The official election day is getting closer…
and over 56 million American citizens have already voted (as of today, October 25th) because some states have opened their polling centers early nationwide as well as the uptick in vote-by-mail. In addition to this, a growing number of Evangelical Christians (who largely vote for Republican candidates) are crossing party lines this election. Why?
This week I will present a new reason everyday why this switch is happening. Because of the toxicity of the political climate in America right now, I will intentionally pay close attention to the tone of my words while also keeping honesty and forthrightness at the center.
Alright, deep breath…
Trump and Trumpism
Many Christians are now acknowledging that a vote for for President Trump will have dramatically negative effects on our country and our Christian witness in this world. To get at this, I will look at four political policies and practices of Donald Trump and contrast them with what these Christians are saying is a more Christ-like ethic. You may disagree with them, and that’s ok. I will follow each section with a few questions to consider.
Let’s get to the first category.
Controlling Leadership versus Servant Leadership
It has been argued by many current Trump supporters that the president gets things done. They voted for him because he isn’t a career politician. He doesn’t play by the rules of political correctness. He says what is on his mind, and you can take it or leave it. They believe that this no nonsense-get-things-done attitude is what makes him great. He was a businessman for most of his life, so surely he will help the American economy grow and flourish. He is politically conservative so he will work with the Republican led Congress to pass their economic and social policies. To date, he has appointed three people to the US Supreme Court, one of which is yet to be confirmed by the Senate.
While his policies meet the standards of Conservative Republicans in Congress and many conservative voters nationwide, his bombastic and rash form of leadership has raised more than a few eyebrows among a growing number of conservative Evangelicals. From his vitriol and racist comments about immigrants to his handling of race protests following the murder of George Floyd (beginning with his “Law and Order” speech at the White House Rose Garden), from the vulgarity and indecency of his language toward women and women in power to the way he mocks people with mental handicaps, from his persistent name calling and public defaming of anyone and everyone (even those who have worked for him) who raise questions about his choices, Trump’s leadership has led many Christian Evangelicals to wonder why a man with this temperament and language should remain President of the United States.
Which of you pastors and Christian leaders believe the best way to lead your churches is to bulldoze over your staff and the church congregations you serve simply to “get things done?” And if anyone pushes back, should you turn to name calling and public defamation to manipulate the situation? If it is ok for our president to lead in this fashion, then why isn’t it ok for teachers, child care workers, doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, bank employees, or pastors to act this way?
The answer for most of us is that it is not ok. So why is it that Trump gets a pass?
The reality for a growing number of Evangelicals is this: how a leader leads is just as important as what a leader is leading people to do or their accomplishments. It’s not enough to just “get things done.” The way a leader leads and gets things done is just as important as how he or she get things done.
As with every President, Donald Trump has claimed to be a Christian. He once said of himself on the 2016 campaign trail, “I’m a good Christian.” If that is true, if Donald Trump is a Christian, then shouldn’t this claim raise the stakes a bit for Christian voters? While no one assumes a president will be a perfect person or even a perfect Christian, the manner in which Donald Trump characteristically leads lacks the humility we would hope to find in a follower of Jesus Christ.
I leave with the following questions:
What does it mean to be a good leader? What does it mean to be a president who leads well?
Would you prefer a leader who just “get things done” no matter how it’s accomplished? No matter how controlling? No matter how much he or she bulldozes over or defames others?
Or would you prefer a leader who practices humility? Who is quick to listen to others, even if they disagree with him or her? A leader who doesn’t always have to be speaking? Who doesn’t talk over others? Who is a servant leader–willing to serve and sacrifice himself or herself for the least of us in society (like the sick, the elderly, the vulnerable, the rejected, the forgotten and the poor)?
I would love to hear your response to these questions. Please take a minute to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Look for tomorrow’s following blog post: Why Evangelicals are crossing party lines this election: #2. Medical Science Matters.
To listen to why Evangelicals, Conservatives and Moderates are crossing party lines this election, visit the following sites: