Someone recently shared this article from the Washington Post on Facebook, with the additional commentary:
“This is why (so-called) progressive Christians shouldn’t scratch their heads wondering how so many Christians voted for the Donald. They did so, possibly and for some definitely, because the enemy of their enemy seemed a friend.
I neither voted for Trump nor believe in eternal hell, but increasingly the left is an inhospitable place for Christians.”
Since I’m one of those progressives (maybe?) scratching my head, I creepily followed the discussion thread, trying to understand.
It’s an interesting response to have, given that the Washington Post piece was about whether one’s religious beliefs should disqualify them from working in government. Michael Gerson rightly points out that such a question is in dangerous violation of the Constitution; an infringement upon religious freedom.
I love this line in particular: “A pluralism too weak to protect Christian believers is too weak to protect Muslim believers, and vice versa. And both have the right to think they are right.” A person’s heavenly status, or lack thereof, should not influence the kind of treatment they receive here in America, where separation of church and state exists to protect the rights of all religious groups – Christians included.
I found the Facebook commentary interesting, even if it deviated from the points made in the WaPo piece. I do believe Sanders’ questioning was out of line, though I think I can understand where his concern was coming from. Sanders’ ultimate misunderstanding was how Christian theology works, but he wasn’t wrong to be concerned about how a person’s faith might affect his or her ability to do their job (see Kim Davis). We should all be concerned about how our convictions lead us to treat those who do not share them.
But this example of ‘persecution’ as justification for a Trump vote (and future Trump 2020 vote) makes no sense to me. It really sounds like a ‘revenge vote’ – a ‘stick it to Hillary’ response, which does not seem Christ-like to me at all.
When did choosing a president become about making a statement to the ‘other side,’ as opposed to choosing the most qualified candidate to lead the country? Someone who will do their best to improve quality of life for the average American? Or am I totally naive? The Trump/Hillary election is only the third one I’ve been eligible to participate in, and admittedly, I did not have much interest in politics before voting for Obama in 2008.
It’s hard to build a case to argue how Jesus would vote, and ultimately I think that debate would be fruitless. Yet Trump has been unusually consistent about ‘Making America Great’ for everyone who is white and rich. The theology of the GOP is a prosperity-based theology that punishes the poor for being poor. This is not exactly new.
If we’re going to apply Jesus’ words to American politics, I see more willingness to do something about poverty (a social issue that Jesus talked about frequently) coming from the left than from the right, which seems a little preoccupied with gay marriage and abortion as ultimate society wreckers.
But please, correct me if I’ve misunderstood.
Like this post? Check out Confessions of a Jew-ish Skeptic, now available on Amazon.