To mark the top of 2018, we requested writers to revisit among the yr’s most noteworthy (for good or evil) occasions, folks and concepts. See the opposite entries right here between now and the brand new yr.
This yr, many have discovered themselves taking part in the function of political pawns, manipulated to perpetuate political agendas. And President Donald Trump has been the chess grasp.
From utilizing asylum-seekers within the migrant caravans to push ahead violent immigration coverage to gathering Black pastors and other people like Kanye West to seem sympathetic towards and fashionable in communities of coloration, the Trump administration appears to see all folks as movable items on a recreation board serviceable to his political agendas.
Whereas most have been compelled into being pawns via circumstance and systemic oppression, conservative Christians have voluntarily chosen the function of being probably the most manipulatable folks within the recreation. These Christians have been politically duped by Trump, who promised motion on their problems with deepest concern with out truly following via in considerably measurable methods.
Some Christians will go to any size to achieve and keep political energy, sacrificing Jesus’ values of inclusion and justice.
If 2017, the primary yr of Trump’s time period, was a yr of hype and of making the phantasm of a Christian nation, 2018 has been the yr that Trump used his pawns to do his bidding, even on the expense of actual Christian values. Throughout his marketing campaign, he promised to defund Deliberate Parenthood, and in doing so, solidified a conservative Christian base. “Each life is sacred, and . . . each baby is a treasured present from God,” Trump declared. “We all know that each life has that means and that each life is completely value defending.”
But Trump’s administration has made it painfully clear that he doesn’t care about life in any respect; he merely cares about sustaining a base. He has put youngsters in cages on the border, disregarded the worth of Black lives, desecrated Place of birth with the Keystone XL pipeline, oppressed trans folks within the navy and repeatedly dehumanized folks via his petulant Twitter tirades.
When Trump wanted folks to assist militarization on the border, he manipulated the normal values of defending your loved ones, when he wanted to exclude folks from predominantly Muslim international locations, he leveraged Christian worry about freedom of all different religions. Culminating within the Non secular Liberty Process Drive launched by former Legal professional Normal Jeff Periods, the Trump administration has catered to its Christian constituency with a observe document of both ignoring or demonizing different folks of religion and concurrently elevating and espousing (politicized) “Christian values.”
When he needed to place Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court docket regardless of the sexual assault allegations the choose confronted, Trump leaned on pro-life values that might enchantment to his Christian base. And when he constantly violates all morals and ethics in his private life, character and communication, he is ready to depend on the notion of forgiveness, grace, or Christians selecting to place up together with his lesser evils so long as their political motivations are legitimized and backed.
Trump will proceed to be a chess grasp, transferring Christians towards the loss of life of their integrity and the rise of his personal energy.
This administration floats on hole guarantees and grandiose rhetoric. Trump is a political siren, singing and swaying Christians away from the values of Jesus with the promise of single-issue victories on abortion, non secular freedom and a seat on the political desk. They appear loads comfortable to go together with Trump, to the loss of life of their integrity and the witness they so declare to want.
It has turn into increasingly clear that some Christians will go to any size to achieve and keep political energy, sacrificing Jesus’ values of inclusion and justice in trade for a front-row seat at this administration’s circus of oppressive exercise. The unhappy irony is that members of Trump’s evangelical Christian base are the least highly effective items on this political chessboard, mere pawns used to unfold Trump’s message of hate and oppression.
Jesus warned in opposition to gaining the world and shedding your soul, however some Christians have bought out the true Jesus in trade for American political status and acclaim. Till they consider that Jesus himself is value greater than their concepts about him, Trump will proceed to be a chess grasp, transferring Christians towards the loss of life of their integrity and the rise of his personal energy.
Brandi Miller is a campus minister and justice program director from the Pacific Northwest.