As an evangelical leader who is a registered independent, I need to first and foremost consider the way of Jesus as I look at the political landscape. It is through this lens I have concluded the following, knowing that not all evangelicals will come to the same convictions, which is part of the beauty of participating in the life of this great country.
Hillary Clinton has stated, "Forgiveness is a way of opening up the doors again and moving forward, whether it's a personal life or a national life."
It is this disposition of steadfast mercy that offers the best path forward for our nation as we seek to love well, empower those who have been marginalized, and cultivate a society that is already great.
The way of Jesus has its foundation in mercy. The word picture for mercy is to enter into pain and offer healing from the inside out. Another way to understand this is through the exact acts of Jesus in the Incarnation. He entered into the pain of the world and offered healing from the inside out. His love came with the anthem, "I came to serve."
The fascinating contrast to the way of Jesus in the Bible is the way of Caesar, who comes in and builds his kingdom on conquering. This type of kingdom is rooted in fear and tries to convince people the best way forward is "Law and Order". It fear-mongers and gets people to believe that without a "me first" mentality, we will never be great. It tries to mainly focus on self-preservation, even to the detriment of loving the downtrodden and downcast which Christ makes plain is to be of the highest priority for His followers.
Jesus comes in a completely different way. He says the last are first and that we have been given the privilege of loving our neighbors. We can have the foresight to see our children matter and that what we leave them is profoundly significant as well. He also has given us a way of not having thin skin or returning insult with insult. Instead, the teachings and model of Jesus reflects the anthem that First Lady Michelle Obama recently eloquently stated, "When they go low, we go high."
Ultimately, Jesus gives a picture that caring for and empowering those whose voice has been stifled is the way He is after.
We do not need to make America great again! America is already great and part of its marvel is because of the lives of those who have been empowered to show mercy, love their neighbors and contribute in a positive way to this society. The way of Trump will simply have no place for advancing the Kingdom of Jesus. The Kingdom of Christ is not consumed with seeking one's own rights to the detriment of others.
Evangelical leaders prioritizing issues such as repealing the Johnson amendment that is necessary for the preservation of the separation of church and state in America is not what Christ followers should be campaigning for. Neither should building walls, banning Muslims and encouraging divisive and racist sentiments and nationalistic "me first" rhetoric.
American evangelicals would do well to remember our days in Sunday School and singing, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world … red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world" … and I might add, the children that have already been born.
American evangelicals and pro-life groups would also do well to devote as much time, energy and prayer to saving the lives of the 40,000 who die from malnutrion each day in order to protect the sanctity of life. After all, being pro-life is nothing less than being pro-birth, but is also much more.
To have the voice of haste and harshness that is based in fear is exactly the spirit of Caesar, the one who is opposed to Jesus. He would want us to be haunted by angst through this political season. Building walls to keep people out is just not something Jesus would be interested in doing. This is anti-Christ. Trying to keep Muslims out of America is simply not a path Jesus would take either. This is anti-Christ as well. Being quick tempered, crass, and willing to make degrading statements on a perpetual basis would not be the way Jesus acted. This is anti-Christ too. To objectify women and own a strip club is not a path Jesus would walk. This is profoundly anti-Christ, even more so than any narrative that the popular Left Behind novels took liberty to promote.