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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Faith and Politics Do NOT Mix

It is February 1, 2017. It has been a rough start to this new year. I have found myself unable to write because my thoughts are quite muddled and filled with despair. I scroll through Facebook, which admittedly is filled with people who think mostly as I do and find the despair and sense of outrage so overwhelming at times. Looking at my conservative friends defense of this administration causes me such consternation that I have to avoid it. I am inspired by people's willingness to stand up for their beliefs in tangible ways. I have begun to sign petitions and while I find the news depressing, I know I must continue to expose myself to it in order to stay informed. I will admit that I have yelled obscenities at the television more in the past 12 days than over the past 12 years. I find the commentary from Trump's minions dishonest, delusional and completely out of touch with what our nation and world really need right now. The hypocrisy is overwhelming at times and I really wonder how people can actually think Trump's presidency is a good thing, still the "lesser of two evils" of the folks we could've elected. The very fact that he has pulled his team to the very far right when clearly we are a more centrist nation and then continue to put forth robotic followers who are clearly not fit for the positions they are being asked to assume, only fulfills my concern that Trump doesn't give a damn about anyone but himself and those whom he has made powerful and wealthy. I laugh with sadness when he speaks of the people who have been forgotten, being forgotten no more. Well guess what Mr. President? I am feeling quite forgotten.

Awhile back our local newspaper ran an article that basically stated that the majority of Republicans in congress profess to be Christians while the Democrats were slightly more diverse but still overwhelmingly profess Christianity as their faith tradition. So what. It doesn't seem to translate to anything meaningful in terms of policy. And Trump's faith doesn't seem to drive any decisions he's making at this time. Sound judgmental? It is. And here's why.

I am so far detached from the ideology that represents this current administration that I find it hard to believe that people support it. And yet, they do. Adding yet another layer of confusion for me is the support of the so-called Evangelical community. Simply put, I DO NOT GET how any God-fearing person could support the direction that this administration is taking our nation. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND how a person of faith can prioritize making abortion illegal and preventing same sex couples from entering the covenant of marriage over economic justice, care for the vulnerable, humility, honesty, and tact in leadership. I WILL NOT ACCEPT an American Christian worldview that prioritizes America over fulfilling the gospel mandate of caring for the marginalized and vulnerable. Trump's agenda of pushing American exceptionalism flies in the face of the the very core of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Scripture affirms over and over again these tenants: Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord and God shall lift you up. For the first shall be last and the last shall be first. We are called to a live a life of sacrificial service and that means we give up certain things in order to reveal the grace and love of Jesus Christ. There is nothing in Trump's agenda that remotely indicates this kind of service or humility. He continues to drive his agenda on fear when clearly scripture says to us that perfect love casts out fear. And it's hard to love when our first choice is to separate people through walls and immigration orders that block people out. Keeping America safe at the cost of treating the whole humanity with dignity and respect may be a political agenda that people desire but please, do not claim it as being driven by your faith in Christ. Own the fact that your nationalism perhaps means something more to you than the sacrificial life that Christ truly calls us to.

Christianity is not a religion of separation. The Apostle Paul speaks of Christ breaking down the dividing walls that separate us in his letter to the Ephesians. So whatever your political ideology might be, leave your religion out of it if it doesn't uphold the very core of the gospel of Jesus Christ: Care for the vulnerable, concern for the immigrant and foreigner, economic justice for all, a global world view that doesn't prioritize one nation over another, and upholds honesty, dignity and respect as values that Christ wants us to exude.

Over the past two weeks I feel that I have lost some faith in my faith. Not in God. Not in my beliefs, but in my faith community. I cannot understand how conservative Evangelicals can continue to sell their souls to this administration (Yes Mr. Pence, you are at the top of my list here) in order to pursue a very short-sighted agenda regarding legal abortion that will likely never be taken up through the law. Remove the log out of your own eye instead of grabbing the speck out of another's. As a nation, if we seek to legislate our moral concerns, we will fail. The only way to truly keep America safe is to show love and respect for humanity...the whole of humanity. Sadly, to me, this is sorely lacking in the direction our nation is headed.