And so you threw both the biggest Hail Mary pass and upraised middle finger you could at the political system. Enough of you voted in enough of the right places for Donald Trump that he now sits in the White House. Some of you feel vindicated because he made it. Many of you want him to succeed even if you took him "seriously but not literally," and a few of you are now asking if the campaign promises he seems to want to fulfill are really going to come back to hurt you.
I know you won't let me debate this with you on "facts." Both because you don't trust me to tell you the truth because of my politics and my employment as a public servant, and because your support of him wasn't really about facts anyway. As one West Virginia coal miner recently put it - its about the look of the man and what he might make people think.
So since we don't yet trust each other on facts, lets take a leap of faith. Many (though certainly not all) of you identify as Christians - I do too. And as such we have accepted a call to follow Christ's teachings. All of them - no matter how hard, how unorthodox, or how much they fly in the face of our common sense. And Scripture has two powerful teachings that should be our guides right now. First, there is the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37:
Now it should not require repeating, but Christ was telling us that the Samaritan - the non believer - acted with the most mercy and compassion, and that we who follow Jesus should "go and do likewise." Its probably no coincidence that the Samaria of ancient times is in the West Bank, an area now controlled (at least in name) by the Palestinian Authority. But more to the point, if Christ is telling us a non-believer can be more compassionate then we are - if indeed that non believer's example is for us to follow - then what does it say that today we wish to keep out, kick out, denigrate and discriminate against the "non-believers" of the Islamic faith? How can we as Christians possibly square support for President Trump with Christ's teaching that others besides ourselves can show us greater compassion and love then we ourselves show? And why in the world would we seek to keep out such people, and thus break from what Our Lord has shown us so clearly?
But, you will counter, Islamic terrorists have attacked the US. They have fought us on the battle fields. We will not be "safe" if we let them in. My blunt reply is this - did not Christ also command us in Matthew 5:39 "But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also." Here's where those pesky facts have to be considered as well - you are as likely to die crushed under your own TV or dresser as you are to be killed by a terrorist.
More to the point however, when we give in to our fears of those who do not look like us, or sound like us or act like us, we are breaking Christ's second greatest commandment found in Matthew 22:36-40:
We cannot demonstrate love for our neighbors if we throw them out of our bakeries for the simple act of wanting to marry their partners. We can not love our neighbors if the color of their skin makes them "inferior" to us. We can not love our neighbors if we allow our "leaders" to persist in lying to use about everything in the world around us just because their egos are fragile and they fear the people they have been elected to lead.
You want hope. You want respect. You deserve dignity. I get it. And my Christian pledge to you is that you and I can and will seek those things for you together. But not with this man. His rise will not lift you, and if you push me away, then I can not carry you when you stumble, as the Samaritan did for the man accosted by robbers.