By Sam Powell
As I watch this election unfold, there is something that repeats continually that is bothersome to me. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it. But I think I have finally pinpointed what is causing me grief.
This is not a political post. If you have good reasons to vote for Hillary, go for it. If you have good reasons to vote for Trump, go for it. I don’t care. Neither one will destroy or advance the kingdom of God. Christ’s throne is in heaven, and is not touched or threatened by anything on this earth.
What bothers me is not the candidates for this year’s election. What bothers me is the state of the church and the state of conservative America. I have always considered myself a conservative. I was, until recently, a registered Republican, and that was a large part of my identity, I say with a small amount of shame.
Here’s what bothers me in this election. We all know that Hillary Clinton is morally bankrupt. I agree that she will say and do anything for power. I also do not believe her to be a champion for women’s rights, or anyone’s rights, for that matter. Her relentless attack on the women abused by her husband adequately demonstrate that she is only concerned about power.
As Horatio said to Hamlet, “There needs no ghost come from the grave to tell us that, my lord.”
What bothers me is not that. It’s that we, the church, who are supposed to be salt and light, who are supposed to bind up the broken-hearted, who are called release those in bondage, and be a voice for the voiceless – we have actually shown our true colors, and that greatly concerns me.
What I mean is this. We, the church, have relentlessly attacked the left for their slaughter of the unborn, the redefinition of marriage, the unbridled grab for more and more power. But at the same time we defend Donald Trump as the champion of America. Make America great again, right?
But Donald Trump has relentlessly oppressed the poor, abused and despised the weak, attacks and degrades women, and is currently being sued in Federal court for the rape of a child.
The answer from those who support Trump is that these are unsubstantiated, that the media lies, or that he has changed. But the moral failings of Trump are at least as bad as those of Hillary Clinton. Again, the church, who should be salt and light, is mostly silent on his past abuses and criminal activity, and instead strongly support him. In fact, some influential and loud voices in the evangelicalism are openly and actively supporting Donald Trump for president.
Again, neither candidate will change God’s plan one bit. Vote your conscience. You have every right to do so. This post really isn’t about that.
Here’s my main problem. Evangelical support for Donald Trump, a known abuser, a serial sex offender, and oppressor and a thief, illustrates a very large problem in the church today.
The problem is a lot deeper than simply choosing the lesser of two evils. The problem is this. It seems to me that we have sunk to this: as long as we preserve our lifestyle, our ministries, and our culture, the oppression and abuse of the weak don’t matter.
This is what it seems to me. I am seriously asking the question why Hillary is continuously attacked by Christians for her moral failings, when Donald Trump’s failings are ignored and minimized?
And the only answer I can come up with is this: Hillary’s moral bankruptcy affects ME. My pocketbook, my ministry, my place in the culture. Donald Trump promises to preserve my place and my nation.
So we can overlook Trump’s active and unapologetic abuse of women and children as long as he “makes America great again”, whatever that means.
Do you see what the bigger problem is? This election is simply mirroring what goes on in evangelical circles continually. In our churches, women can be degraded or physically assaulted in our homes, children can be raped or beaten, abusive speech is tolerated – as long as our ministries aren’t threatened.
Remember that the reason the leaders of the Jews betrayed Jesus to be crucified?
48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. (Joh 11:48 KJV)
So much violence has been tolerated for the sake of personal safety, wealth and position. We become afraid that our ministries will be taxed, our positions of power will be taken away, that things will be uncomfortable. And here comes a man who promises to make us great again. So what if the poor, the women, the children, the foreigner and the outcast are destroyed, violated, abused and driven away. We have to look at the big picture. At least Hillary won’t be president.
“All this I will give you, if you just bow down and worship me.” It sounds eerily familiar.
Instead of jumping on the Trump bandwagon, I have a better suggestion from the scriptures:
16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. (Isa 1:16-17 KJV)
As long as children have a far greater chance of being molested in church than in a transgender bathroom, we have no moral ground to stand on. Until we get this right, we might as well close the doors anyway.
God is far more concerned with how we treat the oppressed and outcast than he is with our ministries and lifestyles. It’s time we got that straight.
So if your conscience allows you to vote for either candidate, go ahead. But please quit looking the other way at such great evil. If the salt loses its saltiness, what will it be salted by? If the light is under a bushel, who will see it?
Evangelical America, it is time to be salt and light. We have far bigger problems than transgender bathrooms, gay marriage and Hillary Clinton.
6 responses to “An Uncomfortable Truth”
“as long as we preserve our lifestyle, our ministries, and our culture, the oppression and abuse of the weak don’t matter.”
Amen! I so hear you. It is the condition of our hearts that really concerns me and that is the root of the problem, one that cannot be fixed by who wins the election.
A good article. Catholics, BTW, are having the same issues as Evangelicals on this subject. This weekend, Pope Francis said essentially the same thing, about voting one’s conscience. The Pope also noted that we had bigger problems as a culture, and I thought that what he said about that was spot on:
“When in any country there are two, three, or four candidates who don’t satisfy everyone, it probably means that the culture of that country has become too politicized, and that the genuine political life of that culture isn’t very strong. People will say, ‘I am of this party, or that party’ but effectively, they don’t have clear thoughts about the basics.”
What I believe is happening in our culture is that we have internalized the Cultural Marxist meme that ‘the personal is political’ and the Marxist philosophy of Identity Politics.
thanks for this Sam I really enjoyed your perspective- it’s hard to accept the situation in the UK that we are so divided here on our identity as well, whether it’s anti-women, anti-foreigners we need to be a distinctive voice as Christians, not blending in.
So, by reading the last sentence you are actually saying that Clinton is a better choice that Trump. So much for it not being a political post.
I don’t know what kind of “evangelical” churches you hang out in, but in the one I attend none of those things you mention about women, children, foreigners, or outcast are ” OK”, not even in the privacy of the home nor connected to church workers. Not even in a subtle way. You need to find a new church to attend!
There are some who call Trump “the lesser of two evils”. But even the lesser is still evil. If you advocate for people to not vote for either of them, you do nothing but split the vote into 6 or 8 other write-in candidates, and the evil still wins but by a lesser margin. That accomplishes nothing. I don’t have any idea what to do, but it sounds like you don’t either. May God be merciful on us all.
Amen. I’ve been saying much the same thing the past two weeks. I might be making people sick by repeating it, but I shared this on Facebook. I have had a couple of men come to me and tell me that I have caused them to think. That encourages me.
Excellent thoughts, Sam. It is refreshing to hear a Reformed Evangelical stand up against the tide of overlooking oppression and abuse. Though I am reading this well after your wrote it, the current plethora of abuse allegations are finally bringing it to the foreground. I am curious how this will play out for Trump and the many others that are using the positions of power to oppress.