When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan. (Proverbs 29:2)
In just a few hours the house of Congress will cast a ballot on a resolution condemning President Donald Trump's "racist comments" directed at four minority congresswomen stating that they should "go back to the nations they came from." The comments that came in the form of a series of tweets, was immediately condemned by Democrats as overtly racist and bigoted. The phrase, "go back to your nation" had immediate connotations to the common slur "Go back to Africa" that was hurled at Blacks during and before the civil rights movement. While this is not the first time that Trump has used this type of divisive rhetoric, is it important to understand the roots of how both his campaign and ideology has laid a foundation for a dangerous political civil war in our country will define us as a nation and as American Christians.
IN THE BEGINNING
On November 9th, 2016, America changed forever. Electing Donald Trump President was as much a moral choice as it was a political one. The so called “Judeo-Christian” nation has now become a Pseudo-Christian one. And because we have exchanged the morality of Jesus for the morality of Trump, America might as well have a Bible that reflects that reality. This book is exactly that. I am a Christian. And by implicit definition that title denotes that I have the belief that I am so flawed, spiritually and emotionally, that I believe that only the divine grace of God through faith in Jesus can make me acceptable to God. This also means that I am dependent upon God’s grace to restore me when I fall, correct me when I’m hypocritical, forgive me when I confess, and help me to love others when I myself cannot. I also have the unique experience of being a minister. I sensed the call to ministry around the age of 21 and proceeded to complete both Bible College and Seminary, (eight years total) before devoting myself to full time ministry at the age of 29 years old. This gave me a first-hand perspective into the evangelical world. And because I was an African-American in the predominantly White and P.C.A., (Presbyterian Church of America) I had a double dose of what it meant to be an American Christian.
POLITICS AND AMERICAN EVANGELICALSM
My experience in the Black Church, before my licensure in the P.C.A. introduced me to the normalized Theo-political stance of the Democrat Only view. This view goes as far back as those J.F.K. pictures that many Black families had on their wall, right below that painting of Jesus and the M.L.K. picture. Most of the local Black politicians connected with the churches of my youth were Democrats. And subsequently, so too was my family. It wasn’t until I embraced the Reformed Theology of the P.C.A. that I was truly indoctrinated with conservatism. Most of the churchmen in the denomination were anti-abortion, anti-gay, small government White males who both implicitly and often explicitly expounded the Republican doctrine. I too, found myself leaning conservative for a period of about five years. This experience was prevalent in the evangelical world and was a normal experience for me up until the latter part of 2015.
MY BREAKING POINT
But in 2016, I began to see flaws in both myself and my conservative church atmosphere. I’ll start with the church. For the most part, the evangelical church and the Christians that comprised it operated church with a mindset of a political conservative. I define this as, a capitalistic based, self-focused, religious organization that kept quiet on politics as long as the right person was in power. Evangelicals largely did not speak to issues concerning social justice, race, women’s rights and health, and progression, as they saw these things as antithetical to the Kingdom of Church, which they often believed was the Kingdom of Christ on earth. These evangelicals, again, mostly middle to upper class White males did not struggle with the issues that people of color or women were facing and therefore saw no need to address these issues from the lens of political involvement. So therefore, evangelicals sought a candidate who could simply be those three things previously mentioned: anti-abortion, anti-gay, and capitalistic. Simply put, they wanted a king in their own image.
DONALD TRUMP AND EVANGELICALS Then campaign and presidency of Donald Trump fundamentally changed American Christianity forever. I believe that initially most evangelicals, including myself, dismissed the possibility of his winning. But with each of his primary victories came the surreal reality that he was going to be the Republican nominee. I waited to see how both evangelical Christians, White and Black, would respond. Thankfully, most of the African-American Christians I knew denounced both the insensitive rhetoric and actions of the nominee. Despite some of the more wealthy and fame-seeking pastors that regularly appeared on CNN, Black Christians by in large did not support his campaign. However, it was the White evangelicals that slowly but assuredly began to coalesce around the man who said that he had no need to ask for forgiveness. A man who was an unrepentant adulterer, a man who threatened forceful deportation of millions of immigrants and their families, the man who called Black people niggers and Uncle Tom's, the man who bragged about sexual assault, the man who mocked the disabled, the man who threatened violence to protesters at his rallies. And just recently, telling four Democratic congresswomen, "Go back to their countries."
