Tag: 2020

I Can’t Vote For Trump, The Bible Tells Me So

I just can’t do it.

My faith is grounded.

The reasons are stacked far too high.

You can pressure me, guilt me, shame me, and lure me with gold.

I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so.

Not just tells me, but screams it into my soul.

Starting with abortion. 

The Scripture writer declared, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” Jeremiah 6:14-16 

In this passage from the Bible, God is upset. The religious people of the day are exploiting harmful problems for personal, political gain and not addressing their true solutions. They act like they care, but intentionally allow the issues to remain unresolved. They outwardly insist that they desire a way forward, but inwardly they have no real desire at all. 

Trump and many conservative Evangelicals treat “abortion” the same. They outwardly declare that they are “pro-life” and detest abortion. They feverishly rant against how many “babies” are being murdered. Many make abortion their defining issue as to the reason why they support Trump. They posture themselves as wanting to make it illegal, as if that was the cure. It all looks and sounds so spiritual to the casual observer. Yet, inwardly, they have little-to-no heart for a real solution. For if they did, they would be addressing, providing for, and adopting the proven remedies that positively impact abortion. But, they don’t. 

Instead, with deceit, they want to keep the abortion issue alive because it manipulates their voters. It’s a political false flag, the last card they have in their deck. Without it, they have no drum to beat and no provocative enemy upon which to summon their troops to fight. The need to create the illusion that they lead the way against abortion while making sure it remains unresolved, that they might remain in power. 

In fact, perfectly credible and widely known statistics show that abortion rates have gone down significantly with the kind of Democratic leadership that approaches abortion wholistically and addresses the real issues that can bring real change. Yet sadly, these same statistics reveal that under Republican leadership, abortion significantly increases–that’s the facts. Yet, with Trump at their side, conservatives ”do not even know how to blush” at the truth about abortion, how they expoit it, and how they resist actual remedies. Instead, they declare “Pro-life, pro-life” where there is no pro-life among them. All in hopes of drowning the biblical voice crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the ways of the Lord to heal abortion and cure its causes.”  

Like most people, I detest abortion. I want to see it become a non-issue in our society. I want to see it remedied by real people who really care, who are willing to apply the difficult, but real solutions that work. I’m tired of people who are more interested in politics than life.

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so.

Or, how about unrepentant sin.

Most everyone agrees that sin is bad. Even Trump supporters acknowledge that he is an overly sinful man. All of the Seven Deadly Sins listed in the Bible, Trump blatantly exudes–no question about that. In fact, for some Trump supporters, they love his rebellious spirit, even against God. Yet, right in the face of the Bible, Christians who support Trump wave their many flags of excuses such as, “Everyone sins,” “We’re not electing a pastor” or, “Look at David in the Bible, he sinned, but God used him.”

To be sure, those statements are true. However, in Scripture, there is a huge, defining difference. God never raised up anyone for leadership who didn’t first repent of their sins. Not one, period. Scripturally, repentance has always been a precursor for being lifted up by God.

Yet, without any pause in their biblical steps, for many Christians who support Trump, they believe God anointed Him for leadership and to do His will in America and beyond. However, given the fact that Trump has never repented of his sins, even when given the chance, this is a biblical impossibility. In fact, in many conservative Evangelical churches, Trump couldn’t even qualify to become their janitor without a repentance of sins, but somehow he can become their God-appointed President?

Still to this day, Trump refuses to repent. How do I know? The “fruits of repentance” that John the Baptist insisted upon in Scripture are nowhere to be found in Trump. 

“But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his place of baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit, then, in keeping with repentance.’” Mathew 3:7-8

Trump is undeniably the same lying, profane, greedy, mocking, bullying, divisive, jealous, arrogant, narcissistic, and hateful man he was at the beginning of his presidency. That’s not a judgement, it’s an inescapable observation. Despite the lipstick Evangelicals want to put on this pig, God is not interested in Trump’s appearances of meeting with Evangelicals, closing his eyes during prayers, randomly using Christian jargon, or waving a Bible around. Instead, He is interested in a humble, genuinely contrite heart. Sadly, a heart Trump neither has nor apparently desires.

As Jesus warned in Scripture, no unrepented, sin-ladened Trump-like tree can “produce good fruit.” 

I want divine goodness for America. I want integrity and decency in our leadership. I want humble, teachable, kind people at the helm who show strength through maturity and stability.

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so.

But, what about the lies?

Yes, 20,000 documented lies or misleading statements since Trump was elected. Certainly, by now, he must be giving the Father of Lies a run for his money. With this blatant stronghold of deceit and lying manifested in Trump’s life and leadership, to willfully follow him, vote for him, or give him loyalty is to pledge yourself to evil, is it not? How can it be anything different?

