I can no longer keep quiet. I’ve tried. I’ve tried through subtle pastoral influence to challenge many of the current political assumptions of fear, prejudice, and power-mongering. I’ve been very clear regarding my lack of support for Donald Trump from the beginning. However, I’ve not been this vocal until now.
Reading through Facebook, I encountered Dr. James Dobson’s endorsement of Trump and I can no longer keep quiet. I am burdened by the growing Evangelical pressure to support Trump. I refuse to be bullied into submission by respected, outspoken, and influential Evangelical leaders, as though now that the Faith Advisory Committee for Trump’s campaign has spoken, all other Evangelicals need to get on board. Ben Carson and Jerry Fallwell Jr., “I’m not buying what your selling.”
I AM now angry.
I AM angry that somehow Evangelical leaders would attempt to script Trump as the natural choice for Christian leadership in the country. This makes absolutely no sense. Support him if you like, but don’t try to spiritually guilt-trip me into embracing a man whose rhetoric and positions have consistently gone against my beliefs as an Evangelical Christian.
DO NOT try to cast Trump as the clear choice for a candidate with integrity.
DO NOT use your platform to bully us lesser pastors into submission and suggest that a failure to vote for Trump would be somehow a collusion with principalities of evil and darkness. That is a blatant misuse of your platform.
DO NOT, in stating the names of those on the counsel, attempt to use their positions and names to somehow justify your decisions. For one thing, as an Evangelical, I have SUBSTANTIAL theological disagreements with Robert Jeffress and Jerry Falwell Jr. and refuse to embrace their leadership as somehow binding on my practice of faith.
DO NOT assume that my failure to support Trump is an endorsement for Clinton. This ridiculous suggestion made by both parties that somehow a failure to vote for their party is giving the election to the other is a tactic of fear. That’s not how a democracy works.
I CAN vote for a third party.
I CAN write in a name.
I CAN opt to vote in all sorts of elections and yet protest the presidential election because my conscience is clear that I cannot vote for either candidate.
I CAN still have a say if I protest. I have voted in nearly all elections since I was 18. I continually vote in local and state elections. I pay taxes. I participate in local organizations and agencies for the improvement of our communities. I served my country as a veteran. I support our law enforcement and try to build bridges with those who’ve suffered the abuses of prejudice and injustice.
So DO NOT tell me that because I won’t get in line that I somehow don’t have a say going forward.
You DO NOT get to make that call.
DO NOT use your platforms and hyperbole as a scare tactic to the masses. It is precisely these tactics that have led us to this mess and divisiveness in the first place. Playing on people’s fears with an “over the top” rhetoric has driven those that could have bridged the divide out of the election cycle leaving us the two most divisive voices…and YOU ARE playing right into that.
I AM NOW ANGRY.
I will not let my congregation be controlled by the “elite Evangelicals” who have somehow found their role in scripting a future I believe stands contrary to the Kingdom of God. I love my people too much for that.
I WILL NOT SUPPORT either candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. I DO so as an act of conscience and protest. I WILL NOT BE BULLIED into a ridiculous corner by those that still want to use Jesus and the Christian faith as the baptismal waters for political agendas.
I DO love my people and will continue to do so regardless who they vote for, because I AM ONE KINGDOM MINDED and it’s not Ceasar’s or any extension of power and dominance. I WILL CONTINUE to spread the good news of the Resurrection of Jesus, the Crucifixion, and the coming Kingdom of my Lord.
I WILL love those our systems alienate.
I WILL stand against injustice, challenge supremacy, and question motives.
I WILL trust that God’s hand is more sturdy than the flimsy palms of any political party.
I AM ANGRY…BUT I AM HOPEFUL! Hopeful that followers of Jesus, no matter the outcome will stand together in pursuit of God’s vision of the redeeming and healing of all things, the embrace of the outsiders, the care of the poor and down-trodden, the feeding of the hungry, and the empowerment of creativity and hope to make a more peaceful future.
Dr. Dobson, I HAVE respected you throughout this last 15 years of my Christian life and appreciate the great difference you’ve made. BUT DO NOT abuse this influence and play into the fears of the people. YOU KNOW WHO YOUR LORD IS! YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR HOPE LAY! DON’T put all your eggs into that tattered basket. I have profound respect for you. I’m glad you’ve been given a voice but please be aware that you may be scripted into a story that you will one day wish was never told.
Pastor Jeff Stark