I consider myself a white evangelical Christian. Or at least I did until recently when that term has morphed into something very different from what I have always thought it was.
It is estimated that 81% of white evangelical Christian’s in the USA voted for Trump in 2016. Although some say that these Christians really just voted against Hillary, I believe that Trump’s agenda – to protect religious freedoms and to defund Planned Parenthood added to the reason many voted that way. Others voted just because they always have voted Republican, but I hope they see that their party has taken a huge turn to ultra conservatism in two short years.
According to a January USA Today article ( Read article here ), the Trump administration has furthered the Christian cause with conservative judicial appointments, (Neil Gorsuch and more recently Brett Kavanaugh) to the Supreme Court, anti-abortion actions, elevating religious protections, weighing in on Supreme Court case re the baker and gay wedding cake, recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel, allowing federal money to pay to rebuild churches after disasters, directing aid to persecuted Christians through faith-based groups, and doubling the tax credit for children. So, on the surface this sounds good. But what else have we gained ?
We’ve gained increased anti gay sentiments, and misogyny, decreased empathy for the women’s truth in sexual assault and harassment cases and increased awareness of blatant racism, We’ve gained lack of understanding of the plight of our neighbours in countries that are torn with strife, war and gang violence. We’ve gained a Supreme Court justice who may or may not have sexually assaulted a women when he was a teen, is very politically motivated and has said he would like to reverse Roe v Wade in the future.
We’ve gained support for defunding Planned Parenthood (the bill did not pass this time) when this organization doesn’t receive funding for abortion. So supporting defunding of this organization only takes away their ability to supply birth control and STS information for those that need it in order to promote “safe sex” and prevent unplanned pregnancy, as these are the funded services. Instead of trying to defund the organization, lets offer and support services to women and men facing unplanned pregnancy or grief after having chosen abortion. Instead of picketing those that perform abortions, let’s love those women who are making the most difficult decision of their lives and offer them options and support – just as Jesus would.
We have forgotten what the Bible teaches us about loving each other and loving our neighbours – not just the ones who look like us and think like us, but all of our neighbours. Let’s remember that Jesus approached and hung out with the least of these – lepers, blind, handicapped, and Samaritans ( another race). Instead of refusing to bake the cake for a gay marriage, offer best wishes to the couple and explain any restrictions you have on decorating- just like you would to any customer. You are not blessing their marriage, you are baking a cake! You will speak much more of what it means to be a Christian than any refusal based on your beliefs on marriage.
We’ve focused on a US president who says he is a Christian while he mocks the poor, the handicapped, and the assaulted. We’ve allowed White Supremacist “freedom of speech”, Nationalist ideology, and ridiculing of the free press. As a Canadian, I see that what happens south of us has a huge impact. Canadian politics are getting more divided – along some of these same lines. Some of the same extremism lives here and many Canadian white evangelical Christians defend a president who mocks, who has had many affairs, who paid off a lover, and likely “colluded” with a government to rig his election. Not sounding like any biblical principles I have been taught!
Leaders of the Christian world are big supporters of this evangelistic right. Pat Robertson said that one man’s assassination (Khashoggi) should not ruin a multimillion dollar arms treaty. Franklin Graham claimed that the alleged assault of Christine Blasey Ford was ” not relevant” it happened when Kavanaugh was a teen. Hate literature is written in our Christian magazines. Now is the time to step up for Christian values not for a leader who displays very few of those Christian values. Canada is affected by who is on the Supreme Court in the USA. Lawmakers in Canada do not move far from the American precedent – they tend to follow. There is no Roe V Wade ( 1973) in Canada, but in 1988 our abortion law was found unconstitutional, therefore there is no law in this regard. Before 1988, I saw physicians counsel young women to claim suicidal ideas in order to qualify. When abortion is illegal, desperate women cannot tell someone they are considering it and end up in a back room dangerous situation. I saw the results of those – women nearly bleeding to death and emergency hysterectomies. I worry that in our zest to try to get the world to conform to the laws of Christianity, we are losing the principle of loving one another.
Two people I know told me recently of their trips to Germany and Austria and touring concentrations camps. In the presentations, the greatest lesson these countries wish to tell you is not that this will never happen again…. but that we must be ever vigilant to the signs – as history is very likely to repeat itself. Hear their fear !
In calling myself “white evangelical Christian” today, what am I saying? I feel I am seeing Christian values being more condemning than accepting, more excluding than including, and more hateful than loving. I hope that this is as worrisome to you too.
It’s not about the cake – its about how you show love to the person that wants that cake.
For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26