While the breach of the Capitol building this past week unfolded like something out of fiction, it was actually the all too real and predictable end to what has been the most obnoxious 4 years of any presidential term in American history. Before you close this post, I assure you this is not going to be so much an anti-Trump post as it will be a cry to Christ followers to wake up.
The blog I had been writing prior to January 6th, titled “Gird yourselves for battle,” no longer seemed appropriate, even when talking about spiritual warfare, and now I find myself reflecting on what happened in D.C. and how it highlights why Christians need to divorce the marriage of faith and politics. Christians: if you are not denouncing the hypocrisy of what happened to the domestic terrorists this past Wednesday compared to what happened to the peaceful protestors in Lafayette Square this summer, then you are part of the problem.
I know far too many Christians who not only voted for Trump, but believe he is/was the President that would return America to a Nation under God. I was once a conservative, evangelical Christian. Yes, a Latino from California was a rightwing Republican. However, for the last decade I have become disillusioned to the modern day Christian evangelical movement that tends to push Christians to vote Republican. I say “modern day” because the origins of the evangelical movement are not what we see today, but that is a post for another time. It was hard for me to fathom that Christians could vote for Trump the first time around, though I understood not voting for the other candidate. Similarly, this time around, I wasn’t exactly ready to vote for the blue side, because let’s be honest, Biden is not upholding many Christians morals either.
First and foremost, we Christians were never meant to stitch together our faith and politics. Since that ship has left the harbor, however, we at least need a better understanding of how a truly God fearing Presidential candidate should act.
There is a scripture you have perhaps seen recently. It has been turned into a catchy t-shirt sized caption that reads, “Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly” (Micah 6:8). While it may become one of those overused Christian platitudes, if you sit down and read through Micah, you should have your eyes opened to the context in which these words were stated. Judah is in a period of economic prosperity, but ultimately most of this prosperity is in the hands of a few. This has created an imbalance of power and there is much social injustice in Judah. Sound familiar? As Micah, a prophet of God, is speaking to and on behalf of God’s people, the question is asked, “With what shall I come to the Lord…?” (6:6). The answer to this is, “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and walk humbly with your God” (6:8 NASB).
This is where I may lose a lot of my Evangelical Christian acquaintances, but God wants more from us than just telling people about God. So much more. God wants us to embody Justice, and yes, this is directly related to social justice, mercy/kindness, and true humility. I honestly have not seen these in Donald Trump, nor have I seen this from any of the people who post on behalf of Trump and his presidency. And more sadly still, you see these qualities less and less in pastors. The low hanging fruit this month is of course Carl Lentz, but there are plenty of high-profile pastors to choose from that don’t embody justice, mercy, and humility over advancing their own platforms. Heck, sometimes even the kingdom of God takes a backseat as we build up our ministries, and that can be at the small-scale local level church and their pastoral staff.
I think it is time for Christians to take a long look in the mirror and figure out if they align more with American ideals or a specific political party rather than what scripture would make very clear to us. The reality is that if we care more about the kingdoms of this world—whether politically, nationally, or even our own personal fiefdoms—then we are not aligned with the kingdom of God.
One last warning for churches. If you care more about being a known commodity in your community, you are likely missing the mark on advancing God’s kingdom. We have spent too much time and energy on marketing our churches under the idea that if people come to us, then they will be exposed to the gospel. The gospel was meant to be taken out into the world and shown, for the gospel is much more than a message. It is a way of life that brings forth more life when witnessed.
As Christians, we have watched so many evangelicals support Trump through the last 5 years or so of presidency and campaigning that we are tied to this presidency, whether we like it or not. I think we really need to think about what America and the world just witnessed at the Capitol and we need to realize that for many, that is what they know and believe of Christianity. It is time to either remain as part of the problem or become part of the solution. It is time to either “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly” or it is time to own who you have aligned with.