So, what do we who are not conservative, white “evangelical” Christians do now that DJT is President? That is not an easy question to answer.
HOW DO WE PRAY?
I have found it hard to know how to pray with integrity for President Trump. Certainly I am not going to pray an imprecatory prayer, as some did for President Obama.
(If you don’t know what I am talking about, see this article in The Atlantic about David Perdue and his June 2016 prayer; he happens to be the first cousin of Sonny Perdue, Trump’s nominee for the Secretary of Agriculture.)
On the other hand, I find it hard to pray, “Bless President Trump.” Conservative USAmerican Christians make much of Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Tim. 2:2a, which says “Pray for kings and everyone who is in authority . . . .”—and I have seen references to those Bible passages in the past few days.
But what about the German Christians and the Japanese Christians in the 1930s and ’40s? They have often, and rightly, been criticized for not opposing their countries’ fascist leaders for whom they prayed.
Don’t misunderstand what I am saying: I am not comparing DJT with Hitler or Tojo, who was the Japanese prime minister from 1941 to 1944. Neither is praying for a country’s leader the same as approving everything that that leader does.
But it is difficult to know how to pray for and to oppose/resist a political leader at the same time.
WHY DO WE OPPOSE?
Some are saying, though, that the opposition to Trump is much the same as the opposition to Obama over the past eight years—and that those who didn’t like the way Republicans treated Obama shouldn’t support Democrat’s negative treatment of Trump.
The Kansas City Star editorial on Jan. 21 said, “Having criticized GOP resistance to Obama, we can hardly encourage similar resistance to Trump.”
But are they the same? In an online response, I wrote that “there is little similarity between the reason Pres. Obama was criticized and the many reasons DJT is being criticized.”
The massive anti-Trump marches last Saturday were not mainly partisan in nature. They were protests against threats to freedom, civility, inclusion, etc.
|A picture I took of a protester in Kansas City on Jan. 20.|
WHEN DO WE OPPOSE?
There have been numerous calls for giving the new President a chance. On the one hand, that is probably not a bad idea. Much of the protest and negative things that have been said about DJT are based on fear of what might happen rather than on the basis of what has already happened.
On the other hand, the protest and negative statements against Trump are based on what he has said over the past year and a half. As the latest issue of The Economist says, there is “enough information . . . to take a view of what kind of person Mr Trump is.”
The historic Women’s March last Saturday was largely an attempt to protect women’s rights before the new President gives orders or the new Congress passes bills depriving them of those rights. As hard as it may be, it is still easier to keep things from happening than to change them after they are done.
In considering when to resist, consider the following prayer by Duke Divinity School Professor William H. Willimon’s prayer offered on MLK Day last Monday:
Lord, forgive the sin of our patience. Anoint us with a fresh spirit of impatience, that we might be half as angry over political injustice and human meanness as you are, and that, in our impatience, we might be given the guts to do something about it. Amen.