The Rev. William Barber took to NBC News earlier this week to lend his powerful moral voice to the condemnation of Donald Trump’s news making infidelities. The infidelity Barber wrote of, however, was not Trump’s affair with porn star Stormy Daniel:
The infidelity that we must concern ourselves with is called “whoring after other gods” in the Bible (see Hosea 9:1 or Amos 7:17). Whenever a nation chooses to hurt the poor, oppress the stranger, mistreat the weak and corrupt the courts in the Bible, prophets accuse political leaders of public infidelity. Unlike in a marriage, such adultery is not a private matter; it must be challenged and called out in the public square.
Today, too many preachers are willing to overlook personal moral failings in exchange for access to power. Jerry Falwell, Jr., responding to critics, claimed Jesus’ teachings are about private morality, not public policy: “Jesus said love our neighbors as ourselves but never told Caesar how to run Rome,” he wrote on Twitter.
Though this is a common distinction among white evangelicals in the U.S., it is not a distinction the Bible makes. Jesus himself says that, at the final judgment, “all the nations” will be gathered before him to give an account for how they treated the most vulnerable among us. The prophet Isaiah, whom Jesus quotes often, condemns “those who legislate evil” and exhorts the faithful to “loose the bands of injustice”— a political act in any society. It’s hard to imagine someone who proclaimed the “kingdom of God” in the first century not having a vision for the transformation of society.
Taking care of the poor and the vulnerable is not a left wing political agenda, or a specifically SJW concern. It is the very work of Christ himself, and by our identification with Him, it is our work to. If we want to claim to be the Christian nation that people like Falwell and Perkins claim we are, we must do better. Trump’s policies towards the vulnerable of the world are as anti-Christian as one can imagine. The court evangelicals and the millions of American Christians who continue to support him need to wake up and realize this, and hold him to a Christian standard.