Last week we witnessed a media firestorm surrounding Trump’s decade old comments about women. The comments were, of course, abhorrent and indefensible, as have been many of the comments he has made throughout his campaign. But now that we’re less than a month away from the reality of one of these candidates becoming President, I guess it’s not funny anymore.
Many came forward with rightful concerns about the correlation between Trump’s comments and sexual assault. What strikes me as tragic (or, I should say, one of the many things), is that the majority of those people are Clinton supporters. Many seem to forget that we also have audio footage of Hillary Clinton casually discussing how she got a child rapist a lighter sentence during her days practicing law. I have seen numerous articles where Clinton supporters scrutinize this data and attempt to explain why it is irrelevant and understandable. This practice is the very same thing Trump supporters were called out for doing. So standing on the principle of advocacy for sexual assault victims doesn’t really cut the mustard. Trump’s treatment of women is obviously less than human. Clinton’s, however, is just as calloused, despite what her platform may claim. That’s without even diving in to the rabbit hole of her support of Planned Parenthood or her husband’s lewd conduct with women whom he has influence over.
So what’s my point? When November 8th rolls around, we don’t get to vote “None of the Above.” These are the candidates we have, folks, and they were not forced upon us. These people were popularly elected. George Washington warned us that a move toward party politics (which happened about 4 and half seconds after he left office) would distract voters from the important issues and make it too easy for the wrong person to end up in office. Were he here to witness this three-ring circus, he’d have ground his wooden teeth into splinters.
So how did we get here? And what do we do now? I believe American was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. However, over the years, as the freedoms outlined in our founding documents expanded to include more and more people and lifestyles, we Christians lost our way somewhere. Foundational principles like the Ten Commandments should be fairly universally agreeable, but we wanted more than that. We wanted culture to form around us. We heard Jesus say, “The world will hate you because of Me.” And we heard, “The world is about me.” When people who don’t have Jesus in their lives and hearts stopped including Him in his own birthday celebration, rather than seeing the need and the hurt in that, we declared it a “War on Christmas.” I will never in my life forget working at Walt Disney World during the holidays. When one of my non-believing coworkers joyfully wished our guest “Happy Holidays,” she whipped around on him with narrowed eyes and, with as much venom as she could muster, hissed out “Merry Christmas!” And we wonder why secular culture wanted less and less to do with us.
This is not about bashing the Church for perceived failures. That’s not my jam. The Church is Jesus’ bride and deserves respect. Not every person in every church did it wrong. In fact, I believe most of us have an earnest desire to love and serve as Christ called us to. This is just about us as the Church widening our gaze and seeing the tug of war that has led to this moment in history. And maybe not acting so surprised. All those years Christians didn’t show up to the voting booths because “God was gonna put the right person in office.” helped get us here. All those times we chose to close the doors and get in our Holy Huddle instead of serve the needs of our communities helped get us here. And, perhaps even more profoundly, the natural course of human events got us here.
There is nothing new under the sun. The Bible is full of accounts of nations rising and falling, all under the Sovereign hand of God. God has never been a God who forces us to bend to His will. He allows us choices and, incidentally, He allows us consequences. He also never said government was going to save us. We can and should vote along our religious convictions, because that’s what the freedom to vote is for. But that right is not where our hope lies. Our hope lies in the fact that Jesus Christ is alive and He will be our victorious ruler for eternity.
Here’s the thing, dear hearts. We were never supposed to feel at home here. This sense of alienation that we feel is normal. We just haven’t felt it in a while. I look around and I don’t see myself represented in American culture anymore. On TV, in the news, on the radio…nothing. And that’s scary. But it’s also what Jesus told us would happen if we were following Him. As hard as it is not to worry, maybe instead of wringing our hands, we should lift them.
I have never in my life felt sadness at the time of an impending election. 2016 is that year for me and for, I feel sure, many other Americans. I don’t have the answers. What I do know is that we didn’t get here by accident. Decades of bipartisan politics and the overall failure of Christians to engage our culture biblically created an environment where our current candidates could succeed. Thankfully, in the midst of all the uncertainty and disappointment, I am confident in the hope I have in a higher authority than any President, king, or ruler.Now more than ever, hope in Christ seems vital to our survival. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be for believers? Maybe the Lord has knocked down our idols so that we must look to Him as our salvation. As we endure the next four years, whatever they may hold, let us cling tightly to the Cross for our needs. And as we watch our culture move to places we cannot go, let us bring others to the Cross with us.