Losing the high ground

Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States. It’s weird to type those words and have them be real, but such is life and people. The people voted, and by hook or by crook, he came out on top. There have been enough post-mortems and people trying to figure out how it happened. I have a lot of different thoughts, but one in particular that’s sticking in my craw, so I wanted to get it out there. I used to keep this space free of politics, but I don’t think that’s a luxury I should continue to indulge.

I’m disappointed at Christians in the U.S. (and a few up here) who supported Trump, somehow ignoring Trump’s entire history of stomping on the principles of our faith, and a campaign that continued to do likewise. His offenses are numerous and clear, and any single one of them should have been disqualifying, but somehow they weren’t important enough for voters to consider.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy– two people who, to my knowledge, have no connection with organized religion- put it very plainly in their rants (Steve Kerr is a little more thoughtful, if you prefer that). As Christians, we’re supposed to be the moral compass. That evangelicals came out overwhemingly for Trump, and white evangelicals especially, was bizarre. I’m baffled. I don’t get it. No amount of pastoral thinkpieces lacking moral courage and muttering “Supreme Court” could justify that choice, given who and what we claim to be. Trump was an awful candidate, an awful person without moral quality or any relevant experience who conned almost half the voters into supporting him. Good for him, I guess.

One of the most popular topics of recent vintage in churches- I would know, I go to one- is why ‘young people’ (I no longer qualify, sadly) leave the church. If I had the platform, I would point to how Christians voted in this election. We’re seen as hypocrites, and I get why. People see us preach on the transformative power of faith in Jesus, on morality and doing the right thing, on supporting the downtrodden, and see actions that don’t match up with what’s said. Help the poor, feed the hungry, reach out to the lost, but 78% of us supported a millionaire who was born on third base and thought he hit a home run, who degrades women, hates minorities, and has spent his life stepping on anyone who prevents him from making money. Sure, that fits. Jesus would have been all over that, right?

There’s a lot of good that’s done in Jesus’ name, and that sometimes gets lost in the sound and fury of things, when louder, more shocking voices get airplay. People love hearing about how Westboro Baptist screwed up today, mission trips to Guatemala several years running don’t get the clicks. But it’s hard to hold the charity and grace up as indicative of who we are when we screw up on the most visible choices. This was an open layup, and we dribbled it off our foot and the ball went out of bounds and the coach is mad and he’s getting someone off the bench to come in for us (alright, two convoluted sports metaphors is enough for one post).

I’m not having a crisis in my own faith, more a sense of disappointment with some who are in the family. I’ve been through enough, seen enough, that I know what I believe. I hoped that our neighbours to the south would come to their senses, and that Christians would be at the vanguard of those clear-eyed people who saw Trump for the charlatan he is. But neither of those things happened.

As Christians, we’re called to reach the lost, and this choice has built another metaphorical wall (appropriate, given Trump’s fondness for them), another hurdle for us to clear in that mission. There are people in the United States who are genuinely afraid of the next four years, women, minorities, people of different genders and orientations who saw the hate and fear that Trump played on, and see his election as an endorsement of those things. My heart breaks for them. As Christians, we failed them, and I don’t know how we can reconcile that. There are real consequences for the choice that was made, and there should be a lot of Christians doing some soul searching, and seeing if the choice they made actually squares with what they claim to believe.

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2 thoughts on “Losing the high ground

  1. Marney Robinson

    Very well written article, Dave. I don’t agree with it, but it was very well written. Let me explain a little bit why I voted for Trump. If you’ve seen any of my Facebook posts over the past year-and-a-half, then you know how steadfast I am in my support of Trump. Maybe he’s not a saint, I think we can agree on that much. The difference between him and politicians is that their skeletons are hidden in the closet and his are out in the open. However, much of the character assassination the media attempted to pound into our heads about him throughout the campaign is simply not true. There’s a mountain of evidence that the media was biased against him. He’s not racist, he’s not sexist, and if he really flew off the handle at any given moment the way the media makes you think then how would he ever have had the composer and the self-awareness to manage and build a multi-billion-dollar company?
    The past 8 years under Obama have been a disgrace to America. I’ve seen the country that I love transform into one I can hardly recognize anymore. Political correctness was on the verge of destroying this nation. People are offended at everything, and an overabundance of tolerance…even for those who want to come into our country and impose Sharia law and destroy us from the inside out. And though I personally do not have a problem with gay people, the Christian Bible clearly states that marriage is between one man and one woman. And also clearly defines homosexuality as a sin. But these days America is so tolerant that even men who identify as women are allowed to use the women’s bathroom. Tolerance is forced down our throats by the media no matter how ridiculous or dangerous. Unless, of course, you happen to support conservative ideas and policies…then there is zero tolerance for that and it is often rebuked with violence and ridicule. Countries around the world no longer respect America under Obama. He apologizes to our enemies and turns his back on our closest ally, Israel. Iran feels emboldened enough to capture our servicemen and demand ransom for them, to which Obama happily obliged. This is not my America anymore.
    And for all that you believe is wrong with Donald Trump, I would submit to you that Hillary Clinton is 100 times worse. The evidence of her lies upon lies, greed, deception, corruption…it’s all plainly evident. There are so many reasons why she would be the death of America. I’m not even going to go into detail about that because I will go off on a tangent and I don’t think either of us have the time to sit through that.
    The bottom line is, I accept that Trump is not a moral testament righteousness. He doesn’t need to be. We need him to be a strong leader who will return respect and common sense to America. I voted for Trump because his policies and beliefs along with my own. I voted for Trump because he’s not a politician. I voted for Trump to return this country to one that I can recognize again. I voted for Trump to make America great again.

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