I am writing in response to Karen Vaughn's "letter" (which I believe is more accurately described as a paid insertion, calculated to generate more book sales) in defense of Pres. Trump.
Her piece left me puzzled on many counts, perhaps because she seemed more interested in constructing her tortured analogies than in formulating a coherent thesis. Among other things, she seems to say that God can use an ungodly man to achieve God’s aims. If that’s so, I don’t know why he would need to resort to a salty sailor—couldn’t he achieve the same goal with a Godly person?
I assume this particular message arrives to refute recent reports of evangelical distress over Trump’s taking the Lord’s name in vain. I’m not overly troubled by profanity myself, but I’m startled to think that this is the commandment-breaking which would finally give Christians pause.
- McFeely: Trump, GOP go full white nationalism
- Ahlin: Social experiment underscores American gun idiocy
Of the ten, we’ve already established that Trump has broken the third, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
The fourth exhorts us to “Keep the Sabbath day holy.” Since taking office, Trump has spent 79 Sundays playing golf. A matter of definition, I guess.
The seventh commandment? “You shall not commit adultery.” Well, Trump cheated on his first wife with his second; and while married to his third, paid $130,000 in hush money to a woman whose job is literally having sexual relations with persons not her spouse. I’m calling that one a failure.
Number eight, “You shall not steal”? Trump or his companies have been accused of hundreds of instances of defrauding employees or contractors of payment for work or services provided. In 2017, a judge ordered Trump to pay back $25 million to 6,000 students of Trump University. Hmm, not looking so good on No. 8.
Number nine? “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Trump claimed for years that his predecessor, Pres. Obama, was born in Kenya, to delegitimize his presidency. He has since called Mexicans “rapists” and “drug dealers.” Disparaged the military service of Sen. John McCain. Behaved contemptuously toward another Gold Star family—something one might expect Vaughn to find upsetting. Repeated false claims about the Central Park Five—after DNA testing exonerated them. He continues to lie about the size of crowds attending his events. After multiple assertions that he would, Trump has still not released his tax returns (after the IRS publicly stated there is no restriction on doing so while under audit). I could go on; the estimable Daniel Dale does, enumerating over 5,000 of the President’s lies at www.thestar.com.
So, I guess Vaughn is accurate in her observation of the salty sailor as ungodly. What about his efficacy in achieving God’s purpose? It’s true that Trump has appointed a number of conservative judges. Perhaps Vaughn approves of action taken to reduce abortion. In that case, she may wish to review the tenure of Pres. Obama: the rate of abortion in this country reached its lowest since 1975, in 2014. This was achieved not by criminalizing abortion, but by reducing unintended pregnancies through improved education and contraceptive access.
Is there another of the Lord’s exhortations that the zesty seadog is acting on? In Mark 12:30-31 (or “the twelfth Mark,” as Trump might have it), we read, “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater.” As someone who has lost a child, I might have expected Vaughn to exhibit greater sympathy for the parents of Felipe Alónzo-Gomez or the other six children known to have died while in the custody of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. No, I’m going to need to read another letter from Vaughn to understand what God, or Karen Vaughn, sees in Trump.