It’s a new era now, and not a particularly good one for progressives now that Donald Trump is president. We are toiling now under a government that has the complete opposite intentions as us, and it can get frustrating. So, the question now is, what is the job of a progressive in the Trump era?
It’s no secret that Donald Trump’s policies are not very progressive at all. Already, after his first 100 or so days, he’s enacted (or tried to enact) legislation to revoke health care from millions of low-income people, ban refugees based solely on national origin, and his cabinet speaks out against oppressed people like the LGBT community while President Trump’s silence at their policies implies complicity. Also, while our leaders have always been sinners, and continue to sin in office, the election of Trump, who not only brags about his sin, but also claims he does not need God’s forgiveness for his sin (something that is against what the Bible says, by the way). It’s going to be a rough four years for progressive Christians. So what can we do?
There seems to be different ways to react to Donald Trump’s presidency by liberals. We are familiar with the marches that have occurred to protest what Trump has done and to remind others that similar actions in the future won’t be tolerated. There has been unprecedented levels of people contacting their representatives in Congress (and here, by the way, is a great article that spells out the best ways and not-so-good ways to successfully get your view to your Congressional representative). Activism is at an all-time high. Articles have been written on how to be a protestor in the age of Trump. One popular tactic is to de-legitimize Trump with names (Drumpf, Cheeto-skinned, wank-puffin, moron), whereas others, like myself feel that while his policies are ripe for ridicule, he should be treated with the same respect as others; after all we make sure to call people by their chosen names and pronouns in the wake of rampant anti-trans-ism, why should that only extend to those we agree with? So, what is the “right” way progressive Christians are to protest non-progressive policies?
Well, as Christians we should always look to what Jesus did for answers to hard questions. (I know “What Would Jesus Do?” has become somewhat trite, but it can be a good reminder.)
Well, while Jesus of course did not walk the earth in the age of Donald Trump, the leaders of his day were just as much against his teachings as ours are. Even many of the religious leaders had disdain for Jesus’ words of putting the well being of people before the rigid interpretation of the law. The cries from the Pharisees of adherence to the law of the Scriptures rather than treating others with God’s compassion wouldn’t be out of place in our modern world.
One of Jesus’ teachings was https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5%3A43-47&version=NIV. Jesus was saying this against enemies that wanted to kill and crucify believers, including Jesus himself. Enemies openly hostile to him. A few verses earlier in the passage, He talks about turning the other cheek, “do not resist an evil person”.
“But, he also had harsh words against the Pharisees! “Woe to you, Pharisees” was a key theme of Matthew 23!” Yes, Jesus’ words for the Pharisees are very different from what he says against those who are actively trying to kill us. But keep in mind who each is for; the first passage, the “non-violent resistance” part if you will, are against the Romans, those that don’t know God. We are to be non-violent towards them, to show them God’s true mercy and grace. Yet towards that do claim to know God, the hypocritical religious elders, Jesus wants us to get mad. To show them what God actually says.
Trump claims he’s a Christian. It is our job in the next four years to remind him what Christ actually said. To keep protesting laws that aren’t His. And to always demonstrate Christ in whatever we do. Put on your full Gospel armour and prepare for taking on the administration with the words of Jesus. Dialogue with others, especially other Christians, is key. Sitting down and talking with others, and letting them know about what Jesus actually says, is key. As I mentioned in a previous post, Jesus had these conversations with the “religious right” of his day too. Figures such as Ken Burns and Trevor Noah also suggest talking to others. And this is Jesus’ example. Talk. Inform. Write your congressmen and remind them to defend the oppressed. Correct the oppressors. #resist
Apologies that this post has taken so long to write, my life has just been really busy with one thing or another lately. Rest assured, though, I still do have several more article ideas, and I’d also like to strongly suggest that, if you don’t already, to follow our Facebook page, as it’s easy for me to share there, usually bits from other progressive sites I see that I want to pass on. Think of it as this blog but by a better writer. Make no mistake, in the age of Donald Trump, progressive Christianity is more important than ever, and I hope this is your place for progressive ideas.