Thursday, November 10, 2016

I'm a White Evangelical and I Didn't Vote for Trump

I'm a conservative, white evangelical, male and I didn't vote for Trump. I could not, in good conscience, vote for him. My discernment of  his character is that he is egotistical, pompous and prideful. His past behavior is evidences of bigotry, prejudice, and lust. He's been accused of abusing women by women. His own words have shown him to be degrading of women. I believe in determining the worthiness to lead by the conduct of ones character. I found Trump's character wanting.

I'm not happy that he won, but I'm more bothered by the response to his wining. People are protesting and rioting. People are being violent and hurting one another. Conservatives are boasting saying "I told you so. We are right and you are wrong." Liberals are afraid and angry. Some are spreading fear by claiming things like Trump is another Hitler. Some are encouraging revolt and dissent.

We are very divided in this country by political ideologies, by religious beliefs, by race, and by class. We are not the "United" States. It seems more like we are the "Divided" States. Neither side understands the other. We lash out at one another in anger. We are afraid. We have tightly held beliefs and we fear that opposing beliefs will undo what we feel is right and good.

We need to try to understand the others point of view. We don't need to agree but we do need to understand. I spent a few years in the gay community with people who are very liberal in their political ideology. Christians, like myself, are often seen as the enemy threatening their rights, their freedom and their beliefs. While living among them, I made a since effort to understand them and their culture. I read books. I watched movies and documentaries. I had many conversations. My goal was to understand and been seen as trying to understand. I now know that they have been persecuted and hurt. They live in fear. Many are afraid to express their desires for the same sex because of real fear of not being accepted, being ostracized, criticized, belittled, beaten, or worse. They fear loosing employment. They feel accepted only within their own community. They feel persecuted and unwelcome in church. The issue of gay marriage is not a moral issue for them. It is a human rights issue. They want to be accepted as complete and whole in society. They want the legal rights that go with marriage and the acceptance of society. For them, conservatives want to deny them rights and keep them for acceptance. For them, that means persecution, hatred, abuse and worse. Liberals are seen as accepting them and fighting for their human rights.

If you hold the conservative political ideology, do you understand the liberal side? Do you understand why they fight for what they fight for? Have you lived among the poor and seen the dependency on the government and the fear of losing that? Have you driven around with an African American and felt the fear and anger he feels when a cop stops him for driving while black? Have you talked to a mother who lost her son or daughter because a police officer shot them? Have you talked to someone who lost their job because they were black, gay or a woman?  Have you talked to a pregnant teen who's afraid? Have you talked to a pregnant rape victim? Have you talked to a Muslim? Have you talked to an illegal immigrant?

If you hold the liberal political ideology,  do you understand the conservative side? Have you talked to someone who works hard and tries to raise a family but has seen their income go down? Have you talked to someone like me who had to wait to get married because the USCIS was processing illegals ahead of my fiancee? Have you talked to someone who is out of work and is angry? Have you talked to a Christian and asked why they have their moral beliefs? Have you talked to someone who's had an abortion and is living with regret? Have you talked to small business owners who are trying to keep the business afloat and family feed? Have you talked to someone who had to go out of business?

Maybe if we walked in one another's shoes for a while, we would not be so angry or so fearful. We won't ever agree, but at least we might understand. Maybe we could all agree to disagree.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

An Old Story (The Good Samaritan) in a Modern Context

Jesus said, “A gang-banger was going down the road on the south side of Chicago. Some rival gang members surrounded him, tore off his clothes, and beat him. Then they left him lying there on the ground almost dead.
 “It happened that a pastor was going down that road. When he saw the gang-banger, he did not stop to help him. He walked away.  Next, an Evangelical came near. He saw the hurt gang-banger, but he went around him. He would not stop to help him either. He just walked away.
 “Then a gay man traveled down that road. He came to the place where the hurt gang-banger was lying. He saw the man and felt very sorry for him. The gay man went to him and treated his wounds. Then he covered the man’s wounds with cloth. The gay man had a car. He put the hurt man on in his car, and he took him to the hospital. There he made certain the man received the best care.  The next day, the gay man took out his wallet and paid his medical bill. He said to the nurse, ‘Give the best care to this hurt man and send his bills to my address. I will pay them.’”