Donald Trump and the Parable of the Dishonest Manager

I don’t care that Donald Trump paid no taxes. He is a businessman who took business losses and was able to use the tax code to his advantage. Good for him. But Trump, on Twitter, blasted American businesses for using the tax code to their advantage and he blasted the 47% who do not pay taxes, a group he is a part of. I do care about that hypocrisy.

What I really care about is that Republicans would be beside themselves if Hillary Clinton had done this and are now defending Donald Trump. They will let their own side get away with things they would never tolerate from the other side.

This situation exposes great discrepancies in the tax code, shows how complicated the tax system is, and provides ammunition for the left about inequality. That is what the GOP is running with this year only four years after Mitt Romney’s comments about the 47%.

Something else worth noting here is that, if Trump’s tax returns are to be believed, he may be the least charitable person to ever run for President of the United States. He has given practically nothing to charity and abused his own charitable foundation for personal ends.

I am struck by this and the parable of the dishonest manager in Luke 16. In it, a manager is being fired for being a bad manager. So the manager, before he is fired, renegotiates debts owed his master so that the debtors all pay less than they should. When the dishonest manager is out of a job the debtors might be grateful enough for the reductions in debt that they give him a place to stay.

“The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness,” Christ says in Luke 16:8. That does not mean the manager was forgiven, just that his shrewdness in taking care of himself and his future at the expense of his master was impressive planning.

Christ then goes on to say

If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

Trump was able to take $14 million of his father’s money and turn it into a billion dollar loss. But he did so in a way that he personally benefited. Time and time again, Trump has used the system to benefit himself like the dishonest manager in Luke 16. And like the dishonest manager, Trump has left those to whom he had a fiduciary duty with less money.

His charitable giving plays into this perfectly. Trump takes care of himself and no one else. He is not charitable. He is not responsible with other people’s money. And he only looks out for himself. We can admire his shrewdness, but we should not applaud his deceit.

He has not been faithful with unrighteous wealth. He has not used his wealth to advance the kingdom of God or even secular charities. As he has not been faithful with his own money, we should not have him in charge of our own. He will only use the position for himself, not for the people who support him.

About the author

Erick Erickson

View all posts