There is a kind of pain that not everyone experiences. The kind of pain that comes from communal abandonment. The kind of pain that maybe you would feel if one day you came to school and your whole friend group decided to embrace the kid who bullies you in class. And not only did they invite this bully into your friend group, but they made the bully in charge of your friend group. And not only did they make the bully in charge of your friend group, they tried to convince you that the bully was sincerely a good guy, that his abuse was accidental, that there was no intentionality in his blows. And further, that as a result of some shallow repentance, your pain and feelings about this bully are now illegitimate. And not only is your pain delegitimized, but they utilize God as a tool to do it. “God is in charge” they say, “you have no reason to fear your abuser, because God is on the throne”.
This scenario happened to me five, ten, fifteen times on the day of Trump’s election. As I scrolled facebook, my Christian mentors and friends proudly declared their support for Trump. With every post, my heart broke — shattered. I read an article the following day that said four out of five white Evangelicals voted for Trump, and though I wholeheartedly agree that the intersection of white supremacy and Christianity had a heavy-hand in producing the election results, those on my timeline that declared a vote for Trump as analogous to the “will of God” were multiracial.
This truth, the painful reality that Christians who truly love God could somehow skip over Trump’s insidious, vile, racist, misogynistic, islamophobic, xenophobic, ableist, white supremacist rhetoric, made me realize that the problems within the Evangelical church, to some degree, transcend race.
The Evangelical church has a heart problem; The Evangelical church has a fear problem. A fear of progress, a fear of standing with marginalized groups, a fear of stepping out of the strict boundaries that it has placed on the Love of God. In the face of a changing more accepting America, the Evangelical church had two choices: to stand at the forefront of progress, or to halt its advancement; They chose the latter.
Because the Evangelical church has become a two-issue establishment. An establishment that foregoes the basic needs of its congregation and hyper-focuses on how people navigate their bodies sexually.
However, God is not a two-issue God. God is a God of the human condition, a God that examines us in our fullness. Donald Trump is not next to Godliness because he is anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion, that simply makes him next to conservatism. And yes, normally I would agree with the response of Evangelical Christians, that one’s Christian-character is not subject to their political candidate, but this time, this election, it is. God is bipartisan, but His call on us to love one another should influence our socio-political actions, specifically if our political behavior could interrupt another’s basic human-rights.
To my white Christian friends that voted for Trump. Your vote makes you complicit in increased state violence against Black and Brown bodies, increased incarceration of Black and Brown bodies, increased violence against Black and Brown trans bodies, increased violence against Black and Brown Queer bodies, increased violence against Muslim bodies, increased racism towards Black and Brown immigrants, and the list continues.
To my Black and Brown Christian friends that voted for Trump you are complicit with these same systems.
This truth is problematic, and it is further disheartening that when these issues are brought to your attention that you dissociate your political decision from these adverse social consequences. Or worse, that you flip the conversation in such a way that my anger is not a result of your actions, but rather the manifestation of some Religious deficiency on my part. I am not “trusting God” or I am failing to “wait on God’s justice.”
I am going to say this once, and once only, do not use the Bible to placate mine or other marginalized peoples’ pain and trauma, it will not work and we are not satisfied.
It is time for the Evangelical church to open up a conversation. A very real conversation about politics, race, and trauma, because although I saw Christians across the racial spectrum vote for Trump inside of my statistically insignificant bubble, Trump’s overall Evangelical vote was astoundingly white. 81% of White Evangelicals voted for Trump, while 88% of African-Americans overall voted for Hillary. That is concerning, shocking, and frankly abhorrent.
I believe these statistics elucidate a lack of understanding within the Evangelical church of the ways in which racial justice aligns with God’s justice. It is my hope to soon begin facilitating discussions that will show Evangelicals that God is not a two-issue God, that his reach is so much deeper than our sexuality and reproductive choices. That he is concerned for the whole body, and right now, the Christian body is in painful disarray.
Nonetheless, the Evangelical church is my home. It is a little beat up right now, the paint is chipping off the walls, the plumbing is leaking, and the pews are racist as hell. But God’s love is still for us, and thus, my hope remains.