Eighty percent of Evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump. I’m not one of them.
Disagreement is healthy. I’ve disagreed with fellow Christians on politics before. I voted for Obama in 2012 when many of my friends voted for Romney. Even though we weren’t on the same page, we had fruitful discussions about what we differed on.
If Romney had won in 2012, I would’ve been disappointed. I would’ve prayed for our country and gotten over it pretty quickly while still fighting for my LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters to have equal rights and pushing for all of the other things that Obama promised (and eventually delivered).
My husband and I took communion with two friends in our living room last Tuesday. We decided to invite people over to pray and hang out in an intense time of division. Then, we turned on CNN and prepared for what we assumed would be a bit of a boring night.
As Trump took more and more states, I joked about the race being more exciting than we’d expected. When CNN called Florida for Trump, I ran to the bathroom and started to cry uncontrollably.
I went to bed and scrolled through Facebook as I woke up. Many of my friends — nonreligious and religious alike — were open about their sadness and what Trump’s presidency could mean for the marginalized among us.
But then I saw posts from friends, all slightly different but along the same line:
“God is in control, so why are you worried?”
“God is good — we finally have a leader who cares about Christian values.”
“Trump’s win is a part of God’s plan for our nation, so let’s stop complaining.”
Trump’s win isn’t disappointing for me — it’s cataclysmic. As a woman of color, I am terrified. I’m mystified at the Christians around me who are celebrating a “return to morality” and cheering their new president-elect.
To make things even more worrisome, I’m married to an undocumented immigrant who was brought to Brazil by his parents when he was only two years old. Thanks to Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan (DACA), he’s able to live, work and drive freely. Trump has promised that this executive order will be one of the first things he overturns.
We cried together last Wednesday. We asked ourselves, “How could America miss the mark like this?”
But even more troubling for us: “How could Christians miss the mark like this?” The Bible says we’ll be known by our love for one another, and most evangelicals chose to elect a man who is hateful, spiteful and exclusionary.
Of course, I know people who called Trump’s views disagreeable — but still held their noses and voted for him. “The lesser of two evils,” they said. But how can we dismiss racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia and vulgarity as simple character flaws?
Christians are called to have compassion for those in need. Proverbs 11 tells us that a generous person will prosper. A few chapters later, Scripture tells us to be kind to the poor. In Galatians 5, the Apostle Paul lists things to look for in the life of a believer: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Jesus loved women and treated them with kindness and dignity (see the story of the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4). He blessed people who were hospitable and opened up their homes to strangers. He lived a humble life and called his followers to do the same (Matthew 20, Luke 22).
I understand the heart behind the pro-life movement and believing that God cares about life from conception. But if God loves life, he also is deeply moved by refugees in the Middle East seeking refuge (Hebrews 13, 1 Peter 4). Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us that protecting our borders comes before loving people regardless of their religious affiliation.
My parents are pastors, but I became enchanted with the God of the Bible on my own during my high school years. I found myself in the divine mystery that is a perfect man dying for people who hated him.
I don’t doubt God today, but I do feel confused about the American Christian church. When I worship next to someone, I try to let political differences fade away. We’re all in the same family, after all.
But how do I handle my neighbor electing a man who wants to send my husband back to Brazil? How do I celebrate a president who was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan?
Can God use anyone? Sure. But why did we elect a man who wants to harm the very communities we’re called to love deeply?
I know that some Christians woke up feeling indifferent this week, but I’d encourage those people to stop and think about those of us who are scared.
“I know God is in control,” said Lecrae on Twitter, “But so did Jesus when he wept for Lazarus.”