3:00 AM 9 November 2016
Suddenly I am awake. Having gone to sleep around 10 pm the previous night, I awake with a feeling of dread. I went to sleep without turning on the election results because I knew. I just knew.
I get up and walk to my phone charging in the darkened living room. My heart was pounding and I hesitate in picking up my phone. I press the home button and the screen comes to life with bright light. In front of me on my news feed I am confronted with the horrible news that Donald Trump was the new president-elect.
Even though I had a premonition of this for the past two weeks, I was stilled stunned. I lay back down in tears and sadness. How could a man who exemplifies racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and bullying become America’s President. His vile words, and disregard for the other throughout the campaign should have disqualified him, yet people still voted him into office. I did not go back to sleep for the rest of the night.
For a week or so after the election, I vacillated between grief and anger, and then I read something that torn a hole in my already wounded heart. A report came out that stated that 80% of white Evangelicals voted for this man. WHAT?!?!?! My mind reeled. I could not understand. How could people who claim to follow the One who is always on the side of the afflicted, bullied other, vote for the Great Bully.
America’s new president had said horrible things about women, had no problem promoting sexual assault, demeaned a reporter with a handicap, insulted African-Americans, and Latinos, threatens to deport immigrants and create a registry for Muslims. He hopes to take away health care for millions of low-income people, and the elderly. Yet, in spite of all that, “Christ followers” supported him.
They have also defended him with ridiculous statements like “We are not voting for a pastor,” “You have to forgive him,” and my favorite “He is a baby Christian.”
I remember in the 1990’s when Bill Clinton had his affair, Evangelicals weren’t asking the country to “forgive him,” they wanted his blood through impeachment. He was castigated, vilified, and demonized.
What happened in the last twenty some years?
My hypothesis has been that white Evangelicals have been losing power. They aren’t getting their way anymore and that bothers them. Marriage equality is the law of the land, abortion is still legal, and Happy Holidays has replaced Merry Christmas.
Then along comes America’s new bully and promises Supreme Court judges to overturn Roe v Wade and Marriage equality and promises to make retailers say Merry Christmas. Then Evangelicals like Jerry Falwell Jr. and Franklin Graham jump into bed with a narcissist. They sold their morality, their ethics, and worse of all the Gospel of Grace and shamefully convincing their flocks to do the same. They pimped out the church.
And they still defend their choice, regardless of the suffering that millions will experience. They don’t care, their savior moves into the White House in January and they rejoice. They think that they have their power back. What they have failed to realize is that they were a one night stand for Mr Trump. He used and manipulated them, just like he manipulated the rest of white, working class America, to get what he wanted.
So it is a wounded and damaged heart I have made a decision. I cannot be part of a church that disregards the other for their own gain. I grieve the separation, but I cannot identify with a group whose leadership ignores suffering and pain of millions to be a lap dog to a dictator in training.The Evangelical church has lost its first love.
Welcome to Laodicea.