On President Trump, From A Heartbroken Christian

Forgive me for not writing sooner. It has been a hard couple days. And since it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier, I might as well give it a try…

For me, my support of Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate was never really about some misplaced hope that she was going to be a leader who somehow “saved” our country in some way. Honestly, it was mostly about limiting harm. I supported her because I felt like she–of the two candidates who actually had a chance at winning–was the better choice for a person like myself… One who believes that supporting and standing in solidarity with vulnerable and oppressed populations as a spiritual practice is at the heart of what it means to follow Jesus. My firm belief is that our kids get this truth better than we do, and slowly–as bigoted people get old and die–the people of the world get closer to loving their neighbors… Closer to being able to love like Jesus… Closer to being able to see the humanity and divinity and inherent worth in all people… Closer to this thing called “the Kingdom of God.” But, like many of you, I am very impatient. Beneath the stages of grief inside of me, there is a very deep “HOW LONG, OH LORD?” welling up inside of me.

So listen–I can’t put it all together right now, but here are seven things on my mind during this difficult time… As many of us struggle with the question, “Now what?”


Image of God, image of God, image of God, image of God…

1) I hate how much I hate right now. It is really hard for me to deal with this. I usually expect people to be generally good. I don’t like feeling suspicious. I am a person who believes in an Enemy-Loving God. It is not at all impressive or out of the ordinary for people to love those whom they find easy to love. What IS impressive–and, I believe, transformational–is when people love the ones who are directly against them. I am doing a terrible job with this right now. At this point in my life, it is easy for me to love the Muslim and the queer and the immigrant and the persons of color and the poor and the stepped on and the expendables. But I read the posts of people calling themselves “Christians,” and I find very little grace inside myself. I am filled with anger. And sadness. And a dehumanizing revulsion for people I know are made in the image of God. I’m ashamed of how readily I feel this, even as I write this sentence. I have identified my enemy. It is the sort of person who uses their Christianity to defend hatred and racism and bigotry and sexism and selfishness and greed… the sort of person who defends their support of policies and leaders who install systems which reinforce ideals that are anti-Jesus in every way. And I cannot–for the life of me–figure out how to love them. But I know that’s the only way forward.  I suppose we call out hypocrisy when we see it, we stand lovingly with the ones being harmed, we remind ourselves as often as possible that our enemies are image-bearers of a God who loves them with an infinitely love, and we remember when we were stupid too. And we stay hopeful… Even when it seems crazy and pointless.

2) Separating the Christians from the “Christianists.” We need to figure out a way to distinguish between the sort of Christian who stands with the powerless and oppressed, and the ones who claim that term who use their “Christianity” as a means to some sort of power grab. I like the term “Christianist.” The word “Evangelical” is just irredeemable now. It’s never coming back. 81% of white Evangelicals voted for Trump. My preference would be to keep using the word “Christian,” because I truly believe this is what Jesus was about, and I don’t want it to be so easy for “Christianists” to dismiss us. People say that religion and politics don’t mix, but my belief in standing with “The Other” is a direct result of my spirituality, and that belief has political implications. I don’t believe that we’re all getting out of here soon in some giant rapture… We are responsible for making this place better. We are in change of taking care of the planet. We are our brother’s keeper. We are agents of change, and our hearts cry out for justice. We work with God at establishing equity and human rights for ALL people, and we make the valleys high and the mountains low. These things are inherently political… And if people calling themselves “Christians” stand against them, I will gladly stand with any Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Sikh, Buddhist, or Atheist  AGAINST the Christianists. But really… Honestly–Whatever… Keep the name “Christian” if you want. Keep the buildings. Keep it all… Just know that I am different than you.


The poor are moochers.

