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Moral integrity requires students resist Trump administration

The health of American democracy predicates on our ability to challenge right-wing reactionaries.   |   Maddi Seyfarth/ THE CHIMES


Blessed are those who are economically marginalized and alienated from the political process, for they will continue to be ignored by our political leaders. The working class has spoken. Donald Trump — a racist, xenophobic and vulgar misogynist businessman — is our current president-elect. We should not succumb to political Stockholm syndrome and deceive ourselves by giving Trump a chance. If we are to uphold the virtues and principles associated with a liberal democracy, Biolans must find a way to heal the broken and constantly challenge the people elected to represent our communities.

A nonviolent rebellion

“Rebellion — which is different from revolution because it is perpetual alienation from power rather than the replacement of one power system with another — should be our natural state,” journalist Chris Hedges states in “Unspeakable: Talks with David Talbot about the Most Forbidden Topics in America.”  If we are to challenge concentrations of power and hold authority accountable for their crimes, we as Christians must be willing to rebel in a nonviolent and loving manner. Rebellion does not mean we pick up guns and incite violence and chaos. Some of the greatest modern American rebels — from anti-war activists such as Dan Berrigan to truth-seeking journalists like Robert Scheer — have used their intellectual prowess and deep love for humanity to expose the crimes of the state and fight for the rights of minorities and the downtrodden.

If we are to uphold the virtues of democracy and love of humanity, we are called to rebel against the harmful machinations of political and financial institutions loyal to the next administration. Investigative journalist Nick Turse writes in Jacobin Magazine on how Trump’s foreign policy could be worse than Hillary Clinton’s hawkish stance on geopolitics and international relations. Trump is an individual who has openly advocated the use of torture and bombing to suppress our enemies abroad. The next administration will have full reign of an incredibly dangerous war machine and surveillance apparatus that can easily be used on the American people — severely compromising international law and rights promised to citizens by the American Constitution.

The time is now

We must not waste time in finding ways of resisting Trump and his administration. Our next president has already selected Stephen Bannon — a white supremacist and anti-semite according to the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League — as his chief strategist. Myron Ebell — who denies the existence of climate change and lacks any scientific credentials — has been tapped to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

As Christians, we are also called to love our neighbors by first understanding and empathizing with their predicament. The American working class continue to be victims of neoliberal economic policies and multinational corporations. We bailed out Wall Street, but forgot to resuscitate Main Street. In an article published by The Guardian, French economist Thomas Piketty states, “Trump’s victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this.”  

What students can do

What can we do as students? Sociology majors can use their knowledge and skills to survey the life of working class people living in America’s rust belts and coalfields. Political science majors can run for local office. Journalism majors can expose when power fails to serve the people. Bible majors can give the people hope and provide guidance based on sound theology.

The road ahead of us is long and arduous. As Christians and human beings, we all have the moral responsibility to ensure our neighbors and our communities are protected from hate and avarice.

Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. NW Clerk

    I find this piece very confusing on at least two fronts. First, why is it in the Chimes when so many Biola students voted for a Trump. The author speaks of sociology majors taking a look at the working class, but perhaps he should think of looking at his own fellow Evangelicals. 81% of us voted for Trump, according to Pew, and I'd imagine a good chunk of Biola did too--an estimate from an RA in Hart is that 90% of residents there voted for Trump (see Chimes 11/16/16, "Election Provokes Emotional Response"). Who is this piece written for?

    Second, what's with the tired claims of racism, sexism, and xenophobia aimed at Trump and his surrogates like Bannon? Can the author prove that Trump et al are characterized as he says? I'd imagine not given that it requires 1) an accurate, contextualized representation of the reputedly egregious actions, 2) an accurate insight into specific motivations behind those actions, and 3) an accurate moral judgement that those specific action-motive combinations are wrong or bad. Number 1) seems hardly obtainable in our sound bite culture, number 2) is impossible without a) divine revelation or b) accurate self-reporting by the person in question (e.g., Trump), and number 3) is not possible without 1) or 2). AT MOST, it seems like one could say it "seems to me that" or "it looks like" x (x = your favorite Trump put down here). It is irresponsible and downright libelously wrong to make such accusations upon insufficient evidence. Did Trump make some crass, distasteful, and even disgusting comments? Yes. Can one infer from those comments alone with no knowledge of his actual motives, a set of stable, negative, and unwarranted attitudes towards races, women, or other nations we call "racism", "sexism", or "xenophobia"? Not even close.

