By Bill Mefford
In a post a few weeks ago I wrote directly to an evangelical leader, Rev. Johnnie Moore, who serves on trump's evangelical council and I urged him to resign. He has yet to do so of course. But resign he should. They all should if they truly believe in the biblical Jesus who incarnated himself among the poor and made incarnation among the most vulnerable a sign of faithfulness. But they are sticking with trump as they seem to care more about political power and cultural relevancy than biblical fidelity.
One thing I noticed a few weeks ago during a campaign by Fig Tree Revolution and others to hold evangelical leaders accountable is that there were a number of other "liberal" faith organizations who joined in. That is, of course, a good thing; the more the merrier and the greater the impact. What struck me as odd though was one faith organization in particular. The reason is because of what happened during the Obama administration.
It was during President Obama's administration that deportations reached epic levels. He believed (wrongly) that if he was tough on border control then he could force the Republicans to accept some kind of reform. In response to year after year of mass deportations a small group of progressive faith leaders stood in front of the White House on a very cold President's Day, 2014, and we committed civil disobedience trying to get the President to repent of his over-reliance on deportations.
It was a very small group of truly progressive faith leaders because most of the well-known faith organizations that have large email lists and get their names in headlines refused to join us. Though 2 million deportations had taken place at the time we committed civil disobedience, certain "liberal" faith organizations who worked very close with the Obama administration did not join us.
Further, later in 2014 - in September - when President Obama decided to dramatically lower the number of deportations and to expand DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to parents and relatives of DACA recipients, he actually backtracked on making the announcement because he did not want to hurt moderate Democrats and he waited until after the election. Not surprisingly, all of the Democrat candidates he tried to help lost, while more people were deported.
But to get political cover a number of "liberal" administration-friendly organizations (I am purposely leaving out names of the organizations) all issued statements supporting continuing deportations until after the election. Why did they put the political needs of a president over and above the welfare of undocumented immigrants who were vulnerable to deportation? I think it is simple. And I think it is the same reason why the evangelical "Christians" on trump's evangelical council refuse to step down: they like access to powermore than caring for the needs of people directly impacted by injustice.
I share this because, even without naming these organizations in this forum, I truly hope to shame these supposedly "liberal" organizations. But even more, we need to remember in this current age of trump, our values must be greater than electing another Democrat to higher office. We must be for more than simply being against donald trump in all things.
As a follow of Jesus I fight for a livable wage for all people, for citizenship for all who want it without any wait (meaning we don't need a "pathway to citizenship"), for an end to all war and violent conflict, for an end to misogyny, for a criminal justice system that values restorative rather than retributive justice, and for care for all of God's creation. I want to work for a peaceful and just world and not just against the latest Republican outrage.
I don't want to replace evangelical-president-ass-kissers with "liberal"-president-ass-kissers.
Yes, I believe donald trump is as destructive a leader as has ever occupied any higher office, much less the presidency. But the world I march and pray for, the world I envision is not just one empty of his leadership; it is a world filled with God's goodness and where the leaders are neither conservative nor liberal. It is one where we are all faithful. I want to live in a world that reflects God's Kingdom, not our own. And so we cannot base our outrage or advocacy on the political party of the leader for when we do that we betray what we envision and advocate for.