It’s been a few weeks since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States and it still doesn’t seem real.
At least not to me.
Every day is like living in the Twilight Zone.
I mean, how does a supremely unqualified, hate-mongering reality TV star become President of the United States? It boggles the mind. And yet here we are at the precipice of what can be best described as a future of dramatic uncertainty. But who knows? Maybe Donald Trump will end up doing a halfway decent job. Sadly, all evidence to date suggests otherwise — and dramatically so.
But regardless of who we wish was president, we have to deal with the reality that Donald Trump is, at least for the time being, the leader of the free world.
Given his, um, unique campaign and all the, uh, policy promises that came with it, a Trump presidency presents an interesting challenge for those of us who profess Jesus, not Trump, as Lord and Savior. Why? Because so much of what Donald Trump stands for and so much of what he has promised to do — and already has done — is utterly antithetical to the gospel. From his objectifying of women to his demonization of immigrants and refuges to his marginalization of minorities and his complete lack of scruples about running roughshod over the poor to build his empire, Donald Trump’s America is one in which, despite a campaign pandering to evangelicals, actually presents a serious set of challenges to professing Christians who take seriously the call to incarnate the gospel in their lives.
So how do we go about being faithful Christians in Donald Trump’s America?
That is to say, in a world in which sexism, racism, marginalization, and oppression have suddenly become normalized, how do we continue to shine the light of Christ in the midst of this newfound darkness?
Now, I’m the last person who wants to do anything on behalf of Donald Trump, but the first thing we should do is pray, both for our new president and the country he is leading. It is our biblical responsibility to pray for leaders, but there’s more to it than that. Prayer is not just an invocation of divine intervention, but a way of shaping who we are and how we live and move and have our bring in the world. As we pray we are molded into the people God has called us to be. This is an absolutely critical foundation to lay for practicing the faith in Donald Trump’s America, or anywhere else for that matter.
Second, Matthew 25 makes it clear that we always have a calling to care for the least of these because to do so is to care for Jesus himself. But in Donald Trump’s America, they are of special concern as they are written off as nothing but “losers” and “removable aliens.” Even though collectively the Church already does a lot to care for the least of these, we must double down on our efforts to care for and protect the most vulnerable in a society in which they seem even less wanted than before.
Third, in a world where immigrants are scapegoated as the source of all our problems and refugees are demonized as potential terrorists, there are few tasks for American Christians more important today than welcoming the stranger. In Donald Trump’s America it will be imperative for Christians to find practical and creative ways to help both immigrants and refugees not only find a new home here in America, but feel welcomed and loved once they arrive.
Fourth, we must stand up alongside our sisters in the faith and otherwise. The leader of our country is not simply misogynistic, he unashamedly brags about his ability to sexually assault women. We cannot sit by and remain silent in a culture in which treating women like sexual objects is sanctified by the President. Either we are all made in the image of God — and, as such, deserve equal respect and treatment — or none of us are.
Fifth, it will take a whole lot of courage and probably some personal sacrifice, but we must be willing to stand up and defend the oppressed wherever and whoever they may be, which in Donald Trump’s America may turn out to be a whole lot of people. Make no mistake: defending the oppressed is not something we can do from the sidelines with a mere retweet or change of our Facebook profile picture. It may begin there, but if we do not incarnate our faith in this matter, we have not right to call ourselves a biblical people.
Finally, we must remember to love our enemies both foreign and domestic. This has been one of, if not the most, divisive elections in U.S. history. In just his first week in office, Donald Trump used a series of executive orders to position immigrants and Muslims as our enemies. We must be a counterforce to the fear and hate from which these policies flow, matching them with love and grace every chance we get.
But that, of course, is just the beginning.
There are an untold number of challenges that await us in the coming years.
But one thing is sure: we do not walk this path alone.
On one side stands our savior and on the other a whole host of believers.
We’ll need both to have the strength, courage, and perseverance necessary to answer our calling to be like Christ.