Politics, Christianity, and Hatred’s Role in Division

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Like the rest of you, I’m sure, I’ve spent the last few months contemplating politics. There’s been a lot to contemplate – a lot to chew on and a lot to digest. There have been all the regular issues with which to grapple, toppled by an overwhelming amount of “old” issues resurfacing. Maybe these issues never went away.

I have watched and listened to CNN, FOX, NBC, and NPR, NZ3, and read New York Times, New Zealand Herald, and various articles shared on social media. My Facebook “friends” are widespread: many from Texas – Hispanics, African Americans, and Caucasians, Oklahoma, Colorado, California, the Pacific Northwest; some Americans in Asia – Thailand, Nepal, India, South Korea; and quite a few non-Americans in New Zealand.

There are Christians making their voice heard on my social media feeds – whether American or not. Some of them are saying that God has prevailed in this election. Some of them are calling those Christians that voted for Trump hypocrites, saying that they have voted for someone who does not uphold Christian values. They are angry.

It doesn’t matter which side I fall under. I don’t want to talk politics. I’m sick of politics. Not because I’m tired of hearing about Donald Trump when I live halfway around the world and shouldn’t hear his name everywhere I go. Not because I’m tired of hearing about Hillary’s e-mails because I don’t hear any of that in New Zealand. Not even because I am completely worn-out by the media trying to influence voters both in the United States and overseas.

I am sick of politics because it is hateful.

We have morphed the political arena into a modern-day Roman Coliseum. We are the lions, tearing apart anyone we find with our vicious words: You have to vote Republican, You have to vote Democrat, Jesus hates you if you vote for _______, Obama is the anti-Christ, Trump will bring the Apocalypse, You are anti-women!, You hate gays!, You are racist!, You’re uneducated, If you vote for _______, you’re stupid, You’re a Muslim-hater.

We insult each other’s beliefs, intelligence, worth, rights, belittling each other’s God-given rights to think for ourselves. For many, this race for the presidency was very personal. Put yourself in the shoes of the immigrant, the oppressed. Put yourself in the shoes of the middle class worker. It’s not just Republicans versus Democrats. It’s Christians versus non-Christians, which is bad. It’s Christians versus Christians, which is – arguably – worse. I see you bickering, hatefully, on Facebook for the whole world to see.

I have argued against both Christians and non-Christians, and I am part of the problem. But, I will strive to be better. I am calling myself out. I am making a decision to call what is happening now for what it is – not what it is disguised as.

The world wants us divided – as Americans of whatever race, gender, religion. I see it on the news and I see it here. There are dark forces at play here in the world of Christianity, dividing us, as if we needed more cracks in the glass. These dark forces have names. Fear. Hatred. Contempt. Bitterness. Prejudice. Anger.

I was trying to look up some facts I saw on the Stephen Colbert Show when I saw that one of the suggested search terms was “The Divided States of America”. How sad is that?

The article I found was called “America really is more divided than it seems”, written on 16 July 2016 after the service in Dallas for the five officers killed last summer. It cites statistics from the Pew Research Center which show that 41% of Republican see Democrats’ beliefs being “a threat to the nation”. 45% of Democrats believe this about Republicans. It’s both a beautiful and a heart-breaking article, mixed with hope, but also with truth.

It is not okay that half of America is afraid of the other half. Have a loving, respectful conversation with your fellow man/woman. Beat down fear, hatred, and anger. Be a unifying agent in this transition. Be positive change because what will truly “make America great again” is not hatred. “Change we can believe in” should start with love. We are “stronger together”.

I’m an ex-patriate and will probably be thus for the rest of my life. But, I am still American, born and bred deep in the heart of Texas. I don’t know if unity is possible. I do, however, believe that it is needed and necessary for America to continue to thrive.

Fight for equality and fight for unity. Ironically, this sometimes means not fighting at all.

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