Now, more than ever, we must show the world what Jesus followers really are
Two days ago, America elected a racist, misogynist, Islamophobic, homophobic bully who brags about assaulting women. According to shocked analysts, eighty-one percent of evangelical voters supported him.
The word evangelical has lost its meaning. It means good news. But this is not good news for women, people of color, LGBT people, Muslims or even, I think, America. It’s not good news even for the misguided people who voted for him, although it will take a while for them to see that.
More than half of “white women ages 45-64” and “white protestant women” voted for this man. I am in both those categories, and did not vote for Trump. I love my country too much to do that.
I used to identify evangelical, but since that word has been co-opted by people who support Trump and degrade women with their theology, I no longer use it to identify myself. I’m not alone, as other progressive Christians took to Twitter to decry what happened. I am a Jesus follower, a Jesus feminist, but not evangelical.
In an article headlined “How Christian America Elected the President No other Religion could Get Behind,” the Huffington Post’s analysis of what happened, I read this:
“Deborah Jian Lee, author of Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism, said in an email to HuffPost: “I’ve been hearing from evangelicals leaders and lay people who are people of color, women and LGBTQ who fiercely opposed Trump and are now stunned to see just how many of their white fellow believers supported a candidate that proudly demeans their humanity.”
“Trump preached xenophobia, racism, sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and more,” Jian Lee said, “and the white evangelical base said ‘Amen.’”
Read the whole article here.
Blogger John Pavlovitz has a lot to say to white evangelical Christians about the outcome of the election. His post here is worth reading.
Trump has played a huge group of white evangelicals for a fool. People who look a lot like me (white, suburban, Christian, middle-aged women) elected the first man in 30 years who did not even say “God bless America” at the end of his victory speech.
Christianity Today noted: “Vice President-elect Mike Pence said, ‘I come to this moment deeply humbled, grateful to God for his amazing grace.’ Trump did not mention God in his remarks. He is the first president in over 30 years to not conclude his speech with “God bless America.”
I would add that Trump also did not mention anything about being humbled in his remarks, either.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, quoted Scripture at the end of her concession speech. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
(Galatians 6:9) the context of this verse matters. Hillary did what Jesus sometimes did: quoted a portion of scripture to refer to its larger context. Read this article about that.
I feel betrayed by my demographic. I cannot change who I am. But I can change what I do. I can show the world another sort of Jesus follower—one who actually does what He told us to do. And now, more than ever, it is key for Jesus followers (especially those of us in the messy process of rejecting the “evangelical” label) to show the world what Jesus followers actually do.
Maybe you’re like me: a Christian whose faith would never allow them to vote for Trump, no matter what. What do we do now?
This is what we do, friends: we love.
As Dr. Martin Luther King famously said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
All those marginalized groups that are fearful right now—our LGBT friends, people of color, refugees—we love them in radical, practical ways. Get out of your comfort zone and actually interact with people who need the reassurance that not all of Jesus’ followers regard them with fear and hatred. Grieve, cry. Then get off social media (I’m talking to myself here) and actually look into the eyes of people, give them practical help.
The battle is not lost, friends. We can still go out and love people.
All during this election, I’ve been thinking about trying to get involved helping refugees. Thinking about it. I confess, that doesn’t do a whole lot of good. I can post on social media about #wewelcomerefugees but that really is slacktivism at its best.
If you are a Jesus follower and spent yesterday ugly crying and wondering what the hell just happened, I invite you to join me. Let’s outrageously love the very people who think Christians turned on them by voting for Trump. Let’s love with action, not just hashtags.
Hillary Clinton said it: “let us not become weary in doing good.”
Let’s love everyone, always.
One more thing: that includes loving people who voted for Trump.
Last night at my Bible study, we read Luke 6. It says, among other things: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (vs. 27-28), and also “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (vs. 37).
One of the women in the study said she thought Trump’s largest group of supporters were probably white, rural poor, men. Exit polls seem to indicate that non-college educated white men were his largest demographic group of supporters. They are not necessarily poor or rural. If we hate on them, no matter who they are, we’re no better than those who hate Muslims or gays.
I’ve seen a lot of condemnation coming from my fellow #neverTrump Christian friends. I’ve spewed some myself. I’ve argued on social media and cried. But I was convicted by my friend’s words. Can I love those I fear?
So here’s what I plan to do: love everyone, always. Not just with words or hashtags, but in action and in truth. As 1 John 3:18 says: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
Those actions might be small, simple things. Drive out the darkness with small, courageous acts of kindness and love. Choose not to hate, choose not to be bitter.
Today, that means I got up and baked banana bread to take to my in-laws. They voted for Trump. Voted absentee in Florida, helped swing that state for Trump. My husband and I are going to help them—they are getting older and struggling in many ways. Today I will help them move, bringing a loaf of sweet bread and being kind to them. They will be gloating about the politics, I know. I’ll love them anyway. I’ll ask Jesus for the strength to not become weary in doing good.
In the coming weeks, I will contact refugee resettlement organizations and actually volunteer my time to help.
I am praying for God’s help in loving everyone, always.