You can vote for whoever (whomever. whatever.) you want and still love Jesus. You can have a heart for the poor and be led to vote Democratic. You can have a heart for the unborn and choose to vote Republican. I would never say you can't vote for a particular candidate on grounds of faith.
Until Trump. When I ask Christians to give me a Biblical or spiritual reason to vote for Trump, I get Republican answers, usually some version of "I am afraid." They don't use those words, of course. They talk in terms of strength and victory. But it's fear.
Trump is tapping into fear. A fear that is apparently widespread in the American church. I say apparently because it's not the version of church I see.
I work every day with American Christians who are scattered all across the globe. Fearless people. People who choose to walk away from the American dream to follow a God-sized dream. Who leave guaranteed salaries and assured prestige to serve as nurses or teachers or pastors worldwide, for a fraction of what they could make here. They lay down their lives to serve the very people Trump says to fear: Mexicans, Muslims, refugees, and so many more.
Blogs from these workers echo a collective "huh?" in regard to our current election cycle. It's odd to them. In their global Christian context, it's so obvious Trump stands against everything we do as a church. Against who we are as believers.
Are we called to be loving? Trump says be practical.
Are we called to give? He says keep.
Are we called to go? And lay down our lives? He says stay. And build a wall.
It's not the language of "As the Father sent Me, I am sending you." But international bloggers pointing this out may just as well be writing from the space station. Or National Review. Because their words don't matter.
Nor do anyone else's. Trump says he could shoot somebody and not lose voters. It's true, and that's not the weird part. What's odd is he said those words out loud, on camera, and it's just another day on the trail. So basically, he did just fire a shot and nothing changed. #meta
Here are a few words that don't matter, but should:
crusades and colonialism These describe dark eras of church history. We have worked centuries worldwide to overcome them, only to have them reappear in conversations about the potential next president. Trump's run threatens a return to intolerance, arrogance, and violence overseas. And he's only a candidate. It doesn't matter if he gets elected; he's revealed how many Christians are open to a new dark era.
evangelicals Normally this is a theological label (literally meaning “good news ones“) But politically, it means “Republican voters who calls themselves Christian”. Theological evangelicals should be calling out Trump. That's why I don't consider Ted Cruz an evangelical. If he is, then don't call me one. Trump is a road block to the good news worldwide and the antithesis of everything that evangelical is supposed to mean.
Our lead pastor here said of Trump this weekend (on Facebook, not in church), "I cannot believe that people I thought were sane, godly and wise are considering voting for a man who is godless, pathological and absent respect for women. On this I will not sit in silence. Everyone who does is guilty."
If you're willing to vote for Trump, you are missing the big picture.
Donald Trump is basically towering over you, telling you your God is small. Your God can't protect you from terror, but Donald can. And Donald doesn't need forgiveness or grace or humility to make it happen. He's strong. The strongest! (huuuuge) Trump is Goliath, mocking us, and David is nowhere to be found.
Who can take down Trump?
Not the Republicans. Every other candidate in his party has been feeding on these same fears, the fears Trump built his kingdom on. Not just terror and immigration, but the very Republican fear of looking weak in front of Democrats. If Trump is one of their own and he's winning, they have to stand with him because they cannot lose the election, even if they lose their identity in the process.
Not the Christian media. The New York times has asked faith questions of him. CNN has asked questions about evangelicals. But so far, nothing from Christianity Today. Not that journalists have authority this year. But some pushback would be nice.
[UPDATE 1-27-2016:] Well here's something. Published on this date, CT's Why Donald Trump Threatens to Trump the Gospel ironically says we should dialog more on the topic (rather than screaming). Agreed.
Not the Democrats. Because I don't think it will get that far. Only one person can take down Trump.
It's Donald. Definitely Donald. I know we've all been waiting for it and it hasn't happened, but I believe Trump will finally find a way to get himself out of this. Nobody believes he wants the job anyway, right? And today's petulant threat to boycott the debate is promising, eh? We have nothing to fear. God really is bigger than the boogeyman. Even if the boogeyman is Trump.
[UPDATE 2-15-2016] This may be the best explanation yet: Mystery of Christian support for Trump is solved
more from this series: Beyond Our Tribes