Those of you who know me might be surprised to read something with a title such as this article has. My thankfulness, however, is not connected with what some friends have cited as “all the great things he’s doing for our country.” My list of great things accomplished from our nation’s highest office in the past year runs short (setting the U.S. on a course toward reduced risk on the Korean peninsula is certainly one). My thankfulness is rooted instead in this President’s ability to reveal what we as a nation would most often rather keep hidden – a national myth of Christian religion that functions largely to shield us from moral indictment for an identity rooted in violently self-centered, self-aggrandizing idolatry carefully clothed in language taken from the Christian Scriptures with the intent of sounding like faithfulness to God. I’m grateful for the way President Trump’s administration is bringing an end to the long era of national denial, perpetuated by both major political parties, about our collective relationship with God. As a nation we are more materially blessed than nearly any other in the history of the world and when it comes to raw power (when power is conceived of, as it often is, as the ability to impose one’s will on another) we are unrivaled. 
Yet when it comes to honest self assessment of our failings (the essence of Jesus’ call to repentance) we fall woefully short.  And as far as self-sacrificial love to the extent called for in Jesus’ demand that his followers “take up [their] cross and follow” (Luke 9:23), the list of economic and militaristic sins (institutionally authorized slavery and genocide of Native Americans to name two) is significant, regardless of political party affiliation.  Trump’s presidency offers us a chance to be more honest.
Essayist Walter Kirn, writing in a recent issue of Harper’s magazine, compared Trump’s administration to the product poured on a crime scene to reveal the presence of blood. This metaphor was a revelation for me.  The President is an unrepentant confessed sexual predator, a man who revels in fearmongering on the faultlines of racial identity, and a full-throated worshiper of wealth as the mark of success and blessedness; he’s been soft on Russian election meddling, white supremacists, and credibly accused predators; add to that his administration’s unrepenant brutality enacted in it’s recent execution of policy toward immigrant and refugee families (each of which are terribly odd bedfellows for Christian faith) and ample evidence about our national identity is forensically revealed.   When I give thanks for Donald Trump’s presidency it is for the revelatory function his election and administration provides for us as citizens of this country—wealth and self-serving power are the gods of the United States of America. Like Trump or loathe him, he has certainly helped reveal who we are. May followers of Christ, like the blessed fools of the Apostle Paul’s imagination (I Corinthians 1:18; 3:19) be ever wary of confusing the upside down kingdom of God (Matthew 5; 25) with the gold-encrusted high places of authority and excess that have so dominated our collective imagination. We are not a Christian nation, but the kingdom of God is rising up in surprising, hidden ways (Mark 4) and I pray we join in. 
Pastor Brian Julin-McCleary
American Lutheran Church, Fairbury