The Ends Don’t Justify The Mean

The Ends Don’t Justify The Mean August 15, 2018

In 2016, 80% of Evangelical Christians said they’d found the political candidate God wanted them to vote for.

He declared bankruptcy four times.

He had multiple affairs, and was currently on his third marriage.

He discriminated against people of color when he was a landlord.

He bragged about sexually assaulting women.

He lied about his weight and refused to show his tax returns.

But evangelicals shrugged it off, went to the polls, and handed him the presidency of the nation they still insisted was “under God,” whose currency is marked with the words, “In God We Trust.”

While he was campaigning, he had criticized the sitting president for taking too many vacations.  He told his supporters, “I’m going to be working for you.  I’m not going to have time to play golf.”  And then proceeded to spend 19 out of his first 26 weekends as president….playing golf.

He alienated allies.  He delivered speeches with more lies than truth.  He surrounded himself with criminals and crooks and colluders.

As his destructive behavior played out on the national — and international — stage, some evangelicals became defensive of their choice.  Others grew silent, unable to defend their support of a man whose actions, they finally admitted, were simply indefensible.

The cognitive dissonance that evangelicals who continue to support their choice must practice is mind-blowing.

The Bible tell us that God values honesty and truth and yet, they said, this same God led them to vote for a man who made 3001 misleading statements in his first 466 days of office, averaging 6.5 untruths every day.

The Bible tells us that that we’re to love our enemies and be peacemakers and yet, they said, this same God led them to vote for a man with a fragile ego who lashes out in anger at anyone who disagrees with him.

The Bible tells us we’re to show compassion to everyone, especially to “the least of these,” and yet, they said, their allegiance to this sacred book led them to vote for a man under whose watch screaming children were ripped from their parents’ arms.  And abused, starving, frightened people seeking asylum in the country that claimed to open its arms to the “tired, poor…yearning to breathe free” were condemned as criminals instead of receiving compassionate care.

This week the man evangelicals said was God’s choice to lead our nation went on a seven-tweet rant in which he called a black woman a wacky, deranged, lowlife, vicious dog.

Evangelicals’ support for a man who is nothing like God, in the very name of God, is cause for alarm.  And grief.  And repentance. 

Enough is Enough.

This is not a political issue.  I don’t care if people vote Democrat or Republican or Green Party or Independent out of political ideologies and fiscal preferences.  I do, on the other hand, care about what people who claim to follow Jesus do in the name of God.

Using God to justify an ungodly choice is a heart-level spiritual issue that belies an ugly truth.

Either we don’t understand the heart of God at all, and in a lifetime of church-attending we understood nothing about the radical, unconditional love of Jesus we are called to practice.

Or, we simply don’t care.  We twist God’s words and willfully misuse theology because we’ve decided that we’d rather have power than peace, we prefer expediency over ethics, we’d rather be mighty than meek, we’d rather live into the physical realities of war and politics and border control than allow Love to open the eyes of our hearts to see the spiritual reality that calls us to see everyone as our brothers and sisters, that calls us to tear down walls not build new ones, that calls us to sacrifice everything we are and have for others’ greater good.

My friends, it’s time to acknowledge that the ends don’t justify supporting a man who is angry, fragile, hostile and mean.

It’s time to repent and get to the work God actually calls us to do: to practice compassion, to make peace, to bless our enemies, to offer hospitality to strangers, to advocate for the marginalized and to love the world the way that God continues to so love us.

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Illithid

    Bravo! And I’m an atheist, but I admire people with the guts to call out hypocrisy. Keep it up.

  • This article is well put and to the point…the hypocrisy that hovers over those that claim to be Christians, but yet allow their bigotry to not only vote for Trump, but defend him in the asinine excuse that was chosen in the name of God. To be Christian means to be a follower of Christ and his teachings and nowhere does Jesus adhere to and praise a person remotely in semblance to this Trump of greed and narcissism. Instead, right-wing evangelicals have become complicit in Trumps actions…

  • jcarpenter

    Don’t forget DT’s casinos . . . or are evangys o.k. with gambling as well? (Sorry for piling on . . . )

  • ashpenaz

    I voted for Hillary for the same reasons Franklin Graham voted for Trump–I chose a flawed human being who I thought would best represent my Christian values–universal health care, compassion for immigrants, GLBTQIA+ rights, respect for women, etc. If Graham can support Trump, why does he condemn other Christians who supported Hillary or Obama? We all have to make political calculations–no matter what side of the aisle, we will always have to vote for fallen humans. I’ll forgive Graham for voting for Trump when he forgives me for voting for Hillary.

