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.