Confronting the White Christian Vote for Trump by Gina Messina


Gina Messina-Dysert profileThis week a politician from Connecticut reached between a woman’s legs and pinched her genitals saying that he loves this new world where he doesn’t have to be politically correct. Sadly, this is just another act of violence among many perpetrated based on the example of our President Elect, Donald Trump.

While many have been very troubled by Trump’s candidacy and ultimate election to the highest office in the nation – and the world – more than 80% of Evangelicals and 60% of Catholics gave their vote to Trump.

Given that social justice is a Christian tradition – not a liberal agenda as so many have claimed – such statistics are more than surprising.

Understanding the mission of Jesus, the question is why would so many who claim to follow his teachings participate in the election of a man who has repeatedly proven to be racist, sexist, xenophobic, and more. What part of the Christian tradition would condone such a vote?

While some have claimed that Trump was the appropriate candidate because of his “pro-life” stance, it seems much further discussion is needed on what exactly “pro-life” means.  Listening to Trump’s rhetoric and observing his actions clearly demonstrate he is “anti-life.”

While I would like to believe that such ignorance played a role in every Trump vote, the bottom line is that many agree with his hateful rhetoric and actions and seek a nation that will continue to privilege the white male while oppressing all other groups.

In an effort to explore this and create dialogue, I was honored to be part of a group of theologians who worked together to write an open letter to white Christians who voted for Trump. No doubt, much conversation is needed.

The letter was published on MLK Day in honor of King’s legacy and was introduced by the following statement:

Fifty four years ago this coming April, Dr. Martin Luther King wrote a letter from the Birmingham jail to white Christian leaders on issues of racial justice and the future of our nation. To honor this legacy, and take it up in our own day, Auburn Seminary partnered with leading ecumenical Christian voices from across the country to pen a letter to white Christians. The white Christian vote was crucial to the election of Donald J. Trump, who again and again has disparaged and disrespected people of color, women, and many others. People of color have publicly asked white Christians for an accounting of their majority support for a president who explicitly disregards their fundamental dignity. 

The Dear White Christians letter is intended to be adopted or adapted, but most of all used as a catalyst for conversation in families, churches, and neighborhoods across the nation. We hope to spark a movement adopting the five action steps at the end of the letter moving white Christians to address questions of racial justice and public commitment to all who are vulnerable. We invite you to explore our resources, and to share with us resources you find important. Use the hashtag #DearWhiteChristians to share pictures and stories of how you are using the letter. 

Please read the letter and consider sharing widely.  It is time that we confront the white Christian vote for Trump and acknowledge its confirmation of willingness to overlook the suffering of others in favor of our own self interests. When will we stand in solidarity with the marginalized as Jesus called for?

Gina Messina, Ph.D. is an American feminist scholar, Catholic theologian, author, and activist. She is also Co-founder of Feminism and Religion. She writes for The Huffington Post, has authored multiple publications and is the co-editor of the highly acclaimed Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay. Messina is a widely sought after speaker and has presented across the US at universities, organizations, conferences and on national platforms including appearances on MSNBC, Tavis Smiley, NPR and the TEDx stage. She has also spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations to discuss matters impacting the lives women around the world. Messina is active in movements to end violence against women and explores opportunities for spiritual healing. Connect with her on Twitter @FemTheologian, Facebook, and her website ginamessina.com.

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Categories: Abuse of Power, Activism, Politics

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11 replies

  1. Great post Gina. We are going to have to reach across the aisle if we are going to make any progress in the next four years!

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  2. I can’t help but wonder if any of those evangelicals and Catholics who voted for Trump–not to mention the guy from Connecticut–have ever read the Sermon on the Mount. If they’ve ever paid attention to what their teacher said. They seem to be acting in opposition to the Beatitudes.

    Is this the end of the world as we’ve known it? Are the marginalized going to just be pushed off the planet? Or at least just further out of sight?

    Gina, thanks for writing this, but I wish I weren’t reading it first thing in the morning!

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  3. I find that many “Christians” have never read the Gospels, but base their belief on what one popular clergy-person or another has to say about what being a “Christian” means. Hopefully that is changing. Catholics (at least us older folks) in particular have been brought up with the idea that meditation/thoughtfulness is the reserve of cloistered nuns. I know that has changed for many and hopefully will continue to change for more people as we explore the riches within each of us. And there is the present holiday from any critical thinking while many chase superficial excitements of modern society where keeping people “dumbed down” keeps those in power, in power.

    I do see that changing however, and wonder if, perhaps, the present crisis is the beginning of birth pangs for new life. “Troubling the waters, healing the world” as it says under “Auburn”. Thank you to all the “stir-ers”, midwives for the future.

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  4. The Christian label like many others is only skin deep. The world contains a huge variety of people some of whom label themselves for all sorts of reasons. This has little or nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ, which have been hammered into all sorts of systems.
    ‘ By their fruits shall ye know them’.

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  5. Thanks for drawing my attention to this. It’s an issue I have been struggling with, as a white Christian from Europe, and trying to understand.

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  6. And I’ve now reblogged it on my own blog. Thanks!

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  7. Thank you for this; I am not a Christian, and reading this from Canada – however I did grow up in a primarily Christian household, and was shocked to hear how many people who consider themselves Christians supported Trump. It’s unsettling.

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  8. Reblogged this on Pen and Paper and commented:
    Great post. Thank you so much for writing about this “elephant in the room” and I know the more we engage with the all religious doctrines that use “pro-life” instead of “pro-child”, “pro-health of woman”, the more we educate. I spent 10 years within an evangelical family that I married into, and to my experience, it is very cult-like, mind-shattering, and ultimate control over what to think, not much about Jesus’s teaching at all.

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