Noah Barker: ‘Make the president Christ-like again.’

Noah may love Joe almost as much as I do. That's him in the white shirt and no jacket, very excited to be right next to the ex-veep the day he came to campaign for us in 2018. That's me in the middle in the back, next to Campaign Manager Scott Hogan.

Noah may love Joe almost as much as I do. That’s him in the white shirt and no jacket, a 17-year-old pretty excited to be right next to the ex-veep the day he came to campaign for us in 2018. That’s me in the middle in the back, next to Campaign Manager Scott Hogan.

Today I called my young friend Noah Barker, fellow Smith-Norrell veteran, to talk about yard signs. He’s the one who got me some Biden signs for my neighbors, as related earlier.

Noah, who’s now a student at USC, happened to mention an opinion piece he had written for Medium — a website I had not been familiar with, but which seems to have been around for several years now. He wanted me to take a look at it and see what I thought.

I got a little panicky when I saw the headline, “Make the president Christ-like again.” I thought, whoa, Noah — we both love Joe, but let’s not go overboard! But almost immediately after that, I knew what he meant, and it worked. I could tell that from the photo with the piece: There was Joe with his head humbly bowed standing with his mask on among fellow worshipers — as human as you can get. (It would have gone well with that Facebook post I cited awhile back from Sister Nancy Hendershot — which you should go read if you haven’t.)

I read on, and saw that Noah had done a good job. Here’s his piece:

I don’t often write about my faith. I usually refrain from these types of writing because of two different lessons that I was taught as a child.

The first one was a favorite saying of my grandfather, Wilson Bryan, who would say “Preach the Gospel; if necessary, use words.” He believed that you shouldn’t have to utter the words “well, you know, I’m a Christian.” The way you treat others should show folks that something is fundamentally different about your life.

The other lesson was from Jesus, who according to the Book of Matthew said, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners… But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen” (6:5–6).

However, I’m breaking this rule to write this essay. After watching the Democratic National Convention this past week, I couldn’t keep these thoughts to myself any longer.

It has been hard for me to watch fellow Christians continue to support a man like Donald Trump. He lies, he cheats, he steals. He spews hatred and breeds bigotry. He makes fun of others and he is never hesitant to give an opponent of his a childish nickname (see “Slow Joe” or “Pencil-neck Adam Schiff”). He never forgives and he never asks for forgiveness.

Sometimes, when I am listening to him rant and rave I’m reminded of the words of Paul the Apostle. In his letter to the people of Galatia, Paul outlines the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. In case you haven’t walked by your old Sunday school class and seen that poster in a while, these nine attributes are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I think of these nine attributes because I have never witnessed Donald Trump show any of them in his public life. Now, this has nothing to do with me being a Democrat, which I am. I saw these nine attributes present in the life of George W. Bush, a man that I almost never agreed with. They were also present in the lives of almost-presidents, like John McCain and Mitt Romney.

This is not about politics. It’s not about policy. It’s not about the Supreme Court or abortion. This is about character.

Now, let me say, I am in no position to question whether someone is a Christian or not. Donald Trump has said that he is and that is between him and God. Full stop.

However, when it comes to electing a president, I want someone who shows me that they are Christian, not tells me. I want a leader who isn’t just a Christian, I want someone in the Oval Office that acts Christ-like.

I don’t mean performing miracles or being perfect; we all fall short of the glory of God.

But, I at least want someone who tries.

Who tries to be kind.

Who tries to be honest.

Who tries to heal the wounds of our nation.

I want a president who uses love to unite us.

Who loves his enemies and prays for those who persecute him.

That’s not Donald Trump. That’s not his story. It’s not his life.

On the other hand, Joe Biden isn’t perfect, and unlike Donald Trump, Joe would be the first person to tell you that. He’s not the second coming and he’s not the Messiah, and he certainly doesn’t act like he is.

We’ve all heard the countless stories of Joe Biden comforting those with a sick loved onehelping those with a stutter, or just being kind to the people that are around him.

I believe he is a fundamentally decent man, warts and all.

I don’t agree with Joe Biden on everything, but I believe it is our job as voters to choose the better person and in this case, the better man.

That choice is clear to me.

This November, I’m voting to make the president Christ-like again.

Noah describes himself at the end as “78th Governor of Palmetto Boy’s State | Son of Lugoff, South Carolina | UofSC’23 |”

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22 thoughts on “Noah Barker: ‘Make the president Christ-like again.’

  1. Ken

    “he is a fundamentally decent man, warts and all.”

