A friend asked me to jot down my thoughts on why as a Christian, I can’t vote for Trump. When I was asked to write down my thoughts about the current election and Christianity, I was so angry that I just could not.
I was tormented and still am to some degree, by what America is experiencing. Christianity cannot ever be about hate. It cannot be about abortion. It cannot be about gun rights. It cannot be about anti-immigrant, anti-other religions, anti-anything. It is a sentiment that just is not representative of what I know about being a Christian. I used to be Catholic.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that first. I longed for more. More than the ritualistic prayer and familiarity that being a Catholic Christian brought. I attended numerous churches searching for more spirituality. I knew that I would always be a follower of Jesus Christ; that I would always be a Christian of sorts. But his teachings of love, compassion, forgiveness, have long since left my view of Christianity.
Another disclosure: I am married to an atheist. Between the wonderful partner that he is and fantastic, generous, loving human being he is and what I know about great people of other faiths, I know that Christianity is not the only producer of great people. I have studied religions of the East (and after studying abroad in India, I can say with confidence that “the church,” only 2000+ years old, stole many of Hindu and Buddhist traditions and ideas).
My Christian views have evolved. My view of Christianity has evolved. I am human; I hear we are supposed to do that… I am a follower of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament his stories of love, compassion, meditation and prayer, simplicity, travel, friendship, and forgiveness resonate with me, every day. I have to be true to that belief. Today, I find it harder to say, “I am a Christian” when it is defined by Trump in today’s America. I do not prescribe to the blind following of a book written by flawed men…which I believe Jesus himself did not believe in either, as he rebelled against Judaism as it was practiced at the time. I think Jesus might have to turn over some tables in Trump Tower these days, but then again, who am I to judge how he might see him. I can only tell you how I see and interpret what Trump does or says.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ; not a church, not a religion, and not the political religious doctrine of a party. I have to do what I believe is right, just, fair, loving, compassionate, smart, and good for my fellow man, not just my fellow American. And in saying all of this, I recognize that there are moments when I fail. I am not perfect, and I don’t think to be a follower of him that perfection is required.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Although I am not ok with the American Christian ideals, and what they have come to represent, I will not deny him; his love, his compassion, his attempt to save us from ourselves. Like many teachers who have come before us, and those of us who currently teach, our goal is to make our students better. I will follow his teachings forever, despite any negative affiliations.
I hope you find them useful too. I hope you always search for great teachers who make you better. I do not think that Trump will ever be that kind of person to make us better, let alone great.