Before I address just a couple things that I noticed in President Trump’s Address Tuesday night, I need to make some presuppositional statements. First of all, Christ is neither a Republican or Democrat. He is concerned politically with His own reign and His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Christ cares deeply about social justice issues but measures those according to the created order (which is given from God’s own character), not some naturalistic order (In Matthew 19, we see that Jesus always returns to the created order to speak on moral and social issues; read more here). Since the basis for the United States Constitution is John Locke’s political philosophy, and John Locke wrote about equality based on the application of Genesis 1, social justice in America and according to the constitution builds from the first chapter in Scripture just as Jesus spoke. Social justice is not some arbitrary or naturalistic argument based on how people feel. It is, quite literally, a movement of God based on the character of God, which is not contingent on human feelings or human philosophies. It is why Martin Luther King Jr. was able to speak so clearly on the issues to which he spoke, and he spoke as one who understood the created order and the sovereignty of God. He addressed equality as service to “all God’s children” and stating that the freedom of the white man is inextricably tied to the freedom of the black man (I will include this footage below for convenience). The fight for social justice, I think, has lost its fire because people have moved away from any sort of moral authority altogether and because people are fighting for themselves rather than for God, which brings division rather than unity, and causes revilement rather than love.
As Christians, then, we are free to agree or disagree with any worldly political party in favor of Christ’s stance on any issue and Christ, through His word, has not hidden from us His opinion. In fact, there is great power when God’s word is honestly and generously applied in every arena of life.
Overall, the president’s address was good. He spelled out some of the victories that his administration has had this year. Before we take up arms and threaten revolution, I feel a need to point out some of the senselessness in our politically charged society. I fear that we have created for ourselves a false dichotomy when it comes to the parties, and this was apparent during the State of the Union Address. Even when the president mentioned an accomplishment that the Democratic Party vocally supported (higher wages for middle class, the inclusion of the dreamers, more protections regarding religious freedom for people of every religion, and many fewer government regulations (so that small businesses can succeed), many Democratic representatives still, because they were pressured I’m sure, sat with their arms crossed or with a scowl. Some didn’t even care to show up to the address. Admittedly, President Trump is not the most unifying figure, but his demeanor and personality should not control the sentiments of the people. My heart was broken further as I saw the democratic responses, both formally from the party and informally through media outlets. The majority argued against President Trump, but then called for those things to be accomplished which the president either celebrated in his speech or promised from the podium in the next year. For instance, Trump stated that he wanted to compromise for the dreamers (which I think is right morally), and still the attacks came from men like Joe Kennedy, state that the Democratic Party alone is fighting for the people and for the dreamers. What an unnecessary and nonsensical way to draw battle-lines and increase the division in our country. What a way that Mr. Kennedy prepared a speech beforehand to deliver without even the intention of listening to the President’s words. This is quite a different sentiment than had his great uncle, who said, “If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” If the Republican President states that we want to make America great again for all Americans and the democratic representative states that we fight for both, the objective is no longer to quarrel over who we are for. The objective is to work together to serve the people without the belittling of those who disagree over means and who disagree in their political philosophy. This idea stands out, both parties now actively proclaim that they desire to serve every American. This is a good change, but is impossible without genuine care. The parties will have to put aside this idea of political superiority and will have to become servants. Being a Christian, I recognize that Christ taught leaders should be as much (Matthew 20:26).
There are some legitimate critiques that I have seen of the President’s address. As an example, the annihilation of peoples. Scripture undoubtedly calls the person to love his enemy and to pray for those who persecute him. There are instances when war and civil punishment is necessary, and for these times God has currently entrusted the sword to the governments of the world (Romans 13). Even when we consider the Canaanites (a wretched people who received 400 years to repent and turn to God and never did), we remember that God saved Rahab and her family. So just war is sometimes needed, but God is the only one who has any right to annihilate a people. Even He doesn’t do so if there are only a few righteous people (Genesis 18). Worldly governments, then, when considering just war, should never have annihilation in mind. The objective of any war is the repentance and ultimate restoration of other peoples, just as God’s objective in punishment is repentance and ultimate restoration of His people. As individuals though, reflected in Romans 12, we are to live at peace with everyone as far as it depends on us. I would criticize Trump’s call to annihilate any people group because it is morally wrong for a mere man to seek such annihilation, even those groups who have made enemies of the United States. The idea of just war does not render every war just. When it comes to North Korea and terrorist groups, repentance, reintegration, and further sanctions for the purpose of accountability must be the goal; not annihilation.
If you would like to know, biblically, about anything else that was said during the State of the Union, I will be more than happy to investigate those things according to Scripture. My main concern is unity in our nation. For my friends who are both Republican and Democrat, I am proud to call you my friends and I am so thankful that together we serve Christ, whose kingdom is final and in whom we find eternal peace.
In God We Trust