Christianity, Presidential Election, Evangelical Leaders Influence
How has this election affected you as a Christian? This has been the most difficult election I’ve ever seen in my life. As a Christian, I found it difficult to support either Republican or Democratic candidate for a variety of reasons. There were certain issues that greatly concerned me about both candidates, yet I felt compelled to do my civic duty and vote for the person whom I believed could best do the job of President — but even then, I still was not 100% settled with my vote.
My best friend and I were at odds. We got in many heated debates by phone, text, messaging, but neither one convinced the other to vote for the other side. Thankfully, this friend and I go back many years and we disagree on a lot of topics, but our love and respect for each other allows us to remain close friends.
But on Facebook, I have seen people lose friendships because of this kind of heated debating. It’s very sad.
Another issue that has disturbed me greatly is church leaders using their pulpit or platform to endorse candidates and cloak it with spiritual verbiage to imply that God would want His people to vote a particular way. We saw this from Wayne Grudem, Thabiti Anyabwile, John MacArthur, and others. I am uncomfortable with this because they are using their power and influence to steer people to their thoughts and ideas, rather than encouraging people to use their own critical thinking skills and independent thought.
Yesterday, I saw a friend confess on Facebook that she voted a certain way. She felt the need to justify her vote for Trump, but was now afraid about what that might mean for the future.
Each of us had our own reasons for voting the way we did. Some people are single-issue voters, and that issue is often pro-life within the Christian community. I used to always vote pro-life because to me it said that if someone valued life in the womb, they would obviously value life outside the womb. I’m not so sure I believe that anymore after seeing my loud and obnoxious ex-pastor standing on the street corner yelling at pregnant women when they enter an abortion clinic, yet he failed to provide consistent and real help to a woman with children who was suffering ongoing domestic violence in her home. His actions showed that he was only selectively pro-life and I cannot stand that kind of hypocrisy.
One key issue I had to emotionally contend with was Trump’s misogynist comments and especially the crude words that were released about how he gloated about sexually pursuing married women, kissing them or “grabbing their pussy,” without consent. Although I have never experienced something like that, many women have, and it dawned on me that every time these sexual abuse survivors looked at Trump, those tapes of his words could play in their minds and cause emotional harm as they relive their own sexually abusive experience.
The same could also be said about looking at Hillary Clinton. I think some sexual abuse survivors could look at her and how it was reported that she treated her husband’s sexual abuse survivors. Survivors could also have difficulty knowing that Bill Clinton was once again in the white house (not as president, this time). So, either candidate could bring back unwanted memories to the forefront for the next four years. In both cases, women were devalued and used for men’s sexual gratification.
There are many reasons why Christians are upset this election season. After seeing quite a few posts on Facebook telling others to stop talking about the election, I posted this on my own Facebook wall:
If you are telling someone who voted for HRC to suck it up and let it go, and quit complaining about the election results, that is not helpful. This was a very emotional and intense election with mud slinging in all directions.
If you are unable to allow someone to express their anger or sadness on their own Facebook wall as they grieve their loss, just unfollow them for a few days.
Even better, instead of telling them to stop, why not ask them what this loss represents for them. Come into their world and attempt to understand. You may find you actually agree with their perspective after hearing their story. This is a time to stop, listen, and try to understand each other as we move forward. That is how we can best unify and help get our country on the right track.
One of the reasons why my good friend and I have respect for each other is that we have dug deep to understand the reasons we voted for our candidates. It makes sense, based on what is most dear to her, why she voted the way she did. I can respect her decision, but certainly don’t have to agree with it. Neither one of us is right or wrong, we just made the best choices we could based on what was most important to us.
There are a lot of feelings going around: uncertainty, excitement, anger, sadness, etc. I’d like to use this post as an opportunity to air what you’ve been feeling about this election. Have you been upset about Christian leaders telling you how to vote? How has Christian evangelicalism influenced the vote this election? How are you feeling about your vote now that it is all said and done? Do you have regrets? What are your fears and concerns? Are you satisfied with the results?
Now, this is not going to be a place to debate politicians. I will be very heavy handed with the delete button if I see it go that direction. I mainly want to provide this opportunity to share from your heart your feelings and concerns because I think there are a lot of people who have not had a safe place to do so.
I like what Mr. Rogers said about emotions and expressing them, and that is why I decided to allow this post on a normally taboo subject here.
Let’s be sure to show each other kindness and respect and try to understand where people are coming from in your responses. Thank you!