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I'm an Evangelical, and Here's Why I Will Never Vote for Donald Trump

Updated on August 29, 2016

Is there anything worse than a tyrant?

To my conservative friends ... yes, I do agree with you that either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would prove to be an aspiring tyrant. Both of them want to build a utopian society, and are willing to resort to tyranny to do it. No attempted utopia built by people has ever worked out ... they all end up as tyranny at best.

Yes, a utopia-building tyrant is a fearsome thing indeed. And there are many, including commentators whom I respect, who believe that nothing could be worse for America, at this moment, than such an aspiring tyrant. But there is. I'll tell you what.

A fool.

Under tyranny, life may be increasingly circumscribed, unfair, and hateful, but it is at least somewhat stable and predictable. Not so when ruled by a fool. A fool is, in some ways, much more dangerous than a tyrant. In fact, he doesn't even have to come to power in order to start inflicting damage. Merely being around a fool is dangerous. We are seeing this already with the effect that Trump has been having on debates, events, and public discourse (which, granted, was not so great in the first place, but is now way worse).

Donald Trump is not dangerous because he's a right-winger, or because he's a closet liberal. He would be dangerous whatever his policies were, simply because of his character. In this article, I will show that Donald Trump is a textbook fool, taking the technical definition of "fool" from the book of Proverbs in the Bible.

The Proverbs of Solomon

The Biblical book of Proverbs, compiled around 700 - 600 BC, is an example of Ancient Near Eastern "wisdom literature." Though they are called the proverbs of Solomon, others contributed as well, and they are even cited in the book, with sections like "the saying of Agur." There is even a section attributed to the mother of one King Lemuel.

Though a part of the Bible, the proverbs do not deal exclusively with man's dealings with God. Many of them are there simply to help the reader become savvy and avoid trouble. As you will see, they are strikingly relevant even today.

Addendum: The examples of Trump's words and behavior that I used in this article are now sorely out of date. Sadly, Trump keeps adding new examples to all the categories below. I don't have time to keep updating this article, but you can easily supply new examples yourself.

Fools, as described by Proverbs, illustrated by Donald Trump

  • Fools think they are the greatest. He who trusts in himself is a fool. Prov. 28:26. You only have to listen to Donald Trump for five minutes to hear him call himself, or something he has made or done, "great" or "the greatest." It's either that or "tremendous."
  • Fools think they know everything. A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions. Prov. 18:2. "I was a very smart guy, good student, all that stuff," says Trump. He thinks that his business experience qualifies him as an expert on governance, health care, and international relations.
  • Fools love to run their mouths. A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly. Prov. 14:23. Obviously.
  • Fools do not have a good sense of what is appropriate and what is not. The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse. Prov. 10:32; Like a madman shooting firebrands or burning arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, "I was only joking!" Prov. 26:18 - 19. "You could see she had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her - wherever." (Trump later claimed he meant "her ears and her nose.") This is the most infamous example, but there are many others.
  • Fools love to slander others. A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue. Prov. 11:12. Trump derides other Republicans, "the establishment," protesters, China, The Des Moines Register ...
  • They love to quarrel. Every fool is quick to quarrel. Prov. 20:3; He who loves a quarrel loves sin; he who builds a high gate invites destruction. Prov. 17:19. (Can you believe "builds a high gate" is in there? How about building a high gate and "making" the ... um ... gate-ee pay for it?)
  • Because they think they know everything, fools react with rage when others correct them. A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise. Prov. 15:12. See Trump's enraged pursuit of Megyn Kelley when she challenged him about sexist things he had said.
  • Consequently, they are unable to learn what they need to know, and end by being uninformed, even if they have a high IQ. Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. Prov. 12:1. This one has yet to become fully manifest, but the vagueness of Trump's stated plans on many topics (e.g. health care) and the impracticability of others (a 40-foot wall?) give the impression that he has not spent a lot of time researching or coming up with a detailed plan. Trump's know-it-all attitude leads me to conclude that he in fact does not know what he's doing and will be out of his depth if he makes it to the White House.
  • Even a very severe comeuppance is often lost on them. A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool. Prov. 17:10. Trump has filed for business bankruptcy four times but still thinks he's a great businessman. His reputation is in tatters but he doesn't know it.
  • Even a fool may occasionally say something that is true. Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning, and even among fools she lets herself be known. Prov. 14:33. But fools may do more damage when they are right than when they are wrong. Like a thornbush in a drunkard's hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Prov. 26:9. Almost whatever your political position, Trump has probably said something at some point that you would agree with. Unfortunately, when Trump adopts a position, he doesn't adorn it with the greatness of his touch. Rather, he makes it ugly.
  • A rich fool may confuse wealth with intelligence or worth. The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall. Prov. 18:11; A poor man pleads for mercy, but a rich man answers harshly. Prov. 18:23. Like the self-confident rich men of ancient times, Trump equates wealth with success.
  • But money cannot solve everything, and can often betray a person when he needs it most. Whoever trusts in his riches will fall. Prov. 11:28; A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare. Prov. 21:6. A fortune built on casinos and beauty contests, though legal, is arguably made by a lying tongue. In any case, it will not be nearly as easy to find tons of (legitimate) money to fund the U.S. government.