“No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.” Psalm 101:7

“Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool—how much worse lying lips to a ruler!” Proverbs 17:7

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord” Proverbs 12:22

Most Christian Trump supporters insist that the LGBTQ community is biblically declared an “abomination” to the Lord and should never be supported, followed, or given influence in our society. Yet, these same Christians joyfully give a man, who the Bible declares as a lying “abomination,” their praise, worship, and anointing as a healthy, worthy, divine leader. How can this possibly be? For it’s certainly not biblical.

“Let me describe for you a worthless and a wicked man; first, he is a constant liar; he signals his true intentions to his friends with eyes and feet and fingers. He is always thinking up new schemes to swindle people. He stirs up trouble everywhere. But he will be destroyed suddenly, broken beyond hope of healing.” Proverbs 6:12-16

Most recently, Trump was caught lying to the American people about the severity of the  Covid-19 virus. Once again, declaring “Peace, peace” where there is no peace. In fact, long after he knew about the lethal severity of the virus he labeled it a “hoax.” Trump lied, 200,000 people have died. 

The Bible clearly teaches, nothing of God ever comes from lying. 

I want a truthful President. I want leadership that places honesty over personal gain. I want to be led by people who believe that “the truth shall set you free,” even if that truth is unpopular, difficult, or alarming. I want the Father of Lies not to be an object of political aspiration, but the subject of human and societal rejection. 

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so.

Enter, the immigrant, refugee, and the foreigner.

No one wants illegal immigration or open borders as a national policy, regardless of how conservative Evangelical Trump supporters label the position of progressives. Once again, Trump supporters seem to relish in creating issues that aren’t real to deflect from addressing the ones that are.

If America is a Christian nation, what happens when immigration (illegal or not) happens? How, biblically, are we to treat the foreigners and immigrants among us, no matter how they arrive? What happens with refugees who come to our border? And, how are we to biblically treat those who seek asylum and new life within our country?

The Bible has crystal clear answers.

Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” Exodus 22:21

“When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as a citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:33-34

“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.” Leviticus 19:9-10

“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.” (1 Kings 8:41-44)

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:5

For the Lord your God…loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.  You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:18-19

“The Lord watches over the strangers…” Psalm 146

“The aliens shall be to you as citizens, and shall also be allotted an inheritance.” Ezekiel 47:21

“…I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:31 (Jesus speaking)

Notice, Jesus doesn’t say they, “caged me,” “abused me,” “neutered me,” “separated me from family,” “starved me,” “made immigration nearly impossible for me,” “mocked me,” “slandered me,” or “murdered me.”  

No, he said of His true followers, they “welcomed” me. 

Sadly, this is not the policy of president Trump, nor the Republicans, nor the desires of many of his Christian supporters, even the ones who claim their faithfulness to the Bible and its infallible inerrancy. What God admonishes, they resist.  

For if you take the Scriptures seriously, the immigrant, the refugee, and the foreigner should not just be “welcomed” with sacrificial hospitality, but “wanted” as God’s own favored blessing. They should be lifted high among all others. They should be loved, protected, and provide for with the same passion we love, protect, and provide for ourselves. They are not to be objects of resentment, oppression, rejection, exploitation, or inconvenience. Rather, they should be honored as angels sent from above. They are us, and we are them. For in Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile.”

I want a country in sync with God’s heart for the immigrant, the foreigner, the alien, and refugee. I want a country in step with God’s biblical, unconditional “welcome,” “want,” and generous care for those outside of our borders who desire to come, live, and find new life within us.  

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so. 

But perhaps, most of all, loving your neighbor as yourself.

“‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Matthew 12:31

“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Matthew 5:44

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

As a former white, conservative Evangelical pastor of 20 years, I know deeply how the system works. I’m not trying to slam the faith or the people within it, but the unbiblical evils must be chased out of the shadows, especially the hate of love among so many.

For most everything within white, conservative Evangelicalism isn’t focused on having a neighbor to love, but rather based upon having an enemy that must be hated. Fear of these enemies is the ultimate motivator, not love. They will create it, fabricate it, and inflame it. For they are nothing without fear and the hate it awakens…

If we love minorities as ourselves, they’ll take over the church and society, and we’ll lose our white church, white way of life, and white power. 

If we love black people as ourselves with true equality, true police accountability, true legal fairness, true economic justice, and true opportunity, we’ll have to admit our racism and white privilege, lose our white way of life, and surrender our white power.

If we love our wives as ourselves and remove the requirement that they must submit to us unquestionably, they’ll take over the family, usurp male power, and run the church and society into the ground.

If we love the LGBTQ community as ourselves, our patriarchal power will be dismantled, God will punish our life, and all of white, male-driven, conservative Christianity will be flushed down the drain.

If we love special needs people as ourselves, we’ll have to make an honored and equal place for them in society, overpowering our “normal” lives with inconvenience. 

