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.