This Washington Post-ABC News Poll from last October should strike fear into the hearts of those who are disciples of the Man from Nazareth. White evangelical Christians were the biggest believers that the #BLOTUS had a strong moral character. White non-evangelical Christians were not far behind.
What that reveals about white Christians, especially evangelicals, should start alarm bells ringing in every church in the country. If those who most deeply profess to follow Jesus actually think Trump has a strong moral character, it means that they have absolutely no clue as to who Jesus is or what He taught.
The poll does, however, give us a good indication of why the church no longer has the authority and moral leadership it once had. White Protestants need to once again figure out that faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus is not the same as blind patriotism, love of country, or love of power.
The most interesting statistic was that those who professed no religion seemed to have the best understanding of the lack of moral character of the #BLOTUS. Is that possibly because their understanding of morality isn’t filtered through the lens of religion?
“[T]here remains [in some parts of the country] a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Govt. & Religion neither can be duly supported. Such indeed is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded against.”
― James Madison, James Madison: Writings
Madison’s words are as true today as when he originally penned them almost two centuries ago. Our nation’s founders separated government and religion to guard against this “corrupting influence on both parties.”
Today we are living with the results of not defending against this old error. Madison warned us to ever guard more closely against this unholy alliance. We should have heeded his words.
Over 80% of white evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump to be our country’s next president. They knowingly agreed with, and endorsed Trump’s clearly stated anti-Christian values.
This is a clear and present danger. The majority of those voting in this election claiming to follow Jesus Christ cast their vote for a lying, racist, fear-mongering, bigot. They supported a xenophobic, bullying, braggart who is the antithesis of the love of Jesus Christ reflected in the gospels.
How and why this happened should ring alarms for leaders throughout the faith community. When this large a percentage of “believers” abandon the teachings of Jesus to vote for hate and fear, it is a statement that something is drastically and critically awry.
Personally, I see this as a failure of leadership, itself. There has been a significant lack of courage to address the deep divisive issues of our society from the pulpit. Christian leaders have not led by example, and have played it safe and “made nice” rather than confront un-Christian values in our congregations.
And so now, one cannot tell the believers from the nonbelievers without a program. We have met the enemy and they are us.