You heard me. I'm glad Donald Trump is not a Christian.
He is a businessman. His name is everywhere, and he has built an ostentatious empire of his own making with a branding that has nothing to do with politics. He doesn't strike me as a particularly nice guy. He is not the embodiment of class and dignity. He has a foul mouth and an attitude toward women that turns my stomach. I don't know if he is racist in his heart or just incredibly inarticulate about the subject, but whatever it is, it's not attractive. I even wonder, did he ever mean this candidacy to go as far as it did and did he ever mean to be the nominee? Did he really want to be President, or was he just making a point? Is he going to really build a wall or is that a metaphor? How literally are people taking this guy? I hope he means what he says when he says he can help bring jobs back to this country.
I have so many questions and so many reservations.
But there is this one thing that I have been thankful for--Donald Trump did not pander to evangelicals. He did not call himself a Christian. In fact the one time in which he did attempt to speak at the perceived Evangelical Flagship known as Liberty University, he was almost cute in his ineptitude. Almost--when I was done rolling my eyes and then laughing my head off. Then fearing that he would actually succeed. Nevertheless, he did not pretend to be something he isn't. He could never be accused of misrepresenting himself. At times the evangelical right was appalled that other evangelicals could support this guy! He even divided Christians against themselves, not that it takes much to do that. (Predestination? Free will? Wait, no. Transubstantiation! oooh, here's a good one: sprinkle or dunk? Wait, here's another one. Gay rights. Did you stop reading yet?) Oh, and by the way, Liberty U does not represent all evangelicals. Not even close. Just in case you thought I actually think that. Just, no.
But here he is. He won. No recounts, no contested ballots. He won. And I could not be more thankful to Hillary Clinton for her gracious concession. It was spot-on. Funny that the people who say they're with her aren't much heeding her appeal.
So here we are, Christians with a heathen for a president.
Yes! Finally we can stop the pretense that we follow a man who calls himself a Christian but is anything but. We as Christians have the opportunity at last to be Christians in a clearly non-Christian world. We have the chance to reach across to those who are different and LOVE them without political attachments or because of an agenda. We can prove to the world that we are not about parties or laws or offices but we are about the love of God and the hands and feet of Jesus. It is possible to be a Democrat and a Christian. It is even possible to be a Republican, independent or Libertarian and be a Christian. Or preferably, none of those things. What is important is that we are following in the footsteps of Christ. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 5:16) (Thank you for that, Jesus. So many of us have forgotten.)
The founding fathers never intended for us to elect people because they were church men. They intended us to elect representatives who would defend the constitution. They themselves were racist, sexist, bigoted ideologues full of sin and hypocrisy whose lifestyles in today's society would never be tolerated. Slavery, anyone? Indian policy? Nevertheless, together they built something that is nothing short of amazing. Flawed men worked TOGETHER to build a nation that has led the world, for better or worse, and provided a better life for countless people from every continent.
I do believe that we need to elect men and women who will defend our religious liberties, but insist at the same time that they not legislate morality.
We need to elect representatives who will uphold the rule of law and allow the free space it requires for people of faith to flourish, because when faith grows, so does peaceful order, morality, and abundance. We do it in spite of who is elected, not because of them. Certainly no mortal man can provide the impetus for us to be faithful and righteous.
In an orderly society in which all rights and liberties are cherished, it is then our responsibility to be the Church. To ask ourselves what Jesus would do. To pray for revival, and then to carry it out. To call sin what it is without compromise, and to love unconditionally, without judgement. To walk without fear and be ambassadors of peace. We can leave Donald Trump out of it. We can make it all about Jesus and nothing about politics. We can actually play the role of peacemakers, and not some weird amalgamation of Christian-politician-do-gooder. Just Christians, because that is who we are.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. (Matt. 5:9)