5 Things Christians Must Do to Stand Up to Donald Trump

As Donald Trump launches his administration, conservative Christians who helped put him there face a crucial challenge: Can they influence his administration to uphold Christian virtues they ignored when they cast their ballots?With a president whose repeated behavior contradicts their moral and ethical beliefs, evangelicals and other Christians who claim to follow the teachings of Jesus must champion the values that flow from those teachings. These are noble virtues that transcend politics and span religious faith.Five issues Christians should monitor are:1. Care for the poor and the weak.Trump called them "losers." Yet Jesus said, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40).Well-meaning Christians disagree about the extent to which Jesus' teachings regarding poor and weak people comprise a church issue and a government issue. That's partly why Christians participate in both Democratic and Republican parties. Still, none should affirm actions through which the government actively or passively harms or exploits the poor and the weak.2. Unfailing support for absolute religious liberty.This is an issue on which Trump seems clueless. His threats to prohibit or restrict Muslim immigration and create a Muslim registry not only violate the First Amendment, but also counter centuries of Protestant teaching and practice.Trump's disdain for Muslims no doubt appealed to many evangelicals, who fear not only terrorism, but also their loss of privilege. That's no reason to ignore both decency and principles. Besides, any threat to the constitutional protection of one religion is a threat to all religions. A few decades of demographic shifting, and the current majority's day of reckoning will come.3. Repudiation of racism.Nothing in Trump's history indicates he will work to refute racism. In fact, he has continued to exploit race, even during his transition to the White House. The stain of racism marks most U.S. Christian communities, which is all the more reason to stand for racial equality, justice and righteousness, even in the face of government hostility. If Christians say they believe the Bible, then they believe all people were created equally, and racism has no place in society.4. Affirmation of sexual equality.Trump's misogyny dragged the 2016 campaign to its lowest point. His admission of sexual abuse, vile descriptions of women and treatment of women as objects defy Christian belief that both women and men are created in God's image and worthy of full respect.If Christians cannot stand up for women and counter Trump's misogyny, then they have no right to provide moral instruction to their children. If pastors do not preach the equal value of women and men -- recognizing some understand the relationship to be egalitarian while others see it as complementarian -- then they have no right to expect women to remain in their congregations.5. Protection of the "other."Jesus and the prophets emphasized care for the stranger. This hallmark principle focused on protecting those who are "other."This means Christians should speak with grace and compassion about immigration, as well as civil and human rights for all kinds of people, particularly myriad minorities. That's not to say they cannot advocate for immigration reform or seek to balance the rights of LGBT people and religious people. But it means they must empathize with the other and seek the greater good, not privilege for the powerful.Christians who care for biblical principles and Jesus' values are going to be busy the next four years. The welfare of our nation requires it. The reputation of the church depends upon it.Marv Knox is editor of the Baptist Standard, where this column first appeared. Website: baptiststandard.com  Continue reading...

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