North Carolina Pastor John Pavlovitz continues to call out the hateful rhetoric and actions of Donald Trump, as well as the religious hypocrisy within the church. Over the past year, the popularity of the North Raleigh pastor has grown and many find his public essays to be straightforward, compassionate and thought-provoking. In one piece, Pavlovitz addresses Christian women and warns them about the misogyny that is perpetuated by extreme right-wing Christian males, who seem okay with Trump’s sexual assaults, and thus really don’t care about and/or respect women. Though Pavlovitz writes a lot about the perilous Donald Trump, he has also written some stunning pieces about others including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former U.S. President Barack Obama. With a social media platform that now reaches millions of people who are believers and non-believers, Pavolvitz has become a strong voice of truth and faith in a country that is torn. Given his unabashed views on Trump, one might say Pavlovitz is an integral part of Christian #Resistance.
Pavlovitz recently published a piece urging folks to stop referring to Donald Trump as a Christian. Who would have thought during Trump’s early campaign, he would ever have been referred to as a man of God. But “somehow” Trump found Jesus on the campaign — just in time to garner millions of Christian voters. Pavlovitiz reminds us that Trump’s life shows contempt toward the good that Jesus lived and preached: “humility, generosity, respect, empathy, kindness, peace.” But high-positioned and high-profile evangelists were able to convince many in their flocks that the real Donald Trump is a new Christian — who has now seen the light and is headed for the Promised Land. Pavlovitz adds:
Sure, he was on his third marriage and was heard on video boasting of his infidelity to his current wife.
Yes, he said he could grab a woman by the genitalia.
Yes, he advocated that protesters at his rallies be “roughed up.”
Sure, he made fun of a disabled man.
Certainly, he talked about walling off Mexicans and banning Muslims and taking away healthcare
But Donnie loved Jesus now — so all should be well with our souls.
After being a pastor for 20 years, Pavlovitz says he struggles with the hypocrisy of the millions of fundamentalists who use the word of God to condemn the LGBTQ community, Muslims, entertainers, Atheists, Democrats… yet these same fundamentalists have suddenly become a people full of grace for Trump, saying we should not judge lest we be judged,” because “God looks at the heart” and how dare we assess another’s professed faith. Pavlovitz questions how this kind of mercy was somehow never in play over the eight years fundamentalists spent crucifying Barack Obama. Their obsession with President Obama most likely had nothing to do with religion. It was more to do with “pigmentation” — the color of President Obama’s skin.
In his piece, Pavlovitz cites the words of Jesus in a passage from Matthew 5:
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. “
In accordance with the above passage, the NC pastor asks what kind of fruit comes from:
eliminating healthcare for tens of millions of poor people?
banning refugees and leaving them stranded at airports?
walling of Mexico and demanding they pay for the gesture?
driving an oil pipeline through sacred Native American land?
filling your Cabinet with billionaires?
demonizing and banning Muslims?
appointing a white supremacist to the highest level of government?
Pavlovitz calls Donald Trump’s fruit putrid and rotten and tells Christians:
“You can continue to support this man, but don’t say you’re doing it because he is a man of God, a follower of Jesus, someone striving for Christlikeness.”
Though Pavlovitzr says he cannot know what’s in Trump’s heart, what is clear is that there is little if any love, benevolence, or compassion towards others — “and that does matter to Jesus.” If Christians really care about all people coming to know Christ, then using Trump as an example will not help that effort, only hinder it. And until Trump shows some resemblance of benevolence and love, “we need to stop using him and Jesus in the same breath, because it distorts Jesus by association.” Pavlovitz makes many more good points in the full essay, which is a quick and very worthwhile read.
In his conclusion, John Pavlovitz speaks to Christians who may be tempted to argue with him about Trump’s so-called “Christianity” and beckons them to first read Sermon on the Mount and then suggests they spend some time in ”reflection and prayer” before attempting to show where they see Jesus in Trump’s life.