The Politics of Hate, Fear, and Exclusion-ism
Ok, with a headline like that you know that I am not going to be wading in to the topic of politics softly. Like most people I have been watching the meteoric rise and fall of presidential candidates lately with something of a shocked expression. Candidates who seemed to be destined to be elected are no longer heard of and those thought of as a joke are now in the lead. This idea has been bubbling up in my head for a while now, but I had to finally spend a moment and write it down.
If 40% of Republicans are for Donald Trump then our country has a very, very big problem.
I think what makes me saddest about this whole election cycle is the people who say “Trump is just saying what other people are thinking.” Can that really be true? Can 40% of republicans really think that we need to keep out all Muslim people? I understand that it sounds good in a sound bite, but can 40% of republicans really think that calling immigrants (illegal or not) thieves and rapists is a good way to reach them with the truth of the gospel? Because remember, Christians, our ultimate goal is not to “make America great again.” Our ultimate goal is the ministry of reconciliation that is given to us. Our goal is to introduce people to Jesus and how can we do that if we are constantly living in fear of the very same people that we should be trying to reach?
Listen, the problem isn’t that Trump may one day be president. On a daily life scale the persons elected in my state and home town have a bigger influence on my life than the president. On top of that the checks and balances of our country when they are working correctly keep things from running too far in any weird direction.
The problem is that what Trump represents and what sort of fear and pain he is tapping into to gain support. People are afraid. They are afraid of loss of jobs. They are afraid of terrorists. They are afraid of a country in which their values are no longer the dominate values. I understand this. These are fears that I share.
But we cannot violate those same values just because we are afraid.
I think it is telling that The Walking Dead is such a popular TV show. Ultimately it isn’t popular because of the zombies. What makes that show compelling is people in desperate times struggling to survive while they try to carve out some new sense of morality. People who are following Trump have that feel to me. They are afraid and want their way of life to survive so they are trying to create a morality that can support someone who promises to help.
But, Christians, Americans, please, we cannot go down this path. Down the path of hate is destruction. Christians we cannot fight our way out of this crisis we are in. We cannot push others down or grasp for power. The only way that we can ever get off of this path is to pray and live like Jesus. That is what our country needs, not walls or bigotry, but honest prayer and lives that point people to a savior.
One a side note:
Of all of the Trump ideas the one that scares me the most is the banning of Muslims. The reason it scares me is that it won’t be very long before someone new comes to power, someone who doesn’t like Christians very much, and if Christians don’t wake up and start living like Jesus more than living like combatants, that same person could start deporting Christians or limiting the freedoms of Christians and use rules put in place by Trump to do it.
I believe that religious freedom is the most important freedom for all peoples. If you are scared, declare war on a country and ban people from that country, but banning Muslims is banning people who what they believe. Once we start legislating people’s beliefs we are on a quick slope towards all beliefs being banned.