  • Wesley

    i do in a way believe that Trump was God’s choice for president to bring judgment upon our nation and church. God gave us Trump reluctantly like he gave ancient Israelites Saul as their king for we have rejected Him as our king. Trump is exposing the religious right for what it was the entire time a movement for political power as they were behind the push to impeach Bill Clinton after Paula Jones came out about their affair before he ran as president, yet continue to support Trump with his known past affairs, who is being sued by a porn star for their affair besides the fact she was given hush money along with a playboy model in the middle of Trump 2016 presidential campaign. i do wonder what the founders of the religious right who have passed would think of the movement continued support for a president being sued by a porn star over their past affair. it is ironic that SBC pastors have conveniently forgotten a resolution dealing with moral character from our leaders drafted after Clinton’s first affair broke with when Trump one the GOP nomination. what is worse is their attacks against Russell Moore for just reminding them of this resolution.

  • Audrey

    80% support. It really is sickening and disgusting.
    I’m guessing Sarah is not being invited to say these same things in large evangelical churches?

  • The Mouse Avenger

    You know, I’ve kinda been thinking about Trump’s presidency that way, too!

  • The Mouse Avenger

    Amen, amen, amen!

  • HematitePersuasion

    The evangelical movement, under the direction of Jerry Falwell and his contemporaries, attempted to make their religion politically powerful.

    They only succeeded in making politics their religion.

  • HematitePersuasion

    King Log vs. King Heron? ( <== clickable link for those unfamiliar with the reference)

  • jekylldoc

    Well, this would mean a lot more coming from a prominent evangelical Christian. I’m just nauseated by the guy. I don’t care to judge anyone else’s politics based on religion. Happy to discuss my reasons for being nauseated, but their walk with God is on them. Better, I think, would be to learn more about reconciliation methods and make the effort.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    All this tells me is that these fake christians were terrible people to begin with and used Trump as a shield and excuse for that innate behavior to come forward and thrive. At least we all know who the phonies, the ones to stay away from, and proud bigots/racists are.

    When you think of Jesus’ teachings and if he were to come back today, he’d be called a socialist muslim hippie liberal and cast out by those who go to church every Sunday so they feel better about themselves, further justifying said terrible behavior.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    And they’re succeeding in turning off generations from religion of all kinds, so I say, “bravo!”

  • Iron Mike

    What a silly, shallow, judgemental condemnation of voters facing a Faustian choice between two EXTREMELY flawed candidates. If your argument was as non-political as you claim, you would have acknowldeged Clinton’s glaring moral failings and the dilemma faced by voters. No such charity for voters today it appears.

    Christians had to choose a President, not a moral theologian. Ultimately, only one candidate was even remotely close to biblical values and only one professed a commitment to protect the lives of the unborn. Even if Christians could only find 20% agreement with Trump, it was 20% more than his competitor. A more productive argument might be made for better candidates, rather than condemning voters.

  • Alan

    I like to think that, in much the same way as God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute to expose Israel’s faithlessness, God did indeed command evangelicals to vote for an anti-Christ to expose the faithlessness of American evangelicals. Trump may yet turn out to be one of this country’s best presidents ever, as he exposes the moral rot at the core of our evangelicalism. What a great foundation for Christian renewal in this country! We’re hitting bottom and now we’re forced to confront how far we’ve moved from the teachings of Jesus, and how we’ve substituted American culture (and racism and other-hating) for the gospel.

  • Imnoaheinstein

    Interesting response. What evidence do you have that Mr. Trump exhibits a life “even remotely close to biblical values.” Exactly which biblical values does he practice that impress you? Do you honestly think that God wanted you to put your faith and vote on the line for this known King Midas? Really? As to comparing him to Hillary, that’s hardly the question. You must measure a person not by their competition, but according to your own values and beliefs. You could have voted for a 3rd party, as many of us did, letting that vote reflect your personal values as a believer, hence refusing to play the political game. But you chose to give your heart, mind and your vote to Donald Trump because his values are more in line with your biblical understanding of God’s will. This is very difficult for many of us to comprehend. My estimation is that Christianity in America has been dealt a severe and irreparable blow for generations to come because of your decision.

