To the Trump Supporters Who Raised Me

Intentionally or not, you inspired me to doubt everything - a taboo activity in the church we once shared. I became a skeptic. I took everything you gave me and ripped it to shreds, piecing it back together like some sort of art project, a collage where I kept those tenets that rang true and abandoned anything that conflicted with scripture. There is a word for this: deconstruction.

In cuisine, a deconstructed meal is one were the ingredients of a dish are cooked and served separately or in a non-traditional manner so that it is something wholly different. Like a deconstructed pizza might have meat and veggies wrapped in dough and baked with melted cheese on the outer crust then served with a marinara dipping sauce: the parts are all there, yet it doesn’t look like a normal pizza.

Religious deconstruction is much the same. Pull it apart and reassemble into something new and different. For some people, their doubts are too great and they become an atheist or agnostic. For others, they find a faith renewed stronger, deeper, and more vibrant than anything they experienced in their evangelical or fundamentalist past. Some of you would think of the former as an apostate and the latter a heretic. It is with these heretics I stand, those who tugged at all the loose threads, watched their world come undone, then stitched it back together into a rebuilt faith.

After I reconstructed my religious faith, I thought we were still on the same team in those things that mattered. Sure, we may disagree on proper attire for Sunday morning church services. Our beliefs about science and evolution might not align. We may have opposing political stances. And our opinions about addiction and mental health will vary. Yet we agree on the important tenets. We believe in the same God, the same incarnation, the same sacrifice in crucifixion, the same call to love our neighbors as we love our selves. When we talk about Jesus, we speak about the same Savior, the same divine come to earth to be a servant King.

I embraced an ecumenical approach to church. That you and I could take liberty in those differences that are inconsequential, yet stand in unity in issues essential to the Christian faith. When it came to the most important aspects of doctrine, we agreed.

Or at least we thought we did.

The last couple of years have forced me to question what we believe all over again. I watched your exuberant support of Donald Trump and wondered how we got here.

image courtesy of The Atlantic

Before I continue, I should clarify. My concern is not with those of you who simply voted for Trump and regret it. Or those who don’t like the man but voted for him as the lesser evil. Or those disappointed in his behavior and actions and hope he can do better.

My objection is with those who continue to support the president, even after this first year he’s been in office. You are the people who cause me to question again if this thing we call Christianity is worth the devotion you profess. When I see you describe Donald Trump as the hallmark of a Christian man, I am left with one of two possible conclusions. Either you don’t really believe all those things you raised me to believe, or what you believe is full of shit.

When I was younger, you taught me that marriage was sacred and divorce was to be avoided. To protect marriages, you insisted on fidelity. Now you voted for and continue to applaud a man that has been divorced twice, has had multiple affairs, and is now in his third marriage.

When I was younger, you taught me to always respect women. Now you support a man who frequently degrades ladies based on their appearance or biology, has bragged about sexually assaulting women, and has been accused by multiple persons of harassment, assault, and predatory behavior. You led me to believe in gender equality because both male and female were created in God’s image. Now, the president you laud slut-shames or insults any woman who challenges him.

When I was younger, you taught me to value honesty. Now, the president you celebrate is a serial liar. All politicians lie, yet Trump has turned dishonesty into an art form, routinely making demonstrably false statements and he constantly attempts to discredit any negative press about him as “fake news” regardless of the accuracy of the reports.

When I was younger, you taught me that pride and greed were to be avoided as the worst of all sins. Now, you elected and gleefully support a man who is blatantly arrogant, vain, and prideful. His greed is limitless. His life is built upon the quest for more fame, glory, power, and wealth.

When I was younger, you taught me to be kind. Now, this person you think is the greatest president ever gives all of his opponents crude nicknames. He teases people for their weight and height. He mocks the disabled. He vilifies the gay community, refugees, Latinos, African Americans, women, the poor, and anyone else he can use as a scapegoat.

When I was younger, you taught me scripture that said anyone who does not love does not know God. It also says perfect love drives out fear. Now, you follow a political figure who frequently preaches fear. He wants his supporters to be afraid of the other. He preys on every opportunity to scare you with invented threats of Muslims plotting to kill you or immigrants coming to take your jobs.

I don’t care if you voted for Trump. I am baffled by how you continue to honor and prop up a man who contradicts everything about how you taught me to live. I cannot understand how you praise someone who is antithetical to all of the morals and values you spent two decades teaching me to uphold. If you are so willing to abandon these basic Christian values of love, goodness, and decency, what worth did they ever have? What other beliefs currently maintained will you quickly dispose of tomorrow, or next year, or twenty years from now?

I love God, and I follow Jesus. Your fair-weather religion cannot rob me of my faith. At the same time, what you call Christianity is unrecognizable to me. Your evangelical creed has traded Gospel for politic; you’ve traded grace for power. If this is what you call Christianity, I want nothing of it.

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