3) I hate to tell you this, but God is not in control. People are posting things like, “Don’t freak out… God’s got this.” No. God doesn’t “got this.” This is the mentality of people 3000 years ago who believed that when it didn’t rain, it was because “God was angry,” and it is the mentality of people who believe that God gives people cancer to “teach them something.” It is the heresy of “Everything happens for a reason,” and it turns God into a monster. It is Miracle Gro For Atheists. Everything that happens is not God’s “will.” Stop saying crap like that. Don’t put this on God… This shit is on US. And speaking of which…

4) Trump’s election was not the fault of People of Color not voting. A while ago, I almost wrote a blog post titled “Dear People Of Color: Please Save Us From Donald Trump.” But I didn’t. Because creating the foundation of white supremacy that makes a candidate like Donald Trump able to get elected, and then begging POCs to save us from the monster we created… That’s just gross. The reason we have a “President Elect Trump” is NOT because brown people didn’t vote… It’s because white people did. Here’s what that looked like:

It’s not your fault. It’s our fault. And I am so very sorry. Yesterday, I was trying to make a left hand turn by a median, and another car (turning the other way) pulled in front of me, making it impossible for me to complete my turn until he made his turn. When this happened, I shook my head in an “I’m disappointed in you” sort of way. The car had tinted windows, so I couldn’t see inside… But shortly after my disappointed head shake, the window came down to reveal a brown hand flipping me off. I must have looked like I missed it, because a moment later, it came down again–this time he made sure I could see his face as he flipped me the bird. And I was just like, “Yeah, man… I get it. Right now, I’m not a big fan of people who look like me either.” And for white people like me, who thought this man’s election was “unbelievable,” it’s not. It’s very believable. What is unbelievable is the extent of our ignorance to the reality of racism in America. Which leads to this cold reality…

5) This election was a victory for White Supremacy. It’s as simple as that. All of this opposition to “political correctness,” all of this anger against “Social Justice Warriors” and people who play the “Race Card,” all of this fragility to being called a racist and a bigot just because you support a candidate who is a racist and a bigot… It is all just a thinly-disguised strategy for normalizing white supremacy. Just like normalizing Donald Trump is normalizing the white supremacy and sexism and xenophobia and Islamophobia and bigotry that keeps the power and privilege in the hands of white men. And it emboldens the people who are very angry that they can feel their privilege slipping away with every brown face they see. And this emboldened bigotry has consequences:

There are stories of emboldened racism coming in from all over the place. Suddenly, “Go back where you came from” is not as out of fashion as it used to be. I shared a story of a young black woman who lives in a predominantly white community who encountered a woman who said, “Now that Trump will be president, we can get the nigger out of the neighborhood!” These things have real consequences. And right now, people are gloating. But to everyone gloating: You’re celebrating with the KKK. Congrats! Also…



“Jesus is only a hero because he was crucified… I like heroes who WEREN’T crucified.”

6) The majority vote is what got Jesus crucified. There’s a story in the Bible about a supposed custom during a certain festival where the governor would release one prisoner to the people. Pilate asked the people whether they wanted him to release a dangerous criminal named Barabbus, or whether they wanted to release Jesus… Whom Pilate knew was innocent. The people voted for Barabbus. The passage says the people “acted in their own interest.” Now, I’m not calling Hillary Clinton Jesus–not by a long shot–but there are certainly some parallels here. This is democracy in action. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometimes, when the ones voting are angry and acting out of self-interest, bad stuff happens. But it’s the best system we’ve got. And let’s be real… The reason this election is a big deal is because there are actually a lot of white people who are upset about Trump’s presidency. If it were just black folks who were angry, there wouldn’t be nearly as much noise… Because our privilege amplifies our white voices. And if you’re like me, and you feel way outnumbered by dip shits too, and you feel like your voice isn’t being heard–Congratulations! You have just a very small taste of what it feels like to be a minority. Now go use every bit of your privilege and voice to help those who don’t have either. Which leads me to my last one. Most importantly…

7) There is work to do. There is so much work to do. And here is something true and good:

If you call out racism or sexism or bigotry or any of these “ISMs” and “phobias” that are powered by white supremacy, chances are really good you will trigger people’s defenses. They will credit your speaking up to “political correctness” instead of an appeal to human decency. Keep speaking up. They will treat your ideals of a standard of kindness like it is a punchline to some demented joke. Keep speaking up. We need to do better. Cry. Mourn. Grieve. But don’t give up. Find a way to love. Remember a time you were wrong. Forgive people… Not for them, but because it sets you free. Find someone who feels extra vulnerable and unsafe right now, and give them a hug. Tell them you love them. And for God’s sake, keep speaking up. Not because you have any hope of changing them–Because there are children watching. Here is a glimmer of hope: This is how the future voted…

And as our kids see us speaking up, they instinctively know right from wrong. They will see bravery, and they will gravitate toward it. They will hear our rationality, and it will resonate with their own deep sense of goodness. And before long, the ones who voted for this man will have gotten old and died. And our children–as they often are–will be better than we were at understanding and defending and loving the people who are different than us. And slowly… Sometimes so slowly and imperceptibly it makes me cry while I type words on my computer… Slowly, the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice… And slowly, even now, this world is being transformed into the Kingdom of God.

