OPINION: Christianity and support for former President Trump cannot coexist


James Thompson / Wiki Commons

Surveys of early voters and exit polls last year showed between 76 and 81% of White, Christian voters supporting Trump, according to the National Election Pool.

I grew up in a conservative suburb outside of Dallas and although I did not grow up in the church, I was surrounded by those who did. We were raised to embody certain values like honesty, kindness and responsibility. 

When Donald Trump ran for president in 2016, most of my community rejected him, but when he was elected, they followed behind. They began insisting he wasn’t that bad and justified their vote because of his pro-life stance. As his presidency progressed, my community abandoned their Christian values in favor of President Trump. This perplexed me. How could they abandon virtually every principle they espoused while I was growing up? 

I grew up in what I would call a spiritual household. We didn’t regularly attend church, but my parents instilled Christianity’s overall message in me: live your life in a moral way. This is contrary to the message I received from my classmates at school. Every summer they would come back from church camp and explain to me that my family and I were going to Hell. When I arrived at St. Edward’s, I felt Christianity would not accept me but as time went on, this changed. I was surrounded by a community of Christians who truly lived what they preached in the Holy Cross mission. Everyone on campus was accepted regardless of religious background and I soon realized that the Christianity I was raised around didn’t truly represent Christian values. As a result, I began to regain my faith.  

When Trump instituted a family separation policy on the border, I was shocked at the silence in my community. Leviticus 19:34 clearly laid out the way Christians were supposed to treat immigrants, “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” How could they stay silent about something so unjust? 

After George Floyd’s death, U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops tear gassed peaceful protestors in Lafayette Park as former president Donald Trump marched across the road to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo-op with a Bible. The minister of St. John’s Episcopal Church was quoted after the incident, “It almost looked like a prop…that is the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition. It speaks to messages of love, of God, love of neighbor.”

Trump is exactly the kind of performative Christian that Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 15:8 and Titus 1:16 all describe. Some evangelicals have pushed back with the evangelical publication, “Christianity Today,” describing Trump as “unfit for office.” Groups like “Pro-life Evangelicals for Biden” opposed Trump regardless of his pro-life stance because, “Poverty kills millions every year. So does lack of healthcare…Racism kills. Unless we quickly make major changes, devastating climate change will kill tens of millions. Poverty, lack of accessible health care services…racism and climate change are all pro-life issues.”

Many people in my community have not abandoned their values for Trump, but far too many have. You cannot support Trump while also preaching Christian values; they simply aren’t compatible. Christians are supposed to focus on giving and kindness, not ego and money. We’re supposed to love those who are different from us, not fear them. There is a simple choice, Christian-values or Trump; you can’t have both.