Political power corrupts the church

I’ve been trying to understand the effect that Donald Trump has on conservative Christians. Why do so many openly support such an ungodly man? Even many who claimed to “hold their nose and vote” in the last presidential election now cheer every move made by the man in the White House.

I think it’s about power. The President has openly sided with evangelical Christians, like the proclamation the White House made about religious freedom a couple of years ago. He is giving protection to religious groups that did not exist under President Obama.

Because of this, evangelicals have had to undergo some amazing and well-documented shifts. What do you do when you have a president who is openly immoral, is given to distort the truth, is outrageously abusive toward opponents, and supportive of unseemly elements in society… yet also gives power to the evangelical church? The answer in the United States has been to choose the power and overlook the rest.

Not only that, but evangelicals have been willing to shift opinions on moral issues to align themselves with the man who gives them power. In a Pew Research study about views toward refugees, only 25% of white evangelicals said that the United States has a responsibility to accept refugees into this country. That contrasts with 65% of the religiously unaffiliated and 43% of white mainline Protestants. What group most closely lined up with the views of white evangelicals? Conservative Republicans, who came in at 19% in agreement. Even moderate and liberal Republicans were much more open to the acceptance of refugees (40%).

This is about refugees, not illegal immigrants. It’s not an issue with an obvious “Christian” response, so don’t take my comments in that light. That said, there is nothing inherently Christian about rejecting the idea of being responsible for receiving refugees. It’s not a doctrinal view or a religious tenet that moves these evangelicals to a harsher view than the general public. What is it? Power. The desire to align themselves with the politician that gives them power.

That’s what frightens me about the Christian support I see for Donald Trump. Power corrupts. Political power corrupts the church.

[And to my friends on the left smiling smugly, ask yourselves if your position is all that different. Do you automatically reject anything and everything the President says? Do you evaluate Democratic candidates on their personal lives? Can you be happy with someone who disagrees with you having and distributing power?]

Mark 10:42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

4 thoughts on “Political power corrupts the church

  1. Joe Palmer

    Tim, I respectfully disagree. You sound like the news media. They want Christians to stop supporting Trump. Trump has taken a solid view on several issues: Abortion, Supreme Court judges, and supporting the rights of Christians. I would get it if we had a choice. Please Please Please respond and tell me our better choice. We could either support Trump and hope, not vote, vote for Hillary (The more evil one in my view) or vote for a mythical third person who won’t win and let Hillary in. It is not with joy many support Trump but with the realistic mindset of this is our best hope now. I preach the only solution is for the church to win souls but that isn’t happening much either.

  2. Tim Archer Post author

    Hi Joe. I guess I differentiate between voting for someone as the best available choice and actively supporting them. I’m one who chooses not to vote when there is no one I support, but I recognize that not everyone takes that path. What bothers me are the people who post articles on Facebook praising Trump.

    It’s not a game, not a win/lose dichotomy. I don’t have to praise Trump in order to not support a different candidate. And it would be healthier if Christians would speak out as loudly about Trump’s flaws as they do about his abilities.

    The world needs to see that Christians have the backbone to make up their own mind on issues and not allow a secular political party to determine their views.

  3. Pingback: Another look at politics and the church | The Kitchen of Half-Baked Thoughts

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