White Evangelicals, You Now Have a Serious Responsibility.

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

Donald Trump is our president-elect. I have no interest in protesting the results of the democratic process. But if you voted for him, you now have a real and weighty responsibility.

See this massive list of racially and religiously motivated threats and crimes, by people who were emboldened by your candidate’s election. A candidate for whom 81% of white evangelicals voted.

White evangelicals, if you voted for Donald Trump, you have an absolute and unequivocal responsibility to denounce this in the strongest possible terms, as we all do. And you have a responsibility to call on your president-elect to do the same. Immediately, emphatically, and over and over again. Anything else can amount to nothing less than a denial of the gospel.

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If you voted for Donald Trump (or even if you didn’t), you cannot remain silent in the face of this. If you insisted that he was the lesser of two evils because Hillary is a liberal God-hater and would destroy your religious liberty, you have no choice but to decry every single last instance of racism, Islamophobia, discrimination, and hate that now expects no consequence in light of his election. There is no excuse for failing to do so. Don’t tell me that you voted for the lesser of two evils if you’re not going to do anything about stopping this.

If you voted for Donald Trump because you say he is the lesser of two evils, it’s time to do everything in your power to make sure that’s the case. In face of racial and religious discrimination, to do nothing is to tacitly sign on your approval to such behavior. It is to say that your rights are the only ones that matter, that your vote was nothing more than blind self-interest. You can no longer say that this isn’t why you voted for him and bury your head in the sand. You heard the rhetoric he used from beginning to end of his campaign, and you knew what the results could be.

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Make no mistake—whether or not you (or Donald Trump) explicitly support or participate in this, in failing to react against it you are choosing to support it. If you insist that this does not represent you and your motivations for voting for him, you have an obligation before God, and to your country, to stop it.

Do not try to contend that it’s not related, that it’s not his fault, or that our President Elect hasn’t sanctioned it. If you—and he—do anything less than scream against this with every fiber of your being, you are responsible for it and you are condoning it. It doesn’t matter if this isn’t representative of you; if you fail to address the results of your vote, you have already condoned it.

Not everyone who voted for Donald Trump is hateful. Not everyone who voted for Donald Trump wants to “Make America White Again.” But by supporting and associating yourself with someone whose victory inspires such things, you have placed yourself in a position of responsibility that you cannot avoid. If you are not willing to stand against this from every possible platform, you are participating in it.

Having studied the Holocaust and Hitler’s Germany pretty intensively, there is one thing that hits you in the face over and over again like a load of bricks: How the failure of apparently good and and civil people to do anything at all in the face of small injustice opened the gates to mind-numbingly massive injustice and genocide.

Don’t think it can’t happen again, and don’t think rationalizing it will make it go away.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not actively participating in racially and religiously motivated hate crimes. You voted for a man who has breathed life into White Supremacists and failed to reject their support. If you do nothing to stop it, you stand guilty before God and in the pages of history as allowing evil and injustice to take place.

 

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out, because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
And I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me,
And there was no one left to speak out for me.
(Martin Niemoller, German Pastor and Holocaust Survivor)

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God Doesn’t Have a Lot Riding on This Election.

Believe it or not, America, God doesn’t actually have a whole lot riding on this election. Believe it or not, this country of ours is not the meaning of world history. It is not the bringer of peace, nor is it the last great hope for the world.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
    and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
    and spreads them like a tent to live in;
who brings princes to naught,
    and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.
(Isaiah 40:21-23)

Believe it or not, our particular form of liberal democracy (a political notion that originated less than 300 years ago, mostly by people who were ardently anti-Christian) does not hold the created order together. It is not light shining into the darkness of the human condition.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

Surprising though it may be, the power to which someone is going to be elected this month is not the power to rule over the whole world. It is not the highest authority, and it is not the means by which God keeps evil in check.

God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:20-23)

Strangely, America is not God’s chosen agent for holding his creation together. It is not the focal point of human existence, and the president doesn’t actually get to determine human destiny.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)

Counter-intuitive though it may be, America is not the first empire that has thought of itself as the center of world history, as the nation without which the whole world would fall apart. Nations have come before it, and nations will come after it. It is neither first nor last, and when it comes right down to it, America has exactly zero power over life and death.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18)

lamb-and-flag-7So maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t play the short game on this one and sell our souls to other gods–either in the shape of elephants or of donkeys.