Someone has said that not all Trump supporters are racists, but all racists are Trump supporters. While universal statements are hard to prove, this one seems to be pretty close to the truth.
There are a lot of things that bewilder me about how some of my Christian friends and family can continue to stand firmly behind the Trump administration. Yet, on some level, I do understand their thinking in voting for conservative candidates. For example, I get how, if one holds strong convictions that abortion is murder, they’d find it extremely hard to vote for a liberal candidate. While I don’t agree with voting on that issue at the expense of all others, I do at least understand what they are thinking. The same goes with some of the other hot button issues that divide Christians from some other voters. While I don’t believe in mixing my faith with my vote, I do understand how some people on the religious right think. What I don’t understand is how they can turn such a blind eye to the types of people with whom they are now associated.
In the age of Trump, if I were a conservative Christian, I would be gravely concerned with who my teammates are.
If I were a conservative Christian, at this point in the game, I would have to take a look around at what is going on and ask myself what it is about President Trump that has drawn so many hate-spreading bigots and racists to him. At this point, that alone would make me cut ties, immediately, and disassociate myself from the Trump supporters. This has gone beyond conservative vs. liberal–way beyond–and it’s now a matter of where you want history to write your name. Do you want to be marked on the ledger beside the alt-right–the National Socialist Movement–the Neo Nazis–the KKK? If not, it’s time to make that known–like yesterday–because, guess what…if you still support Trump, those are your teammates. I don’t know any nice way to say that.
Netflix recently added a stunning documentary called, White Right: Meeting the Enemy. I believe this film should be required viewing before anyone is allowed to cast a vote for president in 2020. The filmmaker, Deeyah Khan, is a brown-skinned Muslim woman who became a viral sensation after a BBC interview with her was aired. In the interview, she talked about how Great Britain and the U.S. might as well face the fact that they are never going to be white countries again and that immigrants need to understand that they are never going to successfully reproduce their own cultures in these new nations. “We need to figure out how to build a society that includes all of us.”
At the beginning of her film, Khan shared some of the thousands of hateful and threatening emails she received after that interview went viral. She was called a “sand nigger”, a “worthless shitskin incubator” who will “face the fear of her life when whites become racists again.” She was told by someone that they would love to see her “raped, tortured and killed.” These are just a handful of examples of hate mail she received from people who claimed God wanted to keep their country white. Instead of cowering, Deeyah Khan did something remarkable–and something very Christ-like, by the way–she decided not to hide from the hate but to reach out to the haters. In Khan’s words, she wanted to “get to know the personal reasons why they are drawn to such hatred and division.” The result is one of the most compelling documentaries I have ever watched.In her film, Khan spends time in the homes of some of America’s most high-profile white supremacists. Much of her time was spent getting to know the commander of the nation’s largest neo-nazi organization, the National Socialist Movement. Jeff Schoep, one of the organizers and speakers of the Charlottesville demonstration, told Deeyah Khan that he wants a homeland for white people. He says his movement is growing rapidly because of Donald Trump. “Trump is saying things right out of our playbook. With our talking points finally appearing in the White House, our movement has become more mainstream.”
Khan, speaking face to face with one of the nation’s leading racists, showed him the viral interview that made her famous and asked if she could read him some of the hate mail she received. As she read the despicably hateful words that were aimed at her, Schoep began to nervously squirm in his seat. At the end of the interview, Schoep offered to allow Khan to accompany him to an upcoming demonstration. Khan asked Schoep if his friends would allow a “shitskin” like her to be there. Schoep said, “why do you keep saying that?”
“You don’t like it?”, replied Khan.
A visibly uncomfortable Schoep only smiled meekly and shook his head no.
Throughout the documentary, Khan has similar encounters with several other high ranking leaders of white supremacist groups. One such young man seemed be using her as his personal psycho-analyst as he opened up about a childhood where he didn’t feel accepted. Alt-right Christianity is where he finally felt like he fit in. He began working for a racist organization and told of the warm feeling he got when men at church would pat him on the back and say, “way to be a warrior for Christ.”
Khan even spent some time with the infamous alt-right icon, Richard Spencer. He bragged to her about how white elites, like himself, should be running this country saying, “we did it, we took it, we took it with force, we won.” Later, Spencer was shown at a podium closing his speech with a salute and saying, “Hail Trump!”
I must add this before I close. Deeyah Khan deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for this work. She disarmed some of the most calloused, hateful racists in this country. She showed them a little bit of herself and they opened up to her. When she was with them, one on one, the hate disappeared. In fact, near the end of the film, Khan received a call from one of the high ranking officials of the National Socialist Movement who told her that he had resigned his position and is no longer part of the organization mostly, he told her, because of his getting to know her and seeing how she had been treated by people like him. Remarkable.
So, again I say, Christian Trump supporter, you are entitled to your convictions, but it’s past time that you admit you have some really problematic teammates.
I beseech you, set aside your normal political leanings and let the world know that you don’t want to be associated with those teammates.
Let’s defeat the darkness with light. Let’s vote out the hate and start with a cleaner slate.
It’s not too late–it just can’t be too late.