment against Trump on suspicion that he may have committed criminal acts. fraud in its financial transactions. It remains to be seen whether Alvin Bragg, the New York County prosecutor, will seek an indictment against Trump.

It may seem odd that people claiming to be “evangelical Christian conservatives” would stick with Donald Trump despite knowing he is a subject – and perhaps the primary subject – in four ongoing federal and state criminal investigations. . It seems strange that people who claim to be followers of Jesus are unconditional supporters of a person who has long been known to be unethical in his business dealings, unprincipled in his political actions, and cruel in his personal and social interactions.

“Trump says and does what they believe and desire to say and do.”

The best explanation of loyalty from “evangelical Christian conservatives” to Donald Trump is that these people are part of what I call “the hateful faithful”. The “hate worshipers” share Trump’s racism and white supremacy, capitalist greed, misogyny and sexism, authoritarianism and a love of violence. Trump says and does what they believe and desire to say and do. “Hate worshippers” oppose the use of federal power to defend the rights and lives of women, Indigenous, Black, Latina and Asian people, LGBTQ people, immigrants and anyone else they regard as “others”.

‘Evangelical Christian conservatives’ among the ‘Hate Faithful’ were Trump’s most trusted supporters when he ran for President in 2016. They campaigned for Trump and voted for him in 2016 despite his record commercial deceit. They did it knowing Trump’s racism, misogyny and sexism. In 2020, “evangelical Christian conservatives” have been even more forceful in their support for Trump despite his record of misleading statements and oppressive behavior.

Why? The best evidence shows that “conservative evangelical Christian” preachers, religious educators, and other “hateful faithful” Trump supporters are relishing in the power they enjoyed during Trump’s presidency. They savor the power to hate black, indigenous, and other people of color without apology, savor the power to practice greed without shame, and savor the power to practice violence with impunity.

“These people look up to Donald Trump, not Jesus, as their role model.”

These people see Donald Trump, not Jesus, as their role model. They can be considered political conservatives. However, we should denounce their claim to be “evangelical” or “Christian”. They are “true” to Trump’s brand of hate, fear and greed, not Jesus’ ethos of love and justice. Trump’s “loyal hate” supporters practice fascism and nationalism based on religion, not the gospel of Jesus.

Jesus was not a white supremacist, misogynist or sociopath. Jesus was not a religious fascist or a nationalist. Jesus was not greedy, vicious or deceitful. Jesus rejected efforts to turn his prophetic ministry into a ploy of self-glorification and political power.

There is a big moral and ethical difference between the life and ministry of Jesus and the life and career of Donald Trump. We are right to label people who believe in and support Donald Trump as supporters. However, it is blasphemous, heretical and fraudulent to call them “evangelicals” and “Christians”.

Wendell Griffin is an Arkansas circuit judge and pastor of New Millennium Church in Little Rock, Ark.

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