  • Tom Borromeo

    with respect, … does ABORTION ring a bell ?
    For Catholics, Christians basically, that is still a BIGGIE !

    What is legal does not necessarily mean it is moral.
    History has shown as this many times.
    :/

  • Tom Borromeo

    When you point at someone, … know that there are 3 fingers pointing right back at you.

    “GLASS HOUSES …” does that ring a bell.

    Point is somewhat valid & understood, but taken to this ‘DEM Agenda’d’ extreme’ is obviously self-serving.

    But, ya gotta do, what ya gotta do,
    and

    We will let History judge it all in future.
    :/

  • jekylldoc

    There will only be one issue when the world looks back from 40 years hence. With the climate wrecked, beyond any ability to recover, and a mass extinction fully underway, people will look back at today and say “Why? Why did they do nothing?” No other issue will even appear on the assessments.

  • David Miller

    A surprise would be if a single evangelical church invites her to say such. She’ll die of old age waiting for the invitation.

  • David Miller

    If 80% agree with Trumpy (I think it more like 95% based upon personal experience) it would stand to reason that the repulsives are the true face of the church, meaning the ones opposing The Tangerine Tyrant are the religious fake ones. It shows supporting & attending church regularly leads to repugnant ideologies. People would be better served ditching the whole religionite claptrap.

  • David Miller

    Religionites who chose Trumpy over Hillary supported a man with clear evidence of multiple criminality & condemned a woman with zero evidence of same. That was a victory of real crimes over imaginary ones.

  • Iron Mike

    Comparing Trump to Clinton is the EXACTLY the question. In fact, in choosing a President, it was the ONLY question in our system in which the only viable candidate comes from one of two parties. Voting a third party candidate may ease your conscience, but condemn posterity as irresponsibly as abstaining from voting altogether. Congratulations, YOUR 3rd party vote helped elect Trump as much as any Trump voter.

    What Christians understand is if I have a plumbing problem in my home, my concern is with the skill of the plumber to fix the problem, not whether I must give him my heart and mind or if he is righteous and holy. In fact, I will thank the plumber for his service, live my faith as a witness, and pray for him. And so far, Trump has done a remarkable job on the country’s plumbing. Markets are booming, unemployment at historic lows, consumer and business optimism highest in decades, industries like coal and steel resurrected from the dead, lowered taxes and rising incomes are helping the poor and marginalized far more than the last 8 years of government handouts. So yes, a highly flawed candidate has proven to be one of the most effective Presidents in decades. That alone is the miracle Christians received for looking at Trump’s potential, instead of condemning him for his sins. Thankfully, God looks at us the same way.

  • Summers-lad

    Any truly evangelical church would be happy to have her say these things. Sadly, the meaning of “evangelical” has been corrupted in the USA, and this is affecting people here too – see http://livingwittily.typepad.com/my_weblog/2018/08/yesterday-i-received-a-modest-wee-cheque-royalties-for-a-book-i-wrote-27-years-ago-it-was-a-study-of-evangelical-spirituali.html.

  • Summers-lad

    While I agree with your view, and accepting that you are talking about the USA and not world-wide, may I make two corrections to your first sentence? Firstly, I don’t know whether all evangelical Christians felt that God was directing their votes, but let’s assume they did. In that case 100% of them (or 100% of those who voted) felt they had found the political candidate of God’s choice. It just wasn’t the same candidate for all of them. Secondly, but perhaps more importantly, the famous statistic of 80% applies to white evangelicals. The proportion of non-white evangelicals was different. That fact alone demonstrates that evangelical belief was unlikely to be the main factor in the vote for Trump.

  • billwald

    All things considered, I am still glad I voted for President Trump. I don’t care what he says, only what he signs into law.

  • Tom Borromeo

    Possibly, … we will not be here anyway to appreciate any of these.

    One thing that is obvious, Climate Change always happens and all the back and forth about it, is what it is, … just somebody’s opinions vs. somebody else’s.

    It is, what it is, and ya gotta do, what ya gotta do.

    And that is it.
    It all depends, there is no definitive ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ because we cannot see into the future.

    +
    It takes 2 to fight,
    the Fossil Fuels’ Industrial Complex vs. the Eco-Green-GAIA Industrial Complex.

    The first is almost a century old, and worth many TRILLION$, while the other is a decade or so young and only into the many BILLION$.

