Soapbox: Staying Christ-like through a contentious election




In a little more than three weeks, our democracy will be tested like never before. This election is, above all else, a national examination of conscience.

At a time when divisive rhetoric and hate speech threaten to tear the fabric of our country, we are in dire need of a spiritual wake-up call.

I’ll be the first to admit that it is difficult to conduct oneself in a Christian manner when discussing the vitriolic volley of words between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

God calls us to be patient with one another and treat our neighbors with respect, yet the presidential debates have only deepened the divide between us and generated anger and resentment.

The Bible teaches us that “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20).

It can be easy to become disillusioned and lose hope in our political institutions, but this election presents us with an opportunity to live out our faith at the polling booth.

As Christians, we are called to welcome the immigrant, help the poor, be good stewards of Creation, seek justice for those oppressed by institutional racism and advocate for peace both in our own neighborhoods and halfway around the world.

In short, we are called to be God’s hands and feet in a tattered world.

To paraphrase 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, we must keep alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous and be strong. We must let all that we do be done in love.

As Christians, we seek to live out our lives with faith as our guide for our choices and our comportment.

Our faith compels us to vote in a manner that will bless others rather than only ourselves.

At a time when some choose to demonize those they label as “foreign” and instill hatred into the hearts and minds of American citizens, let us pray for the soul of our nation. And where there is hatred, let us sow love.

We glorify God when we support candidates whose policies feed the hungry and heal the sick.

We live out His word when we uplift legislation that reduces gun violence and heals our racial divide.

We serve the Lord when we refuse to support a candidate who promises to build walls instead of bridges and calls for discrimination against our Muslim brothers and sisters. We must ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”  Would he build a wall?

We have been presented with a clear choice between a humble yet flawed life-long servant who has spent her career fighting for the rights of women and children around the world and a narcissistic, xenophobic egotist who has built his career largely by taking advantage of the very people he now seeks to represent.

We must choose between a stateswoman who, despite a few lapses of good judgment, has been a champion of equal pay for equal work, paid family leave and economic equality or a self-serving tax-dodger who supports economic policies that serve a privileged few.

Between a role model who has worked to provide improved educational access and employment opportunities for people with disabilities and a bully who publicly mocks the differently-abled.

In last week’s vice-presidential debate, Tim Kaine drew from Matthew 15:18: “From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

In light of Trump’s most recent remarks about women, we must take a hard look at how the Bible instructs us to honor and respect not only the women in our lives, but all of mankind, regardless of skin color, religious affiliation, gender or sexual orientation.

In Kaine’s words, “When Donald Trump says that women should be punished, or Mexicans are criminals or John McCain’s not a hero, he is showing you who he is.”

At the time of this writing, many of Trump’s supporters are defecting and some are even calling for him to withdraw from the race, but a defiant Donald refuses to step down. Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord, Mr. Trump.

Dear friends in Christ, at this critical crossroads do not allow yourselves to be shackled by fear.  

Place people ahead of politics. Engage in respectful dialogue. Open your ears and your heart by listening to people whose opinions are different from your own.

Take up your cross and look to the Lord. Psalm 55:22 reminds us that God eases our election-induced anxiety: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.”


Liz Renner is a senior biology major from Crooks, S.D.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: