Donald Trump and Margaret Sanger

After his vulgar comments about African nations and their immigrants, one NBC reporter called Donald Trump “racially ignorant.” I’ve heard several label his comments “insensitive.” He’s certainly not politically correct. But for thinking believers submitted to Christ and the Word, hoping to influence our world in Kingdom ways, we need to understand the philosophy behind Trump’s comments beyond the mere fact that he is insensitive.

Last night, it finally dawned on me who Donald Trump most sounded like (minus the vulgarities) on immigration.

Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood.

“In a democratic society where the vote of one is as good as that of another, it is a dangerous procedure to accept a way of life where the poor, ignorant, diseased and mentally and socially unfit maintain the stock of the population.” Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger did some good things that women take for granted today, particularly gaining access through the courts to birth control methods that prevented conception that had been previously outlawed by congress. On the way, she also founded Planned Parenthood, which we all know to do far more than prevent conception, which we rightly lobby against as Christians for the millions of murders of unborn image-bearers.

I read an autographed biography of Sanger for a project in college. It was an old book, written before her death in 1966, though I don’t know the exact date. I always figured her autograph in the front meant she approved the book. Her early work is fascinating to study – the very real issues she grappled with, her compassion toward women dying of back alley abortions, her desire for childbirth to be as much in a woman’s control as it was in a man’s. But these real issues, removed from a Christian understanding of the image-bearing dignity of every human, reinforced her beliefs in eugenics. She didn’t believe, as Hitler did, in eugenics by race. She believed in it more around poverty and lack of education.

Put together a little of Hitler’s and a lot of Sanger’s views on eugenics and throw them toward the White House. Then watch them unfurl like a mirror on Donald Trump.

“… keep the doors of Immigration closed to the entrance of certain aliens whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race, such as feeble-minded, idiots, morons, insane, syphiletic, epileptic, criminal, professional prostitutes, and others in this class … .” Margaret Sanger

Christians in the United States tend to understand uniformly the problems with, say, the murder of millions of unborn babies through Planned Parenthood or the enslavement and murder of millions of Jews by Hitler. What many don’t seem to get is that those actions started with a philosophy.

And that philosophy eventually led to those horrible atrocities.

Christians, mobilize yourselves, because philosophies like this lead to atrocities like this.

The basic philosophy held by Sanger and Hitler is one that is shared by Donald Trump – that some folks are worthy of protections and some folks aren’t, that a nation is stronger when they limit access to it by the weak and vulnerable, that some people groups are better off left to exterminate themselves.

This is eugenics. It defies basic Christian belief, and Donald Trump’s views are incompatible with Christ’s.

12 Responses to Donald Trump and Margaret Sanger

  1. Claire January 13, 2018 at 12:20 pm #

    Thanks for bringing this up. Many humanist idealogies found here. Here’s a quote I thought of…”The news that God has become man strikes at the very heart of an age in which both the good and the wicked regard either scorn for man or the idolization of man as the highest attainable wisdom. The weaknesses of human nature are displayed more clearly in a time of storm than in the smooth course of more peaceful periods. In the face of totally unexpected threats and opportunities it is fear, desire, irresolution and brutality which reveal themselves as the motives for the actions of the overwhelming majority.” Bonhoeffer, Ethics

  2. Helen Louise Herndon January 13, 2018 at 3:30 pm #

    I am not a Trump fan, didn’t vote for him, and don’t respect him. Nonetheless, his comment grammatically speaking was in reference to the countries and not to people. Now some are coming up with Obama called Libya a “s…show” and blamed Cameron for its deterioration but it was not reported in the press. Let’s face it, Trump is a man with crude words and comments. But sometimes the reactions represent overreaches and interpretations too. The media is constantly leading us to face scandalous words or behaviors all the time. As Christians, we need to recognize the depravity of humankind. When we see our own flaws, we are less critical of the flaws of others. Perhaps we can learn from the Christians who navigated the pagan Roman Empire and recognize we must learn to navigate our pagan culture and society. We need to be cautious and guard our allegiance to any one political ideology or party. We’re pilgrims passing through with the task of glorifying Christ and doing as much good toward others as we can. Let’s not let politics “trump” (no pun intended) our primary purpose and goal in life.

    • Liz January 22, 2018 at 8:53 am #

      Helen, I think that’s a common misconception when discussing the problem of this particular quote from Trump. The issue isn’t the word “shithole.” It’s “why are we letting people in from…” The problem isn’t (just) that he’s describing places in this vulgar and disrespectful way, but that he’s drawing the conclusion that some people can be less worthy than others.

  3. Rebecca Cook January 14, 2018 at 6:37 am #

    re: Helen Louise Henderson

    You can’t separate the people from the country. If the country was maligned, that includes the people in it.

    • Sharon January 15, 2018 at 8:21 pm #

      With all due respect I disagree wholeheartedly. In my deduction this is a false and mistaken idea based on faulty knowledge and reasoning. We definitely can, do and will separate the two. Our opinion of people (from a Christians world view that is; being created in God’s image and highly valued) from our stated opinions and or facts about the political, social economic or geographical region in which they live in. However put, it is not one and the same.

    • Helen Louise Herndon January 16, 2018 at 10:05 am #

      I do believe we can separate people from the rulers or governance of a people. Think about Russia and its Communistic governance, think of Hitler, Naziism, and all German people, think of Idi Amin and Kenyans, think of Pol Pot and Cambodians, etc. Countries may have an ethos, but the people are individuals with diverse characters and both good and evil. Having lived in two different continents and countries, I recognize people in those countries could disagree with or hate America’s actions without hating all Americans who are not responsible for some of the major decisions being made. Just some personal thoughts.

    • Helen Louise Herndon January 16, 2018 at 10:06 am #

      Apologies. Idi Amin was Ugandan and the people of Uganda.

  4. Craig January 14, 2018 at 9:22 am #

    Yes but no matter what your ideology – the fact remains that there is no God. So, we have to rely on facts and use knowledge with logic and reason.

    • Wendy January 14, 2018 at 10:31 am #

      Craig, I appreciate your reply, because you highlight why those who confess to believe in the God of the Bible should have a different view on these things from an atheist. If you don’t submit to a God who instructs you to esteem the poor and weak more highly than yourself, I understand how folks like Sanger or Trump end up where they do on immigration. My point is simply that this is the exact opposite of the Christian view. I hope you can concede at least that.

  5. Jenna January 15, 2018 at 12:24 pm #

    Thank you Wendy – I so deeply appreciate your courage and voice on these issues. You often are able to articulate what the Spirit is stirring within. Thank you!

  6. Jim Minton January 17, 2018 at 10:18 pm #

    Do you know Trump well enough to judge him? Do you know for sure that he said those words? If he said it, Do you know the context of the discussion in which it came out? Did Trump not deserve the 1986 Ellis Island award? Did you hear what Jesse Jackson said about Trump before he ran for President? Would we be better off with Hilary? God Bless

    • Wendy January 18, 2018 at 7:12 am #

      Do you read Trump’s Twitter feed, Jim? He’s allowed us all to know him too well. And what others say about Trump or whether we’d be better off with Hilary is irrelevant. Stalin or Lenin? I’d like to think as a Christian who believes in moral absolutes beyond “the lessor of two evils” that I’d stand against both.