Faith, Identity and Politics

Reconciling one’s faith with one’s political beliefs has recently been a struggle for much of this nation, especially with evangelicals who are divided on whether or not they should continue to back Donald Trump. Recently, Christianity Today, an evangelical news source that has generally been neutral in past elections, spoke out against supporting Trump by explaining that he, contrary to what other Christians may believe about him, is a man that threatens everything dear to their faith, especially with his blatant lack of humility.

When it comes to being an Christian, this matter can get even more complicated because of the complex nature of identifying this way. Which comes first in aligning yourself with a political candidate: your faith, or your sexuality/gender?

Comparing the Candidates: A Christian Perspective

What should we LGBTQ Christians do in this election, when our two main choices seem to stand at opposite ends of this equation?  One candidate has professed himself as the champion for religious freedom (solely for Christianity, as his determination to ban all Muslims from entering our country, along with anti-Semitic imagery, prove that his proclamation is extremely partial). The other has affirmed that she will do her part to push for the progress of LGBTQ rights. Who, then, are we supposed to vote for?

The answer comes down to a matter of, as the Bible refers to it, as “fruits”, such as in the following passage:

“You will know them by their fruit. Grapes aren’t gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles, are they?” (Matthew 7:16)

What are the “fruits,” or rather, actions of each candidate in relation to what they claim to hold dear?

The Candidates’ Actions and Words

As Christianity Today pointed out, what Trump says in regards to being a strong Christian fails to match up with his actions towards his opponents, much less how treats people in general. This is exemplified by recent revelations about how he’s viewed women in the past. On top of this, this country can no longer deem Trump “neutral” on any LGBTQ matters. In January, Trump affirmed that he would consider appointing a Supreme Court judge who would work towards undoing the marriage equality ruling established by Obergefell v. Hodges. Also, Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence is known for hoping to divert federal funding for HIV relief to anti-gay “conversion therapy,” which has been declared harmful by the American Psychological Association. We LGBTQ Christians have no reason to offer Trump any support.

On that basis, how do we evaluate the other major candidate, Hillary Clinton?

Clinton’s faith is a part of her that isn’t well known. As this article from The Washington Post details, the Secretary of State is a woman with a United Methodist background who humbly draws on her faith for support through tenuous times. Compared to Trump, Clinton tends to focus more on the tenets of her faith that seek to spread love at all times. In terms of her stance on supporting LGBTQ rights, Clinton has declared that she will do her part to ensure that the rights of all LGBTQ Americans are protected.

Making Our Voices Heard

Knowing all of this, we LGBTQ Christians can rest easy knowing that we have a safe choice to make between the two main candidates.

And so, it is vital for us all to make our voices heard this election season. Whether that means walking to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center (a polling place for students who registered to vote on campus), mailing in an absentee ballot or going home, we are all obligated to do our part to ensure that our rights as LGBTQ citizens are protected. Since Ohio could drastically influence the election’s outcome as a swing state, it is vital that those of us who live here make our voices heard next month.

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