Among the many astonishments of our current political season, I have been thunderstruck by the support Donald Trump has received from white evangelicals, at least from very many of those who so identify. From the likes of Jerry Falwell Jr., current president of Liberty University and hoary Pat Robertson, Chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network and former US presidential contender, has come slathering approval of the bloviating race/religion/gender-baiter.
Are you surprised at my vehemence here? I cannot tell you how profoundly shaken I am by the complete capitulation of many who profess to follow the path Jesus blazed, the path rooted in love of God above all else, and the love of neighbor as oneself; turning his love-your-enemy, blessed-are-the-peacemakers- meek-merciful-and-righteous message on its ear. Well, really, apparently abandoning his mission except in name.
No candidate is without blemish, of course, but we’ve reached an absurd level of demagoguery, childishness and pandering to the lowest common denominator of the body politic fueled by fear and anger—a potent combination in the hands of an adolescent narcissist.
To punctuate my case, it’s important to acknowledge that not everyone who identifies as evangelical (or simply Christian) has hopped the Trump train. All are not cut from the same cloth spanning from right to left. On the right, consider this op-ed piece in the Washington Post by Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
And on the left, this piece by noted journalist/activist Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners and author of America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America.
Both are embarrassed by the evangelical moniker in this political season, both devoutly faithful in their commitment to the Christian tradition.
I am unwilling to let the words, beauty and profundity of my faith sink under the surface of the political swamp. I want to remind myself again and again of Paul’s admonition to his friends in Philippi, written from a Roman prison: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Tell me if that’s not a far a better thing to consider than Donald Trump’s hands…
The Reverend Dr. Stephen Bauman