E. J. Dionne, columnist for the Washington Post and author of several works regarding political analysis, reports that the American Bishop, The Most Rev. Michael Curry, who “preached for the royal wedding last Saturday, isn’t finished with us yet.”
According to Dionne:
“This is a testing time for the country as a whole, but the moment presents a particular challenge to the Christian churches. Trump, after all, won a substantial majority of the vote among white Christians. The battle within Christianity … is at least in part between those who would use faith as a means of excluding others on the basis of nation, culture and, too often, race, and those who see it as an appeal to conscience, a prod to social decency — and, yes, as an invitation to love.”
The Bishop led a group of Christians in “a march to the White House for a candlelight vigil inspired by a declaration titled Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis.”
The vigil, led by predominantly progressive Christians is a testament to the good that can occur when real people of faith put their money where their mouth is.
Make no mistake when looking at the list of signatories: those participating in the vigil are not affiliated with Mr. Trump’s fan club of “White Evangelicals,” which while not surprising is really sort of baffling.
As Greg Sargent, from the Washington Post reasonably asks:
“One has to wonder if there is anything Trump could do that would cost him substantial support among white evangelical Christians.”
Sargent asks a potent question here, because once again it matters little where you as a reader find yourself on the continuum of faith, but to those of us who publicly self-identify as “children of God,” the stakes are enormous.
The Church writ large, after all, is where people often seek moral clarity that is needed when politicians go awry, and let’s be candid: If any political leader has gone awry, it is Mr. Trump.
His embracing – whether covertly or overtly – of what is best described as a “White Nationalist” agenda, not only flies in the face of the very gospel preached by leaders within the White Evangelical movement, but also places the Church’s testament in grave danger, while those self-describing themselves as evangelicals sell their souls.
And for what reason, one might be asking? Political power. That’s right, just as Esau exchanged his birthright for a meal in Genesis 25:34, White Evangelicals have exchanged the truth for a lie (Romans 1:25), placing their hopes in man’s ability to govern and legislate morality versus trusting the Christ we say we trust for our own salvation, to handle the affairs of man.
So much for the faith the Christ of scriptures honors, huh (Romans 12:3)? No, these days it seems those in the community of faith have placed their hopes in politicians while accepting the immoral aspects of their leadership.
And yet, a brief survey of the mission of Reclaiming Jesus demonstrates how every element of Mr. Trump’s leadership fails when it comes to morality.
Whether the issue is misogyny, racial bigotry, oppression of minorities, sexism, sexual harassment of women, treating people within our nation with inequity, or engaging in favoritism especially as it relates to the wealthy and the poor, Reclaiming Jesus has a great deal to say without ever discussing politics or policy, while focusing on the immorality of such acts.
Morality should be the focus of the modern-day church, but sadly due to the message of Christ being subsumed by politics, at the hands of leaders in the White Evangelicalism movement, people outside the church rightly look upon us as hypocrites.
Despite the plethora of ways we have lost credibility with those outside of the faith community, I provide the following as an example of how the modern-day Church has lost Her way due to this politicization of the gospel.
Pew Research released a poll yesterday reflecting the views of Americans regarding the acceptance of refugees from war-torn countries into our nation. The results are salient.
Currently, our nation is on a course to accept the lowest number of refugees from these countries due to the policies of Mr. Trump. According to Pew:
“Roughly half of Americans (51%) say the U.S. has a responsibility to accept refugees into the country, while 43% say it does not, the national survey found. That is changed only slightly from February of last year.”
Pew reports that little change has occurred among Democrats or Republicans regarding the immigration issues confronting our nation since Mr. Trump was elected to the Oval Office, but there is a caveat:
“By more than two-to-one (68% to 25%), white evangelical Protestants say the U.S. does not have a responsibility to accept refugees.”
Lest you miss the point here: More White Evangelicals than citizens in our country believe the United States holds no responsibility to accept refugees from nations dealing with war, strife, famine, or a host of other issues.
In other words, the modern-day Church is complicit in this one act of immorality, and immorality is precisely the best characterization of this phenomenon.
Those from the faith community, in fact, should be leading the charge of the immorality of leaving these poor people to suffer. And yet, we are not, this despite the Christ of Scriptures making clear the following in Matthew 25:35:
“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.”
The Christ of the Scriptures then concludes the lesson in verse forty of the same Book and Chapter (Matthew 25:40) when He says:
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
The lesson is clear: We of faith, should be living our lives in such a manner that those outside of the faith community see Christ in our behavior.
This cannot be done as long as we blindly support Mr. Trump and his immoral agenda while lacking empathy for our fellow man.
Otherwise, those outside of our faith community see no difference when it comes to our behavior and that of the world.
Does this bother you as a Believer? If not; it should.
A social psychologist by day, political analyst and journalist by night, Dr. Mark Bear has built an established audience by printing facts, without click-bait, sensationalism, or hyperbole. He is married to his wife of 34 years, and both he and his wife, Susan, have a Schnauzer named Shadow. Follow along by connecting with Doc on Facebook or Twitter under the handle Dr. Progressive!