If we love the least-of-these as ourselves with economic equality, free health care, free college, a living wage, social security, long-term care, and the removal of poverty, we won’t be able to fund our industrial military complex and foster our diabolical economic system of socialism for top and capitalism for the bottom.  

If we love the environment as ourselves with significant building and development restrictions, environmental controls, and clean energy standards and investments, we won’t be able to feed our insatiable appetites for economic and personal greed. 

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.'” -Matthew 25:41-45

“He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich–both come to poverty.” -Proverbs 22:16

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” -Ezekiel 16:49

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” James 2:8-9

See, where God admonishes that our highest motivation should be the unconditional love and care for all of humanity equally, in contrast, there is truly no other fuel that drives the Evangelical Death Star than having enemies to fear, hate, marginalize, fight, and treat unequally.

This is why Trump has the addictive support and allegiance of most conservative Evangelicals. For the only thing they understand is fear, and Trump speaks their language like no other. He mocks special needs people, bullies his perceived enemies, embraces racism, fosters white supremacy, mistreats women, ignites division, worships greed, and loves himself above all things.

Biblically, this is the ultimate blaspheme of the Spirit.

To see love as the enemy.

To see fear as the friend.

To see enemies as the goal.

To fight at all cost, with lies, violence, duplicity, and sin.

To see a white, conservative, Republican, American Jesus as the way, truth, and life.

To see white, conservative Evangelicalism as the Kingdom.

I want a President with whom love is greater than fear. I want a country where to love all people equally is a friend and not an enemy. I want the character of a great person, a great society, a great economy, and a great nation to be defined by their love for all people equally, not fear nor hate. 

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so. 

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Progressives, You’d Better Get Your Shit Together

We’re closer now to losing our democracy than ever before.

It’s clear, the majority of Trump supporters are determined to see their agenda for America come to fruition at all costs. In Trump, their long-brewing angers, hates, fears, lusts, prejudices, and desires have been rallied to the surface and released from their cages. For many conservative Evangelicals, not even the core tenets of their faith give them pause nor restraint. Seemingly, nothing else matters but their acquisition of increased power and dominion.  

This is the empire-building mentality of white, male-driven Christianity that, throughout history, has turned love into hate, faith into fear, the Bible into an idol, church into big business, humans into slaves, women into objects, minorities into mules, the different into devils, sacrifice into selfishness, equality into privilege, the Gospel into a commodity, and the Christian life into the self-centered, spiritual ego trip of the privileged. 

Yet, this lust for Empire is not a phenomenon intrinsic only to conservative Christians. Sadly, progressives are equally susceptible to its allures. Among democrats and progressives, the very same willingness to suspend truth, integrity, morality, and goodness in the pursuit of gain is not uncommon. With a sure capacity for viciousness, progressives of all types have been willing to eat their own and sabotage those who would obstruct their path. Sadly, personal gain, personal empires, personal platforms, and personal agendas have often been placed above integrity, decency, and the common good. 

This is the progressive, spiritually immature, divisive, bitchy pettiness that Trump is counting on from within democrats and progressives alike to further exploit America and win the 2020 election. We’ve self-imploded before, and I fear we’re doing it again. Like the whiney mother who refuses to lead the Christmas play unless her child gets the part of Mary, some progressives are already declaring that if their candidate doesn’t win the democratic nomination, they’ll vote for Trump or not at all. 

Progressives, you’d better get your shit together.

Sure, we can respectfully debate who has the most probability to defeat Trump. Sure, we can compare and contrast the candidates as to who best supports our personal preferences. Sure, we can converse vigorously about the ills of our two-party political system. However, in the urgency of this hour, there is no more time for infighting, backstabbing, smearing, or personal power grabs. Not from individuals, not from candidates, not from social media platforms, and not from news outlets. If your primary focus isn’t to remove Trump from the Presidency through the election of the candidate who wins the democratic ticket, you are the problem and the blood of our dying democracy will be on your hands.

To be sure, those whose political affinities fall outside of white, male-driven Christian conservatism carry the ideas and messages that bring hope and healing to our religiously abused and exploited country. However, I fear we are becoming the evil done against us. 

Where, with one voice, we should be boldly resisting Trump and his regime, we instead, gripe amongst ourselves. Where, with one voice, we should be vehemently protesting the lies and deceit, we instead, pick each other apart. Where, with one voice, we should be outrageously enraged at the blatant abuse of democracy, power, and privilege, we instead, punch each other in the throat.  

Progressives, you’d better get your shit together. 

America cannot withstand our lack of maturity, perspective, selflessness, and unity under the burden now upon Her.

In the midst of our progressive diversity, ours must be a singular focus with a singular message—”No more Trump, or no more America. The choice is yours.” For our willingness or unwillingness to unify will determine the future of our Republic. This is the sobering reality at hand, like it or not.

