On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America with a 37% approval rating, the lowest approval of any modern president. Many supporters will be tuning in to witness this historical moment and millions more, like myself, will not even bother to view the event. It was pointed out to me in a Facebook comment that I should consider 1 Peter 2:17, “Fear God, Honor the emperor.” The NIV version says to, “show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” It’s not that I don’t honor the presidency nor does it have anything to do with an eye for an eye mentality or any malice against Trump, it has everything to do with character, integrity and decency, and in the view of most Americans including myself, Trump has none of these qualities. However, he is entitled at least to the same level of respect that he and others provided President Obama for over eight years.
Some may also erroneously conclude that I am harboring some kind of resentment or prejudice towards Trump. On the contrary, this is simply my way of protesting the despicable person that he is. The Constitution gives me the right to protest and even the Bible encourages protests against leaders who are wicked or whose authorities, policies or practices denigrate the very foundation of human decency and rights even through a “tweet” mentality.
King Darius was a good king but was influenced by some of his personally chosen administrators to pass a law that no one could pray to any god or man except the King and if they did, they would be cast into the den of lions. Daniel knew that the law was signed yet he protested by going into his house and with his windows opened, he continued to pray to his God three times a day. We all know how that story ended. (Daniel 6:6-7&10).
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were three Jewish Believers who were thrown into a fiery furnace by a wicked King Nebuchadnezzar because they refused to bow down to the king’s image. (Daniel 3:16). There are other examples in the Old Testament that I could use to illustrate my point.
The New Testament is all about the Disciples protesting and standing firm on their beliefs. They even risked their lives to speak out about what they had no doubts about — that Jesus had risen from the dead, proving that he was everything he claimed to be…the Son of God. Many of them were put to death by wicked leaders. What would have happened to the Christian movement if they didn’t stand firm on their beliefs?
Jesus is our role model for Christian defiance against wicked leaders. The New Testament records that the religious leaders hated Jesus so much that they arrested Him, tried Him, and brought Him to Pilate for a sentence of death. There were a number of things about Jesus that infuriated the religious leaders. These included: (1) The claims that He made; (2) The deeds that He did; (3) His threat to their religious system; (3) His threat to their way of life; (4) The people with whom He socialized; and (5) The lack of respect He had for their religious traditions, laws, and policies. While we have a biblical obligation to be under an authority, if Jesus and His disciples refused to accept wicked leadership policies, traditions and laws, surely we can too by engaging in peaceful demonstrations and other forms of protests.
Had it not been for the demonstrations and protests during the 60s headed by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and others, African Americans and other minority groups would still be considered second and third class citizens not worthy of riding on a bus, attending a school of choice, or simply having a meal at a local diner. The Trump policies supported by the composition of his cabinet are all designed to “Make America Great Again” by subjecting part of the population to the conditions, traditions, bigotry, tactics and schemes of the Jim Crowe era. Jim Crowe was the name of the racial class system that operated primarily, but not exclusively, in southern and Border States between 1877 and the mid-1960s. Jim Crow was more than a series of rigid anti-black laws. It was a lifestyle imposed by a racist America.
Jeff Jessions, Trump’s choice for Attorney General, has a history showing a lack of support or respect for civil rights groups and organizations. In 1986, Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge of the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. At Sessions’ confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers who had worked with Sessions testified that he made racially offensive remarks. One of those lawyers testified that Sessions had referred to the NAACP and the ACLU as un-American and Communist-inspired and that they did more harm than good by trying to force civil rights “down the throats of people.” Yet this is the person who will have overall authority and responsibility for civil and voting rights.
God allows the people to choose wicked leaders such as Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, none of whom were accepted or anointed by Him. Although God sets standards, He allows us to choose wicked leaders contrary to His own will. “They set up kings, but not by Me; they made princes, but I did not acknowledge them. From their silver and gold they made idols for themselves — that they might be cut off.” (Hosea 8:4). Here is what the prophet Samuel said to Israel, “And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which you have chosen, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:18). God says, “You’re going to choose a king, the wrong king, then you’re going to come crying, ‘God, have mercy,’ but I will not hear you because of the king you have chosen.”
God does remove wicked leaders, and even though he anointed Saul, God was preparing David to be King of Israel. “When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled.” (1 Samuel 28:5). Instead of taking his fear to God Saul made things worse by seeking God’s voice through a spirit medium. Strangely, God did speak to Saul, but He spoke words of judgment through an unusual appearance of the prophet Samuel. Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today”. “The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 28:16-19). If God removed a king that He anointed, He could certainly remove a Donald Trump whom He didn’t anoint.
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. (Proverbs 29:2). By our vote we are either going to have righteous leaders or wicked leaders. There are consequences when we choose a wicked leader. We will either rejoice or shed lots of tears. I believe with a troubled spirit that America is in trouble because God has removed His protective shield around our country as a direct result of the election of Donald Trump.
Although politicians come and politicians go, God endures as King of Kings and Lord of Lords over all nations including the United States of America. We didn’t vote Him in, and can’t vote Him out. He is King forever, but this is just my take.