Fools are DANGEROUS

A person who has all these characteristics is a menace to himself and to everyone around him.

Like cutting off one's feet or drinking violence is the sending of a message by the hand of a fool. Prov. 26:6

Like an archer who wounds at random is he who hires a fool or any passer-by. Prov. 26:10

We can see why this would be so. And if it is dangerous to simply hire a fool, or ask him to carry a message for you, how much more damage could be done if you make him your leader? If you send a message by his hand to the leaders of countries around the world, your allies and your enemies? The mind boggles.

So, who is more dangerous, the fool or the tyrant? Proverbs gives us our answer: Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his folly. (17:12)

Wait! Would King Solomon call ME a fool?

Perhaps you will say to me, "Physician, heal thyself! Isn't it a little bit ironic to write a political op/ed which chides others for running their mouths?"

Ah, you got me. It certainly is.

More than that, most of the bullet points above were scarily accurate descriptions of me in my high school and college years. So this is a definitely a case of It takes one to know one.

As a recovering fool, I have become adept at recognizing my brethren.

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    • Jennifer Mugrage profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      3 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

      This reminds me of that Simpsons episode where two aliens are running for President of the United States so they can take over the planet. One as the Rep candidate, one as the Dem, but they call each other "my sister" and openly walk down the street holding hands.

      "But what if we don't vote for you?"

      "Go ahead ... throw your vote away!"

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      3 months ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      That was a wasted vote, you should have stayed home, the result would be the same.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      3 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

      I voted for Mike Smith.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      3 months ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      Jennifer

      Still don't know who you voted for president.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      3 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

      @ bradmaster:

      Great question!

      I found a third-party candidate who was on the ballot in my state, whose platform I could support, and who seemed like a sane person.

      I don't know how my candidate would have done on all these criteria, because we had so many more data points for Trump and for the other candidates running big campaigns.

      I'm sure my candidate would have committed some of the faux pas on this list, since, as the book of James says, "If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man."

      I don't require that my candidates have perfect wisdom. But I would like SOME wisdom, a coherent platform, and not so many glaring red flags.

      That said, I have been greatly relieved by Trump's actual policy decisions since he took office. His rhetoric continues to be that of a fool, but when it comes to policy, he seems to be listening to cooler heads to a much greater degree than I ever expected him to.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      3 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

      @ Sanxuary:

      I've allowed your comment, even though it's a little bit of a rant.

      Just to be clear, some Christians that I know and respect did vote for Trump. Not all did it as a knee-jerk reaction. Many felt they were choosing the lesser of two evils. Truly, all of us were put in a very bad position in the last election.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      3 months ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      Jennifer

      Under your biblical criteria listed here who did you vote for and how did they bode on your list?

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 

      3 months ago

      Wow did you get that from the Bible to. I was wondering how anyone who claims to know God could vote for this demon. I was wondering how anyone who reads the Bible could still support him today. The Devil would not have to do much work to fool most of the church today. Its not the first time and it will not be the last. I see beyond party lines and simply support Democracy even if I have to accept certain things I would never practice. My hope is that I have the freedom to practice what I believe. To solve the other issues requires the right arguments and we seldom get that oppurtunity. So I build Sanxuary for myself, my family and anywhere else I can build it. We live in Purgatory and what counts is what I do on Earth in the eyes of Heaven.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      OK ... I get what you are saying. Being pro-life should be a necessary, but not sufficient condition to get a conservative's vote. Yes, I do agree with that. At least in these circumstances. Especially since Trump seems to have become pro-life just when he decided to campaign.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Jennifer: I appreciate your position. My point is that it is too easy for a politician to add anti-abortion to his platform just to attract those one-issue voters. If the rest of his policies are against your own principles, abortion shouldn't be the only thing you judge him by.

      I know too many people who always vote Republican - no matter what - because of abortion. I think that is irresponsible and how you end up with a candidate like Trump.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Hi Kathleen! Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments.

