While some people say that religion and politics don’t mix, we disagree. As followers of Jesus, we are deeply troubled by the recent election of Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence to the offices of president and vice-president of the United States. We are deeply troubled that the election of Trump and Pence legitimizes and blesses a fear-based perspective that creates a society where historically marginalized persons are more vulnerable to bigotry and violence than before.

We are deeply troubled because the next president and vice-president of the United States have unapologetically targeted women and children, immigrants, black and brown people, persons with disabilities, Muslims, and queer and trans persons in a way that has already produced over 200 verifiable instances of violence and discrimination only three days after the election according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

We are deeply troubled that followers of Jesus went to the polls living under an extraordinary fiction—that this was God’s will. Nothing could be further from the truth if the God of whom they speak is the One present in Jesus of Nazareth.

While no administration can embody values that are consistent with the gospel while leading a country whose policies are already compromised, we believe we are called, nevertheless, to bring our faith into our relationships, our communities, the public square, and into every election, looking for God in everything, in order that we might be faithful to the vows we made at baptism. Trump and Pence represent the most extreme example of words and actions that thwart the purposes of the gospel. As United Methodists, we made promises to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”

Accordingly, Reconciling Ministries Network, a renewal movement within The United Methodist Church, follows Christ to the margins, propelled by our baptism, to stand in solidarity with all those who are dehumanized, threatened, and attacked as a result of the election.

Christ is a woman—pushed aside, objectified. Christ is brown—targeted and scapegoated. Christ has no papers—scared unto death. Christ is black—policed and shot down. Christ is a refugee—seeking safety and solace. Christ is old—unwanted, left alone. Christ cannot walk—unseen and ignored. Christ is Muslim—blamed and banned. Christ is transgender—loathed and attacked.

Along with Christ, queer and trans people belong to every vulnerable population affected by the election. All oppression is linked together in a mutually supporting web such that one cannot be eradicated in fullness without the elimination of the others. As TS Eliot once said, “No one is an island.” In ways we are only beginning to understand, we are in this together—we are one in Christ Jesus.

Hospitality, justice, and love were severely threatened this election season. On election night, they were dealt a decisive defeat. As reports narrate the increase in violence and death among those targeted, we cannot help but see Christ who hangs among the vulnerable and who suffers yet another Friday loss that we can hardly call good. And still, in the face of defeat and death—within a tomb of impossibility, a rainbow of resiliency is appears. In the face of bigotry and fear—exiled in our own land, a still small voice. And we rise. We rise finding deeper sources for strength, deeper sources for our imagination, and deeper sources for our value. We rise to build stronger networks of resistance, of protest, and praise. We rise with Christ to continue the fight to end LGBTQ discrimination in the church, soberly aware that the success of such work cannot be achieved without a gospel commitment to ending the Friday losses of white supremacy, sexism, ableism, and other systemic forms of sin.

We call on Reconciling United Methodists to commit our bodies, our resources, and our time to concrete actions of love that dismantle oppression and build justice. Get involved. Write another check. Read a book. Take risks. Have the uncomfortable conversations. Support one another. And take heart, God is with us.

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Matt Berryman

Matt Berryman serves Reconciling Ministries Network as executive director. Prior to joining the staff of RMN, Matt spent three years in law school at the Florida Coastal School during which time he worked for churches, law firms, and LexisNexis as a legal editor.From 2002-2009, Matt served United Methodist congregations in the Jacksonville area of the Florida Conference.In addition to serving churches in the United Kingdom, he has led training events and workshops for The United Methodist Church, The Fund for Theological Education, Emory University, and the Fellowship of United Methodists for Music and Worship Arts.He received a B.A. from the University of South Carolina and a M.Div. from Emory University. Although he loves the heat and sunshine of Florida, he anticipates growing to love the charm of cold weather living in Illinois and the perfection of the snowflake!Matt loves an outdoor concert, a good idea, and his 14 year old son, Aidan.
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