You remember the scene.
In the penultimate Indiana Jones sequel “The Last Crusade,” one particular part was fit to give most adults a lifetime of nightmare fuel.
When asked to choose the Holy Grail—the chalice Jesus Christ ostensibly drank from at the Last Supper—amid a plethora of options, the film’s antagonist Nazi, Walter Donovan, was misled and handed a gold-laden cup by his female acquaintance, Elsa Schneider.
After proudly taking a swig of stale water before the Grail Knight, Donovan meets a grisly fate. If there was ever a “Kids, close your eyes!” scene, this was it. Blinded by his pursuit of power, he unknowingly drinks death upon himself. In a span of a few seconds, he ages before our eyes, morphing from Christopher Lloyd to zombie to skeleton until he explodes into a heap of bones and dust.
Immediately after which the Grail Knight iconically quips, “He chose … poorly.”
In 2022, the MAGA movement of Donald Trump is one that would make even Walter Donovan blush—their shared attraction to Nazism notwithstanding.
With the majority of MAGA followers identifying as evangelical Christians, both Trump rallies and independent MAGA gatherings have become indistinguishable from Christian revivalist settings.
And equally detached from reality.
“Jesus Loves Trump” t-shirts are a frequent sight at Trump’s rallies, with most believing he’s God-ordained to restore America as a Christian nation. Truly, a Trump rally has replaced church. And at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year, elaborate prayer circles were held for a man—and this part is important—pretending to be a jailed as a Jan. 6 insurrectionist.
For those awaking from a coma, Jan. 6 was a MAGA plot to overturn democracy and install Donald Trump as King of the United States. (Please note that any other description you might read of the Jan. 6 riot is something that’s been sanitized by the media. MAGAs even erected a gallows to hang Trump’s own Vice President—and former darling of conservative Christians—Mike Pence).
As a result of this unholy matrimony between MAGA and evangelical Christianity, it isn’t just the country that’s at a tipping point. Rather, the entire Christian faith has been bastardized; utilized as a weapon by twisting scripture and entirely disregarding the actual teachings of Jesus, there’s even been a mass exodus of pastors around the country who refuse to preach a MAGA-inspired gospel.
This is where Indiana Jones comes in.
To start, in the same way that Walter Donovan sought power (by exploiting the blood of Christ), one cannot be both MAGA and a Christian. The first, of course, demands you pledge allegiance to a man, Trump, and use violence and lies in pursuit of political power. The second, if the Bible has anything to say of it, demands adherence to the God-man, Jesus, who explicitly rebukes violence and admonishes liars and frauds, even when it leads to his own death.
Indeed, being a MAGA and a Christian are diametrically opposed. This is a non-negotiable. And anyone who suggests otherwise is selling you an anti-gospel.
You don’t need to put your faith in this mere blog post, either. There’s reams of biblical arguments that warn against holding to a violent, extremist political affiliation led by a false idol.
But Walter Donovan’s fate reveals something more concerning for the individual MAGA. His choice of chalice was fit for “The King of Kings”, in his words, and painfully misunderstood Christ’s Kingdom—he viewed Christ’s power as connected to a literal kingdom, and any literal kingdom would certainly have plenty of gold chalices to drink from. But as Indiana Jones himself correctly identifies, Christ was the son of a carpenter—and a carpenter’s son would never become “King” of this world, much less have a golden cup. It would be a meager. It would be simple.
It would be, in a word, meek.
“Blessed are the Meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Those are the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:5. And if there’s any individual on earth who doesn’t fit the description of meek, it’s a multi-billionaire playboy who consistently brags about his possessions and accomplishments.
The result of Walter Donovan’s final toast is, obviously, dramatic and … gross. But it isn’t without a parallel to the gallons of Trump kool-aid gulped without question by the MAGA crowd—those who take literal marching orders from a man who is the clear antithesis to Jesus Christ, demonizing friend and foe alike who refuse to assimilate ….
To the point where they commit heinous crimes.
To the point where they seek to hang a man using a wooden, medieval torture device.
They are bringing certain spiritual death unto themselves.
Jesus challenged political institutions, not with violence, but with stories. He didn’t seek to align religious and political powers, he instead separated them.
And he was ultimately crucified for it.
So it’s Jesus or Trump. Choose wisely.