Now that the divisive election is over and Trump won, many conservatives and Christians are calling for everyone to unite with and support Trump since, after all, he’s about to be our new President. However, even if you voted for Trump and saw him as a lesser of two evils compared to Clinton, you can still agree with my following statements now that the election is over and you are safe from the supposedly greater evil. Christians should be careful to clarify exactly what they mean when they say that we should “unite” and “support” the new President Trump. “Unity” can sound good to Christians because it sounds like peace, a very Christian theme. “Supporting the new President” can sound good to Christians because it sounds like submitting to government, something the Bible calls Christians to do. However, these perceptions are wrong.
Firstly, yes, it is true that Christians are to submit to govt and Trump, i.e. obey their commands/laws as long as these do not force us to sin. My following statements are not about submission and obeying the law, but on unity and support.
Now, let’s talk about unity. The Bible does not teach us to be united in a general unqualified sense. Christians are to be united in the body of Christ and seek to resolve disagreements. But, the scriptures teach that Christians are to separate themselves from evil behavior and not join others in the practice and advocacy of evil actions. We should not unite with evil. We are to be separate and holy. Therefore, if a person or group of people plan to do evil, it is right for Christians to speak against them (in regards to the evil actions) and against the evil plans and actions, and use appropriate methods (those permissible by scripture) to oppose the evil actions. I’m not referring to the stereotypical topics that leftists talk about in regard to Trump, such as his poor personal behavior and offensive language. I’m talking about Trump’s actual policy agenda and platform that he touted during the whole campaign, such as his plans to restrict immigration and trade.
Matthew 10:34-39 comes to mind as just one small example of what I’m talking about in regards to the rightness of some kinds of division and conflict, as Jesus says:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
If the unity of the family is subordinate to unity with Christ and opposition to evil, than so is “national unity”. This does not mean a literal sword to kill non-Christians, but there is spiritual warfare between God’s kingdom and the worldly darkness. While being physically nonviolent and still loving our enemies and seeking to win them over, we must also not join ourselves to evil actions and plans. We must be separate.
Similarly, this leads to the topic of “supporting” Trump. Obviously, it is wrong for Christians to support evil actions or to advocate or cheer them being implemented, and to actively assist an evildoer in carrying out evil plans and actions. Therefore, Christians should not generally support Trump, but only support Trump on those occasions (which will probably be rare) where he plans to do good instead of evil. Otherwise, for the likely majority of cases, lending support is wrong.
You may think that my labels of “evil” are rather harsh. You may even think that many of Trump’s plans aren’t evil or sinful. In that case, the debate should be on that question of whether or not Trump’s plans are evil. This would be the appropriate debate. But, we should not promote unity and support in a general sense because this can cause us to not only confuse others, but confuse ourselves. We should support Trump in a contingent dependent sense, dependent on whether or not the particular thing to be united and supported at a given time is good or evil. Then, we should debate the contingencies.
Lastly, you may think it strange that I consider most of Trump’s plans to be evil and sinful. Indeed, most of his plans will be sinful if he does what he says he would do. And, this is not just a Trump thing. I would be saying the same for Clinton. In fact, I believe that 95% of everything the govt does is sinful and evil, in addition to being practically harmful and destructive. But, you may disagree. So, I’ll ask this one question: “Is it sinful to *initiate* violence, forceful coercion, robbery and/or aggression against another person who is not themselves violent, forceful, and aggressive, and who has not violated anyone else?” By *initiate*, I am ruling out defense of one’s self or others against pre-existing violence and force. So, I’m not talking about whether it’s a sin for a police officer to use force to *stop* a pre-existing fight or save someone from pre-existing violence. I am also ruling out defense and restitution against property violations (stealing, arson, etc). Instead, I’m asking you if it’s wrong to be the initiator and first actor of violence, coercion, robbery, and aggression against a peaceful person. If you answer “yes” that it is wrong and sinful, then it directly follows that 95% of govt actions are wrong and evil, and that the vast majority of Trump’s plans will be no different. This is true particularly with his plans to restrict immigration and international trade.
Both immigration and international trade involve peaceful people simply crossing a jurisdictional line (not a property line) or voluntarily exchanging goods, but Trump plans to have government agents initiate force (more than they already do) against these people and punish them if they do not follow the government’s commands to cease this peaceful activity. He may even have them kidnapped and placed in a cage for prolonged periods of time (prison). He may also initiate robbery against them (via fines, etc). Again, even if these people should submit to the unjust commands of govt, this is a separate question than whether or not the government should initiate unjust commands and enforce them. The biblical command to submit to government in no way implies that government is right or just. The bible teaches to submit to unjust government and unjust treatment. By analogy, just because we ought to turn the other cheek when struck, this does not imply that the striker is just and right when he hits the person in the first place. For more details on the principles of submission to government, see here. For a brief introduction to why immigration restrictions are immoral, see the category “Immigration” on the blog page, and here’s one sample post.