Donald J. Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States on June 16, 2015. If I’m honest, I thought it was a publicity stunt that would be short lived. I mean, I loved the Donald on “The Apprentice”—the dramatic board room scenes, the teflon Don telling would-be apprentices: “You’re Fired” and all those facial expressions and hand gestures. What was not to love! But as the primaries wore on, I would listen to my local talk radio station and to my surprise, Donald Trump was winning. First in New Hampshire, then South Carolina and Nevada. It was happening—Donald Trump was executive producing a successful bid for the Republican Presidential nomination.
Along the way, more eyes watched and more mics were turned in his direction. His trademark bravado and showmanship became the stage for troubling statements about immigrants, women, blacks and latinos. More than that, there was a tone of barbarism and a lack of civility that seemed unfitting for such a serious presidential race. This was no Ronald Reagan campaign or George H.W. Bush or “W” (pronounced “dubbu-yuh”) for that matter. This was a brawler who was kicking butt and embarrassing the competition. It got so bad that the pundits would talk about whether or not he could unify the Republican Party after all of the contempt that marked the primaries.
The movement Trump was leading was so distinct from traditional conservatism that a new term came to the fore to describe this brasher bunch: “Alt-Right”. When I first started voting, Republicans were synonymous with Conservatives. The platform attracted Christians with talk of honoring the sanctity of life and protecting the definition of marriage. They talked about being “the party of ideas” and partnering with faith-based organizations to overcome America’s social challenges. Today, honoring the unborn or taking a stand for marriage are footnotes to this campaign and are not the policy issues where Trump has distinguished himself from Hillary Clinton. Instead, Trump’s policy penchant is building a wall that Mexico will pay for and “Making America Great Again,” seemingly by keeping immigrants out and deporting undocumented immigrants.
Back in July of 2015, I thought there was no way sensible people would turn a blind eye to Trump’s negativity but I’ve been disheartened and puzzled to find that millions of my fellow Americans can look the other way in the face of clear and blatant racism thinly veiled as immigration policy and chocked full of dog-whistle rhetoric.
Is this a pro-Hillary Clinton post. No, that’s really not the point for me. Neither of these politicians can bring what our nation needs most—revival. Revival will have to come from heaven as believers heed the call of 2 Chronicles 7:14-15. Revival will come when the truth and glory of God spills from pulpits across our land. Revival will come when each of us takes our fellowship with and witness for Christ into the marketplace and into the arts and into sports arenas and board rooms.
But revival cannot come from standing idly by while the hearts of men and women grow so cold that millions of people embrace hate as a solution. If the silent majority stands with Trump, how did that get to be the case? Have you and I won our neighbors to Christ? Have we made disciples of Jesus Christ in every sphere of society? If the heart of our nation stands with someone who openly espouses racism and bigotry, what does that say about the deafening silence of the American Church? I pray this election cycle will provoke us out of our silence and cause us to engage our communities with the love of Jesus Christ.