Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Letter To Christians Who Voted for Trump

Look, I understand why frustrated blue-collar workers in the Rust-Belt states voted for Trump. When you've been screwed over by both major political parties as much as they have, you tend to do irrational things like vote for someone who has about as much in common with you as you would with a sheep dog.

And I certainly get why racists voted for him. His shameful response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia is only the latest in a long line of examples of this president's pandering to the most vile and depraved elements in our society that began with him referring to Mexicans as rapists. When David Duke is praising you, you haven't just lost the moral high ground, you've thoroughly disgraced the office.

And to a certain extent, I even get the whole "let's blow everything up and see what happens" mindset that drove many voters to pull the lever for Trump. No doubt many of them are beginning to discover that blowing things up can have unforeseen consequences. Maybe next time, they'll think twice before going down that rabbit hole. Or maybe they'll just stay home and pull another kind of lever. And yes, I meant that the way it sounded.

But what I really don't understand - and have never been able to wrap my head around - is how anyone who calls him or herself a Christian could seriously vote for Trump. Now, before I go any further, I want to distinguish between people like Ralph Reed, Pat Robinson and their ilk and the millions of Christians who go to church every Sunday and profess their devotion to Christ. If your primary source of income is peddling your faith for political gain, you're not a Christian, you're a whore.

Look, I know some of you. And trust me, I get it. You're conservatives - most of you that is - and you've voted Republican your entire lives. From Reagan to Bush 43, you've faithfully gone to the mat for the GOP. And I think I know why, or at least I hope I do. You deplore the Roe v. Wade decision and have made it your life's mission to do whatever you can to try and get it reversed. And the best way to do that is through the Supreme Court; hence, the conservative voting record. Who knows, maybe if enough Democratic politicians hadn't so flippantly dismissed your concerns, we wouldn't be in the pickle we're in now. But that's a topic for a long overdue letter to the Democratic Party that I haven't as of yet written. Don't worry, I'll get around to them. I usually do.

But here's my question to all of you who pulled the lever for Trump. Was Neil Gorsuch really worth your soul? I'm quite serious here. Was he? Because if you really believe that you can rationalize the conduct of this president by saying, as Reed did on Bill Maher's Real Time show, that at least Trump kept his word on his Supreme Court pick, than I truly feel sorry for you. You have betrayed the very faith you swore to uphold. You are no better than Peter, who denied Jesus three times and just as bad as Judas, who sold him out for a few pieces of silver.

And please spare me with the typical "Hillary was the greater evil" bullshit. She was flawed, no doubt about it, and she ran one of the most inept campaigns in modern history, but she was nowhere near as deplorable as Trump, and deep down you know it. Apart from her stances on abortion and gay rights, she was about as mainstream as they come for a Democrat. That's why the Left never accepted her. She wasn't one of them, and they knew it. They loved Bernie; they despised her. How could you not see that?

Maybe you did, but you just didn't care. All you cared about was that damned Supreme Court pick. If only Antonin Scalia hadn't died, perhaps you might've voted differently. By all means, convince yourselves of that, if it allows you to sleep better at night, which it most assuredly should not. You don't get a mulligan on this one. Jesus may forgive you, but the country won't, nor should it. And so long as we're talking about abortion, answer me this: if this maniac starts World War III, how many millions of babies do you suppose will die needlessly, along with their parents? Your righteous indignation rings as hollow as one of Trump's foreign-made "Make America Great" caps.

As Christians, we are called to walk a different path from nonbelievers, and we are accountable for our actions when they reflect negatively upon the Church. Our savior does not say be kind to others, except when it is politically expedient not to. Indeed, we are commanded to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. You may fool yourselves, but you cannot fool God. He sees your heart. John Pavlovitz summed it up best:
You knew exactly who this man [Trump] was while you held your noses and covered your eyes and you endorsed him anyway. You are fully responsible for the flood of personal sewage now engulfing children and adults of color, those in the LGBTQ community, those in the Muslim community, members of the Jewish community.
You chose the guy whose entire resume is built on supremacy and privilege and bigotry, whose entire campaign was about manufacturing and leveraging fear of the other (the other in this case, being anyone not white, straight, and Christian).
Pavlovitz left out "male" in that last paragraph, though I suppose that's to be expected. Even within the more progressives strands of Christianity, there is a streak of chauvinism that is as old as the Church itself. For my part, the Access Hollywood tape was as offensive as anything Trump has said or done over the last two years. But apart from that omission, he nailed it.

