The Day After: Fallout

I figured this day, the day after the 2016 election, I would either be happy or disappointed -- more like intensely elated (that Hillary Clinton won the election), or extremely depressed (that Donald Trump won the election), depending upon the outcome -- but I also knew that my response to the election results matters on this day. I could neither pridefully gloat nor be expressively hateful. There are two primary aspects of this election that were important to me: 1) voting for a candidate of my choice that was not bullied, manipulated, or influenced by conservative evangelical leaders who perpetually pressure Christians to vote Republican; and 2) voting for the first female president of the United States.

Granted, America is at least five centuries late to the game of being governed by a female, given that England has been ruled by queens since the early sixteenth century. Both England and America are late to that game, given that Deborah ruled Israel during the time of the judges, subsequent to the Jewish exodus, around 1050 BCE, nearly three thousand years ago. Incidentally, Deborah (with Othniel) is one of the very few judges who is noted as noble and God-fearing, having a heart that did not stray from God. The rest of the rules of Israel, all men, did what was evil from the perspective of the absolutely holy God.

That ugly rhetoric was used in this election season is not surprising to me. Anyone familiar with American history, English history within Parliament, or history in general understands that opponents often utilize harsh rhetoric against their opponents. What concerned me in this particular election, however, was some of the words uttered by Donald Trump and how that, no matter what came out of the man's mouth, certain evangelicals were eagerly supporting him as a proper candidate for whom Christians should vote.



Here I intend, as is my custom, to name names. At the top of my list is Jerry Falwell, Jr., Eric Metaxes, Ben Carson, James Dobson, Franklin Graham, Gary Bauer, Richard Land, James Robison, Ronnie Floyd, Robert Jeffress, David Jeremiah, Jack Graham, James MacDonald, Robert Morris, Jentezen Franklin, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, Michele Bachmann, and other lesser-known characters such as Paula White, and Kenneth and Gloria Copeland. That you all supported a disgusting, degrading, demeaning and most ungodly man like Donald Trump for the highest office in this land informs me about your priorities and your true and untraditional values. Granted, last Spring when I stated that I would support Trump, that was only because I had been deceived to believe conspiracy theories against Hillary Clinton. Once I debunked those theories, and revelations regarding the character of Trump kept being unveiled, I knew I could in no sense endorse such a character. But the final nail in the Trump coffin for me was Mike Pence.

Mike Pence equally disturbs me; and, God forbid, if death came to Trump, and Pence became the president, I would be equally as troubled by his presidency as I am over a Trump presidency. Mike Pence reminds me of every anti-gay minister I have ever encountered. Mike Pence, in lieu of funding HIV prevention, voted instead to spend government funds on the junk so-called science of gay conversion therapy. (link) Mike Pence signed a bill to jail same-sex couples in Indiana that applied for a license to legally wed. (link) Mike Pence complained about the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes bill, served on the anti-LGBTQ board of the Indiana Family Institute, opposed the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and voted against protecting LGBTQ people in the workplace. (link) Even if I could overlook all of Trump's ugly, vitriolic statements against women and minorities, I refused to overlook Mike Pence.

Former Religious Right advocates Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson were right to state that, when "preachers start talking about politics, they begin using the power of their position to legitimize political issues."1 Once men like Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Franklin Graham begin their political narrative, they are perceived by those who look to them for guidance as "somehow speaking for God."2 This categorizes such evangelical men as spiritual, emotional, and psychological bullies and manipulators. How so? Because they do not present good arguments for both candidates and allow the hearer to make up her mind. No, they imply that only one candidate is the right candidate, the godly and Christian way to vote. Thus, if you do not vote for said candidate, then you oppose the Gospel, Christ's Church, and God. This is reprehensible.

I have learned much this election season. I was embarrassed to have briefly adopted conspiracy theories. But, then again, I have usually had to learn my life-long lessons the hard way. Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson argue: "Whenever the church cozies up to political power, it loses sight of its all-important mission to change the world from the inside-out."3 I have been harping on this very truth for a while: a change of heart cannot be induced via political means. Politics regards power; the Gospel regards truth.4 Our authors quote the late Henri Nouwen to the effect that "power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life."5 If evangelical leaders truly loved Christians, they would teach them how to think, not what to think. Instead, these leaders care more about control and power than love and unity.

I am deeply troubled and disturbed that Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. I think that his supporters are going to discover that he has, once again, duped them by not accomplishing what he promised them he would accomplish: making his version of America great. What is so great about demeaning women, restricting equal rights for women, LGBTQ persons, minorities, fearing people of other faiths or no faith at all? He claims to want to restore one nation under one God. The problem, of course, is that he has that notion wrong: one nation under God -- God as perceived by others of dissenting religious views. What of atheists? What of agnostics? What of skeptics? The God-and-country type of religion that Trump propagates is not Christian and neither are those who adhere to such an ideology. I am shaken to the core of my being. I am sick to my stomach. Hopeless.

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1 Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson, Blinded By Might: Can the Religious Right Save America? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 45. The answer to that subtitle is a clear and resounding no.

2 Ibid. They state, elsewhere, "Registering people to vote and persuading them to vote a certain way on issues and for certain candidates is one way power can be used to manipulate." (53) This is exactly what conservative evangelical leaders -- leaders like Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Richard Land, Gary Bauer, James Dobson -- exercise every election cycle: manipulation. Refuse to be manipulated!

3 Ibid., 59.

4 Ibid., 49.

5 Ibid., 53.