Amazingly, according to the Bible, all these things are forgivable, if you are willing to ask for it. Again, Donald Trump told a panel at Liberty University, that he saw no need to ask for forgiveness. In my estimation, for the evangelical church to either support or at least, not denounce the candidacy of Donald Trump, was more egregious that anything that Donald Trump has done. Jesus said to whom much is given much is required. For Evangelicals to be given such truth of God as they claim, but not to adhere to it in this particular area, means that a greater condemnation is required.
THE REBIRTH OF AMERICA On November 9th, 2016, America became born-again. Electing Donald Trump President gave birth to a nation that at one time had labeled itself a “Judeo-Christian.” But that was a past life. The new birth of the country by its delivery of Donald Trump to her citizens has now remade her as a “Pseudo-Christian” nation.
JESUS WAS NOT EVANGELICAL In the book of Revelation, Jesus gives the most scathing critique of the church ever written. This critique was harsher than any secular critic or atheistic philosopher could ever pronounce. And his rebuke is amazingly parallel with what I believe would give rise to the evangelical church support for Donald Trump. Jesus states in chapter three: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”
The American evangelical church has become so infatuated with its personal riches and wealth and land ownership, that it has sought a candidate and President in their own likeness and image. This is why they supported Donald Trump. But the problem with seeking the prominence and prestige that comes from wealth, individually and collectively as nation, results in becoming lukewarm to the things that matter. And what matters? Two things: Character and relationships. For without character, the wealth obtained will be used only for selfish or evil means. And without relationships, you have no one to share the wealth with while alleviating the suffering of those who are poor, hurting, or marginalized. Simply put, the evangelical American church has become so earthly minded that it is no earthly good. I am a firm believer that evangelicals will soon discover Donald Trump’s Presidency to be the same.
The Bible teaches very clearly, that when religious people seek a leader after the lustful desires, then hell will soon break lose. Chaos is sure to follow. And any jobs that will come from Trump convincing a few American companies to keep in America, will soon be liquidated, when in the words of Paul Revere, “The Redcoats are coming.” But believe me, it won’t be the British redcoats this time. And it may not even be the Russians when they come to cash the check on the election that they purchased. The coming Redcoats may be the true Christ and his heavenly hosts, bloodstained from being trampled over by those who claim his name, ascending and descending to execute vengeance on the nations that have forgotten that God made man in his image, not the other way around.
HOW TO BEGIN TO PRAY
I believe that there are four ways in which we as Christians are called to pray at this very moment concerning the current political state of our country. We are called to pray for those most affected by the hurtful policies that have their roots in racism. As Scripture says, when the wicked are in power, the people groan. (Proverbs 29:2) At this very moment, there are thousands of migrants who are being kept unconstitutionally and illegally in detention centers. The discrimination and abuse of those seeking asylum is a travesty and a result of the very real ideology that the President has expounded from the very announcement of his campaign.
Secondly, we are called to pray concerning our own personal repentance. If we as Christians have made the choice to continue to support either the president or his policies, we are endorsing wickedness. Despite the apparent justifications for our support, Scripture teaches, Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20) Our nation, in part is a reflection of the state of it's church. God beckons his people to turn from our wicked ways, call unto him, and then he will heal. Healing, just like judgment, always begins in the household of God.
This call to repentance is important because our support of injustice damages our Christian witness. As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." (Romans 2:24) By the hypocrisy of the Church, the heart of unbelievers is further hardened as they see our infidelity to the truths of the Gospel. This is why public repentance, via Social Media Post or even by public apology can be a means to reverse the damage done by our choice.
Scripture teaches that we are to pray for rulers and kings in authority. Therefore we are called to intercede for the president, asking the Lord to have mercy on him, praying for his salvation, and deliverance. This intercession is powerful and important because love is the only thing that prevents a root of bitterness and anger from sprouting up in our own hearts.