Addendum: Apology and Clarification

While I sought the council of close friends in the lead-up to Sunday night’s publishing of my article on The Church and the Myth of Christian Nationalism, I received more feedback after its posting. I read and weigh every comment that comes in (regardless of whether or not I reply), but it was healthy criticism from a few of my most respected confidants which pointed out issues I need to address by way of this addendum.

It is worth noting that in light of such a polarizing election, my aim is not to quantify every statement I made, nor is it to give voice to every possible scenario that needs voicing. I would remind anyone that still feels I’ve failed in one aspect or another to remember this is a blog, not a book or a thesis, and these are my thoughts in a limited state expression over a short period of time. I’ll let that speak for itself.

First, a point of apology, and then a point of additional clarification.

It was conveyed to me that whatever exceptions I attempted to give in not lumping all those who voted for Trump into a negative category failed. I am sorry. This was not my intent nor is it my sincere belief. I have family members, friends, and coworkers who voted for Trump. I do not believe they are guilty by association of the sins I listed. My family and closest friends assumed the best of me, as they know me, while those distant did not (neither would I assume them to). This failure is a product of both poor written expression and an ardent passion for those I perceive are suffering. While civic leaders and political commentators may be able to engage in such missteps, as a pastor, I can not, and I lost some of my good audience because of it. Again, my sincere apologies.

My fundamental point was to argue that we, the church, must be stronger and firmer in the face of any view, system, or person that is seeking to do others harm, especially those who are “perpetually disenfranchised” as Dave Chappell so eloquently put it. As Christians, we have a prophetic responsibility to critique power and its use and to always consider the views of the marginalized when so doing precisely because it concerns them the most. I understand that many felt being firmer meant voting for Trump; they didn’t think I was hard enough on Clinton. Others, who felt being firmer against oppression was voting for Clinton, thought I did not adequately credit her. Yet to be clear, I do not think either candidate was the one that would’ve liberated those under oppression. For me, one was so offensive in his speech toward those who needed help that it disqualified the hope of any future promises in their favor; the other is so used to a life of unchecked political power that it’s permanently impaired her ability to lead with integrity.

As I wrote initially, I don’t know what the proper electoral move is in such a case, and I do not believe a third party vote is a wasted vote for too many reasons to list here. That may indeed be a cheap default position, but it is the honest one for me. I maintain, however, that we, the church, must do a better job of calling out grievous behaviors sooner than we did, regardless of who we thought was the better choice.

Thank you for reading. I look to the future with deep hope, ready and willing to give our president-elect a chance. My prayers are for him and his family, and that his administration will exhibit as many of the ethics of God’s eternal kingdom as possible during his term.

  • Hey Chris, thanks for putting your thoughts out here. You know I love to critique, but I’m not here to be critical but to agree with your point that we need to hold our leaders to a high standard. I listened to a bit from Jon Stewart who pointed out how appalling it is thay comedians are constantly asked, “Was that joke over the line?” Yet we justify the clearly appalling words and actions of our politicians, our leaders. At what point did we start holding joke tellers to a higher standard than those who speak to the nations on our behalf?

    Anyway, thanks again for your thoughts, and opening intelligent conversation.

  • AM

    I know for those of us who know your heart know that you love people like Jesus loves people and that is always the motivating factor behind your words even if some interpret it differently.
    I think it’s important to have dialog without fear.
    In many ways I do feel the pendulum swinging in a way that to express truly conservative views is so very unpopular that many remain quiet (another reason I think we were shocked that Trump won is that people feared admitting they would vote for him). As someone who works in college classrooms I can tell you that it would be very difficult to have expressed conservative views without feeling shamed or seen as a racist or bigot.
    In any case, CH, we know you write from a place of loving God first and above all and loving people. It’s the heart that matters and yours is beautiful.

  • Costa

    “I maintain, however, that we, the church, must do a better job of calling out grievous behaviors sooner than we did, regardless of who we thought was the better choice.”

    This is so right on. Thank you for being a strong leader in the face of such polarizing issues. You’re an inspiration.