Politics divide Christians, and "this isn't funny anymore," states Anglican priest Thomas McKenzie, in his recent blog about why he will not be voting for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. Further, he shared that he believes the election of Trump "would be dangerous to our country, and to the Church."
McKenzie is the first pastor of the Church of the Redeemer congregation in Nashville, Tenn. He also authored "The Anglican Way." He stated his blog represented only his own views, and was not being shared on behalf of his denomination or congregation.
"I speak as a Christian, husband, father, and American," stated McKenzie.
Stating that he didn't believe pastors and churches should endorse political candidates or political parties, he said he doesn't allow "voter guides" or any other kind of party-politics at his Nashville church. "I don't even tell people who I'm voting for in elections. I love the fact that people of every political persuasion go to our church, and that my friendships are trans-political."
He outlined three key reasons he doesn't get into party-politics: First, Jesus is Lord. The passing of power from one politician to another does not change that. Second, no political party or politician has ever fully represented my Christian beliefs. Most don't even come close. Third, politics divide Christians. If I were to support a particular candidate, it could harm my relationship with Christians who think otherwise.
McKenzie said when discussing issues, he tries to do so through the lens of the Gospel, focusing on God's mercy and grace, while highlighting personal responsibility.
There's one issue he said he decided he needed to reference: Donald Trump. "I oppose his election as President, and believe that any other candidate now running, from either party, would make a better President."
The pastor stated he doesn't believe Trump has the best interest of the country in mind. "Rather, I believe he has shown concern only for himself and his personal advancement."
McKenzie said Trump's focus on himself as a "winner" and others as "losers," his obsession with polls, and his demagoguery ("I could kill someone and people would still support me") led him to this conclusion to share his current views.
"Donald Trump is endlessly entertaining. If this election were a reality show, I'd watch every episode. But it's not. This is too important. This isn't funny anymore," he offered.
"I believe that Donald Trump holds and proclaims racist, sexist, and violent attitudes that are in direct opposition to the Christian message, and to the good of our nation."
McKenzie points to comments Trump has made about women and minorities, his mockery of a disabled man, his foul language directed at opponents, his declared desire to punch people in the face and his call for America to commit war crimes by killing the families of terrorists.
"I believe Donald Trump is taking the name of the Lord in vain. He is misusing the faith by claiming to be 'a great Christian' while his actions -- not seeking forgiveness from God, mocking the Sacrament, barely pretending to know the Bible, supporting abortion, divorcing twice, cynical pandering to evangelicals, ownership of a strip club, his hatred for Muslims and others -- belie this claim," stated McKenzie.
He said he also believed Trump has lowered the level of political discourse to that of a schoolyard bully. "I believe that if he succeeds, this level of vitriol and obscenity will become the 'new normal,' if it hasn't already."
He said his concern about Trump is about his character. "That character matters to the Church and to the world. Presidents have limited power in domestic issues; they have to deal with the congress and the courts. But their power is far greater in foreign affairs, particularly in the use of the military."
If Trump is nearly as aggressive as he claims he will be, McKenzie fears he will use military force in ungodly ways.
"He could make America into a true villain on the world stage, which will only raise up countless new terrorists and destabilize an unstable world. He will have the power to separate us from our allies and strengthen our foes. All of this he could do in the name of Christ, a Name he pulls out whenever it suits him. I have no reason to believe he will show anything like godly restraint," said McKenzie.
"He will be the face of America, and the face of Christianity, to billions of people around the world. Can you imagine Donald Trump in charge of our nuclear arsenal?"
McKenzie said he would prefer to find the candidate who most closely aligns with my Christian beliefs, but this year will be rather choosing to vote against Trump, to do what little he can "to protect us from a Trump presidency."
"Prayer is the most powerful tool I have," said the pastor, "and I'll be doing that, too. I pray for Donald Trump, and all of those running."
"Jesus is Lord. He reigns no matter what, and nothing can shake His throne. And, at the same time, evil triumphs when good men remain silent. I trust in the Lord, and I must speak out," concluded McKenzie.