Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Like all my brothers and sisters in Christ, I struggle in my faith walk. The example we strive to imitate is very demanding, and so much in this world calls to me and urges me to sin and worship false idols like wealth and power. I am not perfect, and too often I find myself turning my back on the teaching of my savior and to worldly pursuits.
I hope God will, in his time, forgive me for my sins. But I know that forgiveness requires that I believe and repent, and bear witness. So, today, I feel compelled to bear witness to my fellow believers whom I feel have also lost their way and been lured by a worldly message that is in direct opposition to Jesus Christ's teaching.
We Evangelicals bear a great responsibility in the election of Donald Trump. It's easy to understand, given the choices, why we voted for him. After the debates, I found myself voting for neither. I had never voted for a Democrat, and Hillary Clinton was not going to be the first. But I had deep concerns and could not vote for Trump.
I have struggled with his victory since the election. I do not think the things he says about women and the weak are in agreement with the words I read and hold in my heart each day from our Lord. I have tried to justify support of his office because I agreed with his nominee to the Supreme Court, because of his promise to bring back manufacturing jobs, because of his support of national defense. I tried to convince myself that this was good enough.
After several days of prayerful consideration, I realized that the potential positives of the Trump administration do not justify the many other actions that go against the teachings I hold dear and that God admonishes me to promote. I can no longer stay silent and read tweets that make a mockery of my faith and policies contrary to the scripture that guides my life.
This all came to a head for me with the tweets about Mika Brzezinski. I found them vulgar and disgusting. I expected the president to retract the comments or at least walk them back when both Democrats and Republicans rebuked him. Much to my dismay, the White House spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, supported and defended the comments.
That was a wake-up call for me. Yes, I expect the president to defend our country. I expect him to defend his wife and children. I don't expect him to lash out and attack a woman to defend his self-image.
Someone asked Sanders if she believed the president's actions provided a good role model for her children. She replied by pointing to her faith and saying only God is a perfect role model, which is true. But this would have been a good opportunity to say that this behavior was unacceptable as a Christian, but that we all fall short of the goal. Rather than condemn it as contrary to the teachings of Christ that she holds dear, she defended it as being totally appropriate. Ah, the hypocrisy.
Turning the other cheek is one of the hardest teachings for us to follow. But we have to try, or we fail as Christians. How can you profess to be a follower of Christ and have any hope of salvation if you absolutely refuse to apply this basic tenet of Christianity to any part of your life?
So often I have heard the president and vice president talk about morals and family values. Yet they seem to have missed the most basic rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Is taking away your health insurance something you would do unto others to earn yourself a tax break? Would you take away Meals on Wheels for your neighbor's mother to earn you a tax break on your corporate earnings? That is what this administration is trying to do with the federal budget. How does any of this square with the Golden Rule and Christ's many pleas to us to treat those less fortunate with compassion and understanding?
For these and many other reasons, I find it necessary to call out the Trump administration and hold them accountable for their actions as my representatives. If they want my support, I must demand that he and his administration represent the ideals and morals that my Lord demands of me. They are no more perfect than I am, and I am not trying to hold them to a higher standard. But in all their actions, they must attempt to promote the teachings that guide the lives of myself and my fellow Evangelicals, or I cannot support them. And I call on my fellow Evangelicals to hold them to the standard we hold ourselves and each other. To do any less is a failure as a Christian witness.
Fred Rand is president of several companies in Memphis. He writes southern novels under the name James Hunter Stuart.