I have a family. I’d love to be able to support them by writing. Someday, that might be a reality, but in the meantime, every little bit of your support helps. If you value my writing and this blog, and you’d like to be a Patron and give a few dollars a month, you can do that RIGHT HERE. If you’d like to leave a tip or “boost” a post on Facebook, you can give on PAYPAL. These things help so much. What also helps is this: When you connect with something–whether it’s something I’ve written, or something someone else has written–SHARE IT. Share it on Facebook. Share it on Twitter. Don’t be afraid to rattle the cage a bit. Conflict can be uncomfortable and messy, but, again… There are children watching. Show them how to say something when saying something isn’t easy. Disfunction attempts to make speaking up so uncomfortable that people don’t say anything… And when people don’t speak up, things don’t change. And there are some things that really need to change. Be better than disfunction. Be brave. 


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25 Responses to On President Trump, From A Heartbroken Christian

  1. Doniel Hayes says:

    Thank you. A million times, thank you sir

  2. caseycallaham says:

    Well said.

  3. Paul says:

    Thank you for so eloquently expressing many of the feelings I’ve been struggling to articulate.

  4. Amanda says:

    Your wife is so lucky. I just wish you had a single brother who shared your point of view 😉
    This is exactly how you I feel. I’m devastated that people of my own faith aren’t standing with the least of these. Thanks for taking my gut wrenching emotions and making them intelligible thoughts

  5. Greg Sadlier says:

    From this grieving Canadian neighbour thank you. I read your article, and shared it only to find out that we have mutual friends from Gracepointe – of course.

  6. Chris says:

    Sir: I completely agree with what you say here – what I’ve been wanting to say but haven’t been able to articulate. Keep writing!

  7. Leslie says:

    Thank you for this. I’m Canadian and watching all of this play out, but was also traveling through the US on election day and the day after, and my heart is just heavy right now. Everything you shared is exactly what’s on my heart right now as a believer and as your neighbor. Jesus told us that the greatest commandment was to love God with everything in us, and the second greatest was to love our neighbors. We take that too lightly and want to push it down the line, but if we’re true Christ followers we don’t get that option. We just don’t. It was definitive. Know that I’m mourning with you, and will be fighting with you to love.

  8. Thank you for writing and sharing this perspective ❤

  9. Dee @ One Income says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I love the blue map depicting the young voting demographic. It gives me hope for the future! Thank you for writing!

  10. Fawn Ganong says:

    Thank you for saying everything I have been thinking and feeling so eloquently. Almost all my Christian friends and relatives are “Christianists” who voted for Trump. I am so encouraged to know how the future voted.

  11. Ingrit Vogt says:

    I completely agree with what you say here: thank you! For us in Brazil it matters who was ellected in the US. We are still trying to understand what’s happening in our country. It’s not quite different – maybe.

