Trigger warning: mentions of homophobia, transphobia, racism, and sexual assault
I grew up in a Christian Republican household. My parents were Bush supporters, and the three things my dad ever complained about were work, weather, and Obamacare. It was a bit of a running joke in our family that if something was going wrong in the government, it must be because of “those wildin’ Democrats.”
But in 2016, they voted for Hillary Clinton.
To this day, my parents consider themselves Republicans, but now it comes with an exception: “Well, Republicans, but not for Trump. We don’t believe in all that nonsense. That’s not God-like.”
Over the past three years, I’ve developed my own set of political views. As a child, I naturally followed my parents’ Republican opinions, but I now identify as a progressive Democrat. While I still respect my parents’ views, I’ve also established my own value system. For example, as a bisexual woman of color, I only support politicians with good records on the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, women, and minorities. However, I am open to different opinions, and I have many friends with various political beliefs. At the same time, I’ve also had to establish a point where I draw the line.
Around the time of the election, I met a very nice girl, and we became friends. She didn’t talk much about politics back then, but she and her family were devout Christians. She was a modest, respectful, God-fearing woman. She didn’t drink, went to church every Sunday, and never used a more vulgar word than “crap”. She seemed practically perfect, and I envied her composure and commitment to God.
Until I found out she was a passionate Trump supporter.
Look, I can roll with other people’s opinions. I try to see both sides of the coin, even if I personally think one side is the correct side. But when the president thinks it’s okay to block equal pay laws, say all Muslims are terrorists, and put Mexican immigrant children in cages away from their parents, I can’t just respect that as a “different point of view”. He’s almost like a caricature, a supervillain, a shameless bigot who seems to actually enjoy hurting these people. This is the kind of stuff you read about in those YA dystopian books like Divergent or The Giver. This is President Snow in the flesh. This is evil. This is wrong. And this is the exact opposite of the Christianity I know.
That’s why it amazes me to see so many people who identify as Christians out here supporting Trump. “Christians for Trump” is like “Jedi for Darth Vader”. “Avengers for Thanos”. “Dumbledore’s Army for Voldemort”. It’s an oxymoron, and I don’t think people really understand it.
I’m not going to give you a long sermon here, but I want to list a few basic pillars of Christianity. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ spent His life teaching love and compassion to the world. He spread peace and kindness wherever He went, and He gave his own life to offer salvation to the people on Earth. Would Jesus rip children from their parents and lock them in cages? Would Jesus cast out a Muslim woman because he feared that she was different? Would Jesus look upon a transgender man and say he doesn’t have the right to serve his country like every other person in the nation? Or would he love them all and show them the compassion all human beings deserve?
These questions plagued me as I tried to figure out what to do about my friend. I really tried to see her side of things, and I genuinely think she believed she was doing the right thing. For example, her heart broke whenever she heard stories about abortions because she mourned the baby who would never experience life. And a piece of my heart broke with hers. But at the same time, I can’t justify a world with no abortions. I firmly believe that a rape victim should not be forced to carry and give birth to her rapist’s baby, especially if she’s still a minor. You can’t say you’re here to protect innocent, defenseless children if you think forcing a 12-year-old girl to go through that kind of trauma is okay. But my friend never looked at it that way, because she couldn’t see the forest through the trees.
I talked to her so many times, trying to gently explain my side. She never yelled at me for my opinions, never told me I was a horrible person, never tried to force me to believe what she did. I would like to believe that she respected me, even though she didn’t agree with me. But there was always a sheet of glass between us, and it grew thicker as she became more politically vocal on social media. It was so jarring to see this sweet, loving young woman preaching the word of God and Trump at the same time. She got furious at the idea of a “bad boy” catcalling a girl (and rightfully so), but she could support a man who admitted to grabbing women “by the p*ssy”.
There were so many great things about her – we could talk for hours about books, music, and everyday life like we were best friends. But on social media, she became a completely different person. She would laugh with me about my gay crushes, then post things like “Marriage is an indescribable bond between a man and a woman”. In her Twitter likes, I found tweets referring to the LGBTQ+ community as the “alphabet soup community”, which is frequently used by anti-LGBTQ+ groups as a derogatory term. It really hurt me to see these things from someone who claimed to love me like a sister. I tried to message her a few times about it, but she would never understand just how offensive she was being. She was a white, straight, cisgender U.S. citizen in a small neighborhood, and she would never be personally affected by Trump’s terrible decisions. Deep down inside, I knew she could never accept me for who I was – a bisexual Asian-American Democrat. No matter how much fun we had together, she would always believe there was something wrong with me. And to be honest, I would always believe there was something wrong with her, because I could never understand how a God-fearing woman could justify such bigotry.
It broke my heart to cut ties with her. She was one of my closest friends in a lonely time of my life, and I still miss her friendship. I hope that someday, she will realize that her beliefs are hurting people and God wouldn’t approve of that. I even hope that in 5, 10, or 15 years, we might be able to be friends again. But right now, I can’t wake up every day and hear her say that there’s nothing wrong with calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus”, that transgender people are “confused”, and that Captain Marvel is a bad movie because it teaches girls that they don’t need men to be powerful. It goes against my faith. I believe that God made all races, genders, and orientations equal – beautiful, flawed, and capable of great achievements and great mistakes.
Maybe these “Christians for Trump” really do think they’re doing the right thing. Maybe they don’t see how Trump’s politics are violating almost every rule of Christianity. Maybe they actually think every piece of information against him is “fake news”. But when I look at Donald Trump, I don’t see a shred of the goodness I see in Jesus Christ. I see a power-hungry tyrant who will stop at nothing to stay on top. And all we can do is pray that the people of the United States make the right decision in November.