As I stated before, this post is appearing on “the green room” which is a blog by the students and alumni of Eternity Bible College. These are my opinions and in no way does what I write in this series exclusively express the positions of Eternity Bible College’s students, staff or alumni. My hope is that if students, staff or alumni disagree with me, we could do what Christians out to do, to dialogue in a healthy, scripturally based manner.
In my previous two blogs, I talked about what it means to seek the good of the city and I gave some arguments against the “lesser of two evils” argument. Since I know that many of us will still vote in this upcoming election, I want to take this entry of the series to talk about our need to think about our candidates and also to consider who will suffer.
Think About Our Candidates
A few days ago I heard a great podcast series on “Theology in the Raw” by Preston Sprinkle where a guest host, Benjamin Foreman took one show to talk about Christian reasons to vote for Trump, a second show to talk about Christian reasons to vote for Clinton, a third for Christian reasons to vote for Gary Johnson and a fourth to analyze the strength of the arguments he made.
I don’t feel like I have much to say here other than to give my highest recommendation to find the podcast, “Theology in the Raw” and listen to at least this series (all of it is really good!) Although I felt Foreman’s arguments for a Trump were suspiciously ethnocentric (which he kind of refuted in the 4th show), what I appreciated about Foreman’s approach is that every reason he gave was based on scripturally founded values. As I have watched Christians interact around the political race this election season I have been shocked that most arguments I read/hear are founded on a political platform rather than Scripture!
For those of us who are going to vote, make your decision based on which party’s candidate represents the best possible/most important issues according to Scripture. For those of you who automatically thought “well that’s the republican platform,” which I know most of my readers would say, please, if nothing else, give a listen to the podcast.
So, Who Will Suffer?
Sadly, an issue I have not seen discussed in any form of social media, podcasts or blogs, is the consideration of who will suffer and what the Christian approach to this upcoming injustice should be. For the sake of brevity and the lack of Libertarian presence as well as my lack of knowledge about the party, I’ll just examine Trump and Clinton.
Who Will Suffer Under Trump?
Trump has made himself out to be a misogynistic, bigoted, egocentric, prejudice, and racist of a man. A man who sums up the problems in America as “anything that’s not traditionally ‘American.’” By Trumps definitions, let me list for you a few things that he would consider “not traditionally American:” Any religion besides Christianity (specifically Islam), a view of humanity that doesn’t emphasize individualism, the LGBTQ community, the impoverished of America who have failed to pull up their bootstraps and make it, most 1st generation immigrants who haven’t fully “naturalized” (with a shocking exception of his wife, of course), anyone who threatens to take away our apparent “human right” to bear arms, and the list goes on … Here’s the point, Trump’s presidency will sit nicely for white, middle to upper-middle class Christians in the US. Shoot, I myself am a white, middle(ish)-class Christian, if I’m seeking my own good, I should vote for Trump! However, there is a problem.
Trump’s presidency will further persecute and marginalized those who are already marginalized. The stranger in our land (unauthorized/undocumented immigrants), the outcast (LGBTQ community), the poor (mosturban city centers), these are those who will suffer. The Church? She’ll be fine. I imagine our Sunday morning services and freedom to practice our religion publically will not skip a beat under a Trump presidency.
Who Will Suffer Under Clinton?
I am aware of the scandals and the outright inability for us to trust Hillary’s words much less promises for her potential term as president. However, I know who will suffer under the presidency, and you do too, that’s why many of my Christian friends are inclined towards Trump.
The true Church will suffer under Clinton’s presidency. Most likely our tax-exempt status will be taken away, already underpaid pastoral staff will no longer have the luxury of not paying income tax, church buildings will be closed and possessed by the banks. LGBTQ-related issues will peg the Church as bigoted and dogmatic religious extremists who fail to progress with the rest of society. Our doors might be shut. We may be denied employment. We may actually be actively oppressed by a Clinton presidency.
However, the stranger, the marginalized, the poor, they will most likely flourish. Men and women who have gone decades with medical conditions will be healed through access to medical care. Men who’ve labored in fields at $3 an hour, 80 hours a week for the last 10 years to provide for their families will be granted citizenship, paid a fair wage and their wives and children will no longer live hungry.
Remember, the Church might be hungry. The Church might be pushed out of jobs. The Church might be forced to work at $3 per hour, 80 hours a week just to feed our families. These and more might actually happen.
So what does that mean?
Maybe my predictions are a bit construed and maybe they take things to a bit of an extreme. However, the underlying idea is still present. Following Jesus’ model of bearing the oppression of sin that we could not, I believe that if we, as Spirit-indwelt believers have the opportunity to care for the oppressed even if it means the oppression turns on us, then we should.
Consider the stranger, the marginalized, and the poor; if these people aren’t believers, they do not possess the capability to suffer well. Something unique about Christians is that the Spirit of God that lives within us actually equips us to suffer better than anyone else on the face of the planet. We have the ability, through the Spirit, to endure the trials of this world because our hope is fixed on the eternal Kingdom to come.
Jesus was faced with this same dilemma. He had to choose to either suffer for our sake, even unto death or, avoid the suffering. The death of Jesus is an act of humility and an act of sacrifice that says, “You are not able to bear this load, let me bear it for you.”
I challenge us with this, do some aspects of this year’s presidential election cause us to face the same dilemma Jesus faced when he actively choose to bear our suffering, for our sake, because he could and we could not? If so, then why does it seem our political choices are generally made to avoid our own personal suffering even when we know it means others will continue to suffer? Let us do what we have a unique ability as Christians to do, live well, suffer well and die well.
Latest posts by Ernesto Duke (see all)
- Christian Voting Part 5: Trump won. I’m White. Now what? - November 14, 2016
- Christian Voting Part 4: My Dirty Little Secret - October 13, 2016
- Christian Voting Part 3: Who Will Suffer Under Trump? Who Will Suffer Under Clinton? Does That Matter? - October 8, 2016