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Trumping the least of these: Voting for 'our people' comes at a cost

By Emily Phillips
Nov 15, 2016

The election is over, yet the Church remains as divided as it was on Nov. 7. Some Christians are rejoicing as refrains of safety, power, and “God Bless America” become the hymns they now sing. Others mourn, overcome with disappointment at the bigotry, racism, and fear that our country has elected as its president.

Evangelicals are Christians who believe strongly in the authority of Scripture, the importance of personal belief in Jesus Christ and in evangelism. They decided the presidency. According to the New York Times, 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. Their vote decided the election. The Church has elected Trump as president. And this is cause for mourning.

Mourning for the 1.3 million young immigrants who were given legal status under Obama’s DACA plan and will be deported under Trump’s repeal, a number that includes students on this campus. Mourning for the millions of innocent humans who are seeking safety from war torn countries, and will not be allowed into this one. Trump’s plan states that immigration will be entirely “suspended from terror-prone regions.” Not a single refugee will be allowed here. Mourning for the fact that our future president said that it doesn’t matter what the media writes, “as long as they have a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

The American flag stands in front of the stained-glass image of Jesus in Weatherby chapel. Perhaps this isn’t the only place that patriotism takes precedence over the life of Christ. Photo by Emily Phillips.The American flag stands in front of the stained-glass image of Jesus in Weatherby chapel. Perhaps this isn’t the only place that patriotism takes precedence over the life of Christ. Photo by Emily Phillips.

While grieving with the refugees, the marginalized, the immigrants and women, hope is hard to see. It seems insensitive now to pen words of hope and stability when human hearts are justifiably filled with fear of deportation, violence or the silencing of their voices. It seems petty to sum the Church up with “we’re going to be okay” when the white men who claim membership to it have chosen to elect a man who’s agenda and character elevates their own rights and power at the cost of minority groups, freedom of (different) religions, the orphan and the widow.

As we lament, as we are angry, as we prepare for the next four years, we must seek answers outside of the Oval Office, for we will find none within it. The message of Christ must begin to affect us deeply enough that we begin to live it out. This cannot be done without welcoming in the stranger and the outcast.

It seems that the only way the Church has justified its vote is that it has voted to protect its people. We have voted to protect the rights, the incomes, and the liberty of our people. This is not wrong to do. It is not wrong to want our communities to be safe and free. The problem is that “our people” has meant only those who are like us. This is not the message of Jesus, and it cannot be the message of those who claim to follow after Him. “Our people” must be a circle that begins to grow wider. “Our people” must include all humans, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Because when those circles get big enough, “our people” includes the Muslim, the homosexual, and the woman who had an abortion. Our hope is not gone. We have work to do. We have lamenting to do. We have repenting to do. But our hope is not gone.

Emily Phillips

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