The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 1:00 am

The lessons of 2020 election make clear our nation's bisection

Bill McGill

I had no illusions, preceding the election, that somehow in Allen County there would be a mass Trump rejection.

The county is so predictably red, and so conservatively fed, that it once reelected a County Council person who was already dead. In the words of Bruce Hornsby & The Range, “That's just the way it is; some things will never change.”

So, the issue I have been wrestling with is not so much the lack of local change, but rather the awareness that a great majority of my neighbors failed to find his demeanor or racial perspectives at all repulsive or strange. Instead of experiencing buyer's remorse, they sent a clear but dangerous message that America should stay the course.

In 2016, with no record to run on, he received 83,867 votes. In 2020, with no mystery concerning his desire to continue racial misery, he received 91,885 votes. Instead of his blatant demagoguery being denounced, the election simply but sadly revealed that our divisions have become far more pronounced.

And, what sends me into a deeper sense of divine discontent is the throngs of my fellow Christians who found he had done nothing for which to repent. According to them, he was on a mission from God, even if his words and actions were repulsive and odd.

He had been godly appointed, so whatever he did had to be anointed.

It was the same level of distorted theology that for years was used to justify slavery. I am unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian, but just as Scripture can be “God-breathed,” it can also be man-seized.

If Romans 13:1 is to be taken literally, then Hitler would have been sanctioned by God to treat the Jews bitterly. It is a ridiculous assumption, and yet, week after week some clergy were offering such thinking up for their congregation's consumption.

God does not give any leader a blanket seal of approval; just ask King Nebuchadnezzar, who ended up with a divine removal. If the Bible says “how can two walk together except they be agreed,” then why are Black and white Christians so far apart on who should take the political or social lead?

It is disingenuous at best for us to march and pray together until it's time for the ballot box test. And I hear somebody thinking, but it is just another form of spiritually blinking because to make a staid claim of neutrality is to rob your testimony of any vitality. To hear an individual like Trump described as a messenger sent from the Light was a thesis that should have sent every authentic Christian into a state of fright.

I know he claimed to be pro-life, but he was unmoved by Black lives undergoing daily strife. I know he promised and produced more conservative judges to the court, but most of them lacked any justice and equality stamps on their legal passport.

His supporters should have cringed when he boasted that “no president has ever done what I have done for Evangelicals, or religion itself” because that kind of egotistical and warped thinking is the reason a lot of people took our faith off their belief shelf.

The kind of faith he was peddling should have sent his supporters trembling, especially when his tone turned so dark and menacing. I know there are those who think we won this round, but the truth is that we have lost some of our spiritual integrity and racial reconciliation ground.

The Times of Northwest Indiana article (“Message was clear,” Nov. 13) was a perfect example of revising our dilemma: “But our nation has always been about healing and moving on – it's time to embrace the heritage of a nation that has endured on the strength of opposing factions being able to shake hands and unify following heated contests.”

Well, with all due respect, America has endured but there is no compelling evidence that it has truly matured. We do move on, but we have never applied any sustained healing balm. In fact, we all should get one of those red MAGA caps but let the letters stand for “Make America Great Already!”

Dr. King was right: “America, I wonder whether your moral and spiritual progress has been commensurate with your scientific progress. It appears to me that your moral progress lags behind your scientific progress, your mentality outdistances your morality, and your civilization outshines your culture. How much of your modern life can be summarized in the words of your poet Thoreau – improved means to an unimproved end.” 

The Rev. Bill McGill is senior Pastor at Fort Wayne's Imani Baptist Temple.

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