Following Jesus in the time of Trump

Kayla Miller

Growing up in a conservative Christian home where Fox News emanated out of the TV every night, I grew up believing that being Christian meant voting Republican and being a devout follower of Bill O’Reilly. But in my time in college, I’ve found that neither Republican nor Democratic platforms align perfectly with Christianity.

Christianity is about following the example of Jesus, being rooted in love.

During this political season, I am struggling. My faith calls me to love unconditionally, show compassion to all, and selflessly serve the people around me to spread the good news about Jesus. I am heartbroken because compassion and love are not leading our new president.

I am struggling to find my place as a Christian, as a journalist and now as a voting citizen.

We are in a time of conflict, when protesters standing up for the rights of others are called snowflakes, women from around the world standing up for their rights to exist equally are openly mocked, and the president of the United States brags about sexually assaulting a woman.

But in my discussions with some conservatives, I’m made to feel as though I’m somehow un-Christian by believing this is not OK.

There are other Christians like me who have difficulty finding their place on the political spectrum. I know this because I’ve talked to them. We discuss scripture and encourage each other to continually choose love over hate. We show compassion to each other, and we stand by our convictions. In our highly divided society, we are forced to step to one side of the aisle despite the fact that neither fully represents our values.

I am encouraged that there are other Christians who are uncomfortable with a president who is barring refugees, claiming “America First” and putting the needs of our highly-privileged nation ahead of the needs of starving people. Scripture says to love your neighbor and your enemies. God calls us to walk in love for all people.

President Trump may have won the conservative Christian vote, but to call him a godly man is both incorrect and heartbreaking. Trump’s administration values money and jobs over human lives and the health of our neighbors, which goes directly against the teachings of Jesus.

So too does the Republican Party, the supposedly Christian party, when it  neglects the exact people God has commanded us to love.

Conservative politicians want abortion laws protecting the unborn, but they want to cut welfare programs that feed and clothe those same children once they enter the world. Jesus probably would not advocate for abortion, but he wouldn’t want us to allow children to go hungry. Jesus says to feed the poor, not accuse them of laziness.

I am here to encourage other Christians on campus. There are people like you, struggling to find the love in today’s society, people who don’t want walls, or the loss of women’s health care. There are Christians who acknowledge the truth of climate change and stand by the importance of protecting our environment.

We are not defined by a president who claimed to follow a religion simply to win votes, but are instead defined by our own actions and what we do to make this world a better place.