I have spent my life defending the church to those who would listen. I’ve assured my friends that the church I know, isn’t the church on the news. I called those who angrily picket and oppress the vocal minority. I stood up for Evangelicalism as a whole, insisting that its larger population was quiet, but assuredly believed in social justice.
I apologize. Because I’ve been proven wrong.
There are many reasons people vote, but it’s important to understand that we cannot vote for half of a candidate. When I voted for Bush in his second term, firmly believing we needed stability above all else, I also voted for a man who believed in the furthering of the military complex, and in torture. Voting for Obama with hopes that he would end the war, regulate Wall Street, legalize gay marriage, and increase spending on benefits for our most vulnerable, was voting for a man who ordered drone strikes that ended innumerable civilian lives. There is no separation. An administration is everything that is done and said, not just the bits we like.
So, when Trump was elected, those who thought we needed a firm hand against abortion, a change in the way we treat the economy, or a move away from the political establishment, also voted for a man who mocked the disabled, admitted to sexually assaulting women, and who called for mass deportation, wall building, and registering of Muslims.
Now it should come as no surprise to see that white nationalist groups are lauding the choice of Trump as president. It should also not be a surprise that religious, ethnic, and racial minorities are scared for their futures. That trans people are racing against the clock to complete paperwork making their existence legitimate to a government which includes a vice president-elect who has said he will fight their freedoms. LGBTQ+ families are worried about being ripped apart; we are scared that conversion therapy will be legitimized by the federal government; couples are forgoing dream weddings to rush ceremonies in case gay marriage is once again made illegal. Women are hurrying to get IUDs before birth control is no longer covered by insurance, and there are no longer services like Planned Parenthood to help them afford it.
None of this fear is illogical or illegitimate. The promises came straight from the campaign trail. From the man that the majority of the Evangelical church elected, by an overall minority vote, into office. He has surrounded himself with people who have loudly and proudly stated they will hold him to his promises. With a man who is a self proclaimed white nationalist. With another who has stated that the internment of Japanese citizens in WWII is precedent for a Muslim registry.
Fear is justified, and we cannot come together as a country until it is assuaged, and people can feel safe in their country again. This is going to take a lot of work. The onus of that is not on those who are fearful, but on those who have made the statements and promises that are causing the concern and uncertainty, as well as their constituency.
It doesn’t matter why you voted for Trump. Your reasons are valid to you. But you cannot vote for part of a candidate. So, church, now that you’ve elected him, I can no longer defend you to those who believe you do not have their best interest at heart. Or to myself. You now have a responsibility to stand up, and shout loudly against the parts of the president-elect that you say you didn’t vote for. You have a responsibility to lead the charge against the hate, violence, bigotry, and fear he and his transition team have inspired. It’s on your shoulders. Please, make me honest, and allow me to defend you again.