      Though it looks like we are in agreement about Trump, I must differ with you about abortion. It is very widespread. I think we all know at least one person who has been touched by it (and probably more, if everyone were to share their deepest secrets). It is a gruesome practice. It has been used by racists as a eugenic tool to keep those they despise from reproducing (e.g., Margaret Sanger). It is often pushed on women by husbands and boyfriends who don't realize the seriousness of what they are urging, and worst of all, to support it involves shutting off some very important parts of our humanity as we try to tell ourselves that it's not really a baby that's being killed, or that the baby is not really human. If someone is an advocate of abortion "rights," that tells me that they either have not thought deeply about the issue, or else are deeply self-deceived. If it abortion "rights" are an important plank in that person's platform, it creates a huge problem with their whole philosophy.

      That said, I do appreciate you stopping by.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Jodah ... thanks for stopping by again! I see that you've been writing a lot of Hubs lately, and they look like they're good. I'm sorry I haven't had time to check them out. Life has been busy lately.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Alun ... thanks for sharing this. People need to hear it ... though actually, it was more needful back when I wrote it, when there were still other Republican nominees for President.

      I didn't have to swallow my pride much to write this, since I have never thought of D.T. as representing me or my conservative values in any way. I was in disbelief when he was nominated.

      About Proverbs, I do read it over every once in a while ( just to beat the fool out of me), and the verses above are some of those that always hit home and make me wince. :-)

      Regarding the word "tyrant" ... as you may have guessed, I am also using that word in a technical sense, not as a mere insult. It would take another Hub to explain what I mean by this, and my life's too busy just now to write one, but -- in one sentence ... Hillary Clinton's stated ideals are those of a person who wants to create a leftist utopia, which necessarily involves neutralizing the influence of religion and the traditional family. (You see, I told you it would take a whole Hub to prove that!) If she were actually to accomplish everything that she's said she'd like to, it would require tyranny. But as Michael Medved has pointed out, she will be limited in how much of it she can do, both by the necessity of getting things through Congress (though our current president has pioneered some work-arounds), and by term limits. Trump, on the other hand, is such a wild card that there's almost no limit to the damage he could do (because we can't anticipate it).

      Thanks for stopping by and for the long comment. It means a lot coming from a person like you, with very different political views but also very thoughtful.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Well done. If America's Christians would set aside abortion and gay marriage, which are not going to be changed and impact a very small portion of our population, and just look at Christ-like traits in the candidates' policies (not personal lives - but in the things they intend to do), the decision of who to vote for would be one you could easily live with.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Jennifer, I just had to read this again. Trump just keeps confirming everything you say in this hub each time he opens his mouth. Neither candidate is appealing in any way, but God help us all if Donald Trump gets to run one of the most powerful countries on Earth.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 

      2 years ago from Essex, UK

      Wow! What can I say! First Jennifer, permit me a tiny quibble. To me, the description of Hillary as a 'tyrant' seems a little harsh, though I do fully accept she is deeply unpopular, and possibly with very good reason if even a few of the accusations people have laid against her turn out to be true.

      Second - the plaudits. As I think you know, I am not religious. But that does not stop me recognising the wisdom of many passages in the Bible, and that recognition has been considerably enhanced by your hugely perceptive insight into Proverbs. I can concur with every one of the points you make about Donald Trump, but I had no idea they could be all be revealed in just one Book of the Bible!

      About your political stance, I have more plaudits - it is not difficult or courageous to recognise faults in a party you disagree with. But for someone like yourself to be objective enough to recognise faults in the leader of the party you support, requires clear thinking and guts. And your article about Donald Trump (describing faults which have only become more apparent in recent months), shows a prescience which many experienced, senior Republicans have lacked. Many of those have only admitted to Mr Trump's unsuitability in the past few weeks when it has become quite impossible to ignore them.

      I've read the other comments by readers, and noted the reference to the thoughts of Ben Carson. If I understand them correctly, I think they represent the one glimmer of hope in a Trump presidency. Mr Trump is first and foremost a self-publicist and a businessman, rather than a political idealist. As such it may be hoped that if elected he would adopt a slightly more pragmatic approach than the bear-pit behaviour he's adopted during the election campaign. Of course, even if that does happen, a leopard doesn't easily change his spots - Donald Trump will remain a 'fool' as defined by Biblical terminology.

      As you say in perhaps your most pertinent sentence of all:

      'Donald Trump is not dangerous because he's a right-winger, or because he's a closet liberal. He would be dangerous whatever his policies were, simply because of his character.'

      With that in mind, this should indeed no longer be thought of as a right-left, Republican-Democrat battle. There are sometimes more important issues at stake than party politics. I applaud your ability to see that, because it's something which many senior politicians of all parties never manage to grasp. For these reasons I will share this. Alun

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      2 years ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      Got anything newer than 2000 years old?

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Mel Carriere ... thanks for saying I prolly wasn't a fool, but oh my gosh, you should have seen me! Actually, be glad you didn't.