  12. Malinda Leigh says:

    On Wednesday after the election when I read who won, I burst into tears-complete heaving sobs.As a woman I felt ths was a kick in the teeth for all women as regardless of what the trump supporters say, you cannot disconnect his hateful rhetoric from his economic policy, nor discount how his victory would embolden his outright racist supporters-especially the freaking KKK. The ones I wanted to shake are the entire churches who actively pursued getting trump to the white house-I mean seriously, what Jesus do you follow? And what bible are you readin? I was hurt and defeated, crying off and on all day at work, Then two seperate co-workers, one of color the other Islamic posted essentially Thanks white America, for clarifying my position in your world. I was heart broken for them-then the scales fell from my eyes-the despair I felt for watching “evangelicals” choose hate over compassion was a jaded feeling they had most every day-that most days they suffer injustice and because we don’t recognize it, we don’t stand up for them. And I was mad as hell. Our country just elected an administration that sets back civil liberties decades, if not centuries. Those people saying God placed trump in the whitehouse are delusional.
    What I pray happens is everyone keeps pushing social change and equality and the minute the new administration starts pushing something that marginalizes any social group we flood congress wth letters and boycott businesses. And I will donate $ and time. I participated in a Love trumps hate rally in Houston yesterday. It was peaceful and actually encouraging to see the variety of walks of life coming out to say hey, even in Houston Texas we see what is happenng and we aren’t going to take it. It felt like a unfied call to action (albeit a little too late) whihc is just what my broken heart needs to mend. And to my “evangelical” friends, you are welcome to keep unfriending me, because I will post every administration misstep, every instance of discrimination and hate crimes-at work if I see anyone being marginalized I will speak up, in public, if some knucklehead so much as breathes a negative thought in front of me I will record, speak up and stand up. During the run up to election day, I tried. And many friends said I needed ot lay off, I wasn’t going to change minds. What I replied-that I imagine in Nazi Germany there was a large fraction of the populous who felt such a huge responsibility for not calling out the injustice and potential for facism with the third reich that there was no way I wasn’t going to use social media to share well researched information pointing out the hate rhetoric of the trump campaign. I did not and do not want that blood on my hands and I refuse to allow anything like the Holocaust to happen in my lifetime. Posting wasn’t enough then, so now I act hands on, with my pocketbook and my time. I will be brave, knowing Jesus will give me strength, even when the “evangelicals” tell me I am going to hell for fighting for a woman right to choose (all while they support the death penalty). Lord give me strength. You, boeskool-please, keep posting. There are many of us out here-Christians who are left thinking and progressive and who still believe it is the Christian duty to change the world for the good of all people because that is love. And the greatest of these is love.

  13. Margaret says:

    I have been reading your blog for about 5 easays or so. Your thoughts resonate with me more than anything I’ve read online or heard in the news.
    Since the election I have been deeply sad. Your latest essay sums it up. I am neither Christian or Athiest. I am somewhere between. But you speak in a way that goes right to my heart. Thank you. I’m now a patron. ❤️

  14. rsw73 says:

    Thank you so much for this. I’m still heartbroken and feel nothing I can say to my readers will make a dent, or be worthwhile. Thank you so much for all of this. ❤

  15. joesantus says:

    “And as our kids see us speaking up, they instinctively know right from wrong”.

    “Instinctively” Really? Where does that notion come from? It’s a wonderful sentiment, but do you actually have proof that people “instinctively” know right from wrong — and, more, that they instinctively agree with your personal ideas of right and wrong, BOESKOOL?
    Or, is your statement simply another of your “I-make-up-my-own-beliefs-based on-what-I-wish-the-world-and-reality-actually-would-be”?
    Can you expect those whose behavior is based on unfounded beliefs to listen to you, if your own beliefs are unfounded and no more than your own “I-want-truth-and-reality-to-be-such-a-way”?

    • theboeskool says:

      Hey. Listen… Even the notion of a “good” argument testifies against your idea, Joe.

      The idea of quality is everywhere, and it is not make-believe. We don’t need to think of it in terms of “This is good/This is bad.” We can still see the truth of “goodness” existing outside of our own construct by dealing with things in terms of “better/worse.” It’s not like one decision is fully “good” or fully “bad.” But in almost all instances, self-sacrifice for another is “better” than self-preservation at the expense of another. Generosity is “better” than greed. Love is “better” than hate. Truth is “better” than lies.

      This may not always be the law of the jungle (though it sometimes is–you should watch “I Am” on Netflix), but we are different than animals in some ways.

      • joesantus says:

        Sure…but, as ADULTS, who’ve had time to experience, deliberate, and weigh the events, attitudes, behaviors, results, consequences in life, then actively draw conclusions.

        But, as “KIDS”, and as “instinctively”? No — that’s your wishful thinking, Boeskool. There’s no proof of intuitive or instinctive “knowing of what’s the right and what’s the wrong” in children. Nor of kids instinctively knowing “better or worse” when it’s a matter of the ethics and values involved in relating to other humans.

