So I guess I wasn’t done talking about the election…
I’m reposting something here that I posted to Facebook on Friday, just to add a few more thoughts to go with my meager non-post I already published. I felt the need to say these things as a way to reach out to my non-Christian friends who might be wondering about all the “Evangelical” support for Trump. I didn’t want the media, conservative pundits, and random “religious experts” to be the only streams of information they got about this slice of the election when I have the opportunity through Facebook to speak directly to them, friend to friend, and articulate some of my views. There was much more I could’ve said, but hopefully my thoughts were helpful in giving a little insight to people far outside any Christian circles. And in the end my main goal was just to leave the door open, to let them know that they have at least one Christian friend who is open to questions and conversations.
I wasn’t planning to post anything on FB re: the election, but after thinking about it, I think I should say something to all my non-Christian, Hillary-voted friends. I know for some of you I am one of the few (perhaps only) Christians in your feed so I’d rather float this out there and invite questions than be silent and leave you wondering.
So to my dear non-Christian friends:
The media and others have and will continue to make much of the “Evangelical” support for Trump. The numbers don’t lie. Large numbers of professing Christians voted for him. Now I’m not a scholar or expert, but I would be more than happy to open any discussion into some of the complexities of that reality.
But when it comes down to it, I can’t speak to the exact reasons why thousands of “Christians” voted for him, because I don’t know them personally and am not going to make assumptions about their vote. Just as any broad label like “Muslim” or “Black” does, “Christian” can mean a lot of different things (even though I believe it shouldn’t). So I won’t apologize or rationalize for anyone. I can only give you a small window of understanding as it relates to myself and the handful of Christians who I personally know. So of my small sample group of Christian friends and family, here are the four categories of how they/I voted.
1. Some are sadly close to the caricatured Trump supporter you know. They ignore, downplay, and make excuses for his behavior and even attribute godliness to him. (I love them, but I do not believe that their perspectives are an expression of biblical Christianity.)
2. Some did not number among the Christians who voted for Trump because they voted for Hillary.
3. Some abhorred Trump’s behavior but at the end of the day felt like they had two options and had to make a choice. They did it very reluctantly and for many reasons, and I know from how they live and love all people that they are not like Trump or the caricatures of his supporters presented in the media. (I’m sure many Democrats can relate who held their noses and voted for Hillary, and who do not want the flaws in her character attributed to them.)
4. There were others (myself among them) who felt we could not vote for either, so we didn’t. We voted third party or wrote someone in.
So the next time you hear “Evangelicals” painted with a broad brush in regards to this election, I urge you to remember that we are not a homogeneous group. I urge you to remember that 300 million unique Americans were forced to contort all their nuanced and multifaceted views to fit one of two choices. I urge you to remember that a vote for Trump did not necessarily mean support for his racist, sexist, demeaning, and immature ways. I urge you to remember that I and many other Christians will stand with you to affirm the inherent worth and value of all human beings. I urge you to remember that Christianity teaches that God is neither Republican nor Democrat, so any attempt to make him either of those things is an invention of people that has nothing to do with what the Bible actually teaches. I urge you to remember that true Christianity will always humbly welcome critique and scrutiny. And I urge you to remember that you have at least one Christian friend you can ask any questions of because she is a person and not a meaningless broad-stroke label.
We may not agree about many, many things, but I hope this is helpful. I must also say I have been so encouraged by some of the posts I’ve seen from some of you left-leaning friends. Really intelligent and insightful questions around data analysis and a willingness to reach out honestly and unsarcastically to Trump supporters have been the best things I’ve seen on social media over the past few days, hands down.
Questions? Comments? You can also message me if you don’t want to comment for everyone else to see.
And right now I’d like to ask all my Christian friends to refrain from commenting (you can message me if you have feedback) because I’d like to leave the space open for my target audience.
Thank you to anyone who took the time to consider this.