My friend gathered with her extended family as they often would for dinner. Given the controversial political moves since President Trump’s inauguration, however, the conversation naturally turned political.
“Well, we had to vote for Trump,” said one relative matter of factly.
Incredulously, my friend asked her why.
“Because we are Christian,” she said in all earnestness.
This idea that there is only one candidate a Christian should vote for is something I have wrestled with since right after college. My undergraduate years were a time of discovery for me, and I was far more concerned with myself than I was with anything related to Jesus. I voted for Gore precisely because my female friends told me with great terror what would happen if we had a Supreme Court justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade. I joined their opinions, and voted for what they fought for.
When I graduated college, I also fell in love with Jesus. Although I was a Christian since middle school, I didn’t have a relationship with him until 2003. Previously, it had all been theology and head knowledge. As part of giving my life to Jesus, I switched my opinions over to the Christian way of thinking, struggling to understand how I could follow Jesus, caring about what He cares for and still vote for Democratic policies that allowed for abortion, as I had done just years before.
But as I’ve wrestled with it, swinging back and forth on the political, humanitarian, and spiritual pendulum, I don’t think that blindly following the “pro-life party” is the answer. In fact, I have come to believe that being pro-life is far greater than protecting the rights of the life in the womb. In many ways (not all), the Democratic party shows value of life better than the Republicans in how they legislate for the poor and minority groups, valuing their quality of lives. The truth is, being pro-life is far greater a conviction than can neatly fit into a pre-packaged political party.
Being a Christian does not mean being a Republican.
Believe me, I wanted to vote for (in utero) pro-life policies, and I’m registered as a Republican, but I couldn’t get past the fact that the candidate I would be voting for was not one I wanted in office. I didn’t trust his policies or his character. I did not see the self-control I feel is vital for holding an office with so much world power. And a month into President Trump’s reign, I believe he has proven those concerns to be nothing but valid.
As I was wrestling with whom to vote for and asking my Christian friends and listening to Christian talk radio, the answer I repeatedly got was either, “I’m voting the lesser of two evils,” or “I’m voting for the policies, not the person.”
I can’t argue that. Not only did there not seem to be an obvious viable upstanding candidate, but also everyone needs to vote his and her conscience. That won’t always be what I would vote for, even if we share the same faith, and that’s okay. That’s what democracy is all about. I respect that people were wrestling with the same question I was and came to the answer they thought best.
I don’t think anyone ever agrees with a candidate 100%, and I don’t think (or at least I hope not) most Christians who voted for Trump agree with many of the hurtful decisions he has made since taking office. So, to those who voted for Trump for his pro-life policies and Supreme Court appointment but aren’t pleased with the other policies he is making, join the conversation: What do we do now? You were convicted to fight for certain policies, and you got them. Now what can we all do about the person in office? We don’t all have to agree on what we approve or disapprove of, but when we disapprove, let’s speak up.
Let’s call our congresspeople. Let’s peacefully protest. Let’s donate to helpful organizations, and let’s pray for Trump the person (because he is our president and we don’t need a country divided), but let’s stand up against Trump the regime and the policies that bully and oppress the people in our nation and world. Democrat, Republican, Independent, or other, when we are followers of Jesus, our convictions for Christ must supersede the expectations and policies of our parties.