The church's role in this time will be imperative. It must contribute to a shared vision which rejects Religious Nationalism, Hate Speech Demagoguery, and Economic Darwinism - showing the way instead to expressions of social justice, compassion, empathy, and radical solidarity.
The 2016 Election was not your run-of-the-mill Presidential Election.
As Andy Borowitz said, "Trump wasn’t created in a vacuum; he is the inevitable product of a coarsened culture that rewards bullying over kindness, humiliation over respect, hatred over love."
Meanwhile, his opponent was the 2nd member of Clinton Political Machine (preceded by Al Gore in 2000) to run a campaign that only compounded their likability problems and ultimately resulted in the election of an inferior Republican candidate.
Sociologically, this election has revealed the following:
• Technological changes combined with corporate global bottom-feeding, 36 years of voodoo economics, and hyper-capitalist financialization have left working people behind, who feel betrayed, unrecognized, and angry.
• Rhetoric about progressive social policy - policy that aims to help working people recover from the scorched-earth class war being waged against them by the 1% - falls on deaf ears when the Democratic candidate is the ultimate crony capitalist.
• The false lure of a conservative Supreme Court and single-issue voting still holds many Evangelicals hostage. They have voted Republican for this one reason - all the while supporting wars, environmental destruction, the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor - and not gotten one bit closer to overturning Roe v Wade, which was made law by a Republican-nominated Supreme Court. (And even if they did overturn it, abortion wouldn't go away without a culture that supports life).
• The public witness of Evangelical Christianity is now seriously discredited, with its most visible and cacophonous white, male leadership aligned with a political agenda antithetical to the values and life of Jesus.
• The entrenched attitudes of racial bigotry in American society have been shamelessly exposed.
• The decades-long pattern of manipulating racial fears, employed by the GOP beginning with their Southern strategy, now boiled over in an ugly political movement driven by resentment of those who are different. That their candidate was manifestly and dangerously unqualified didn't trump the affection that the President-elect's supporters lavished on him because he spewed hate speech at the same "other" that they've been told to hate.
• Fears and biases have clouded attention to facts. An entire self-reinforcing network of right wing media have captured an audience by playing to fears and biases, all while using the time-tested cult tactic of warning it's adherents that they are the only source of truth and that all other media sources are lying to them and biased.
• The white, largely male majority which controlled political power since America’s founding is losing its dominant power, provoking anxiety and political desperation among its adherents.Within this setting, the need for public discernment and a resonant vision is paramount.
The church's role in this time will be imperative. It must contribute to a shared vision which rejects the idolatry of Religious Nationalism, Demagoguery, and Economic Darwinism - showing the way instead to expressions of social justice, compassion, empathy, radical solidarity, mercy, and righteousness "as an ever flowing stream," which is our ancient and future calling.