When does a hero become an idol?

We need heroes. They motivate and inspire us. We don’t need idols, which give the illusion of comfort but always let us down. When we make a person an idol, we aim too low. Ultimate devotion to a mortal distorts or replaces loyalty to Ultimate Reality, to our highest principles. The biblical writers were adamant about no other gods because idolatry is a waste of time that always ends badly. We do no one a favor by making him or her an idol. The worst thing we can do to another person is to dehumanize him or her by making that person an object–by using someone for our own purposes, perhaps especially, as an object of devotion.

It’s fair to ask whether Donald Trump is more than a hero for a large number of Americans. Over 250 ardent supporters face charges in the January 6 insurrection. Some GOP leaders say, “We can’t (win) without him.” The Judeo-Christian tradition resists idolizing anyone, but people of faith are divided. Yesterday’s post mentioned a Politico article by Julia Duin: “The Christian Prophets Who Say Trump Is Coming Again.” The sub-title states the controversy: “In the growing community of charismatic Christian prophecy, faith in Donald Trump’s imminent return to the White House is a new dividing line.” Some quotes:

“Talk show host Sid Roth, as well as Jennifer LeClaire, the former editor of Charisma magazine… apologized, with LeClaire writing: ‘I believe some prophets who prophesied a Trump win never heard God at all. They merely tapped into the popular prophetic opinion because it was what so many in the church wanted to hear.’

“Comments like these have prompted discussions around the charismatic world on podcasts, email threads, Twitter and Facebook. The overriding emotion … is anger at the prophets–in some cases, for making false declarations and, in other cases, for apologizing for those declarations.”

“The emerging rift mirrors the one in the GOP, with one faction trying to move on from Trump in the name of democratic principles, and the other redoubling their commitment to him spurred by the grassroots and in defiance of facts.”

Hear Margaret Hoover’s interview with Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), from Firing Line on PBS, aired February 12, 2021:
“Are we going to be a party that’s united around (Republican) ideas, or are we going to be … dedicated to the personality of one person?”

4 thoughts on “When does a hero become an idol?”

    1. I understand. She was one of the 10 republicans in the House to vote for Impeachment. She articulates the Sane Republican Option better than anyone I’ve heard. No notes. No spin. Straight from the heart. I wanted this interview “entered into the record” of the blog. Her comments will be relevant in 2022. The Trumpists will try to primary her. It will be one of several key barometer readings whether the GOP will choose principle/integrity/sanity over allegiance to Trumpism.

      Liked by 1 person

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