Donald Trump’s Non-Apology Apology

This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.” Donald Trump’s statement 

I will let the reader go on any of the main new sites and read or listen to the vile comments made by Donald Trump in 2005, soon after his marriage to Melania. He talks about trying to have sex with a married woman. He laughs about the fact that when you are a celebrity you can touch women’s private parts whether they want you to or not and get away with it. He is vile and disgusting.

When America was a decent place, a revelation such as this would be the end of Donald Trump’s candidacy. There was a time when politicians had to maintain a facade of moral integrity.

But now, Donald Trump is running the most low-brow, belligerently depraved campaign America has seen and evangelical Christians are lining up to support him. Robert Jeffress has called into account the spiritual integrity and courage of anyone like myself who refuses to vote for Trump. No matter how low he goes, men like Jeffress and Falwell, Jr stand behind him applauding.

What is interesting is that non-Christians will find Trump’s comments offensive, but Christians will defend him. “Evangelicals” have for a generation been describing themselves as “values voters” and heaped condemnation of Bill Clinton for his moral indiscretions, but now they are championing a man who matches Clinton adultery for adultery but makes no effort to hide it. He writes books about his adultery and brags about how many married women he’s been with. He speaks about women in the most demeaning terms, but Christians are willing to overlook all his sins and embrace him as good as long as he defeats Hillary.

The so-called religious right has adopted two beliefs.

  1. Hillary is the ultimate evil and anything done to defeat her is a moral good.
  2. This is a nuclear election. If we don’t defeat Hillary, America will not survive.

Hillary is a horrible candidate and will be a horrible president if elected. Donald Trump is likely to be the reason she becomes president. There were several great options on the GOP side this time and Republicans chose a mentally unstable megalomaniac who is unfit for office. I cannot stand the idea of Hillary being president.

  1. She is dishonest. She’s broken the law. Told lies. She should be in jail.
  2. She is a fraud. What has she ever done? She married Bill Clinton. She was the first lady of Arkansas and the US. She got elected to the Senate and appointed Secretary of State because of the visibility of her position as first lady. Name one thing she ever did. One accomplishment. She’s a reputation without substance. She fluff. “She’s all about the children.” Name one thing she has EVER done to improve the lives of America’s children. She helped get Osama. How? Did she send some emails?
  3. She holds the wrong positions on moral positions. She’s pro-death and enthusiastically so. She is anti-religious freedom. There are few positions she holds that a person with a biblically-informed morality would support.
  4. She is a horrible human being. That is a general opinion. Informed and accurate, I believe, but a general opinion.

I could go on. One more thing. She is a gigantic, unbelievable hypocrite. Did you see her statement about Donald?

This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president,

I agree with every word she said. But the fact is that her husband did exactly the same stuff and she never once spoke out. She is a hypocrite. More than that, she is an enabler. She helped to silence the “bimbo eruptions” by destroying the lives of women who publicly reported what her husband did to them. She lost the right to sit in judgment on anyone when she aided and abetted the adulterer in chief throughout his term in the Oval Office (and before, and after).

But I would like to make four quick points about the Donald’s comments and about his response.

1. His comments evidence an attitude toward women that is unacceptable and barring genuine repentance makes him unfit for office. 

It is not just that he has been divorced 3 times and married 4 or that he claims to have slept with hundreds of women, many of them married women. His disrespect for marriage is obvious.

What is disturbing in his comments is that he feels justified in touching women’s private parts without permission and feels that his celebrity gives him carte blanche to get away with it. He is rich and famous so he can do as he pleases.

My dear evangelical friends – if we condemned Bill Clinton for it, we cannot excuse Donald Trump for it. Sin is sin. Wickedness is wicked. We are hypocrites if we condemned Clinton and excuse Trump.

If Trump said, “I was wrong and I sinned. I reject what I said and ask forgiveness for saying it. It was 11 years ago and I now realize that this form of sexual harassment is wrong,” (assuming there was a sense of sincerity) I would advocate forgiveness. My views on certain topics have changed over the years. Christianity is about repentance and growth and change.

But he refuses to repent. He never apologizes. He never admits he was wrong. This is just one more reason I cannot and will not vote for Donald Trump.

2. “It was locker room talk” is no excuse. 

We do not have two standards of behavior – one for our public speech and one for our private communications. Okay, I will admit that I’ve had private conversations I wouldn’t want recorded or hacked and published. But that does not excuse me from responsibility for the words I said. If I sinned I sinned. If I said the things Trump said privately it would be sin whether it was in a locker room or anywhere else.

Evangelicals, we cannot give Donald Trump a pass because he was engaging in “locker room talk.” Either we have standards, values, and morals, or we do not. Either character matters or it does not. We cannot have it both ways.

3. “Bill Clinton did it too” is no justification. 

There is only one justification for my sin. Jesus paid the price for my sin by his blood. The fact that someone else did it too never justifies my sin. “He started it,” is more fitting for a toddler than a presidential candidate.

I have no doubt that Bill Clinton has said things far more vile than this. He lives in the same moral muck that Trump does – a serial adulterer, a liar and cheater, a narcissist. It is possible that Bill Clinton is a rapist.

Whatever Bill Clinton is, he is not the standard of moral behavior. No one who wants to live a moral life uses “WWBCD” (What Would Bill Clinton Do?) as his guiding principle.

No other person’s sin ever justifies mine. Bill Clinton’s behavior doesn’t justify Donald Trump’s.

4. “I’m sorry if you were offended” is not an apology.

Actually, it’s an insult. “If you are such a namby-pamby, sissy-pants that you didn’t realize this was just a couple of guys have some fun, and you took offense when you shouldn’t, then I apologize (that you are such a weak-kneed girly-man).”

Okay, I’ll admit, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But the “I’m sorry if you were offended” puts the onus on the person who took offense. It passes the buck and points the blame.

An apology, a true one, says, “What I did was wrong. I’m sorry and I ask for your forgiveness.” It does three things.

  1. It accepts the responsibility and blame without passing the buck. “I was wrong. What I did was sinful.”
  2. It expresses the offender’s sorrow and penitent attitude over his misdeed.
  3. It asks the person offended to extend grace. “Please forgive me.”

This was not an apology. Not even close.

Just as I was finishing this, I saw a bulletin that Trump has released a video apology. Hopefully, it is better than his written apology. It won’t be hard.

 

One thought on “Donald Trump’s Non-Apology Apology

  1. Unfortunately, his follow-up apology, while an improvement over the printed one, was still not repentance.

    “This isn’t who I am.” But it is, from his own writings and words.

    “This is a distraction.” No, it isn’t. It’s about character and we’ve always said that matters. It’s supposed to matter to us! Am I just being picky? Maybe. But I think I’m being consistent. I told people that character matters when Bill Clinton was profaning the Oval Office. I’m not going to change because a man has a different party affiliation.

    “The Clintons are worse.” Again, WWBCD or WWHD – these are not paths to good moral choices. Are we really going to set the bar that low? The measure of morality is simply that you have to be better than Bill or Hillary?

    Not much of a standard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *