As a Canadian living in Windsor, Ontario – just across the river from Detroit, Michigan – I fully recognize that I have no right to comment on American politics. Who the Americans choose as their president (and other civic leaders) is obviously a decision for U.S. citizens, whatever I may think of NAFTA and other foreign policy matters that effect Canada (and the rest of the world). Moreover, whatever wisdom discerning citizens of other countries may have, for that message to be heard, the messenger must be American! I am, however, a follower of Jesus and Christianity knows no borders; the Christian faith is not wrapped in a flag. From this perspective, I can – I hope with grace and humility – raise legitimate questions of my fellow Christians in the US, especially supporters of Donald Trump.
I confess I found it disturbing that significant numbers of Evangelical Christians supported – then Candidate – Donald Trump. They persisted in supporting him, over other Republican candidates (like Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Marco Rubio), even after scandals emerged that would normally sink a presidential campaign. Christian leaders (and their congregations) helped Trump win the election, despite his divisive, bombastic rhetoric. As a Christian, I find it particularly disturbing that Evangelicals continue to support Trump following his recent fiasco after the Charlottesville rally. In the aftermath, company CEOs resigned from Presidential Advisory bodies. But – it seems to me – relatively few Christian leaders within Trump’s base spoke out and emphatically condemned racism. This is truly shocking! Are we reading the same Bible? Now perhaps ministers did, either privately or to their congregations. But that is not enough! They needed to be highly visible on national TV, providing moral leadership – not flirting with political power and influence.
This echoes the role of the Old Testament prophets. They challenged the people of Israel to repent and worship the one true God, and they acted as the social conscience speaking truth to power and reminding their leaders that it is their God-given duty to exercise social justice – especially to the powerless. Evangelicals pride themselves on the former, but what about the latter? All this makes me ask, “Where are the prophets in today’s America?”
Figure 1: “Christians are always more culturally short-sighted than they realize.”
The cartoon pointedly shows a crusading church fighting battles against whatever are considered to be the day’s timely issues, but overlooking major fault-lines (e.g., nationalism, materialism, and racism) that are undermining its own foundations. The right wing of the church has a tendency to tout a “born again” personal commitment to Jesus Christ, but it often results in no ethical transformation. Congregants are passionately committed to Jesus for an hour on Sunday, but throughout the rest of the week their lifestyle choices and attitudes to money, sex, and power are indistinguishable from those of non-believers. Hence raising children in a Christian subculture (music, education, books, movies, etc.), one that is meant to be distinctively different from that of “the world,” is clearly failing. In reality, that Christian ghetto simply parallels the world because its ideas and values have already been uncritically absorbed into the church. As the cartoon highlights: “We Christians are always more culturally short-sighted than we realize!” And as E. Stanley Jones said, “We inoculate the world with a mild form of Christianity so that it will be immune from the real thing.” There is much truth to this witty remark, whether we are Christians who are politically aligned with the left or the right.
Much more could be said, but – not being American – I am not the right messenger. What is the way forward? For those of us who are not American, we can pray; prayer is more powerful than we think! We can pray that God’s Spirit will raise prophetic voices in the US so that God’s message for today will at least be heard. We can also pray that as we read the Bible, we will genuinely allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us. We read Scripture and, if we engage authentically with the text, it reads us. It can become a mirror into our lives resulting in genuine ethical and spiritual transformation, which itself is an ongoing work of the Spirit. This should not be seen in merely individualistic terms, but in the broader context of Christian engagement with culture.
As well as prayer, we must act as we are able. For someone like me, it may mean creating a blog post that people – especially my American friends – will see and reflect seriously upon. Friendly and meaningful dialogue can affect change. For American evangelicals, I hope it will result in a critical re-examination of the Gospels and asking again, “What would Jesus do?” today, and then act accordingly.
 From Guinness, Gravedigger File, 42,178.
 See Sider, Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience.
 Cited in Hauerwas and Willimon, Resident Aliens, 90.