This election cycle has been something else, I’ll give you that. It has looked more like Reality TV, than a political race. Indeed, the last Republican debate seemed more like a Wild West shootout, with the exception that the gunslingers used angry words in place of six-shooters.
And, through the smoke and chaos of the OK Corral (or the cause of it?), emerges one candidate who has consumed the political landscape.
No, this post won’t be an evaluation or critique of the man and his policies. Rather, I’d like to look at how Christians feel about him and respond to him and to his message. So, doing what I like to do, I took to social media to ask a simple question:
As a Christian Republican, if Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee:
a) I will vote Trump b) I will vote Democrat c) I will not vote at all
The results of roughly 130 people (yes, yes, I’m not some big-time pollster) have been counted and tallied—there are not more hanging chads to argue about. This was the basic breakdown.
~ 41% said they would vote for Trump. ~ 20% said they would vote Democrat. ~ 39% said they would not vote at all.
Of course, Facebook responders also responded with several lengthy dissertations on why conservatives are God’s chosen people. And other responders had lengthy dissertations on why Trump is the devil incarnate. What it really comes down to is recognizing that there is no monolithic Christian perspective when it comes to the presidential candidates.
I know fervent Christians who will be voting for The Donald.
I know fervent Christians who will be voting for other Republicans.
I know fervent Christians who will be voting for Bernie Sanders.
I haven’t met any fervent Christians who claim Hillary, so if you’re out there, drop me a line and let’s chat—you must exist somewhere in the Cosmos, and I’d like to hear your perspective.
The point is this: though we have a say in electing our government officials (which is more than many Christians through history could say), a lot of us are not going to have our candidate of choice be the next leader.
And that’s okay. Or, it should be.
Ultimately, it comes down to trusting God to manage the affairs of the world no matter what human is running the show. In an era of the Roman Empire, where Christians were a persecuted minority, the apostle Paul wrote:
Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:2-4)
If Paul can urge Christians on to good conduct in spite of the authority at the helm of the government, should we do any less? Sometimes we act as if we, as American Christians, are above the biblical call to behave decently even towards those with whom we radically disagree. We treat political opposition in a vile manner. It’s like the presidential candidates who pretend to be God-fearing evangelicals in order to win the evangelical vote yet are horrible to each other on the debate stage, acting in ways that do NOT honor Christ.
This isn’t supposed to be who we are. Our politics are not supposed to trump (low-case “t”) our faith. We can rise above the political muck and mire, and still treat people decently. We don’t have to name-call. We don’t have to slander. We don’t have to rail against people.
We can live out a Christ-like faith in a God who is in control of human history, even when things seem dark and desperate. At least, that’s how I interpret WWJD.
How about you? Did you vote in our poll? How do you respond to the candidates?
Chris Linzey is husband to Tené, father to the three most beautiful children in the world, a Navy Chaplain, and a movie enthusiast. Chris loves people and has a deep desire to help them live lives of faith where the Bible is more than mere words on a page, but the way we live every day. His undergrad and Master’s studies were in Biblical Studies, and he focused on the New Testament (his mentor was a Gospel of Mark scholar). He received an additional Master's degree, Master of Divinity (MDiv), in Pastoral Preaching.