What would Jesus think of the GOP?

"Trump's lies keep people from believing in Jesus"

When the impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, who is actually no longer a president, have started, the question is also whether the entrepreneur will at some point be allowed to hold political office in the USA again, for example the presidency from 2025. The Senate, currently consisting of 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats, will vote on Trump's retroactive impeachment in the coming weeks; With his allegation that the election of his challenger Joe Biden had been falsified, and his incitement to fight against the politicians in the Capitol, he had played a key role in his supporters storming the building on January 6, demanding the murder of Democratic politicians. However, it is very unlikely that a two-thirds majority, i.e. 67 senators, will vote for Trump's impeachment in the end.

The House of Representatives, the other chamber of the US Congress, had previously voted in favor of impeachment. On January 13, 2021, of the 222 Democrats, only ten of the 211 Republicans voted for impeachment. The first Republican to call for Trump to be removed from office under the 25th Amendment for incapacity was Adam Kinzinger. The former Trump supporter and conservative politician is now making headlines for his violent criticism of Trump. The 42-year-old MP has even launched his own initiative for the Republicans to break away from the former US president. Kinzinger is an avowed Christian who turned away from Trump for reasons of conscience, as he says.

Restart of the Republican Party

While most Republicans together and further cling to Trump, and many of his supporters still believe the lie of the election rigging, Kinzinger professes what he believes to be the truth. The evangelical Christian, who will turn 43 on February 27, was elected to the House of Representatives at the age of 32 for the US state of Illinois. He grew up in a Christian home, his father led various Christian aid organizations. Kinzinger studied political science and then became a fighter pilot in the US Air Force.

Kinzinger used to stand behind Trump and voted against the first impeachment trial against him. But over the course of his tenure, his criticism of Trump grew stronger. Kinzinger could not muster any enthusiasm for the conspiracy theory surrounding “QAnon”, which many right-wing conservatives in the party adhere to; According to the theory, there is a pedophile ring around former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Kinzinger also opposed Trump's claim that the 2020 election had been "stolen" early on. One day after the storm on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Kinzinger became the first Republican to speak out in favor of removing Trump from office within the meaning of the 25th constitutional amendment because he was no longer able to do so. In a video, Kinzinger said that Trump broke his oath to protect the American people and their home. He called on former Vice President Mike Pence to declare Trump incapable of exercising his office.

Kinzinger recently launched the “Country First PAC” movement, which is supposed to usher in reform of the Republican Party. In addition, the Republicans should distance themselves from the conspiracy theory around "QAnon".

The hero of the year

Kinzinger is risking his political career, and he is aware of this, as he announced. The Republican Party, the "Grand Old Party", has to decide at the moment whether it will continue to bind itself to Trump, because he continues to have support among many Americans, or whether it is taking a new course away from Trump. At the moment it looks as if she wants to continue to rely on Trump and with his popularity heading for the 2024 elections - possibly with Trump's daughter Ivanka as a presidential candidate, with another Trump child or with Trump himself. Either Kinzinger will soon disappear in the haze of American history, or he'll be the hero in a new GOP.

Kinzinger has already been a self-sacrificing hero once in his life, and even officially. In 2006, he helped a woman on the street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who was attacked by a man with a knife. Kinzinger was able to overpower and disarm the attacker who cut the woman's throat. The woman survived. Kinzinger was named Hero of the Year by the Wisconsin Red Cross. In an interview, Kinzinger said he expected to be stabbed in the attack himself; but the idea of ​​being confronted every day in the future with not having helped was even worse.

Kinzinger recently emphasized again in an open letter that anyone who continues to support Trump and approve of his lies is acting against the Christian faith. This letter is at the same time an appeal to his church, and the American magazine The Atlantic states: Kinzinger is aware that the conservative masses of his party will not stand by him, “but this decision was nevertheless easy for him: as someone who as a born again Christian, he believes he must tell the truth ”.

Kinzinger wants to do the dirty work and say what everyone knows, but doesn't dare to say for fear of endangering his own career: that Trump's presidency actually belongs on the rubble of history, and that he has been in the country, especially in the last two weeks has done more harm than even its harshest critics dared imagine.

Eternity is more important to God than political office

It is particularly painful for Kinzinger that many evangelical Christians like him tend to focus more on party politics than on the commitment to the truth required by their faith. A few days ago, Kinzinger told reporters: “The devil's best trick is to embarrass the church. He is currently successful with it. "

The Atlantic reporter states: Kinzinger is neither a pastor nor a theologian, and yet he stands for the gospel in his work. "When you're dead, it doesn't matter how many elections you win or how low taxes are in America." The Lord spoke to him about his role as a Christian in politics, he says, and how he reaches people who think about eternal life.

His church is just as permeated by the conspiracy theories as his party. And of "lies that culminated in the fact that the election was allegedly stolen". Kinzinger regrets: “We have lost a lot of moral authority.” He is convinced that those who seek salvation in political personalities instead of Jesus are committing the worst mistake a Christian can make. Many Americans would have made prosperity their god, and many would have made Donald Trump their god, whom they trust.

The problems that led to January 6, 2021 are not just political, but also cultural. A study by the Southern Baptist company "LifeWay Research" found that around half of Protestant pastors in the country reported being regularly confronted with conspiracy theories in their church. Christian leaders, especially those who cling to conspiracy theories, are now faced with the problem of having to somehow find their way back to the truth, Kinzinger tweeted on January 12th.

Kinzinger himself grew up in a Baptist church. For him, from a political point of view, being a Christian resulted in a turn to conservative values ​​and thus to the Republican Party. But it bothered him that many Republicans viewed the Democrats as "evil enemies" rather than simply as people with different views who might even be believers. Kinzinger: "We are taken with the idea that every small political victory is basically a victory for God and the truth."

At some point his party was less and less about political views and more about the question: “Do you support Donald Trump or not? Say: Do you want to defeat the left or not? "

It is difficult for him that so many evangelicals continue to cling to Trump. Because that keeps many younger people, who stick less to the Republicans, from believing in Jesus. Over the past few weeks he has repeatedly spoken to other Christians in Congress about what it means to act without fear - for example without fear of losing elections. For him it is clear: "Our time on earth is not so long compared to eternity." When the mob stormed the Capitol on January 6th, he felt a darkness over the building, so Kinzinger. A friend in Congress heard something similar from members of the Capitol Police.

His faith is now more important to Kinzinger than the Republican supporters. He accepts that he could lose his post as a member of Congress. It's a bit like when he risked his own life to help an attacked woman on the street.

From: Jörn Schumacher