Monday, October 24, 2016

I can not, I will not.

Please note, this post is written to a very specific audience.  If you do not consider yourself to be conservative, christian, evangelical, any labels along those lines, it very likely will not make sense.  For my friends who do not fit this profile, I encourage you to look at my post here.

This post began life as a reply to one of the many (far too many) articles that are urging Christians that they must, for the sake of  _____(the unborn, the Supreme Court, marriage, family, religious freedom, the right to bear arms, the military, etc. ad nauseam), vote for Donald Trump and defeat Hilary Clinton at any and all cost. I am in the minority and have been speaking out against this trend and this idea for some time. I have written other statements covering particular political aspects, but this is a specific reply explaining my religious/spiritual stance.

I was born in the Conservative Holiness Movement (CHM) , have been raised, educated, and served within the CHM.  These are the principles drilled into my mind, "Stand for the truth, no matter what."  "Never do wrong even for a chance to do right."  "Don't wink at sin."  "Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go."  Was I not meant to actually learn those?

What happened to the days of,

"I want a principle within of watchful, godly fear,
A sensibility of sin, a pain to feel it near.
I want the first approach to feel of pride or wrong desire,
To catch the wandering of my will, and quench the kindling fire.

From Thee that I no more may stray, no more Thy goodness grieve,
Grant me the filial awe, I pray, the tender conscience give.
Quick as the apple of an eye, O God, my conscience make;
Awake my soul when sin is nigh, and keep it still awake.

Almighty God of truth and love, to me Thy power impart;
The mountain from my soul remove, the hardness from my heart.
O may the least omission pain my reawakened soul,
And drive me to that blood again, which makes the wounded whole."

Maybe I listened too much, maybe I took it too much to heart, maybe I learned the lesson too well? 

 I can not and I will not vote for, nor support in any way, a man with the ethics of Donald Trump.  It hurts you see; the pain to feel it near, the poke in the eye of my conscience.  This is not about his recent audio release. This is not me being manipulated by the media taking certain bits out of context. This is about a lifetime of building his kingdom by stepping on people. It is about the lack of ethics, it is about the inciting of violence at his rallies, it is about racial profiling, about not valuing the life of people who aren't just like him.  It is about him seeing humans as pawns to be used.

Many things in the scripture can be confusing.  But some things are not; the essentials don't seem to be confusing.
I am told in the scripture, "He has shown thee, oh man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of thee, to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with they God."(Micah 6:8, paraphrase)  --Trump neither does these things nor shows that he values those who do.
I am told to Love God and to Love my neighbor as myself. (Matthew 22:37-39) I'm not so fussed about Trump not loving God- many people do not love God, but all major moral codes call for loving others.  Trump does not ascribe to this either.
I am told that by clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and welcoming the stranger, I am literally serving God. (Matthew 25:35-45)  Trump actively seeks to prevent this.  He steps on the backs of the least of these. And he does so with glee and abandon.

Do you see? this is not about Hilary or if she is worse. If I were surrounded by a church world who from my youth told me to eschew evil and seek after good and they were supporting Hilary, I would be writing this article about her.

This is about me as an individual voting for him. 
This is  about me ever saying that I could support any party or platform that would support him. Breaking it down to the party or the platform doesn't excuse it for me.  I guess memorizing Proverbs 4:14-19 (and all those other Proverbs about not throwing my lot in with the wicked) has ruined me.
This is me asking the church leaders why they taught me one thing, why they had me found my very life on something, and now they want me to change. 
It won't work. You did too good of a job.  I have matured, life has driven the lessons home.   My beliefs have evolved from merely something I was taught to something I believe, hold dear, and am not willing to give up. 

The division coming forth right now, the unutterable damage to the reputation of Christianity, of conservatism, of everything we have ever stood for, it is unfathomable. 
The tiny, vocal minority are being blamed, being vilified, in fact, being threatened. 
Not for changing our minds or becoming heretical, no, for merely standing right where the church has stood.
 For not laying down our witness. 
For realizing that sacrificing our credibility  to share the gospel in exchange  for "winning" a temporal election is a ludicrous trade-off.