Now is the time to rise up.

Now is the time to speak not only a better message, but to be a better people.

Now is the time to put on full display the courage of our convictions.

Now is the time to stand with and under each other, that our democracy might withstand its darkest hour.

For if you are not angry enough to unify, you are the problem.

If you are not concerned enough to partner together, you are the problem.

If you are not democratic enough to lay down your differences to save our democracy, you are the problem.

If you are not libertarian enough to turn swords into plowshares to save the liberty of our nation, you are the problem.

If you are not progressive enough to put aside your personal preferences for the sake of our country, you are the problem. 

If you are not human enough to summon the love, compassion, and care needed to intertwine our bravery into one cord with one vote for the sake of the common good, you are the problem.

Progressives, you’d better get your shit together. 

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Check out Chris Kratzer’s new book getting rave reviews… Leatherbound Terrorism.

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

We Are Trump, All Of Us

My disdain for him is equal to, if not greater than yours. So much of what he stands for, I simply detest. Not a day goes by where I don’t find his actions and attitudes unbecoming of a human being, let alone the President of the United States of America.

Yet, when I search to connect the dots that led to his rise in power. When I dissect the pathway of disease that has led to his infection. When I retrace the erosion that allows such a lapse of discernment, I must be willing to look into the mirror.  

To be sure, conservative Evangelicalism and the safe harbor it affords to countless evils, has led the way in opening wide the gates to Trump’s rule and reign. This is obvious and well documented.

Yet, perhaps what we fail to see, is that in some way, great or small, we are all the incubator from which “Trump” has been birthed into the world—yes, progressives included.

We say that we detest his gross inappropriate sexual immorality, yet we sexualize our young children with provocative attire, seductive poses for social media, and the competitive message that beauty is centered upon one’s outward appearance.

We say his lying is of pathological origins fit for the Antichrist, yet we internally exonerate the daily fibs and exaggerations we tell that are deemed necessary to get ahead in life, or at least, take hold of our share. Somehow, in our minds, those are innocent, not unlike the little-white-untruths we insist are developmentally healthy for our children to explore.

We say that we are “progressive” and therefore nothing like him, yet we roam social media waiting to devour our own at first sight of their departure from our own personal ideology of progressive conformity.

We say that he has foolishly walled himself off from wise counsel and only gathers those around him whose loyalty is blind and without ethics, yet we huddle in our exclusive progressive tribes centered on much the same tenets, positioning and using the people around us for our benefit and “progressive” aspirations.   

We say that the way he undermines his competition and enemies with vicious tweets and callous decisions is of the devil himself, yet when another walks into our own territory of influence, we guard our platforms at all cost, willing to send to the curb anyone who dares to get in the way of our spotlight and progressive empire building.

We say we are a people for the “common good,” yet we can’t find enough in common or good with each other to pause from our repeated self-destruction long enough to come together and unite our votes for the defeat of blatant tyranny.

We say his vacations are a rape of the American taxpayer, yet we refuse to muster the short amount of time and energy it takes to get up off the couch, educate our brains, and vote.

                                                                                                                           

Every time we make beauty something that can be accomplished through powder, poses, and privilege, we are Trump.

Every time we place promotion, progress, or personal gain above truth, we are Trump.

Every time we subscribe to a legalism that affords us the exclusive right to judge, condemn, and marginalize, we are Trump.

Every time we position and use people in our lives for the fulfillment of personal aspirations, we are Trump.

Every time we sabotage and demonize those who would share in our spotlight or thwart our empire building, we are Trump.

Every time we eat our own and render people as disposable, we are Trump.

Every time we turn platforms into pedestals, we are Trump.

Every time we choose ignorance, complacency, and comfort over integrity, responsibility, activism, and the welfare of humanity, we are Trump.

We can bend, twist, and hide behind our excuses, but the cold hard truth is this… in some way, great or small, we are Trump—all of us. Not because we are simply imperfect humans like him, but because we all have been bewitched by a self-centered American spirit that has turned the very best and most sacred things of life into commodities of personal gratification. People, power, platforms, church, politics, and even Jesus: nothing has been exempt from being fashioned into a flag to wrap around our own selfish pursuits.

As hard as it may be to hear, Trump is a product of ourselves, we are not immune to culpability—all of us.

Therefore, it’s high time we stop pointing to the many obvious reasons why Trump is a thing, and start looking to ourselves as an integral part of the problem and likely the only part of the solution. Not simply because we believe to have better ideas, theologies, views, or values, but because at the end of the day, we are better humans.

For our most important vote will not be in the 2020 ballot box, but in our daily choice to actually live against the very things we say we are against.

Until we do, there will always be a Trump.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Check out Chris Kratzer’s new book getting rave reviews… Leatherbound Terrorism.

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

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