As an Evangelical Christian, I feel the need to express my opinion before our midterm election. My faith compels me to disavow support for our present national Republican administration and its undying support for most of President Donald Trump’s policies.
It is said that Trump’s words don’t matter, but his actions and policies do. Both Jesus’ words and actions did matter, as do ours. How can we endorse policies based on false and forever-changing words? Truth is not always easy to determine, but truth does not change from day to day.
How about policies which concern others rather than ourselves? Most recent is Trump’s floating the idea of cutting off foreign aid to Central America to keep people from seeking refuge in the United States. In addition to that being as unChristian as possible, it would also be unhelpful resulting in countries becoming more destitute and encouraging more emigration!
Jesus died for — and expressed his concern for — the world, for all people, not just for white people, for Americans, for people of European descent, for “straight” people or just for men or just for well-clothed, well-fed and well-groomed people. He died for people who have “never had to apologize” and for people who don’t think they need redemption. Have you paid attention to Steve King’s attitude toward migrants, refugees or minorities? James 2:2-4
So what about Trump’s actions? His opposition to gay marriage and abortion is commendable, that’s only the short list. What about the other side of the ledger? How about his policies of anti-immigration? Few of us would be here had our country not welcomed immigrants both legal and illegal!
How about policies regarding child separation or turning our back on refugees? Concern for the unborn, should not supplant concern for the already born! Evangelicals should be embarrassed by, rather than be proud of, such policies. We should also be embarrassed by our country’s treatment of our allies and neighbors.
Are we proud of the administration’s policies regarding conservation and care of creation? Do we adopt conservation policies only if such practice earns a government subsidy? Or if they benefit the bottom line of the oil, coal or forestry industry?
Most of us trust the scientists who design our medications. We trust the experts who design our computers and the engineers who design our cars, soon trusting them enough to allow our vehicles to become autonomous, but don’t trust the scientists who warn us about climate change? Is it Christian to worry about costs of a carbon tax to our pocketbooks rather than the future costs of such policies to our children and grandchildren?
Do we hang our Christian hat only on our stance on abortion or gay rights or do we support policies which help prevent abortions and with policies which raise the level of comfort and well-being of all people? I don’t recall Jesus turning his back on needy people, saying their plight is their own fault. He wouldn’t allow his critics to ignore people’s needs because of the sins of their parents (John 9:1-3) — think DACA.
How about despising Muslims, with the exception, of course, of the Saudi brand? Jesus didn’t shy away from interaction with Pharisees, tax collectors and other sinners such as the woman at the well. He attended to people’s spiritual and physical needs, not with judgment but with compassion and respect! How about love, respect, concern and empathy. How about servanthood?
Do we want security? Yes, but not at the expense of (failure to be concerned about) others. We want a good economy but at the expense of human rights? What about the gain from selling weapons to the Saudis, to the detriment and potential death of the children in Yemen? Prosperity is not worth the death of “fake” journalists. Are support of such policies worth losing our soul?
On Nov. 6 we get to choose, not our president, but our 4th congressional district legislator. By now, we all know what Steve King stands for. Almost daily he states his support of white supremacists and his disdain all others. Does he disagree with Trump on more than tariffs or ethanol production? We can choose bigotry, racism, hatred, paranoia, selfishness. Or we can choose concern for others beyond ourselves.
I cherish our right to choose the common good. We can choose what we think is best for all people, “red and yellow, black and white,” who are all “precious in His sight,” American and non-American, citizens and non-citizens. Let’s choose hope rather than hatred, concern rather than contempt. Jesus didn’t just yawn at the world’s injustice, nor should we. Jesus is not on the ballot, but we do get to express our Christian faith and the implications of that faith.
Donald Trump is not on the ballot, but his clone is on the ballot. Please, carefully and prayerfully consider what box you check on Nov. 6! Jesus won’t be embarrassed if you vote for a Democrat. If your neighbor — or your pastor — would be embarrassed, that’s too bad. You can keep your vote a secret if you wish, but obviously I’m not.
Dr. Ron Zoutendam lives in Sheldon and is a retired general medical practice physician.
An earlier version of this story had a typo in the headline.