White Christians Must Resist an Age of Tyranny

This week President Trump showed unadulterated support for a murderous tyrant by embracing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s worldview, even as Putin undermines our democracy. If it wasn’t clear before, it should be now: America is headed toward tyranny and people of faith must speak out.

Christians, who value the dignity of every human being as created in God’s image and therefore value democratic governance, must resist him. We cannot support a president who calls good evil and evil good. A nation under a cruel and oppressive government cannot sustain a flourishing democracy.

Trump deliberately and consistently blurs the bright lines between good and evil. He insults Haiti and African nations without apology. He sees fault “on both sides” when white nationalists march through the streets of an American city. He praises dictators who brutally murder their people.

Since so many white evangelicals are captive to the false gospel of white nationalism preached by our President and his spiritual advisers, Christians who follow the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ must be especially loud in our opposition to the ideology preached by false prophets.

Murderous dictatorial regimes are incompatible with the Christian vision of governance. Putin murders his political opponents. Putin puts Christian missionaries and other religious minorities in jail. Putin assassinates his political opponents. Putin despises democracy. Putin is giving Trump lessons.

Holocaust historian Timothy Snyder reminds us that when Hitler rolled into Austria his racist attack on Jews was met by little resistance. In fact, many Austrians joined in enthusiastically. Hitler realized he could proceed with his genocidal vision for an Aryan humanity more quickly than he had thought. Hitler placed Nazi-sympathizing “German Christians” in positions of power throughout the established Lutheran Church of Germany. The Confessing Church was formed to resist the Nazification of the church. It did not represent a majority, but its resistance was critical. We need a modern Confessing Church.

We still have a democracy here in the U.S., but it is in great peril.

By equating oppressive leaders with liberty and neo-Nazis with peaceful protesters, Trump has once again shown his goal is tyranny that like that of Putin’s Russia, which targets its citizens because of their race, religion and sexuality.

Autocracy, exploitation and racism are counter to the will of God. Biblical heroes challenged and outwitted tyrants, from Pharaoh (Moses) to Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel), to Artaxerxes III (Esther), to Caesar (Jesus) to emperor Domitian (St John in Revelation). All humans are created in the image of God and must be treated with dignity and respect. God’s preference is for those most persecuted by the world’s tyrants: immigrant, the refugee, the widow, the orphan– those oppressed by tyranny. God warns that those who do not rule justly will face judgement.

Trump’s embrace of Putin comes after he insulted  democratic Europe several times and left the United Nations Human Rights Commission. With words (and potentially deals struck in back rooms) Trump is systematically undermining the world’s embrace of democratic and human rights norms. This after showing just how far he can go by separating immigrant families, ripping nursing babes from their mothers’ arms even as they ask for asylum.

From the start of this administration religious leaders have raised the alarm about Trump’s white supremacist agenda. Days after he appointed Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions as his top advisers, religious leaders decried Trump’s “cabinet of bigotry.” Religious leaders led the front lines to defend Charlottesville from white supremacy. And they led in Brownsville as the details of a morally bankrupt ‘zero tolerance’ policy to immigration became clear.

Some white evangelical Christians will continue to walk lock step with the President. By embracing a president who embraces white supremacy and dictators they bring shame to the gospel and the Christian faith.

It is time we take Trump at his word. He has said he wants a whiter America. He has signaled that he prefers autocracy to democracy.

As a Christian minister, I must be honest in calling this a road to tyranny. We all must be firm in resisting this toxic white supremacy.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Ivan T. Errible

    There is no god.

  • DHFabian

    On “Trump’s embrace of Putin,” a ludicrous notion in view of the measures Trump has taken to provoke war with Russia, are you, too, in support of increased tensions with the potential for catastrophic nuclear war?

  • DHFabian

    How do yo0u know?

  • CroneEver

    Amen. These times are sifting people like wheat. Stand strong. The best resistance is to practice the Gospel.

  • How you weave a story of deceit and conflation to conclude what. That you must stand against a road to tyranny? You are on a road all right. It is leading you straight to hell for preaching sedition. Your words belie your understanding of democracy. Those of us who voted for President Trump and support him are glad that the era of the Progressives has been exposed for the evil it is.

    Who in their right mind would make the statements below:

    “A nation under a cruel and oppressive government cannot sustain a flourishing democracy.”
    “We still have a democracy here in the U.S., but it is in great peril.”
    “By embracing a president who embraces white supremacy and dictators they bring shame to the gospel and the Christian faith.”
    “As a Christian minister, I must be honest in calling this a road to tyranny.”

    A Christian Minster would not post this garbage.

  • David

    “As a Christian minister, I must be honest” well you blew that one, perhaps try again using facts?

  • mjp1800

    “A Christian Minster would not post this garbage.”

    Not one that rejects wholesale the message of the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures, I guess.

  • Timothy Weston

    The irony is that authoritarianism is how the conservative Christians that voted for him stay in power.

  • Do not confuse partisan politics with biblical comparisons.

  • mjp1800

    Then don’t claim this nation is a Christian one.

  • Most understand that our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principals; often shortened to Christian.
    Today we continue the downward spiral into destruction that has been prophesied long ago.
    We are really a Constitutional Republic that guarantees Freedom of Religion and Speech. Thus haters like the Minister who wrote this blog have the freedom to do so. Do you claim she is a Christian?

  • mjp1800

    My discernment is that she is standing up for beliefs I would describe as consistent with Christianity.

    As for you, it seems you want to have it both ways. You want to claim we are a Christian nation, and then block off a Biblical critique of same. I don’t see that as logically consistent.

  • Possible. But what she is really doing is writing a blog that she thinks other like minded Liberals will appreciate.
    There is a big difference in Founded (1776) and Current State (2018). I didn’t say we are a Christian nation. A nation that embraces Abortion as a birth control method and recognizes SSM cannot seriously be considered Christian in a biblical sense.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Because there’s no difference between those who believe and those who don’t.

  • Martha Anne Underwood

    Jen Butler, you are so right. Trump and the evangelicals who voted for him are ruining our country. As Christians we are supposed to put the God above all and follow Christ’s path of love. We need to stand up and speak out on the tyranny we face in our country now.

  • Martha Anne Underwood

    She did use facts. If you are saying she is lying then give proof.

  • Rudy Schellekens

    I am not a trump lover, although I AM a Republican. I do find the article troublesome. You may (or may not) remember how chummy Roosevelt was with Stalin. Stalin, who was responsible for the death of at least FORTY (40) MILLION Russians. You may (or may not) remember how Chummy Ambassador Kennedy was with the Nazi regime. Or how chummy Presidents were with the Shah of Persia.
    Politics makes strange bedfellows, and always has throughout history.

  • Steve Bailey

    Thank you, Jen. You encapsulate the situation beautifully. Your fourth paragraph about the false Gospel that American Evangelicals have unfortunately bought into is crucial. The false prophets of the currently very ‘uncivil’ American religion must be soundly called out and rebuked by Christians who are not afraid to lift up Jesus Christ and His Gospel. I’m appalled that 80% of Southern Baptists buy into the Trump heresy and fail to recognize the profound damage he and his minions are causing to your once great country – a country we have looked to in the past to defend the values expressed in its Constitution.

  • Mr. James Parson

    “the Christian vision of governance”

    What is that?

    I wonder how I will be treated as an atheist. I wonder if I will have hide who I am, again?

  • Mr. James Parson

    There could be something somewhere that someone would call a God.

  • Mr. James Parson

    There is strong evidence that an interactive God does not exist.