I have dual citizenship. I’m a natural born citizen of the United States of America. Jesus Christ has brought me into the family of God and therefore I’m a citizen of heaven. I have a temporal interest in this country, but an eternal interest in heaven. I’m not a dichotomy, but like the apostle Paul, I’ll use my citizenship lawfully as long as it does not conflict with my life spiritually.
As a Christian Citizen of the United States:
As an earthly citizen of the United States, I want to express a concern with one of the individuals running for the presidency of the United States. People have embraced Donald Trump because he has assured them that he will protect them from ISIS, Muslims, and immigrants; he has gained popularity by capitalizing on fear. I recognize that radical terrorism has no place in any society and I agree that some measured safeguards need to be in place. But what happens when the government decides that your religion is a threat to society? Did anyone notice how quickly Mr. Trump turned on the Pope for questioning his Christianity? Does anyone remember Mr. Trump expressing doubt at the orthodoxy of Seventh Day Adventism? Apparently, Mr. Trump’s diagnosis of Mitt Romney’s loss in 2012 was that Christians were put off by his “alien [Mormon] faith.” What if the convictions of your religion or denomination are contrary to his idea of the American Dream? What if Jerry Falwell Jr. had condemned Mr. Trump for his casinos, his strip-clubs, and his adultery instead of endorsing him for president? When is Mr. Trump going to associate all Baptists with the radical (and very un-Christ-like) church in Westboro, Kansas and start pressing for action against any kind of Baptist?
Personally, I do not trust Mr. Trump to honor the First Amendment to the constitution, whether it relates to the freedom of speech, the press, or of religion. Do you remember his bullying demands against Fox News and the resulting boycott? (Not that I’m a fan of Fox News.) If president, would he just remove a reporter from the press room at the White House if they don’t “treat him fairly?” Does he get to decide when a particular denomination is unorthodox, alien, dangerous, or “down the middle of the road”? He just threatened to reveal sensitive business secrets of the Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, because they are apparently funding negative advertisements against him. How can anyone show more contempt for the electoral process than that? Mr. Trump has very precarious tyrannical tendencies.
Sadly, I’m baffled at the national support that Mr. Trump is getting. As I was taking my children to school this morning, I told them that “the election of Mr. Trump would be a revelation of the condition of the electorate.” The reality of our electoral system is that we get who the majority wants. People can vote for whomever they want, but I’m disappointed that so many Americans seem to want this man. Sure, our system of government is very slow (by design!) and most of the time it is maddeningly partisan, but do we want to swing to tyranny?
As an Eternal Citizen of Heaven:
I love the United States and have had forefathers fight and sacrifice for the freedoms that I now enjoy. If we had another Pearl Harbor type attack, I would fight on behalf of this country. However, I’m not as concerned with politics as I used to be. I realize that any influence I have over the direction of America is not in the ballot box or the election of someone who holds my ideals. Furthermore, I’ve been commanded to pray for my governmental leaders and submit to them since human government is ordained by God. (The apostle Paul instructed Timothy to pray for “kings and for all that are in authority” and he told the Christians living in Rome “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Both the commands to Timothy and to the Roman Christians were given during the reign of Emperor Nero.) I also live with great peace that no matter what happens on this earth, God is the ultimate Sovereign and the Bible reveals to me my eternal future. Paul wrote, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Frankly, I’m not worried because I trust in the living God Who transcends all nations and ages. I fully expect that hatred of and persecution against Christianity will increase – the Bible predicts it. The Apostle Peter wrote to Jewish believers, “think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings.” Paul, while awaiting his martyrdom at the hands of the Roman government, wrote to Timothy, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”
Whatever happens, I and my family will live with it and prosper spiritually in that environment. The free exercise of religion is only the guarantee of man-made documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Freedom from religious persecution is not guaranteed by the God-breathed book, the Bible. If I am able to enjoy the free exercise of my religion on an earthly level, I will. If it is taken from me, I’ll rejoice in Christ! No one can take that from me!
1. I’m hopeful that the citizens of this country will have their eyes opened to the danger of a man with tyrannical tendencies.
2. I’m hopeful, that by adhering to the constitution, the other two branches of government which are the balance to executive power, can restrict a potential despot.
3. No matter who is elected, I’ll pray for him or her just like I do Barack Obama and did for George Bush – and just like First Century Christians did for Nero.
4. Eternally, I’m a citizen of heaven and this life is temporary.
5. God is in control, He is not wringing His hands, and His eternal plan will triumph.
Addendum: Please do not misinterpret this post as advocating any particular party or candidate. I’m not justifying the failures or defending the policies of any of the other candidates. I’m simply expressing that I believe Mr. Trump is the most dangerous threat to the free exercise of religion.