This past Saturday it was officially announced by the news media that after several confusing days of chaos, former Vice President Joe Biden had enough electoral college votes to defeat President Trump in the 2020 election. This occurred despite the Trump campaign’s insistence of voter fraud in multiple states and an intent to challenge the outcome in the court of law. The results of this effort remain to be seen, but Trump supporters fall into one of two categories: those who have conceded defeat and those who have vowed to fight. Within Christianity, the usual proclamations of “God’s sovereignty” or “Christ’s Kingship” have emerged, with the comforting and accurate thought that no matter who wins this or any election, God is still in charge. And while that sentiment is and always has been true throughout history, we must be careful not to simply shrug our shoulders in agreement and attempt to carry on with our lives with a “there’s always next year” attitude. Elections have consequences, as a former President once said, and these consequences have a direct effect on the world we live in. As Christians, we are called to have a direct effect on the world as well, and in order to do so we must take an active role in both politics and culture if we are to make any lasting impression.
Our primary concern should be that of our ability to exercise the religious freedoms that we as Americans are promised in the Constitution. From a historical perspective, the United States was in fact founded by Christians. Most of these were religious dissidents dissatisfied with a lack of religious freedoms in mainly England but also continental Europe who saw the New World as an opportunity to both worship freely and spread the Gospel to the natives already living here. And because of the diverse nature of the Christians colonists, they were forced to figure out how to coexist with one another and refrain from recreating the intolerant atmosphere from which they had escaped. When the American colonies finally won independence from Britain, our founders enshrined this freedom in the First Amendment, and it was extended to all faiths and all religions.
Unfortunately hostility toward Christianity is prevalent in our current age. Just look at the recent hatred directed toward Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett during her confirmation hearings. Barrett is an extremely accomplished woman and mother and she was attacked simply for having traditional Christian religious beliefs. Vice President Mike Pence has been ridiculed for his refusal to ever be alone with a woman who isn’t his wife. Traditional Christian values on marriage, gender, and sexual orientation are labeled by many as bigoted and hateful. Our fight to protect innocent lives from the appalling cruelty of abortion is met with accusations of only caring about life until it is born, despite the fact that so much of our resources go toward helping the poor, the sick, and the underprivileged all across the globe.
The CoronaVirus pandemic has also had some effects on religious freedoms as churches were forced to comply with shutdown orders in order to “stop the spread.” Churches who chose to remain open were met with protests and some pastors were arrested. Even nine months later in California Christians are not allowed to sing in church due to COVID concerns. And Christians aren’t the only ones running into trouble with the law during this pandemic as Orthodox Jews in New York are being targeted by Governor Cuomo. Trump rallies are called “super-spreader” events, while a blind eye has been turned away from left wing riots in the name of social justice.
Christian persecution in America pales in comparison to that of other countries, where believers are often murdered for their beliefs. We shouldn’t compare our current problems to that situation, but we should recognize the potential. In the few short days since the election, many on the political left have called for Trump enablers and supporters to be held accountable for their actions. Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and a few others have called for creating lists of these people. It’s not hard to imagine how Christians could end up on these lists and it’s not hard to look at history and see what path these lists lead to.
Even if Christians agree to withdraw from the world and keep our beliefs to ourselves like many want us to, how long would that last? How long would we be allowed to continue teaching our children our history, traditions, and faith before they were taken away from us for teaching them what progressives consider hate?
As it currently stands, Joe Biden has won the Presidency and the anti-Christian forces behind him are set to impose their will upon the nation. Whether President Trump’s legal challenge prevails or not, Christian leaders need to prepare to stand strong to represent our people in the public square. We cannot retreat into our churches, we cannot fear the loss of our tax exemptions, and we cannot stop trying to influence the world in the positive way in which Christ commanded us.