I have butted heads with Christians from time to time over the years on a wide range of topics from healthcare to taxing the wealthy. And while I strongly disagreed with the notion that Jesus was, somehow, a pull yourself up by your own bootstraps kinda guy, I nevertheless shrugged my shoulders and moved on. No sense arguing with people who are convinced that somewhere in the Bible there's a verse that actually reads: "God helps those who help themselves." Spoiler alert, there isn't.

But I cannot and will not simply "shrug" my shoulders regarding this man and the people within my faith who helped put him in the White House. There are some axes you can't grind enough. I am both infuriated at and deeply embarrassed for anyone who calls the Christian faith their own who looked at this man and concluded he passes the smell test.

Let's leave the Supreme Court out of it for the moment. Tell me, what was it about him that led you to think he was a God-fearing man? Was it the way he arrogantly boasted that he didn't need to confess his sins because he hadn't made any mistakes? Or was it when he said his favorite Bible passage was Two Corinthians? Two Corinthians?! My God, the man opened up a Bible, saw a "2" next to the word Corinthians and didn't even know that you're suppose to say Second Corinthians. Anyone who's spent more than a couple of months going to church would know that. Apart from getting married three times, I doubt he's ever set foot in one.

Or perhaps it was when he made fun of a disabled reporter at one of his rallies and, at another rally, said he'd like to punch someone in the face. Yes, that's it. I mean, who can forget that uplifting passage in Matthew 8, when Jesus mocks the man with leprosy, then punches one of his disciples in the face for wasting his time with such trash. Or how about in John 6, when Jesus is told there isn't enough food for all the people who showed up to hear him speak and he turns to his disciples and says, "Next time you mopes stick me with a mob like this, I'll feed YOU to the fishes." But my favorite passage of all time has got to be the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus says "Blessed am I for putting up with you losers." It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

In all seriousness, though, are you not appalled at what this man has done and the way he has comported himself since being sworn in? Have you no shame? How do you live with yourselves knowing you helped get him elected? And how hard do you have to bite down and swallow trying to minimize the impact of the damage he is doing to the very country you have been swearing is a Christian nation ever since you were saved?

I've heard the lame excuses some of you have come up with to defend your vote. Excuses like, "Aren't we all imperfect?", and "This is a fallen world and we are not of it", and this doozy, "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise." Really now! Then why couldn't He have done the same with Hillary? She was certainly foolish, and in your own words, just as bad as Trump. Could she not have been an instrument through which His will could've been fulfilled?

Yes, but then Hillary wouldn't have nominated Gorsuch. And without Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, I guess God would be powerless, just like he was when Moses took it upon himself to murder an Egyptian guard and was exiled to the desert for forty years. Funny, but for people who supposedly believe in an omnipotent God who is the creator of the universe, it's astonishing how little faith you actually have in Him when it comes to its welfare. He might as well be the janitor at a high school for all the credit He gets.

Face it, you blew it. Deep down where you live, you know you made a deal with the devil and you just can't bring yourselves to admit it. You hear what comes out of Trump's mouth on TV and you spy the room to make sure your kids aren't there listening to it. I'll bet your paycheck - and mine too - that on more than one occasion you've had to take them aside and explain to them that this is not the way Christians are supposed to behave. And I'll bet their college tuition that you saw the look of bewilderment in their eyes and your heart sank into the pit of your stomach, because in that instant you were convicted. Even in your denial there is still that intuitive sense of right and wrong that comes directly from God and which can never be torn from us. It is both a gift and a curse.

Me? I'm fine with my decision. Last November, I voted for the candidate, warts and all, who was the best choice to lead this nation; the candidate who wasn't a misogynist, a racist, an anti-semite, a xenophobe, a demigod, who didn't have the temperament of a four-year old and who had the capacity to grasp the enormous weight and honor of the office she was running for. Policies aside, I have seen nothing over the last seven months that has made me regret that vote. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Would you? Seriously, with everything that has gone down since he was sworn in, would you still vote for him? If the answer is no, then say so, loud and clear. They say confession is good for the soul; this would be as good a time as any to put that theory to the test. You cannot undo what you have done, but you can certainly atone for it. Assuming Trump is not impeached, he will most assuredly run for reelection in 2020. You will get your chance at redemption then.

But if your answer is yes, you would vote for him again, I honestly don't know what I can say to you that I haven't already said. Your logic has all the recklessness of a drunk driver, who after learning he had just totaled his car, celebrated by going out and getting drunk again. Only the good Lord knows how you sleep nights. But know this: it will not be your conscious that will ultimately condemn you; it will be God himself.

The words of Jesus from chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew are quite clear and inviolable. They should serve as a warning to any and all Christians who think they can rationalize their way into the kingdom of Heaven.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

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