Coley Birchfield, Correspondent
In just four short years, the American people have witnessed countless controversies surrounding the Trump administration. A sex scandal, multiple occasions of violent speech towards other nations and illegal election procedures, to name a few. However, 82 percent of white evangelicals say they will cast their vote for Donald Trump in November’s general election.
The term “evangelical” describes someone who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, believes the events of the Bible and uses their faith in aspects of their daily lives. With maturity and growing political views, I have noticed white evangelicals’ willingness to overlook Donald Trump’s character to advance their political agenda.
An aspect of Christianity is the belief and utilization of the “Fruits of the Spirit.” These are characteristics seen in people who make God a priority in their life. Galatians states that they are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,” all of which are rare throughout Donald Trump’s time in the Oval Office.
The political symbol of American Christians is not living under the same “moral code” as his religious colleagues. Love is not displayed when slandering your enemies. Peace is not evident when you are spreading false claims regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. Kindness is not discrediting intelligent military leaders and journalists. Self-control is not fitting for someone who tweets every thought.
Even with these countless examples, what brings evangelicals back to the base of Donald Trump? If you ask most of them, the most common answers you will receive would be homosexuality and abortion. Although other issues like gun control are aspects of the Republican Party, these two issues pull white evangelicals towards right-wing politics.
These basic principles among evangelicals are that God designed marriage between a man and a woman as well as all conceived babies should be born and not aborted. I, myself, agree with these ways of thinking and see that the world is straying from God’s plan.
However, the difference between most white evangelicals and myself is one key aspect not included in the equation-free will. The idea that God grants all humans the ability to choose between good and evil. You can choose not to serve God, to have an abortion and to marry the same sex because we can decide for ourselves. While, of course, suffering the consequences of these actions.
Author and Christian C.S. Lewis once said, “Free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.” Lewis is telling us that although free will gives humanity the ability to stray from God, it’s the only way to have harmony in the world. Disagreeing with abortion is an understandable stance, but banning it and in turn revoking free will is not right.
How has the harmony of America fallen apart? Look no further than the Ronald Reagan presidency. He was the first political figure to bring Christianity and politics front and center. His anti-establishment and pro-family agenda shaped the modern definition of conservatism seen in Donald Trump.
After all, both of them saw approval ratings at 41 percent early in their presidency. And both benefited from their pre-presidency fame. The most important similarity, though, is the use of a politicized form of Christianity-the birthplace of the abortion opposition.
This new rhetoric is not based on biblical teaching or Christian values, but rather on the desire for Christians to have political power. Yes, I believe there is necessary reform needed in American society. However, if not done in the right manner and through the right leader, it could be devastating to our way of life. Today’s evangelicals believe there should only be a separation of State from Church, not Church from State.
So ask yourself if your political vote goes not to a party, but a leader that represents your values?