Kevin’s Conversations: Time To Stand
There come times when one feels the need to stand up and be counted. Counted for when there is considerable wrong which needs to be opposed. I have not written here for a little while, but last week’s political happenings have led me to write once again to lend whatever little influence and impact I have to the determination that there is serious wrong in our land and to stand against it. Also to implore others, most especially my fellow Christians, to reckon doing the same.
As practically everyone is already aware, it was reported last week that President Trump said, “Why are we having all these people from s—hole countries come here?” to a group of lawmakers during immigration policy negotiations. Just as so many times before, something that Donald Trump said or did, or allegedly said, sets afire the people across our nation into another ugly political melee. It has not been pretty.
Now, clearly I am far from the only one who is taking a stand against something President Trump has said or done. I am not out on an island all by myself. If it were an island, it would be more the size and population of a continent. But taking a stand against this latest reported transgression by Trump is not really the main focus of what I’m doing. Rather, I am choosing to count myself as against not just what the President allegedly said, but principally against the defense, rationalization, and support of President Trump in this incident by far too many Christians, most especially those who would be labeled the same as myself – Evangelical Christians who are conservative, both theologically and politically – even more so, many who are high-profile personalities in our culture.
The reported words by Trump are unrighteous, and those who defend them are joining in that unrighteousness. These types of scenarios have occurred far too often since Trump has risen to political prominence and they are an unseemly stain on the name of Christianity. Therefore, I am standing to be counted as a conservative Evangelical Christian against these current reported words of the President and the defense of them by many of my fellow brethren. It is an affront to Christianity and a gross distortion of the One we represent, to espouse them.
I am no one special for taking such a stand. I have my own struggles, downfalls, and sins. I do not claim to have a special righteousness for doing so. However, when there is unrighteousness that needs to be countered, God has only imperfect people to work with if He chooses to use human means. I feel led to raise my voice against an epidemic that has significantly contaminated the family group with whom I most broadly identify with in the Christian faith.
With all that said, let me expound a bit on the happenings of these professed words from Donald Trump. First of all, they are only reported words, we do not have means of hardened proven evidence of such. The President has denied saying the exact reported words. Now, outside of Trump’s denial, the evidence would strongly suggest that he did say these things or at least something very similar. The White House communications staff, themselves, will not deny that he said them.
Yet, there are some who have decided that this an at least likely fake story made up by the Democrats and the press and choose to place all their faith in Trump’s denial. They have decided to forego the evidence that weighs greatly in the other direction and instead believe a narrative that suits their political agenda and desires.
Beyond that, however, the much bigger problem resides with those who choose to defend the President and his purported words. Regardless of whether or not the President actually said them, they are defending the use and sentiment of the words. Thence, this is what I am ardently opposing.
As a caveat, the biggest difficulty is not, in and of itself, that Trump said the word “s—hole”. I personally choose not to use such language, but in this case, getting primarily worked up at the use of a term that is culturally considered to be a obscenity would be straining the gnat and swallowing the camel.
The biggest problem is that of the message, meaning, and attitude within the manifest context and understanding of the reported words. The President was not just allegedly using a descriptive word to say that these countries are third world, troubled, and with many problems. If indeed said, he was assigning the same “s—hole” worth to the people who are trying to escape these terrible conditions and come to our country. The main thrust of the words were, “why are we having these people come here”. It was an expressed message that we should not be letting the type of people that come from these lousy, trashy countries to come into ours. The value being assigned to these people and the judgment being given as to whether or not they are worthy to come live with us was fundamentally being placed on the conditions of their countries of origin. If their country is s—hole, then that is what they are like, too, and they are not welcome here. Any rationalization to explain that this wasn’t the message of the words is a rejection of plain context and understanding.
These words and attitude are sordid, hateful, and anti-Christ. They also can easily be seen as racist, especially given the reported preference of letting in people from Norway. They fly in the face of everything we learn in Scripture that each one of us is made in the image of God, loved by Him, and that we are to be especially mindful to the plight of the alien, poor, and needy. The excusing, defense, acceptance, and even promotion of the words and attitude by my fellow brethren is all the more saddening and disturbing.
On the immigration issue as a whole, there are legitimate concerns as to who we let into our country. We cannot maintain order and justice if we just let in everyone where ever, whenever, and however they want to come. And we have to be careful to not let in those who we believe are out to cause harm. But as Christians, our disposition must be diametrically opposed to the message and attitude expressed in Trump’s alleged words, just as we often oppose other immoral and anti-Christian issues, elements, and circumstances in our culture. We cannot desire and expect our governmental leaders to uphold traditional Christian values and ethics when it comes to issues like abortion and gay marriage and then turn a blind eye to an issue like this. Worse so, to actually support these hateful and unChristian words and sentiments.
Obviously, this is far from the first time that a scenario like this has occurred with Donald Trump. We could all make a long list if we wanted to. I have spoken out about other occurrences, but for whatever reason, this one has pushed me a bit harder. Maybe it is the straw that has broken the camel’s back.
I do not like writing about or talking about politics. It is so often a dirty world that I would much rather avoid. I would much more so like to write about other things here and I know Michael also often feels the same way. (And these are my words and thoughts. I am to be held responsible for them, not Michael.) I do not want to start a food fight.
Yet, I feel obligated to raise my voice to advocate for those who are being treated unfairly and unrighteously. There is a sickness that has affected significant segments and leaders and individuals within the church where political ends has gained precedence over Christian ethics and righteousness. It affects those on both the Right and Left. However, since the pro-Trump-related issues has impinged the family I most closely identify with, this is where my biggest personal concern lays.
We are always going to have political disagreements, and that is okay. But when political aspirations become of greater import than the ethics and morals of our faith, we are in a state of sickness. I want us to get healthy. Lord, help us to become so.