To the editor: I read the Los Angeles Times daily, and am definitely not a supporter of President Trump. I am liberal in most matters, and I am also Catholic.
As Randall Balmer writes, the president’s record on many of the Bible’s core tenets leaves a lot to be desired. However, it’s curious that in his review of the Decalogue, Balmer completely skips over “thou shalt not kill,” which is the central position upon which the pro-life movement is based.
Don’t get me wrong — I am not so naive as to think Trump a champion of the unborn. But he was the nominee who made life issues a part of his campaign platform. I did not vote for Trump, but I am certain that among the large number of people who held their noses and supported the president were many pro-life voters.
The Democratic Party’s intolerance of pro-life views deprives it of voters who are otherwise liberal on so many other issues. Those Democrats with an eye on 2020 might at least glance in the direction of voters they keep at more than an arm’s length, pushing them to cast their votes for someone they do not support only because there is no one else for them to vote for.
Charles S. Kraszewski, Dallas, Pa.
To the editor: Unbelievable: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders thinks “God wanted Trump to become president.” Sanders’ sanctimonious take provoked potent criticism of the Christian right.
Balmer, an Episcopal priest and religious studies professor, put it gently; he used rare wit and humor to hint at how evangelicals were being either hypocritical or willfully ignorant to back a president who comes off as the most ungodly ever.
Balmer doubtless found it too impolitic to broach pious conservatives’ resort to the “all-part-of-God’s-plan” meme elsewhere; that’s how they justify such perverse predispositions as cover-ups of clerical sex abuse and denial of abortions to impregnated rape victims.
Still, Balmer’s piece points to a flagrant sin: Evangelicals can’t bring themselves to admit that their backing of Trump betrays a Faustian bargain.
Glenda Martel, Los Angeles
To the editor: Balmer's wry goading of religious conservatives speaks to how someone as irreligious as Trump retains their enduring support. The answer lies in theological conceits of evangelicals, his most formidable voting bloc.
Most evangelicals emphasize one’s professed strength of faith over his manifest sins. So they cheer Trump’s stacking of his Cabinet and other prominent positions with conspicuously devout souls — and extol his spouting of “God bless America” at every opportunity — yet ignore how his cynical, madcap governance is doing long-term harm.
Evangelicals moreover abide the biblical prophecy of Armageddon, which dooms Earth to a fiery destruction whereupon they will ascend into heaven’s blissful afterlife. Thus many evangelicals don’t seem to mind Trump hastening Armageddon through callous or even nihilistic policies.
Edward Alston, Santa Maria
To the editor: Heaven knows Sanders has a tough job, constantly having to deflect pesky media queries and walk back Trump’s ill-thought utterances. So it’s nice that she finds comfort in a God who wanted Trump to become president and her to serve as his press secretary.
But Sanders seems to overlook what Balmer insinuates: Her Trump-indulgent deity isn’t embraced by the majority of Americans, be they Christians, Muslims, Buddhists or atheists. Indeed, it strains belief to think that any iteration of a supreme being would side with Trump.
Still, I sense that truly caring gods find a divine purpose in Trump’s ascendance: It provides a vital lesson to voters who assume that their respective deities will protect them from electoral disaster.
Rona Dolgin, Los Angeles
To the editor: Balmer’s convincing questioning of the relationship between God and Trump and reference to Sanders’ belief that God “wanted Donald Trump to become president and that’s why he’s there” reminds me of an internet meme I recently saw: If God wanted Trump to become president, he also wanted Robert S. Mueller III to be special counsel.
Judi Birnberg, Sherman Oaks