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Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

A Christian Vote

October 20, 2020

I’m a white Christian. And that’s why I cannot vote for Donald Trump.

Joe Harris

By Joe Harris

Joe Harris has been the St. Louis reporter for Courthouse News Service since July 2005. He covers the courts in the eastern half of Missouri and all statewide political issues.

I was kicked out of my church due to my political beliefs.

Well, not technically kicked out. A pastor strongly suggested that I leave the church, where I had been a member for more than 10 years and held various leadership positions.

My crime? Defending LGBTQ rights online and questioning the senior pastor on a message I felt was insensitive to transgender individuals.

While such an experience may shake one’s belief, it has only strengthened my faith in Jesus Christ as my savior. And that is why I cannot vote for Donald Trump on Nov. 3.

More than 80% of white Evangelicals supported Trump in 2016 and his road to reelection once again has an express lane through the Bible belt.

But is a conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade worth making a deal with the devil? This is more than a presidential election. Trump’s moral bankruptcy has made it a referendum on our faith: do we worship Jesus or Washington?

I understand the propaganda runs deep. I was once one of you. I understand your confusion.

But when you die, Jesus will not be waiting for you at the pearly gates wearing a MAGA cap, wearing a pro-life T-shirt and having an AR-15 strapped to his back, no matter what the Franklin Grahams of the world would have you believe. Instead, He will ask us what we did to further his kingdom.

Most conservative Christians I know let a single issue dominate their ballot: abortion. These Christians believe that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, then abortion would magically go away.

It won’t.

Abortion existed before that landmark case and it will exist after it is overturned. The only difference is women will die getting abortions through unsafe methods.

I’ve talked to numerous women who made the choice to have an abortion. None of them wanted to. None of them were using it as birth control. All of them felt hopeless, whether it be lack of education, resources, opportunity or the like. The repercussions of their decision lived with them much longer than the procedure itself.

The problem with the Christian pro-life stance is it only protects life from conception to birth. God forbid that mother needs government assistance after the child is born. Then it goes from being a life to a burden.

The irony is many of the social welfare programs supported by Democrats, and despised as “handouts” by conservative Christians, would probably do more to curb abortion than overturning Roe v. Wade. They would give hope and options to women who are desperately seeking them.

That sounds more like how Jesus treated the woman at the well than what the Christian Right is currently doing.

Just as Christians don’t base their faith on one Bible verse, neither should they vote on one issue. St. Louis Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski in a recent statement acknowledged that abortion is a serious moral issue, but ignoring other issues such as race, immigration and the environment is not properly forming a Catholic conscience with your vote. The same goes for all Christians.

I’m not saying Jesus would be a member of either party. He would reject both because neither is perfect.

But only one party is currently prostituting Jesus’ teachings for votes.

In their zeal to save fetuses, “pro-life” Christians have backed Trump, who is closer to being the antichrist rather than the servant leader modeled by Jesus.

Trump’s administration has caged thousands of children at the border in inhumane conditions. Egyptian authorities did not throw baby Jesus in a cage and separate him from Mary and Joseph while they fled from Herod, but he would have been if Trump were the pharaoh.

Look at the 10 Commandments:

1. You shall have no other Gods before me. Trump has repeatedly called himself the “chosen one” and his sycophants have even referred to him as the second coming, something the narcissistic Trump has not distanced himself from.

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol. Trump has orchestrated numerous photo-ops of his followers praying around him and of course there was the infamous photo-op of him using the Bible amid social justice protests in Washington — all to manipulate the Christian vote.

3. You shall not make wrongful use of the Lord’s name. This involves having a flippant attitude towards God. Trump’s constant name-calling and lifestyle show his true attitude toward God.

4. Keep the Sabbath holy. This is about taking a day off from your hard work. The problem with Trump is he doesn’t work hard enough. According to various reports, 60% of his time is “executive time” and he was taken dozens of golf trips at taxpayers’ expense.

5. Honor your parents. The dysfunction of the Trump family is well-documented and the president’s vindictiveness is a byproduct. That vindictiveness and insecurity is a reason why 178-and-counting members of this administration have been fired or felt compelled to resign.

6. You shall not murder. With more than 215,000 dead and his continued dismissal of masks and the dangers of the virus itself, Trump’s handling of Covid-19 amounts to negligent homicide.

7. You shall not commit adultery. Trump has cheated on all three of his wives.

8. You shall not steal. Trump has repeatedly failed to pay creditors, paid $2 million to eight charities after he misused funds to support his campaign and another $25 million to students swindled by Trump University. Trump, who brags about being a millionaire, also paid less income taxes than teachers so he is stealing from America as its leader.

9. You shall not lie. Trump has lied more than 21,000 times so far during his presidency.

10. You shall not covet. Trump lusts for women, power and money. Trump even coveted his own daughter, saying he would “perhaps date her” if she wasn’t related.

Trump’s moral depravity also includes the “grab them by the pussy” comment, that 26 women have accused him of sexual assault, his direct ties to Jeffrey Epstein, his refusal to condemn white supremacists and his mocking of widows and our military. It is clear that if you are not a rich, white man who can benefit him, then Trump doesn’t care about you.

The apostle Paul writes in the New Testament book of Ephesians that our struggle is “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world.”

Now is not the time for blind obedience, as my former pastors required. Now is the time to question and demand more from our governmental and spiritual leaders. The future of our country and our faith is at stake.

Joe Biden is far from perfect, but he is much closer to the servant leader that we as Christians are called to follow. That is why he has my vote.

Follow @@joeharris_stl
Categories / Op-Ed, Politics, Religion

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