A post in the Christianity series.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
In 2016, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America, buoyed strongly by the overwhelming support of Evangelical Christians. This has triggered a lot of soul-searching and research into just what happened. I personally was a little in shock, and did a lot of reading myself. I ended up on an article (that I unfortunately can no longer find) of a journalist’s journey throughout the South going to churches and talking to a myriad of pastors about politics and Trump. The vast majority of pastors had the same answer: with a Republican president, they no longer had to worry about fighting the “abortion” and “gay rights” fights and could get back to witnessing.
I grew up in a conservative, Republican, military (Air Force) household, and while, thankfully, politics was never discussed much at home, I have long been aware of the sentiment that “Christians vote Republican.” However, as I grew up and started to become more aware of politics and world events, that sentiment made less and less sense. I regularly saw situations where Republicans made decidedly anti-Christian choices and were praised for it, while Democrats were attacked for proposing ideas that fit much closer to the Christian world view. It was when I read that journalist’s words, that pastors no longer had to spend energy on the “abortion” fight and get back to witnessing, that it all became clear, and I knew I needed to say something.
But how do you say something, and get heard, in a world of Twitter and Facebook, where conversations try to happen in 200 characters or less and often devolve into complete strangers yelling and insulting each other? The noise was already growing into a cacophony and would only get worse. So I couldn’t just take to Twitter and throw out some pithy messages; those words would just get lost in the flood. It was time to write something of substance. To be able to truly make my point, I knew I would need to start at the beginning, to explain what Christianity actually is, from core principles and Biblical teachings, continuing into worldly issues, and finally current events. Thus, I started my Christianity series, and this article is the culmination of that effort. The groundwork is now set, it’s time to talk about what is happening to Christianity in this country. Why did Christians overwhelmingly support Donald Trump in 2016, and why is there still so much support for him as we inch closer to Election Day 2020?
Now, given the title of this article, one may think that this discussion is about politics, so before we dive in I want to be explicitly clear about what I’m writing about today.
- This article is not about politics.
- This article is not about the Republican Party.
- This article is not about the Democratic Party.
- This article is not about conservative or liberal views.
- This article is not about the 2016 election.
- This article is definitely not about Donald Trump, or Joe Biden.
- This article is about something infinitely more important than all of the above.
I’d also like to be clear that what I’m talking about today isn’t a new issue or even from the past four years, but something I’ve observed over decades, which is all coming to a culmination in 2020.
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a non-Christian and compare two scenarios. On one hand, we have a man who is a publicly professed Christian, who is not only faithful to his wife, but empowers her to be successful on her own merits, and who genuinely tries to serve the people he is put in charge of. This person is attacked mercilessly by self-proclaimed Christians who announce that the end times are upon us, even to the point of some calling him the Anti-Christ. On the other hand we have a man who is publicly professed non-religious, has had multiple wives, every one of which he has cheated on, demands loyalty but gives none in return and demands that everything good is because of him. This person is praised by the same self-proclaimed Christians, God is praised for his existence, and some even claim that he is the second coming of Christ.
What is a non-Christian supposed to make of this? How is it that Christians not only hate one of their own but turn around and praise someone who exhibits none of Christ’s teachings? I speak of course of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, respectively. Obama was ruthlessly attacked by Christians for the entirety of his eight years as president. Evangelical leaders like Dr. James Dobson went so far as to write a 16-page “letter from the future” offering over 30 predictions of how this country was going to end because we elected Obama to the Presidency (not a single one of the predictions came true). And then in 2016 we had these exact same Christians literally fawning all over Trump, praising him for “saving” America and proclaiming him the best thing since Christ, viciously attacking anyone who would question their devotion.
Seriously, what is a non-Christian supposed to make of America right now? There is only one answer, and had I not been brought up in a household and family that taught actual Christian values, I’d be right there with them: “No thanks, I would rather not associate myself with such hypocrisy.”
Now, as I cover in Christianity, A Christian, and Evil and Sin, life on this Earth and life as a Christian is going to contain some hypocrisy. It is impossible for us to fully live like Christ taught us, but we are supposed to at least try. This is a fundamental aspect of our witness as Christians. We are fallen and constantly fail to live up to Christ’s expectations but Christ not only forgives us but even took the punishment we deserved so that we can live forever with Him. It is the inconceivable enormity of this gift is supposed to drive us to love and serve others as Christ serves us. What we see today though, seems to be blanket ignorance as to how far from Christ our words and actions truly are.