    Sounds sorta like something that could’ve been written about Jimmy Carter in 1976.
    Which is probably not the kind of comparison Biden or Democrats want to evoke.

    Reply
      1. Ken

        Yeah, no surprise there.

        What I wouldn’t want to see is a replay of the Carter years, leading to a right-wing resurgence in 2024.

        Reply
  2. Mark

    It’s a good read, though I was put off by the headline until I got 10% in. Noah was concise in presenting his case and compelling in its honesty.

    All politics could use more of that, we all miss it in the absence.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Bryan, did you collapse in laughter when you typed, “Trump has been nominated for a Nobel Prize?”

      Yeah, I’ve long thought the Nobel committee should recognize his brilliant and humanitarian work in the world. Who can forget “shithole countries,” or his “perfect” phone call using hundreds of millions in congressional appropriated military aide to strongarm a foreign leader into undermining his domestic political opponent? He’s Mr. Diplomacy! He’s the very guy for whom the Peace Prize was created!

      Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Sounds good to me, although I confess I don’t know a whole lot about Israeli/UAE relations, or UAE’s influence on other states in the region, or much else to assess the importance of the thing. It’s not as obviously a big deal to me as the peace accord with Egypt was, back in 1979.

          Nor do I have a strong sense of the role Trump played in it. I suspect that rather like the job of coming up with qualified justices acceptable to the right, this is something that got done because OTHER people took care of it, but I don’t know that.

          The value of it is a LITTLE more apparent to me than the value of the recently announced stuff with Israel and Kosovo, but not much.

          On the whole, though, it sounds good, and I’d put it in the “stopped watch is right twice a day” category for Trump. (I expect Trump, who is wildly inconsistent and no kind of ideologue, to occasionally do good things, even if only by accident. I mean, I expect it, but have been really quite surprised at how seldom it does happen. The rarity of good things seems to defy the law of averages.) Kind of like the criminal justice reforms that Tim Scott was bragging on at the convention. One of those things that makes you go, “Huh. That one sounds pretty good…”

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            And I suppose I should add, for clarity, that I wouldn’t expect anyone who was not a fringe figure like Christian Tybring-Gjedde to recommend Trump for the Nobel Prize, for this or anything else…

            A good thing, but not Nobel-good. Especially when you’ve got as much BAD stuff on your “America First” foreign-relations record as does our POTUS…

            Reply
            1. Bryan Caskey

              I agree, it’s a good thing, not a great thing. It’s “Hall of Good” not “Hall of Fame”. Get Saudi Arabia on board, and then maybe we’ll talk Nobel. I did enjoy (for entertainment purposes) seeing lots of folks going out of their way to talk down this accord simply because Trump stood to possibly benefit.

              I found the contortions especially funny because I don’t think there is a SINGLE voter in the US who will base their vote on this deal.

              Reply
          2. Bryan Caskey

            “Nor do I have a strong sense of the role Trump played in it. I suspect that rather like the job of coming up with qualified justices acceptable to the right, this is something that got done because OTHER people took care of it, but I don’t know that.”

            That’s the most interesting part, right? I mean, what exactly did the US do to get Israel and the UAE to agree to this? I would really like to hear the details on the role the US played, and who exactly did what. It didn’t just happen on it’s own. Hopefully, it’s a good step forward for the Arab countries and Israel to finally living in peace.

            Reply
          3. Ken

            Lots of moving parts to this — as is often the case in the Middle East.
            Top line takeaway:
            “In the annals of American peacemaking diplomacy in the Middle East … the breakthrough looks more like the latest in a long chain of unintended consequences.”
            And maybe that if anyone deserves a Nobel Prize, the UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed has at least equal claim.

            https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/middle-east/2020-08-19/trumps-accidental-diplomacy-middle-east

            Reply
    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, and before anyone jumps in with a “what about,” yep, it was goofy for them to give it to Obama before he’d done anything. But Obama never at any time did or said anything to disgrace the committee.

      Reply
    3. Ken

      Christian Tybring-Gjedde: a far-right, anti-immigrant, pro-Russian, Islamophobic, climate-change skeptic and member of the right-wing Progress Party. He put Trump’s name into the pot once already, in 2018.
      So yeah, great endorsement, just great, top notch.

      Reply
    4. Barry

      Great job Bryan telling us about the extreme right wing, anti Immigrant hater politician who nominated Trump.

      Thanks for playing your role perfectly. LOL

      Reply
      1. Bryan Caskey

        What are your thoughts on the actual accord itself?

        Didn’t know I had a “role”. Could you tell me more about it so I can make sure I’m doing it right? :)

        Reply

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