Guest Writer: John Hulstine
Americans have witnessed a number of mass shootings in the recent past, bringing to mind the toxicity of nationalism and raising questions regarding the response of Christianity. Once President Donald Trump assumed office, numerous Christian leaders turned a blind eye, giving him a pass to controversial policies and statements embracing bigotry or which run contrary to Christian values. Whether it concerns the president’s policy on family separation, statements on racism, white nationalism or marital infidelity, the evangelical right is silent, and when forced to comment, religious leaders simply voice their support for the president. This is counterintuitive for a segment of Americans who were outraged when the affairs of former President Bill Clinton were brought to light. Why are evangelicals abandoning their values? Fear of becoming voiceless may drive the moral majority into irrelevancy.
In a bid for a louder, more influential voice in our nation’s politics, evangelicals have publicly sacrificed Christian principles in support for policies running counter to the teachings of Jesus Christ, losing their relevancy with millennials, and non-Christians. What cost to faith are evangelicals willing to pay to take an active part in the political wars of today?
Crying faces of migrant children separated from parents at our Southern border should not harden our hearts, but open them. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus said, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Our court systems are tied up in legal suits for our government to supply basic needs, like soap and a blanket, to children detained in our immigration facilities. Leviticus 19:34 states, “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
A manifesto published before the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso eluded to white nationalist sentiments and repeated thoughts verbally expressed by our current administration. The victims were from both sides of the border—citizens of El Paso, Texas and Mexican communities that share our border region. What moral high ground do we hold in protecting the rights of the unborn, when we do nothing to curb the proliferation of guns destroying lives of the already born?
Innovations in media with platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter add to the cacophony of news, commentary and opinions of the 24-hour news cycle. As news breaks, public figures make statements that exist in perpetuity on the internet. Some evangelical leaders have jumped into this fray, showing little regard for their Christian values, when it serves their political purposes. Sadly, conservative evangelicals have chosen a self-gratifying strategy that may have grave repercussions on a generation of Christians in America. What value do the words of Christianity hold when religious leaders appear as glaring hypocrites? Does Christianity lose its meaning when it becomes a mechanism of political motivation? Is Christianity merely a part of national identity? Whatever comes, it is clear that evangelicals have some soul-searching to do.
John Hulstine is a senior English major from Craig, Colorado.