How did we end up here? How have so many self-proclaimed Christians ended up supporting a man, a campaign, and an entire political party that embodies (in Trump, literally) the exact opposite of everything Christ teaches? The answer is back at the beginning of this article. The pastors the journalist interviewed were simply grateful that a Republican was in power again. It wasn’t about the man, just the party, and now they could “get back to witnessing”. But who are these pastors witnessing to? Who is going to look at the blatant hypocrisy of Christians praising Donald Trump (and reviling Barack Obama) and want to be a part of that group? Is it really any wonder why Christianity and religion in general is losing people at an ever increasing rate in this country in the 21st century? How do we explain this mess?
The only situation that makes sense to me is that some decades ago, possibly longer, Christians made and have maintained a deal with the Devil that the Republican party would be anti-abortion (and later, anti-gay-rights) as long as Christians voted for the party and never questioned anything else the party did. This then was intended to free up Christians from having to think about difficult political and societal issues and focus on winning over souls.
I’ll admit, at face value, the entire idea sounds preposterous. A Christian dealing with the Devil? However, we must be clear about who the Devil is. The Devil, Satan, or Lucifer was once an angel in God’s court, one who was given free will and through that eventually became prideful and envious of God Himself. This pride led to him being cast out and condemned to his eventual eternal fate: the lake of fire. Satan knows what awaits him at the end of time so his entire purpose is to bring as many people with him as he possibly can. As a former angel, Satan is immensely intelligent and powerful in his own right, and, known also as the Great Deceiver, can appear as bright, good, and heavenly as they come. What better method of deception than tricking Christians into doing the Devil’s job by pretending to be God Himself?
“But abortion!” comes the inevitable cry. While I’ve already written about abortion, as this topic is the anchor of the deal it makes sense to talk about it again. In short, making something illegal does not stop it from happening. Just look at things like theft, drugs, rape, and murder. All illegal, yet they all still happen. Yet what is the Republican Party’s actual push regarding abortion? Making it illegal. Not preventing it, just making it illegal. The Republican Party has been and is doing the bare minimum required to meet their end of the deal, and with the COVID pandemic, we now have a perfectly clear picture of how little the Republican Party actually cares about any life. The Republican party doesn’t want to prevent abortion, they just want an excuse to punish, condemn, hate, and belittle anyone who would even consider such an action. And where, pray tell, is Christ in hating, condemning, or belittling people? Did Christ condemn the woman at the well? Did Christ condemn the woman “caught in adultery”? No! Then why would Christians condemn people for their choices?
This is where this deal is the most damaging. The Devil has taken an honorable truth: the sanctity of all life, and perverted it. If the Republican Party actually cared about preventing abortions, then they would build and fund a nation-wide network of social services that includes counselling and adoption so that when people do find themselves in an unexpected pregnancy, they can get the information, knowledge, and help they need. More importantly, they can get the love, compassion, mercy, and kindness that Christ shows us. And if that person does decide in the end that they want to abort the pregnancy, then we as Christians have no right to condemn that decision, but we instead show and share Christ’s love by making sure the option is available and safe.
In the end, even the Republican stance on abortion is not Christian, and through this the full picture of the deal comes to bear. The Devil has gained everything, and we Christians, have nothing.
As I stated in the beginning of this article, I’m not talking politics, liberal vs conservative, Republican vs Democrat. I’m writing today, and I started writing four years ago, for one reason: Christians have increasingly been our own worst enemy in this country. We share Christ’s teachings of unconditional love, forgiveness, and grace, while turning around and hating and condemning people we don’t agree with. If Jesus came back to earth today, He would find the exact same situation as two thousand years ago: a “religious” ruling class (the Pharisees then, Republicans now) that misuses God’s name to gain money, power, and fame.
And in all of this, non-Christians are watching, and they do not like what they see, nor should they. Pastors claim that they can redirect their energy back to witnessing, but who are they going to witness to? Without Christ-like actions to back up Christ-like words, there can be no witness.
It is well past time that American Christians woke up and realized that we’ve done a terrible job at sharing Christ’s love. We’ve supported agendas and policies that have hurt others, and we’ve supported leaders that have made mockeries of everything we claim to believe as true. This November, we will all be making a choice, and the question is not Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, or even about specific policies.
Nor does this question have anything to do with Joe Biden.
The question Christians will be asked this November is this:
Who do you worship: Jesus Christ or Donald Trump?