TO MY FRIENDS WHO HAVE SUDDENLY FOUND RELIGION
By Akin Ojumu
Many Christians are needy. The yearning to be loved and accepted by the world is made manifest in the words and deeds of the people of faith. In our craving for power, influence, world's attention, and respect, we go to great lengths and bend over backwards to confer sainthood on political leaders who, by throwing policy crumbs and red meat our way, appear to support the cause of Christ. Such politicians are quickly crowned with righteousness and are immediately robed in holiness. In the process we compromise, sell out on the truth of the Gospel, and out of the window goes all respect and credibility.
Back in the 2000s, George W. Bush was not a presidential candidate I supported. I voted for his opponents in his two presidential campaigns. Yet, after he won the elections, I signed up for a prayer group that was set up to pray for him so that his presidency would be successful.
I prayed for a president whose politics and policies I didn't agree with. It was something I did because I knew it was my duty as a Christian, and my responsibility as a citizen, to pray for our leaders and wish them good success.
The reason I was also able to join a prayer group for a man I voted against was because, beyond his politics and policy positions, George W. Bush was a good man, a faithful husband, a loving father, and a good role model for many.
As a decent and kindhearted human being, George Bush really cared for the downtrodden. In his own way, he demonstrated compassion for those who are suffering, he welcomed strangers, his immigration policies opened doors of opportunities for many who had no hope. He was not a friend of white supremacists, he never locked up the children of immigrants in cages at the US border and then denied them access to healthcare when they got sick as a result of the deplorable conditions at the immigration detention camps.
GW Bush was not corrupt and never engaged in nepotism. He did not run the United States as though it was his fiefdom. Bush did not promote his family business in the White House, he never awarded government contracts to his private enterprise, foreign dignitaries and those seeking to do business with the US government didn't stay in his hotel to curry his favor, and he did not use his position as president to enrich himself or his children. Neither his children nor their spouses ever worked in the Oval Office and none were given roles in the government for which they had no experience or qualifications.
President Bush cared for those who are afflicted with sickness and disease. The PEPFAR program was his pet initiative. Before PEPFAR, only 50,000 people were receiving HIV care and treatment in the entire sub-Saharan Africa. As a result of PEPFAR, more than 15 million people living with HIV, including millions of Nigerians, gained access to HIV care and treatment. In the process, the lives of many, people who were not even Americans, were saved from premature death.
George Bush not only cared for his fellow Americans, he also cared about the wellbeing of people of every race, creed, and color even those from shit-hole countries.
That was George W. Bush a Republican President, who I voted against twice. I didn't agree with the man on politics, and we didn't see eye to eye on policies, but I loved him as a human being. He is an example of a good Christian politician. He is a man I can proudly call a brother in the faith.
Can the same be said of Donald Trump? Is he a kindhearted caring man? Is he a decent human being? Is he a role model for children? Is he honest? Does he love the least of these? Does he welcome strangers - I mean strangers with black and brown skins from shit-hole countries?
At what point do Christians begin to call out a man whose lifestyle is everything the bible warns against? How long do those who claim to be Christian leaders continue to embrace a foulmouthed man, whose every word uttered is mostly lies and curses? When do Christians begin to speak up against the immorality, racism, bigotry, and bullying that we see every day?
Or should we, like the false teachers and false prophets who would like the world to believe Trump is the modern day King Cyrus, continue to tell ourselves that all these moral failings don't matter, and that the character of a leader doesn't count, as long as he stands on the right side of the homosexuality and abortion debate.
In the 8 years of Obama where were these Christian leaders and what was their response to the Obama's presidency? I’m guessing the Christian duty to pray for all men and all leaders was lost on them back then or perhaps they skipped that part of the scriptures entirely. Because for 8 years, they vehemently opposed Obama in every way and made his life miserable.
They attacked his wife and daughters. They accused him of being a closet Muslim and a jihadist sympathizer who hates America. They said he was not even an American, but a usurper born in Kenya. Trump, the man they have now crowned as King Cyrus, made a political name for himself by being the champion of the campaign of calumny to delegitimize Obama’s presidency. Trump was saluted by these religious folks when he lied that Obama's birth certificate was fake and Trump was encouraged by the same people when he embarked on a faux quest to find what he, in his evil mind, considered Obama’s original birth certificate in Kenya.
These religious wolves in sheep's clothing fasted and prayed against Barack Obama; not only did they pray that his presidency would fail, but also that God would strike him dead. They even made bumper stickers and banners of Psalms 109:8: “Let his days be few, and let another have his office,” to show their level of contempt for the President of the United States.
Time fails me, and there is not enough space here, to fully describe all the unprintable things these people did against, and said about, a good man who loves his one wife and his 2 lovely children – all born of the same mother – but whose only offense is the disagreement they have with his politics and policies.
Until lately, it never occurred to them that Christians are supposed to pray for their leaders.
So, to my good friends who have suddenly woken up from their slumber and now remember that Christians ought to pray for their leaders, this is my question to you. Where were you in the 8 years of President Obama? What did you do when your fellow travelers on the road of religious conservatism railed against, and prayed for the death, of the President of the United States? Your passionate sermons on the responsibility of the Christian to pray for their leaders would have been a welcome relief in the 8 years of Obama.
Or maybe Christians are only expected to pray for leaders who stand on the same side as us on politics and policies.
As Christians, we owe it to the world to be a light, and God wants us to be salt of the earth. Sadly, many, like the charlatans who equate Trump to King Cyrus, have long had their lights extinguished and their salt has for years lost its taste and turned sour. These false prophets are nothing but whitewashed sepulchers that look well-polished on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men bones.