When Jesus confronted the social indifference of the religious leaders of his day, Marks gospel says, “they remained silent” (3:4) and that Jesus “looked on them with anger, deeply distressed” (v. 5). I fully understand why pro-life advocates and certain Evangelical leaders could not endorse Hillary Clinton, but what I don’t understand is the near total silence of so many in the face of Donald Trump’s lies, misinformation and threats against those who are most vulnerable in our society.
When Barack Obama took office, the economy was losing 700,000 jobs a month and unemployment was over 10%. His administration brought unemployment down to what is now 4.6%, among the lowest levels in almost 40 years, and created over two million new jobs over the past eight years. Yet Trump said Obama’s economic policies were a disaster for the working class. Where’s the outrage over Trump’s misinformation?
When Obama took office the stock market was in free fall. The bankers who had undermined the economy by betting against American homeowners were closing their institutions. Default on mortgages were in the hundreds of thousands and the Obama administration turned all these things around. Where’s the outrage?
Trump suggests that Obama did nothing to save the jobs of American workers when, in fact, he saved the auto industry from going under? Today, the stock market is soaring and yet Trump says that what Obama did to the economy was a failure. That’s a lie. Where’s the outrage?
Trump says that the Affordable Care Act is no good and must be abolished even though it has brought health insurance benefits to millions of Americans and Trump offers nothing in its place. Where’s the outrage?
Though the hacking of Hillary Clinton’s and the Democratic National Committee’s emails threatens the election process so crucial to American democracy, Donald Trump cheered on the culprit. This is the same President Putin who invaded Eastern Ukraine and annexed Crimea, breeding fear in the former Soviet satellite nations on his Western boarder. Yet, we heard nothing about these grave threats to democracy from those Evangelical leaders who endorsed Trump.
And when Trump became the first president-elect who refused to release his income tax returns and by his own admission paid nothing in the way of taxes to the federal government because he found “smart” ways to avoid taxes, again, only silence. Was it moral to neglect the men and women who make up the armed forces which he will soon command? Where’s the outrage?
And when Trump demeans certain Mexican Americans, the physically handicapped and women, and when he calls for a registry of Muslim’s and threatens to close the door to Syrian refugees, where’s the outrage?
And when Trump perpetuated the lie about President Obama — that he really wasn’t born in America — even after there was unassailable proof that the president was born in Hawaii, nothing was said. And when clear testimonies surfaced that Trump stiffed employees their deserved payment for construction labors — and then, in turn, called Hillary a liar and a crook — I ask, where’s the outrage?
Red Letter Christians does not endorse politicians. There are unanswered questions about Hillary Clinton’s campaign and finances too. Jesus is neither a Democrat nor a Republican. As Christian leaders, we must stand apart from party affiliations and critique each of them and their candidates, as best we can, from what we believe are Christian convictions.
Given the passive reaction to these and other outrages, we have to ask whether Evangelical leaders are more committed to candidates of the Republican party than to gospel standards of right and wrong? As in Jesus’ day, our religious leaders remain silent in the face of moral compromise and injustice. When Donald Trump finally takes office, will Evangelicalism be the compromised court religion of the Republican Party or will its leaders finally speak up?