The current GOP frontrunner – you know, even though we’re over a year away from the presidential election – Donald Trump has stated some pretty horrible things about immigrants (legal or otherwise). Donald Trump has un-ironically called the United States a “dumping ground” for the rest of the world (forgetting the fact that every single white person in the United States descends from an immigrant). What’s quite worrisome, however, is that evangelical Christians – the largest group of Christians in the United States and a substantial part of the GOP voting bloc – happen to love Donald Trump. His famous interaction with Jorge Ramos notwithstanding, Trump’s aide was quick to tell Mr. Ramos to “Get out of my country,” even though Mr. Ramos is a US citizen. White nationalists view Trump as a step in the right direction and some even support his views on both legal and illegal immigration. There are also reports of Trump supporters inciting violence against Latinos. The point is, Donald Trump hates immigrants (both legal and illegal), his supporters are becoming violent with immigrants (especially Latinos), and somehow this guy gets the support of the evangelical Christian group.
In light of such support, I think that it is time we announce the death of something that was never alive; American Christianity. That isn’t to say that America, at one time, held to an idea of Christianity and to a culture of Christianity, but there’s never really been a “Christian America” that so many desire. Of course, at this moment, there most certainly is not a “Christian America.” Rather than a nation of those willing to follow Christ’s teachings, we are instead a nation of Cain’s, constantly asking if we are our brother’s keeper, or saying that our brother isn’t actually our brother.
We slew Native Americans without a second thought, we chased out many Latinos who had settled in the old territory of Mexico (modern day Southwestern US), and we enslaved millions of Africans. We beat and brutalized freed slaves, refused them rights, refused them respect, and looked upon them with disdain and unwarranted hatred. Along the way God called down to the Christians who participated and encouraged such acts, but they responded with, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” while the blood of their brethren cried out to God for justice.
In the modern age we see the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of former slaves kept in poverty, under the constant brutal treatment by police, and we blame “them” for such a situation. Not once have evangelicals, as a whole, truly offered to help. When a prominent Reformed evangelical can make the argument that slavery wasn’t all that bad while co-writing the paper with a member of the League of the South (a quasi-white nationalist group; quasi in the sense that their stance can be summarized as, “We don’t hate anyone who isn’t white, we just think they should act like us and follow our rules”) and is still praised by almost every Reformed evangelical out there (including John Piper), it’s easy to see there’s a problem.
And now we have a candidate who spews open animosity towards immigrants, specifically Latinos, and white evangelicals are quick to jump on board with such hatred. Such views do not function within Christian beliefs. In fact, there isn’t a form of nationalism in existence that can properly coincide with true Christianity (looking at you “Britain First”) because Christianity, by its very existence, is sans-national and multi-ethnic. There is no such thing as a Christian nation, a Christian culture, or even a Christian identity. There are creeds, beliefs, faiths, liturgies, but while all are unified in one belief, they are distinct in their existential nature.
True Christianity is by its nature diverse. After all, central to the Christian belief – so central that to remove it removes any semblance of Christianity – is the Trinity. The belief that God is one in essence, but three persons creates a religion that is founded in a paradox where both unity and diversity are needed in equal measure. The modern evangelical calls for a monolithic state, a state with one religion, one language, one culture, and ultimately one race (the implicit desire in these Trump rallies, though never explicitly stated and always openly denied). Such an evangelical is properly called an evangelical – for they’re evangelists for a nationalistic and modernistic cause – but are improperly called evangelical Christians, for their message represents nothing within Christianity. A Christianity that doesn’t allow for and appreciate diversity isn’t properly Christian.
Thus, here we are again today looking at brothers who are bruised and battered. They want to come to the United States for refuge, for jobs, for an opportunity their children can’t have. While the United States is declining and certainly full of many errors, it is still a better place than many of the places these people are leaving. We have the capacity to help them, especially if we unify and appreciate the diversity. We have the resources to help, so long as we take the drastic and necessary steps to promote economic justice. But we see our jobs sent overseas by rich billionaires (such as Trump) and make the non sequitur conclusion that immigrants are at fault for our job loss. We then take away their rights, we dehumanize them, we beat them and leave them on the streets. And so their blood cries out to God again as it is spilt on the ground, and we coldly and with narcissistic bitterness ask, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”