        And, anyway, YOU are the one who clearly used the phrase, “right and wrong”, not “better/worse”, weren’t you?

        But, sure, if you’re admitting “right and wrong” was a fail in your wording, and you were actually thinking, “better/worse”…and you’re acknowledging that kids don’t instinctively know but are TAUGHT ethics and values (as an integral to a self-aware species that’s wired to actively nurture their offspring)…then “better/worse” as a qualitative assesment is not make-believe.

        But better/worse is not some universal understood-and-agreed –because whatever you and I might define to be “generosity” and “greed”, another person sincerely defines as reckless and necessary. The “severe corporal discipline” and the “we don’t give handouts” you and I might assess as “worse” and as “hate”, someone else defines as “better” and “love”. What you and I might see as “truth”, another sincerely sees as “lies” which are deceiving you and me. Humans do not instinctively recognize or affirm an intrinsic worth to attitudes and behaviors. Rather, as individuals and as societies, we assign worth to them. “One human’s liberator is another human’s terrorist”. Regrettably, much of that assigning results from “make-believes” and wishful thinkings. And, in that, no, we’re not like animals — because, other animals face reality as it is, without insisting it’s otherwise.

        Unless you strive to have rational, objective grounds for your “such-and-such is better, and thus-and thus is worse”, then, your “betters/worses” are as arbitrary as the beliefs and behaviors of those you criticize; and, you end up pitting your “make-believe” of “what-and-how-I-wish-the-world-and-reality-was” against their make-believe-of-what-they-wish-reality-was.

  16. I am a sincere believer in and follower of Jesus Christ. I made my support for Donald Trump based on the fact that the policies he advocates are far more in line with Biblical principles than are those of the Democratic party. He is a flawed individual, as we all are to varying degrees. But the media and the Clinton machine very falsely twisted and amplified his faults and failed to report background information that would belie their accusations of bigotry, misogyny, etc.
    Regarding the party platforms and thus the stance of their candidates: How does a person not see that ripping babies out of the womb and redefining marriage to something the Bible throughout calls an abomination are things that don’t line up with being a follower of Christ. We are to love everyone, but that is not to be equated with saying anything a person wants to do ought to be endorsed as OK or that the Bible doesn’t speak to it when it clearly does. Following this way of defining “Christian love” can lead to incest, mercy-killing, and any number of perversions some people want to call their genetic predisposition. The Bible teaches that we all have a spiritual predisposition toward rebellion and self-worship. The boundaries for behavior given in the Bible are not to restrict joyful living, but rather to protect it. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of it is death.” In the same way that good parents teach their children right from wrong while loving them, God’s laws for Christians and the laws of a country for its citizens are for defining what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. I don’t love my kids any less when they do wrong, but I don’t endorse their wrong behavior to prove to them that I love them. While there are doubtless some homophobes in our country, calling everyone who doesn’t believe homosexuality is proper “homophobic” is not only inaccurate and unfair, it’s ridiculous.

  17. joesantus says:

    Argumentations may be casually described as “good”, but I’m sure you aren’t meaning that “the goodness” of an argument is “good” in the moral sense of the “goodness” you assign to, say, a behavior, are you? Argumentation may be “good” in the sense of “logical, coherent, persuasive, superior in construction and/or effect”; but surely you don’t mean “good” in the sense of “intrinsic moral worth, virtue, righteousness”? An argument for cold-blooded, spontaneous murder may be as equally “good” as one condemning it.

    And, to the contrary, “many things” can stand up to objectivity and rationality. Gravity and electricity immediately come to mind as “things” that are universally-recognized whether or not someone denies she/he could fall or be electrocuted by lightning. If you premise “gravity” or “electricity” and then develop practical subsequents, you premise from universally-agreeds. “Shame” then consequents from objectively-established “norms” of gravity and electricity.

    But, you premise from any sort of “wishfuls” — as in, “a deity exists who establishes definitions of ‘love’, ‘morality’, ‘rightness’ ” (and, as you’ve replied to me to a question I asked you about your basis for your beliefs), especially when “I-don’t-even-claim-that-deity-exists-for-sure” — then you find yourself in the dilemma you faced with “sincere believer’ above. It merely becomes your wishful premise versus his wishful premise. What for him is shameful for you is virtuous.

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