Stand up for Jesus, not Donald Trump

Screenshot 2019-07-31 19.25.11

Like many of my clerical colleagues, I do not enjoy conflict.  Whether it’s an argument over the color of the carpet in the church parlor or a parking-lot debate about same-sex marriage, my instinct is to remain “pastoral,” keeping myself above the fray.

That was the approach taken by white clergy in Birmingham when Martin Luther King, Jr. was leading the struggle for racial justice.  They told Dr. King that, while they agreed with his noble aspirations, he should be patient so as not to provoke conflict.  Dr. King’s reply: “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

I am particularly wary of conflict with my fellow Christians.  The way I see it, we Christians already convey a mixed message to folks outside our churches.  We disagree about a number of important issues and airing our dirty laundry in public just adds to the perception that the Christian faith has nothing to offer but intolerance, judgment, and condemnation.  We American Christians have an embarrassingly poor record of communicating God’s love for this hurting world – as our Lord would have us do.

So, as much as I hate to bring it up, I feel compelled to ask my brothers and sisters in Christ – and especially those who are proud to call themselves “evangelicals” — how, in God’s name, they can continue to sanction the words and actions of President Donald Trump.

In recent days the President has called for four congresswomen of color to “go back” to their countries.  He has demeaned a black congressman from Baltimore and, with vitriol unbecoming an ordinary citizen, much less the President of the United States, has insulted the entire population of an American city.  According to our President, anyone who chooses to live in Baltimore is less than human, for “no human being would want to live there.”

The President’s ad hominem attacks on those who disagree with him, laced with racist memes and demeaning nicknames, contradict a bedrock principle of Christianity – that all human beings are created in the image of God.  The President’s insults go beyond political hyperbole.  They are a stunning contradiction of the faith all Christians share.

There comes a point where silence becomes complicity.  Christians of all stripes should condemn with vigor the President’s racist, dehumanizing rhetoric.

We should also remember our divine calling to be “leaven in the lump.”  We can be agents of reconciliation, helping to pull the national conversation out of the cesspit and into a respectful public square.

 

About Brant Copeland

I was born in Brownsville, Texas, grew up in San Antonio and in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I'm the pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Tallahassee, Florida.
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9 Responses to Stand up for Jesus, not Donald Trump

  1. Mary Jane Holler says:

    Thank you Brant.
    Well said.
    Am praying for our nation.

  2. John Gladney says:

    Thank you Brant

    >

  3. Kathee says:

    Amen.

  4. Robert Llewellyn says:

    This needs to sound from every pulpit in the USA. I doubt that it will. But like the proverbial starfish, stranded with thousands of others on a beach, but soon pitched back into the ocean by a lone star-caster at least that one has a chance to live even if it is seemingly insignificant against the backdrop of thousands.

  5. betty roberts says:

    Yes. Well said, and thank you for speaking out and standing up.

  6. Ann WESTALL says:

    Excellent.

  7. Kate Kerr says:

    Glad you put it in words

  8. Ben Jacobson says:

    Just spent an hour on the phone getting my computer fixed to allow me to access the internet. Your words made the frustration worth it. At 84 and still going, I can be a little blunter than some of my friends. Trump is a malignant narcissist who trashes everything and everyone he touches. He can’t help himself. He told us that he is successful because he never apologizes, never forgives and trusts no one. I would say that his tactic is always to double down, get even times ten and thrown anyone who isn’t loyal under the bus. Thank you for speaking to and for me.

  9. Jan G. Rogers says:

    Thank you for a reasoned, calm observation. I cannot stand the man, despise his lack of good qualities and am at a loss how anyone who follows that carpenter from Nazareth could support him.

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