      Randy Godwin ... thanks - I guess. :-D

      To Mel, Randy, and, well, everyone else ... yes, this Hub is badly outdated now, because in the time since it was written, The Donald has provided many more examples of each of the above categories of fool-dom. He is NOT STOPPING! It's kind of amazing really.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 

      2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Although I describe myself as an agnostic--I don't claim to know there is a god or gods--it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see an arrogant braggart when one is apparent. When someone rails against immigration and personally asks to import immigrants for his resorts--over 1200 so far with a further 79 pending--and also rants about American jobs going out of the country--while he has his own clothing lines made in Bangladesh, China, and the dreaded Mexico he wants to wall out--one would have to be extremely confused to think he would change after being elected president.

      At any rate, a well written hub despite it being sorta Biblical. :P

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      2 years ago from San Diego California

      I doubt if you were ever a fool, because fools are incapable of introspection or self-correction. Immature maybe, like all of us were at that age, but never a fool.

      I love the way you have collected these Proverbs and used them to gauge Trump's behavior. Isn't it amazing how approximately 2500 years after the words were set down, they still apply to human nature? Technology changes, but people don't.

      I was never a Trumpster, or a Republican, (don't like Hilary either) but was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he might help working people in this country by opposing trade agreements. But then I heard his vindictive response that he was "not ready" to support Paul Ryan, and that made me realize that this man is a big baby. Do we really want a baby on the button in the White House?

      I think the country is now in Trump hangover mode. The party was fun, but the morning after will be brutal. Great hub!

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 

      2 years ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      I'm a Trump supporter and even I see him as a wildcard, and I'd agree that he will surround himself with solid people just to be successful (gotta keep up the billionaire club bragging rights...I was president and you weren't) if we keep going the same way we have been, America will be doomed by bankruptcy or our culture will be so diluted you'll no longer recognize us.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      I agree. I appreciate you stopping by and being so civil ... though it does cause some cognitive dissonance. :)

      I know that often (especially on the Internet) people will call someone an "idiot" just because they disagree with them. (Either that or bigot/racist/whatever.) I hope you can see that's not me. I'm not using the term "fool" lightly here. Based on his own words which are a matter of public record, Donald Trump has ticked every single "fool" box except maybe one or two. And note that, according to the definition used above, a person can be quite intelligent in some ways and still be a dangerous fool in others.

      I have listened to the reasoning of Ben Carson and a few others who support Trump. I think the strongest argument (offered by Carson) in his favor is that Trump will be so motivated to be a success as President that he will surround himself with people who know what they are doing, and then actually take their advice, even if it contradicts some of the things he has said he intends to do. I hope this is true. But in my mind, it's a roll of the dice.

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 

      2 years ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      Fool is only an interpreter of ones own morals - many people see him as a passionate patriot who won't back down from a fight. Plenty of people think Obama is an idiot, right? It goes two ways and the ideological pavement of the road you travel often lays the foundation for your beliefs - it's enjoyable having a civil discussion for a change

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Hey everyone, thanks for your visits and your kind comments.

      To those who have an issue with my use of the Bible, you do not have to accept Proverbs as the inspired word of God to recognize that it contains some devastating insights into human nature. My reason for using the Bible (besides its uncanny relevance) is to counteract the idea that you sometimes hear that Trump "speaks for" evangelical Christians. Not for the ones who read Proverbs!

      bradmaster, you take Machiavelli as your muse, and I'll stick with King Solomon. :)

      RJSchwartz, it is hard for me to imagine how someone could be a fool in public and wise in private, but I will definitely check out the video because I really respect Ben Carson.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      This is exremely well researched and an enjoyable (if rather concerning) read, Jennifer. What a coincidence (or something more) is the reference to "builds a high gate" in Proverbs and what Trump proposes etc. Excellent writing.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      Brad Masters 

      2 years ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

      The plays of Shakespeare, and the works of Machiavelli have as much insight about human nature as do the BibleS. Give to Cesar what is Cesar's.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 

      2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      Great analysis. You bring out quite clearly how what we know about Donald Trump fits the biblical definition of fool. And I really like the humility that recognizes we all, to some degree, must own up to some of the same issues. Great job.

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 

      2 years ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      I think your piece is wonderfully done both style wise and with a nice creative touch. I am a Trump supporter, but not here to bring a fight, only to ask you to look at Dr. Ben Carson's interview. He gives a strong narrative to describe the other side of Donald Trump, how he manages his businesses, his life, etc. You may find it interesting...or not, either way this was a great read.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      2 years ago from Washington, DC

      Brilliant article, Jennifer. Your analysis, backed by Proverbs, is spot on about the character of Mr. Trump. I also appreciate how you broke down the pros and cons of being lead by a tyrant or a fool. I'll take the tyrant anyday. Very well done. Sharing and tweeting!

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