The 2024 US Presidential election kicked off final week with an enormous win for Donald Trump within the Iowa caucuses, as he seeks the Republican Party’s nomination. His choice as Republican candidate is beginning to really feel inevitable, particularly now that Ron DeSantis – considered one of his primary opponents – has withdrawn from the race and thrown his assist behind Trump.
A staggering 53% of these calling themselves white evangelical Christians mentioned in an Iowa exit poll that they voted for Trump. If that is repeated throughout the nation, he might be re-elected to the presidency on the again of extremely tribal faith-based endorsements.
It is genuinely baffling to most British Christians that so lots of our US counterparts can assist a person of Trump’s – hardly Christlike – character and actions. And this time spherical, the prospect of his election threatens to destabilise the complete globe, as he proposes to withdraw assist from Ukraine and pull out of NATO.
It’s a supply of consolation and encouragement to me that the UK is much much less politically tribal than the US on non secular traces. I’ve many cross-party friendships with Christian MPs. We can share a religion whereas disagreeing on politics.
But the depths of US divisions have trampled down the center floor of politics. We can see this within the UK to an extent following the prolonged Brexit disagreements, the Corbyn years and the present (profitable) makes an attempt by the Reform party to wrench Conservative immigration insurance policies onto their agenda.
In America the divisions are deeper and wider. There, politics seems to have became a query of salvation: vote for whichever chief is most probably to save lots of you from the threats you imagine are battering on the door.
Trump’s workforce have capitalized on a worry, held by many right-leaning white Christians, that liberal, Islamist and Marxist forces are searching for to destroy society. They have used “Make America Great Again” to advertise a cultural Christian id that their supporters imagine is underneath risk. It is predicated round saving America from a hostile world. And they’re utilizing extremely non secular, quasi-Messianic language, resembling within the widely-shared “God Made Trump” video which paints him as God’s handpicked caretaker ruler to protect American tradition and “a shepherd to mankind who will not ever depart them or forsake them.”
Incredibly to us, this appears to be hitting the mark. One Trump supporter was quoted within the New York Times as saying: “he’s the one saviour I can see”. Another acknowledged that the election is “a part of a religious battle” with Trump anticipated to dish out “retribution in opposition to all those that have promoted evil on this nation.”
Of course many additionally oppose Trump’s nomination. A nationwide survey giving voters a Trump vs Biden choice in 2024 present 76% of white evangelical Protestants supporting Trump, in addition to greater than half of white Catholics and white non-evangelical Protestants. By distinction, 79% of Black Protestant voters assist Biden, together with two thirds of religiously unaffiliated and non-Christian non secular voters.
I’m actually not suggesting that folks of religion ought to solely vote Democrat nor am I suggesting that no Christian may ever vote for Trump, however I do worry that many white evangelicals are being deceived by Trump. In dismissing his character and actions as irrelevant, they usually quote Jesus’s phrases from Mark 12:13-17. The Pharisees tried to catch him out by bringing him a Roman coin and asking whether or not they need to pay taxes to Caesar. His reply was: “give again to Caesar what’s Caesar’s, and to God what’s God’s”.
These verses are used to argue that folks ought to preserve religion in a non-public sphere. By all means, present love, kindness and forgiveness in your private life. But you possibly can safely abandon any annoying Christian values within the political combat. In that context, it is argued, it’s fantastic to behave with malice and anger, stoking division and tradition battle. Different guidelines apply and the tip justifies the means.
But I do not suppose Jesus meant this. He certainly meant one thing way more radical, which is equally disturbing and unpalatable to each left and proper. You see, the coin bore Caesar’s picture and so Jesus shrugs and says that it ought to be given to Caesar. But Genesis 1 tells us that, in contrast to the coin, people bear God’s picture.
Jesus is saying right here that you simply belong – and may give your self completely – to God. Christians are known as to use and dwell out Christ’s teachings in each a part of our lives. You should not then suit your religion to conveniently fit your politics, however should humbly tailor your politics to be devoted to the One whose picture you bear.
So let’s be praying for these key US elections, and for Christians to make use of their votes properly and faithfully. And let’s additionally pray for these of no religion to not be delay Christianity – or Christ – by the willingness of so many to deal with Trump as the brand new Messiah.
In the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, the Devil makes an attempt to lure a brand new believer away from the religion by making him give attention to the weirdness of some Christians, quite than on the surprise of the true Jesus. Let’s pray that non-Christians usually are not delay from investigating Jesus’s direct attraction to them, which may be present in John 3:16.