I feel as though I'm watching everything I've ever been taught be flushed down the toilet by the very people who taught me. So yes, I'm emotional.  Yes, I'm hurt. Yes, the disappointment goes deep. 

But I'm not sitting over here like a stubborn child refusing to give in.  The very fact that the people I hold dearest are changing has caused me to turn to the scripture  over and over and over.  I have poured over political resources, I have cried, I have prayed, I have checked and double checked my reasons and yet here I am. 

For spiritual reasons I cannot vote for DJT. It will violate my conscience and my walk with Christ.

For missional reasons I cannot vote for DJT.  It will absolutely ruin any Christian witness I have, any light I have shone, any drawing others to Jesus that I have done.

For political reasons I cannot vote for DJT.  My research has shown me that the decisions of "conservative" SCOTUS are iffy at best and thus not a good enough reason.  Furthermore, DJT, even if he were a man of stellar character, has no experience to recommend him for the job. He's just not a good candidate.

For patriotic reasons I cannot vote for DJT.  I served in the US military as has my spouse and many dear friends and family members.  I will not vote for a man who says horrible things about honorable veterans who were POW or suffered mental injuries.  I will not vote for a man who will not only send soldiers into harms way with little reservations, but has boasted that he will instruct them to commit war crimes.

For humanitarian reasons I cannot vote for DJT.  He openly mocks and degrades people of other races and abilities. 

I could go on and on.  I will not.  I have many reasons, none of them arrived at lightly or flippantly, nor do I think I am gullible and have been led here (for by whom would I have been lead? the leaders have gone the other way).

Why can't I just shut up and be quiet about it?  Because, as  has been pointed out, "all it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing."  I can not do nothing.  I was taught to stand for right and good and Trump is neither right nor good.

Oh!  you say, but we must turn an eye, we must give in this once, or Hilary will win!! 
Then perhaps she must. 
But that is not my problem. That is God's problem.
He only told me to obey him, to defend righteousness. He did not guarantee that I would then "win" or get to keep my religious freedoms or continue to have an easy life. 
I see time after time in the scripture and history where people had to choose the right thing but still have a bad outcome.  That is another thing I was taught. Choose right, no matter what, no matter what others choose, no matter the outcome, leave it to God.

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

4. Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

I need you to know...

I have had people question if I should be so vocal in my push-back against the Christians for Trump movement. That perhaps is is a bad example for non-Christians to see the "struggle within the walls."

Believe me, I have thought and prayed about this and have come to the conclusion that yes, I do need to be very vocal about it. It is precisely because I have such a variety of friends, many not Christian, and some not of any religion, that I think I must be so vocal.

It is important for me (not as a matter of pride, but as a matter of defending and clarifying my faith), that you know.

You know I am a Christian, and that even though I follow Christ so imperfectly, that I do try, that I am trying.

I need you to know that first on my allegiance is Christ and his love, not the label of "Christianity" , and if the time comes to follow Him while disengaging from the 78% of white evangelical christian voters who support Trump, then disengage I will.

I need you to know that Christ commands me to love the poor, the stranger, the sick, the hurt , the minority, and the slave, and that I will be judged based on whether I cared for them. I am told that whatever I do for them, I am literally doing for Christ.   Joining forces with one who belittles and abuses them is not part of that.

I need you to know that I believe in bodily autonomy and that Christ's words strongly reprimanding those who would ever hinder the little children, that his defense of women in general and especially those who were the lowest of the social hierarchy, are evidence that sexist, abusive, and misogynistic behavior from anyone is not ok with Him, and should not be acceptable to any who call his name.

I need you to know that Humans Beings are God's special, sacred, creation and that I will support human rights before I will worry about "Christian" rights.

I need you to know that I do not understand or condone the many things that are being done, the excuses that are being made, by those who also claim the name of Christ. I confess to you my bewilderment at their actions, even as I acknowledge that I also fail so many times.

Hello. I am a Christian, my name is Jody. I am the same person you have always known. Quick on the temper but long on loyalty. Always seeking truth, always over-explaining. More interested in your values than your labels.

I just need you to know.