    They both must compete, … it is the way of Capitalism.

    So, your POTUS Trump is in one side of that equation.
    What he is, what he’s done, accomplished before he was elected,
    well, that ought not be the whole main focus.
    He was lawfully elected.
    BTW,
    None of those politicos on either side are ‘so squeeky clean’ either.

    :/

  • Tigger

    I don’t pretend to know a great deal about American politics (or plumbing, for that matter). But viewing things from the other side of the pond what I see and read is about:

    – fat cats getting richer at the expense of the blue-collar workers and the unemployed
    – sick people foregoing medical treatment that they can’t afford, or even being thrown out of hospitals
    – ICE, TSA and police forces acting like they’re the bosses instead of being the servants of the country
    – women, blacks, Muslims and Latinos being demoted to second-class citizen status
    – the breaking of treaties – political, economic and ecological – for short term gain, when the long term effects are clearly understood
    – even more (inept) interference in countries which are not part of America.
    etc. etc. etc …

    Indeed, to use your ‘plumber’ analogy, it’s like you called out a plumber for a leaky pipe and he turned the water off at the mains. Then, having ‘fixed the problem’ he charged you a gigantic call-out fee.

    But, in truth, we don’t mind – or care – at all. Because if that bad plumber gets his company a bad reputation then no-one else will hire them. And that’s got to be a good thing – no, a GREAT thing – internationally.
    (I think God knows what He’s doing.)

  • jekylldoc

    Anyone who can’t see into the future on climate change is just not looking. We have way more evidence than an honest assessment calls for. Not only have the predictions of steady increase in temperature been confirmed, but there are particular fingerprints of greenhouse effects that tell us beyond a reasonable doubt where these rises are coming from. The most prominent fingerprints are upper atmosphere cooling (because less heat is coming back from below), nighttime temperatures warming more than daytime, and disproportionate effects on the poles, but there are others.

    So when my grandkids ask, “Why?” I have no intention of trying to weasel out with “well, the oil companies lied to us.”

  • jekylldoc

    Full disclosure, I am a liberal economist. I say with all honesty that, except for a small delay in the decline of coal, none of the things you say are happening are due to Trump’s actions. Ask yourself fairly, if Hillary had won the election, would you have given her credit for the economy doing what it is doing? The tax cut gave a temporary bump to profits but it also exploded the deficit. Meanwhile, coverage for pre-existing conditions is no longer a mandate, so it will gradually unravel unless we turn around the effects the Republicans sneaked through. The trade policies are likely to be harmful at best, disastrous at worst. And of course he has put off dealing with climate change one more time. Most effective in decades? Fantasy. At this point it is doubtful that anything he has done will be endorsed by historical hindsight.

  • lmanningok

    Actually, if Jesus came back today he’d call himself a socialist Jewish hippie liberal, just as he was 2000 years ago. Jesus was born, lived and died a Jew. Christianity didn’t “officially” begin until after his crucifixion, when Paul rounded up pagan Greeks for followers because the Jews rejected his Jesus-as-Messiah hypothesis…and then went downhill from there with the Nicene Creed.

  • HematitePersuasion

    This is what desperation looks like.

  • Markus R

    Let me preface this by saying that I’m an evangelical Christian who did not vote for Trump. Nor did I vote for Clinton. My conscience led me to not vote in an election where I saw all choices as unacceptable. Indeed, I have not voted in a national election for many years for the same reason. It is a matter of my own conscience.

    That said, it is unreasonable today that evangelicals who voted were told by God whom to vote for. Of those I know who voted for Trump, most were convicted by their conscience that it was their civic duty as a citizen to vote and they saw him as the lessor of two evils, and most were led by their convictions against abortion. Others believed that Clinton would lead to more evil than Trump would.

    I don’t intend to justify the wrong-headedness of many in the Christian Right who have tried to advance Christianity politically. That has not only failed, it was not biblical in terms of understanding the distinction between the Church and State.

    The Christian is to live for Christ and his or her primary calling is the advancement of the Kingdom of God through the proclamation of the gospel that saves sinners. When faithful to Christ and his calling they can and do benefit the society as a whole.

  • Iron Mike

    I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. From this side of the pond, we see children die in the UK NHS, offered only palliative care despite offers of medical assistance from other countries. It’s clearly more advantageous to let children die, than to admit shortcomings in “free” medical care.

