Okay, team, hands up, who’s for runaway greed or envy, seething wrath or arrogant pride? Sloth, gluttony? Who favors celebrity handfuls of lust? Not you, male chauvinist, sexual abusers: go to the corner, grab the dunce hat. Anybody for theft, adultery, bearing false witness, or coveting your neighbor’s goods? What about updated vices: not paying fair taxes or business predation, education fraud thanks to deceptive advertising (from the “stable genius”), or the braggadocio of PT Barnum – who never claimed he “alone can fix everything”? Big joke: Trumps himself breaks far, far more than he fixes.
By any religious training since Year 1, we have an icon of moral depravity in the White House. You don’t have to be Catholic to feel in your bones the moral and physical costs from being ensnared by the Seven Deadly Sins. They are “deadly” because they kill this life as well as jeopardize the next. Here are grounded cautions against addictive, appetite-driven excesses that corrode body and soul. Good news Trump isn’t angling for pope, whom he once called “disgraceful” after getting scolded for pushing walls of separation, not bridges of humanity.
In fact, what world belief system disputes these surprisingly down-to-earth standards? What evolved being pushes malice, nasty put-downs, or endorsements of random violence (against protesters) as good for the soul? That makes Donald Trump not just a disruptive bully but a moral blasphemer who defies what many faiths hold sacred: do good (without gain), be honest and tolerant (to invite the same), show compassion (even love thy enemy, Jesus’ most daunting teaching), and practice unselfish, anonymous charity. That is, without the logo. Trump routinely rails against any he perceives as enemies, that is, those not suckered by preposterous hustles.
Here vanity reigns
Aside from Vainglory (the facile glorying of self, often sin #8), the Seven Deadlies address both mental states and destructive patterns, formally: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride. Plus, let’s not diminish Trump’s career demolition of half the Ten Commandments, namely: against cursing, lying (bearing false witness), coveting thy neighbor’s wife and property (adultery and theft), plus worshiping false idols. Midas would envy the Donald’s obsession with garish, faux golden interiors. Throw in hypocrisy, abuse against women, minorities and critics – and this president leans far more towards satanic darkness than Christian enlightenment. Need I mention religious suspicions against usury (living on interest), high-risk gambling, and equating wealth with blessedness?
This Trumpster guy strikes out repeatedly, and without remorse, defiant of what once defined the path to virtue – a walking, talking offense to scriptural mandates and practices. And the proof pours in on a daily basis, more prostitutes paid to keep quiet, more greedy, corrupt ties to foreign infamy and influence, ever more depictions of Trump rattling White House walls with raging tantrums. Ponder this mild and modest Wash Post headline, “‘Pure madness’: Dark days inside the White House as Trump shocks and rages.”
Four sins capture the heart and soullessness of the Trumpian rampage: lust, greed, wrath and pride. But Sloth (whining how hard is the WH job, resistant to learning the most basic basics) and Gluttony (wolfing down double desserts, endless junk food) rear up like dragons. The most astonishing, indefensible, happily self-destructive corollary is Trump’s paramount commandment: Whenever in doubt or being doubted, lie with pathological frequency. “Happily” because the frequency of his lies is only surpassed by how quickly the Deceitful One gets unmasked as a fraud.
Elbowing out old vices
Of course, not all Trumpian flaws are covered by church Sins or Old Testament Commandments: rashly profiting from office, nepotism for nincompoops, holding grudges and vilifying whatever smacks of disloyalty. Not that Donald honors loyalty to operatives who do his dirty work. Fortunately, Trump’s dream as the first true Presidential Autocrat is dashed by his own ineptitude and negligence, shortcomings more than matched by dubious family retainers.
Look, this concentration of malfeasance doesn’t only wound the sinner. “Sins” are considered “deadly” because they carry wickedness beyond one’s own golden arches, extending disease from one body to the body politick. Communal cancers are unrestrained growths that answer to self-interested vanity and roll over democratic boundaries, shattering the trust and linkages that stabilize any non-totalitarian state. And one final, telling truth about us all emerges, with high transparency: we can’t excuse ourselves because we didn’t know exactly who and what Trump is. Plus, what he isn’t: do we know one reliable story of disinterested, sustained generosity of spirit or unadvertised giving?
Does anyone think the legal and Constitutional walls, now closing in on monumental fails, will be less onerous when the ultimate revelation has impeachment written all over it? Will what This Week’s Matthew Walther calls “America’s first pornographic president” not be on full display in all his fake-imperial nakedness? If justice reigns, we will observe not only how Pride, but Lust, Greed, Envy and Wrath, goeth before the fall of the House of Trump. And this Humpty-Dumpty looks to bring down family and followers in fates never imagined, as in indictments and public trials, if not jail time.
In the old days, priests decided on punishment for sins. In our secular days, jail and penalties and a legacy of dishonor stamp the punishment for unapologetic malfeasance – moral, legal and political. Either we have a justice system – or something else rules. All in all, no president ever matched Trump’s record for scorning the Seven Deadly Sins, the Ten Commandments and the Constitutional legacy of the USA. Sometimes, as spiritual leaders teach, bad carries enormous potential to become ultimate good. But first we must openly confront and identify all that now swamps good, of late gasping for breath. Let us welcome oxygen and sunshine for that’s the answer to immorality.