Born Again Again

Christian women respond to Donald Trump

Many of you have read the Huffington Post article about the Christian response to this election--particularly the letter that Faith in Public Life put together. If you haven't, I encourage you to. Many powerhouse theologians weigh in over there. The journalist, Carol Kuruvilla, posted excerpts, so I thought I would give you the rest of my answers here.

- This letter is not just about women standing up to Trump -- it's about Christian women standing up to Trump. Why was it important to you to add your voice to this, as a Christian? 
When the news of the video came out, a wave of trauma rippled through my personal relationships and social media feeds. With shattered hearts, we confessed that we had been raped or violated. We knew the indignity of having unannounced and uninvited prodding hands clutching at our intimate selves. We remembered looking up in blurred confusion to see a powerful man lurching over us, devouring our weakness and mortification in order to sate his ravenous ego. 
We may have been too bewildered to know how to respond when the assault happened. We may have been held captive, pretending that it didn’t occur in order to avoid retaliation or to save our jobs. We might have filed away our indignity in the thickening folder that included all the other evidence of everyday sexism. But as Christians, we know women do not exist in order to titillate fragile egos in locker rooms. Women were not created so that entitled men can use us as objects for flippant fondling or heinous leering. We proclaim that women are God-bearers, and God has empowered us to bring good news to the poor, bind up the broken hearted, and set the captives free. That’s why I added my voice to this letter.

- Do you feel men in your church or the church in general have stood beside you on this? 

Men in my congregation and denomination absolutely stand beside me.
In general, many prominent Christians defended Trump in such an impudent manner—when Eric Metaxes compared Trump’s predatory words to combing his hair oddly or Ralph Reed said that the verbal attack ranks low on their hierarchy of concerns. With those slights, they demean women’s suffering, manipulate us into doubting our perceptions, and wound us again. 

- Are you thinking differently now about the overall consequences of this election?

The consequences of this election have been alarming since Donald Trump became the Republican Party’s nominee. Trump responded to immigration opportunities with vile denigration of our Mexican neighbors. When African American mothers mourned the loss of their sons to police brutality and mass incarceration, Trump threatened our communities with more “law and order.” When American Muslims feared the violence of Islamophobia, Trump threatened a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering our country, which not only imperils Muslims, but jeopardizes our religious freedoms. The consequences have been dire for a long time.  

Carol Howard Merritt

Carol Howard Merritt is a pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Spring City, Tennessee. She is the author of Healing Spiritual Wounds. Her blog is hosted by the Century.

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