    We see freedom of speech is a privilege granted to a subject of the crown, not a constitutional right of free citizens to be protected from government infringement. Unpopular speech in Europe is deemed “hate speech” and punished by the state as the state deems appropriate.

    We see extraordinary welfare states in Europe that bankrupt and subjugate its citizens while the states fail to pay their defense bills and lean on the US to fund the greatest share of NATO, all while trading with the same enemy against whom the US pays for defense.

    We see the effects of unregulated, unassimilated immigration on your culture and the rise of domestic terrorism, while citizens dare not speak for fear of being labeled “anti-immigrant” or “Islamophobic”.

    We do care what happens to Europe, but it is your problem to solve from within. The rise of a nationalist backlash is symptomatic of the people’s growing internal frustration. We care, because you are a cautionary tale of what Liberalism brings and we want no part of it.

  • Iron Mike

    Full disclosure, I find a “Liberal Economist” to be an oxymoron. If Hillary has won the election, we could have expected regulations to increase dramatically, healthcare transition to a single-payer system as Obamacare enters its death spiral. All of her corruption and subterfuge never would have come to light. The Supreme Court would have been stack with Liberal activists, instead of judges faithful to the Constitution as written. The impact to the economy, erosion of civil liberties, and decline of healthcare would have been devastating and irrevocable. That’s what I would be giving her credit for right now.

    A tree is known by its fruit. Clinton’s is rotten to the core. But under an admittedly morally flawed Trump, the economy flourishes in spite of the naysayers. The same people predicting an economic crash and the impossibility of 3% GDP are struggling to rationalize this is a temporary bump and praying for an economic crash and people hurt, just to be proven right and Trump wrong. History will prove who is right, but until then, I will be enjoying a 5% GDP in freedom protected by the Constitution.

  • jekylldoc

    Well, no, you won’t be enjoying a 5% rate of GDP growth over an entire year. I am not sure who you’ve been reading about 3% being impossible, but Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, who is more liberal than I am, was plainly arguing that the government should try for continued high growth with economic policy. He said it in 2016 and again in 2017. In fact, I am going to be amused when someone points out to him that he actually agrees with the President about interest rate rises being premature. Different reasoning, though, I feel fairly sure.

  • Alan

    Not desperate just longing for a Christianity that looks like Jesus.

  • Iron Mike

    The same Paul Krugman that predicted the markets would collapse with Trump’s election? LOL. Just proves how political the Nobel prize has become. If Krugman is your source, you’ve already lost the argument.

  • jekylldoc

    No, he did not predict that. Krugman’s track record is far from perfect, but his views are informed and his reasoning is sound.

    I checked out the “NAFTA revision” that came out today. Finally something Trump might be able to claim credit for, for working people. It looks like it might help the auto parts industry – a little. And it might help the steel and aluminum industries – a little. I don’t fault him for it. The big concession on the American side seems to have been allowing more oversight of US corporations working south of the border, and that should have happened long ago. But this is not going to undo the big shift in production that happened due to NAFTA.

  • Iron Mike

    “It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.” Paul Krugman, NYT on Election Night, 2016

  • jekylldoc

    Please note that the passage you quote does not predict market collapse. Written in first reaction to the opening plunge, they clearly got it wrong. But predicting they would not recover is a long way from predicting collapse.

    Please also note this is clearly labelled as “a first-pass answer.” It is not particularly responding to any information about fundamentals. If you look at those fundamentals, the two most striking observations are the amount of cash the big firms are sitting on (Apple’s is legendary) which means they don’t have any great projects in mind to increase productivity in the economy, and the lack of profit-growth basics. Stock prices are rising primarily because firms are buying back shares, and the big cut in corporate taxes is going more to that kind of propping up of prices than to increasing future output.

    I wouldn’t say the market is in trouble. But I would say it’s hard to see where the continued high growth (3-4% per year GDP growth) is going to come from. Round about this time next year you will be seeing quite a bit of leveling off.

    There is no particular reason you should take my word for it, or Krugman’s. No economist is foolish enough to claim guru status based on any particular prediction (including Nuriel Roubini). The point is to consistently marshal the information that is most important to what will happen next.

    The best economic news all month was that the Administration accepted a reasonable compromise with Mexico. DJT can declare victory and go home, and he hasn’t wrecked anything of serious value. The stock market ought to get a couple of percentage points gain just from that.