Donald Trump and the King David fallacy

Guest Contributor: Larry Amon – President

For years, liberal Christians compared Bill Clinton to King David, and then the Republicans took over the fallacy with Donald Trump – comparing him to Cyrus and/or King David.

People like to compare their favorite political leader to King David or some other biblical figure to cover their misgivings of the politician’s personal sins. They’ll say, “Hey, these great leaders from the past weren’t perfect, and they’re our heroes today; so-and-so political leader is just like them.” It’s sad to see how these same people will attack others for wanting morally upstanding leaders, telling us we aren’t voting for a pastor-in-chief.

When people make this comparison to King David, what they really mean is that the political leader they are talking about has sinned greatly, like David did when he had an affair with Bathsheba and killed her husband. But they often don’t have the other side of David’s character covered.

They want us to believe Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Mark Sanford, or some other politician is a great leader just like David. But they don’t have anything but partisan politics to back up those claims. David was a warrior who fought and defeated Goliath when no one else would. Owning the libs on Twitter, having a reassuring southern drawl, or talking up family values doesn’t make you a King David-like warrior.

What these leaders often seem to be missing is David’s heart.

Yes, King David messed up significantly, but he also owned up to his mistakes and repented. When the prophet, Nathan, confronted David about Bathsheba, David admitted he had sinned greatly against God. David fought against Goliath because Goliath was defying the armies of God’s chosen people, and no one would stop him. David didn’t want God dishonored and had great faith that God would deliver him. This kind of heart isn’t seen in the political leaders of today who are being compared to King David.

What’s the real motivation they have in making these comparisons? It’s often because that leader is in their party of choice, or because they want to be close to power.

People who choose to quickly forgive their favorite politician may think they are following the Bible, but they often miss out on what forgiveness really means. Yes, we should forgive others quickly, however forgiving someone doesn’t necessarily mean absolving them of all consequences. Showing grace toward others shouldn’t be used simply out of convenience, nor should it be used as a get-out-of-consequences-jail free card. If there were never consequences, there would be no justice, and all the wrong lessons would be taught to the one who continually gets away with wrongdoing.

Also, it could be because they are fans of Jesus, but they don’t really know Him, nor do they understand justice and mercy. The fans of Jesus love the feel-good verses of the Bible, but they don’t like anything too harsh. Jesus claimed to be and is God, is the author and perfecter of our faith, and all things were made through him. Jesus doesn’t endorse only part of the Bible but all of it. If those who hold up politicians as a modern-day King David don’t really know or fully believe the Bible, we should be very careful of their biblical comparisons.

What would a less than perfect but Godly leader look like? I would hope to see him/her striving for integrity and the humility to admit to falling short, both in general and specifically at times. Such a leader would have to openly follow the God of the Bible, and not just be a fan of Jesus.

I would also think a Godly leader wouldn’t be seeking ever more power but would do the job of leading because it needed to be done while eschewing the trappings of power. I don’t know if such a person could get very far in our current government system.

There are a few who seem like they may fit the bill, but I’ve been disappointed by so many politicians who appear to have integrity only to see them give it up for a seat at the table. God is in control, but I don’t think that means our leaders are necessarily Godly.

Maybe God gives us the leaders we deserve, but still uses them to accomplish His ultimate will.


This is an edited version of Larry’s article. You can read the complete, unedited version here: Pop Culture Theology


Larry Amon is President of Christian Walk Alive. His website, Pop Culture Theology, is a blog dedicated to looking at modern culture and exploring why and how things work the way they do in our society. He covers topics such as film, television, politics, sports and other forms of media and entertainment from a biblical worldview.

Follow him on Twitter @PopC_Theology