In an article dated Nov 9, 2016, the day following the U.S. Presidential election, Phil Vischer, creator of the beloved Veggie Tales characters and show wrote the following:
Church, we’ve got some explaining to do.
Last night America voted to transition from our first African-American President to a President whose campaign was marked with charges of implicit and explicit racism and xenophobia.
Former KKK “Imperial Wizard” David Duke claimed after the victory that Trump couldn’t have won without the support of “my people,” which, in this case, would be white nationalists and white supremacists.
Trump was also supported by a significant majority of the white church in America. White Christians, “alt right” white nationalists and white supremacists found themselves side-by-side pushing Donald Trump into the White House.
Now think about this:
The world is growing more brown. America is growing more brown. Global Christianity is growing more brown. More and more of our neighbors – those we’re called by Christ to love – are various shades of brown. And yet here we stand, white Christians, having just pushed a man into office who built his campaign on pledges to wall off and otherwise restrict the movements of brown people.
Look – I get it. Some of us feel scared. Scared of loss of rights, scared of loss of privilege. But as white American Christians we can only lose those things because we HAD those things. We have had dominant majority rights and we have had dominant majority privilege. Most of the world’s Christians, not to mention America’s many non-white Christians, have never had those things. To them, our whining about lost privilege seems pitiful. Dare I say, downright un-Christian.
How do I share the love of Jesus with a brown-skinned neighbor if I’m supporting their deportation? How do I share the love of Jesus with a refugee family if my fear prevents me from offering them help in the first place? And how do I carry the love of Jesus to ANY of the world’s brown and black-skinned people if I’m enthusiastically supporting a man who deals in stereotypes? Whose stated goal of putting “America First” is the exact opposite of Christian teaching? Whose favorite verse (“an eye for an eye” – initially a limit on human desire for excessive retribution) he interprets as a command to “hit back – and harder than you were hit?”
The world can be a scary place. But Jesus calls us to love first. To yield our rights. To put the needs of others before our own. To put the security of others before our own. To seek retribution – never. Our enthusiastic embrace of Donald Trump gives the world reason to doubt we really mean what we preach. I’m praying that our actions over the next few years convince them otherwise.
After reading this I felt many things. Disbelief. Frustration. Anger. But mostly a need to set the record straight for Mr. Vischer and others, particularly Christians, who may agree with him. I would like to be able to just walk away and say “well, he’s certainly entitled to his opinion” but I can’t. Not this time. Not when he is scolding the “white” Church and painting it with such a broad and offensive brush. I am going to try to address Mr. Vischer’s rebuke of the “white” Church in a loving yet very direct manner. Who am I kidding? I’m taking a scorched earth approach. And yes, I prayed before I wrote this.
First let me add two disclaimers. Mr. Vischer’s article was written in early November and it is possible that he has since written another article that shows he has had a change of heart or at least a change of mind. And, I will also attest to the fact that I don’t know if he has previously weighed in on other presidential candidates or politically charged issues. I am taking the position that the answer is no to both. With that said…
Dear Mr. Vischer,
You begin by saying that the “white” Church has some explaining to do. You insist that we (for the purpose of simplifying the style of this letter and in defense of my white brothers and sisters, I will count my brown self in the we) have to explain to the world, or at least the nation why we supported Donald Trump in the November election. The fact that you published this the day after Mr. Trump’s victory raises some questions. Was this article birthed from an epiphany you had while watching state after state turn convincingly red? Did you already have it ready to go just in case the election went south? When you published it, on the same day that the results were mostly verified, did you know that it was the “white” Church who pushed Mr. Trump over the top? Did you stay awake looking at exit polls to find the data that showed it was indeed the vote of the “white” Church or was it just your inside voice that convinced you that we were to blame for the tragedy that was the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency?
Mr. Vischer you talk about how our nation transitioned from the first African American President to a President whom you accuse of having a campaign that smacked of racism and xenophobia. And by using that comparison it is clear that you believe we (nation) were much better off with Mr. Obama at the helm. But I’m not sure if you believe that because Mr. Obama was competent or simply because he is brown. And you support this perverted truth that Mr. Trump is a racist by first offering us this nugget: David Duke, the abject racist and former Klansman, likes Trump. That is all the evidence needed to come to the conclusion that Donald Trump is a racist and ran his campaign accordingly. Duke (a known racist) vocally supported Trump = Trump and his campaign were (are) racist. You wrote, David Duke claimed that Trump would not have been victorious without the support of his (Duke’s) people (white supremacists and nationalists). Do you honestly believe that? If that’s the case, then why are you blaming the “white” Church? Maybe you are blaming the “white” Church because you realize that David Duke’s people translates to about 158 votes? Endorsement from some sick and sorry white supremacist who has about 100 followers is not a reason to indict Team Trump of racism. Are you even aware of the fact that Mr. Trump garnered 13% of the black male vote? Do you think they were a bunch of self-haters? Maybe you think that they are just misinformed and voted against their own best interest.
Mr. Vischer you accuse us, the “white” Church, of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with avowed racists in support of Mr. Trump. Did you make such accusations when the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) came out in support of Barack Obama? Did you condemn any Christians who stood side-by-side with communists to help get Mr. Obama elected? How about his direct association with the leaders of the terrorist group Weather Underground, William Ayers and Bernardino Dohrn? Unlike Mr. Trump and the KKK, there is actual evidence to support Mr. Obama’s activity with communists. And the Democrat party platform reads eerily like the Communist Party USA platform. Or is it just that it doesn’t bother you because communists are really good people. History certainly doesn’t support that.
