A Donald Trump presidency could threaten the Constitution of America, the freedom of the press, and the future of civil discourse in America. From very real concerns access to nuclear weapons, to his choice of white nationalists for his administration, to his statements concerning detaining or deporting immigrants, there are many ways that a Trump presidency could lead to situations that run against the laws of America, let alone the teachings of Jesus.
Christians have more than enough reasons to consider ways we can lawfully resist both the toxic atmosphere created by Trump and his potentially harmful policies. Meryl Streep rightly commented at the Golden Globes, "Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose."
By the same token, Christians can counteract the hatred and suspicion in America by loving their neighbors and counteracting the atmosphere created by Trump. As Trump continues to drop in popularity and his agenda threatens both the teachings of Christ and the laws of our land, Christians can provide some of the most important resistance to the harmful policies of a Trump presidency:
Christians have gotten into a lot of trouble when we choose sides in politics, but that shouldn't keep us from resisting injustice or political maneuvers that may harm others. In our resistance of injustice and hatred, however, we don't want to make matters worse by speaking up in the wrong ways. The daily practice of silence each day can offer us a place of grounding before God that shuts down our negative loops of thinking and makes us available to hear God speak.
If we are resisting injustice or divisive discourse, we need something positive that we can call others toward. Silence grounds us before God and provides a space to cultivate more constructive paths forward.
Martin Luther King Jr said: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." We've already seen vicious verbal attacks, death threats, intimidation campaigns, and bullying of individuals and organizations by Trump's supporters in light of his statements at rallies; a tremendous amount of hatred and suspicion has been sown into our land.
This hatred dehumanizes all involved and can drag us down as well. We only win if we respond with prayer, empathy, and love, remembering that those driven by hatred and fear are prisoners to these emotions. While our first priority is to care for those suffering from hate speech and intimidation, our resistance will gain strength through love and compassion. The more we hate and fight back, the more we provide Trump and his allies with the fuel they crave.
Christians can pay special attention to the people in their communities who are facing hate speech, anxiety, or potential injustice under a Trump presidency. This could range from being especially aware of making someone feel comfortable and at ease, to practicing regular hospitality for people who may not feel particularly welcome in America right now. One man in Texas stood outside of a mosque holding a sign telling his Muslim neighbors: "You Belong. Stay Strong. Be Blessed. We Are One America."
Hold representatives accountable if they are cooperating with Trump's harmful policies. Former Congressional staffers have repeatedly shared that phone calls are the single most effective means to get the attention of a member of Congress. Emails and social media campaigns are easily ignored, but phone calls are hard to overlook. If you're reading this in the US, it's extremely easy to look up your representatives by zip code and to briefly notify them of your concerns. The Indivisible Guide offers steps for effective advocacy and resistance to the harmful policies of Trump.
The average person is inexperienced in organizing, advocacy, or taking direct action. While we need to support news organizations that will hold Trump and his team accountable (Such as the Committee to Protect Journalists), despite their best efforts to delegitimize and intimidate journalists, we also need groups who will show us the way forward in political action toward justice. The Southern Poverty Law Center has a proven track record in providing critical guidance in times of crisis and can once again provide the clarity and direction we need in order to resist Trump.
We should continue to pray that Trump will choose to operate within the bounds of the Constitution and will change his course away from threatening statements and harmful policies, but based on what we have seen throughout Trump's campaign and post-election plans, his administration could bring great hardship to many. Christians must be ready to bring love where is hatred, comfort where there is suffering, and peace where is conflict. As the prophet Micah reminds us: "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).
Ed Cyzewski (MDiv) is the author of 'Pray, Write, Grow, A Christian Survival Guide' and 'The Contemplative Writer'.