While several key voting blocs supported Donald Trump, white evangelicals overwhelmingly supported him, according to exit poll results.
One reason is because during every presidential election cycle, some Christians misinterpret scripture to get people to vote Republican, as if Republican is synonymous with God or Christian.
Another reason is because it is easier to claim morality than to acknowledge one’s own racism, hatred and misogyny, and actively fight against them.
As a Jesus-loving, spirit-filled, black man with a Ph.D., I believe that what some evangelicals supported in this election did not make sense.
Scripture says that judgment must begin with the household of God, so if we want our nation to heal, then evangelicals need to keep four things in mind.
1. America was first founded on racism and exploitation, not Christian values.
There is nothing Christ-centered about slavery. Period. To persuade people to vote for Trump in the name of “this country was founded on Christian values” is simply wrong. This country was founded on the dehumanization of indigenous peoples who already lived here and on the backs of enslaved Africans. So to say that this is God’s nation because of the “founding fathers,” who owned enslaved Africans, is misleading.
2. Jesus is not a Republican or a Democrat.
It amazes me how some evangelicals point to the Republican Party of the 1860s to justify their actions today, as if Republicans did not own enslaved Africans or were not complicit during slavery.
Jesus never pledged allegiance to any political party. Rather, Jesus challenged the political, economic and social norms of the times and constantly called to task those with power and advantage.
Jesus always sided with those who were systemically oppressed and downtrodden. Today, Jesus would critique Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Republicans and all other political parties.
However, Jesus would not stop there. To be like Jesus, evangelicals must go beyond what and whom they are against and offer alternative solutions that are truly rooted in scripture and not political interests.
As Christians, we are all called to do justice with and on behalf of the “least of these,” such as the poor, the oppressed, the imprisoned, the widow, and the racially and socially marginalized. Doing justice is not simply a call for more personal responsibility; it calls for a radical transformation of the structures that create these conditions.
3. Evangelicals are not truly pro-life.
If the advocacy for pro-life begins and ends with abortion, then it is not really pro-life. It is a contradiction to be vocal about abortion but silent about police brutality, poverty, mass incarceration and a lack of access to health care that also takes lives.
It is sad when evangelicals will pray heaven and earth together to stop abortion, but will look the other way when their sisters and brothers in Christ talk about their lived experiences of racism, hatred and oppression in America.
It is also not Christ-like to dehumanize people because of their faith tradition, race, sexuality, gender identity, or immigration status. Whether you agree or disagree, we must start from the realization that we were all made in God’s image and likeness, and everyone deserves to be treated as a human.
4. Racism functions on many levels, all at the same time, and some evangelicals just supported it.
There is a difference between racism and prejudice. Prejudice is to prejudge someone based on assumptions and limited knowledge. We are all prejudiced. Racism, however, is a system of advantage based on race and whiteness.
Although a system, racism also operates on individual, institutional and societal levels. While some people may not engage in overt acts of racial hatred, when they support a candidate who campaigned with ideologies and rhetoric that disadvantage people of color and whom the Ku Klux Klan, a known racist group, endorsed, then that is racism.
This is not to condemn evangelicals, but to challenge my fellow Christians to live like the Christ they proclaim. There can be no healing in this nation without acknowledging people’s pain and working to remedy that pain — which is what Christ would have wanted all of us to do.
Terrance Green is an assistant professor of educational administration at The University of Texas at Austin.
A version of this op-ed appeared Dallas Morning News.
To view more op-eds from Texas Perspectives, click here.
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