Mr. Vischer, are you suggesting that we intended to validate those racist people and their ideology? Do you think we took our lead from them? We couldn’t have possibly had any good reasons for supporting Mr. Trump other than we were looking for a way to get rid of as many brown people as we could? Is that what you think? Did it ever occur to you that we, the “white” Church might have based our vote on biblical principles such as the sanctity of human life, Scripture-sanctioned marriage, godly moral values, religious freedom and law and order? We believe that we (all Christians) have a duty to honor God in those areas and support a government that supports such. Mr. Vischer, you and others like you probably don’t deem those issues important, and yet you believe that we, the “white” Church are missing it because we aren’t like Jesus. You take some high moral ground and lecture us by telling us that we are simply scared white privileged Christians who don’t seem to know how to love people who don’t look like us. How dare you assume that we don’t witness with our lives and our actions to people of every stripe! How dare you accuse us of not loving others! How dare you call our beliefs un-Christian because we don’t see things from your social justice infused progressive point of view! How dare you insinuate that we don’t know Jesus as well as you! That we have somehow lost our way or forfeited His message of loving others!
Our support of having a government that keeps its citizens safe by adhering to the laws of the land (the laws that are rooted in scripture) is not sin. Believing that the laws of our land should be obeyed is not something we should be ashamed of. God has blessed us abundantly in this nation and we don’t have to forfeit those blessings in order to win (brown) souls to Jesus. The two are not mutually exclusive. Nor do we have to apologize for wanting to live among people who obey the law. And we certainly don’t have to apologize for loving and procuring Biblical morality for our nation.
You seem to be particularly annoyed by Mr. Trump’s promise to put America first. I’m not exactly sure how that phrase flies in the face of the teaching of Jesus. Mr. Vischer, are you saying that Jesus would not want us to have a safe nation from which to send out missionaries (the most of ANY nation ever)? Do you believe that He would prefer we have a government bent on undermining the Constitution that guarantees our religious freedoms and establishes moral codes? How in the world do you think we have prospered for the last 240 years? (Although the last decade or so has been pretty shaky, which is why Donald Trump is now President.) In your article you state that Jesus expects us to yield our rights. Do you mean like the right to worship Him freely? We would be interested in what Scripture you use to support that.
I have a question for you. Have you actually been living in the United States this past eight years? If so, surely you must have noticed that the nation has been moving at break-neck speed away from the God of the Bible. We’ve had almost a decade of the erosion of our religious liberties. I would need hours on end to list the amount of words and actions that were a direct smack to the face of God by this past administration. But I will indulge you in a few.
- April 2009, Georgetown covered up the name of Jesus that was visible on the stage from which Mr. Obama was speaking. As per the University, that was done at the request of the White House.
- The Obama administration stated that Christian symbols, statues and religious items were no longer allowed in the chapel in a VA hospital in Michigan. “In order to comply with the regulation statues, crucifix and an altar ‘were encircled with a curtain at the Iron Mountain chapel after an inspection by the National Chaplain Center discovered the unauthorized items.'”
Imagine that. Christian symbols not allowed in a chapel.
- The White House bathed in the glow of the rainbow on the eve of the Supreme Court’s decision to sanction same sex marriage.
Did you write an article shaming the various segments of the “white” Church that ignored the biblical teachings on that?
- Almost a decade of the erosion of our religious liberties as evidenced by the loss of personal businesses that wanted to exercise their religious right to not engage in any activity that supported same sex marriage.
I’m sure you think their actions were also un-Christian.
Mr. Vischer there were many white folks who consider themselves Christian who voted for Mrs. Clinton. You are probably one of them. How do you justify voting for a woman who wholeheartedly supports an organization that harvests the organs of aborted babies? A woman who said that deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed for the sake of expanding access to abortion and who is strongly against a ban on partial-birth abortions. A woman who has a foundation that was and is being protested by Haitians (brown people) for the billions of dollars that were stolen from them by the Clinton foundation. Was the “white” Church supposed to vote for Hillary Clinton? Was that what we were supposed to do to show that we were willing to give up our privilege of being white? We were supposed to choose her because she dreamed of a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders? Would that have been enough to show the world just how Christ-like we are? I have yet another question for you Mr. Vischer. Are you aware of the refugee situation in Europe? Have you seen the chaos in those nations? If you haven’t, I’d suggest you do some research before you try to convince us that opening the borders to hoards of people with a vastly different culture and no desire to assimilate, and many who hate our country and our way of life is a good idea. Just because we don’t agree with your method doesn’t mean we don’t believe in reaching these people with the love of Jesus. As Jesus said, we are to be “wise as serpents” because we are being sent out like sheep among wolves.
Mr. Vischer who should we have voted for? It seems clear that you believe that had we voted for Hillary Clinton the world would have recognized us as being true disciples of Jesus. Maybe you are saying we, the “white” Church should have stayed at home? That wasn’t an option and the “white” Church finally realized it.
You say we embraced Donald Trump. Here’s how we see it. We embraced the promise to restore us to a land where we can minister to others freely, where we can use our resources to further the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of government. We embraced the promise to put God-fearing men and women in positions of authority. We embraced the promise to end laws that were forcing us to use our God-given finances for things (like abortion) that are against God’s Word and His design. We embraced the promise that we would retain our right to keep the name of Jesus in the public square. We embraced the promise of the right to live with our loved ones in safety. And we, the “white” Church believe the following to be true: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Psalm 33:12.
If you believe that the “white” Church has some explaining to do then we will do just that. We will explain to God that we voted to return the heart of the nation that He blessed us with back to Him, and that we voted to uphold righteousness according to His Word because we understand that righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34.
And as the saying goes, I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world then stand with the world and be judged by God.