As I’ve repeated these last weeks, I believe the Gospel creates communities where there is neither Republican nor Democrat. The Church, however, is political in that it subverts the politics of the day by refusing the either/or dichotomy found in our politics. Like the community we call Trinity, the Church is a community of both difference and peace, which is an ongoing–and not always easy–process that Paul calls the discipline of reconciliation.
Reconciliation is a discipline that requires the habit of listening to those with whom you disagree.
To that end, I offer this challenging reflection from my friend David Fitch, professor at Northern Seminary in Chicago and a theological brother from another mother. David is the author of the new, damn fine book Faithful Presence: Seven Disciplines that Shape the Church for Mission. Get it here. No, really, get it now.
I think it’s a peculiarly relevant critique given that abortion is the particular issue on which many conservative Christians rationalized their vote for a candidate whose character would have otherwise disqualified him among those very people.
What if many Christians voted for Donald Trump hoping for a pro-life administration, yet Donald Trump will always be more pro abortion than President Obama?
Here’s David’s piece:
“To change behavior by law has never been the Christian way. A country may be preserved by laws but cannot be redeemed by them. The law has limited effect.
Even Luther and Calvin agreed on the law’s limits. Evangelical protestants (of which I am one) who claim we are saved by faith not by works would also seem to agree. Instead, people are challenged by culture, a way of life, by examples of a life well lived, not being told what they can and cannot do.
This we hope leads to a saving faith, not mere comformity to rules. There is nothing remotely pro-life/anti-abortion about a nation that legally prohibits abortion but promotes a culture that sexualizes and abuses women. It is this sexualizing misogynous culture that promotes abortion.
This is why I have never taken lightly the way the way a leader lives his/her life morally before a country (I couldn’t support Clinton).
Ultimately President Trump, even though he appoints a pro-life judge, is a pro-abortion president.
By his example (the locker room talk, the groping-and maybe assault, the sexualizing of women, the multiple divorces, the misogynous comments toward women, the multiple scandals) he promotes a sexualizing-of-women culture through his own example and the people around him.
The most pro-life thing Donald Trump could do is visibly repent of his behaviors before a listening nation.
You can have all the laws in the world, but if the (young) men of this culture see that these are the values that ‘successful men’ in USA live, the Trump presidency is a complete failure on the pro-life issue.
He is ultimately more pro-abortion, less pro-life, than President Obama ever was. And for this I grieve.”