    This article is written to the wrong group, is reactionary in the worst sort of way (i.e., lets oppose what we don't understand), and assumes far more than is warranted by the evidence. Moreover, it asks the wrong question; it's not "why did rust belt working class folks vote Trump", but "why did so many evangelicals vote Trump". Answer that and the author might be able to offer a far better, non-reactionary course of action for his actual intended audience--which are evangelical Biolans, not Bruins or Trojans. November 18, 2016

  2. A Deplorable

    I would encourage you to check your facts and especially those in regard to Steve Bannon. As a proud American Citizen I am appalled by your article. What you posted is not an example of journalism but the perfect display of fear mongering and ignorance. You have disgraced your privlage to write anything to the student body of Biola. November 19, 2016

  3. Anon

    You might as well have just posted a link to DNC talking points. In the future at least TRY to make it look like you considered the opposing side. This is rancid journalism and I'm embarrassed its coming from Biola. November 19, 2016

  4. Brett

    Dear Justin,

    There's two main issues with this article that I find troubling, especially coming from a professing christian at a christian university. The two main issues with this is:

    1) This article commits the sin of slander in the opening paragraph by immediately calling President Trump a "racist, xenophobic and vulgar misogynist businessman..." The reason this is slander is because you are making damaging character accusations with very little evidence. It is a sin to make those conclusions without first knowing the character of the person. Unless you know President Trump personally, then making these kinds of accusations need to be avoided by the christian, even if they are true. Opening an article, such as you did, slandering trump, does not put your position in a good light, right at the beginning.

    2) You are actively encouraging fellow Christians to engage with you in sin. For instance: "We must not waste time in finding ways of resisting Trump and his administration. Our next president has already selected Stephen Bannon — a white supremacist and anti-semite according to the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League — as his chief strategist." Ignoring the slander of another person you don't know personally, you are calling for Christians to invent ways to resist our governmental authorities. This is a clear sin because Paul open up Roman Chapter 13, discussing submission to the governmental authorities: "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." - Romans 13:1-2

    I encourage you to read versus 1-7 in its entirety, Paul does a great job showing how a Christian is to interact with their government, regardless of whether the government is oppressive or not. Never once does the Bible advocate for resistance and rebellion, but instead submission to those in authority over you, even if they are in the wrong. There are times when Christians may engage in civil disobedience, where Christians take acts to show grace that may be in violation of civil law. For instance in China, where sharing the gospel is outright banned, proceeding anyway is considered civil disobedience, not rebellion. Long story short, there are not that many times where we, in the US have to participate in civil disobedience, in fact we must ensure we are following the law of the land, regardless if we agree with or like the government official. Mr. Trump is our president for the next four years. Participating in slander and resistance is not the way to move forward or help those you claim you want to help. You don't have to like Mr. Trump, but you need to keep that respect for the office holds intact, and encourage others to do the same. November 19, 2016

  5. j lewis

    needs trigger warning November 20, 2016

  6. Steve Smith

    This author almost always makes accusing statements towards those who are conservative, but NEVER provides proofs for the accusations made (" Donald Trump — a racist, xenophobic"), he attacks, but shows no reality of his accusations. He uses purely Leftist tactics similar to what was used in the rise of the old Soviet Union, and Communism. As an Alumni of Biola, I was taught to provide proof for any argument I made, I don't see that happening with this opinion writer. November 22, 2016

  7. Kees Van Hartingsveldt

    I'm hoping people can understand that part of being American is experiencing from time to time (every 4 -8 years or so) swallowing the fact that the guy or girl you voted for didn't win the presidency...and guess what: he (or some future she) is still your president! As believers we can still say: GOD IS SOVEREIGN, so cool down a bit everyone who thinks the world is coming to an end under Trump. November 22, 2016

  8. Arlin Edmondson

    This article is political propaganda, not journalism.

    Justin, you need to recuse yourself from your position on political matters if you are going to use your editorial privileges as a platform to promote your own idiosyncratic political propaganda. May 2, 2017

  9. Tiffany Castro-Tremblay

    Hey Justin,

    I know this was written a while ago and I just wanted to say you are not alone in standing up against this administration. It needs to be done with love, grace and clarity and I believe your article does a great job of asking us to question the president’s character. As an alumni, it breaks my heart and makes me so terribly sad to see so many students put the place of Trump higher in their hearts than Jesus and His grace. There is so much anger in the comments before mine is so apparent and the idea that no one recognizes that by these fellow commenters is remarkable. Stay strong Justin, and I hope where ever you are now that you will stay connected to Jesus, and continue to be resilient against everything our president unfortunately still stands for. May God have grace and forgiveness for all of us. August 30, 2018

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