2017-02-15 / Editorial

THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER

Michael N. Searles

What price do you place on your honor and dignity and for what would you sacrifice it? While we face situations where we show our humanity and decency, we also have situations that challenge our core moral principles. If you could purchase a piece of property from an elderly couple for $20,000 that had $40,000 worth of timber on the land, would you purchase the property without any mention of the timber? If you own a piece of contaminated property that someone wanted to buy, would you share with the person that the property was contaminated or sell it and walk away with a smile? In a buyer beware culture, it is easy to sacrifice our sense of decency for gain.

For much of the presidential election season, there was a strong sentiment that there was no way that Donald Trump could win the Republican primary or the presidency. The reasons were myriad: Donald Trump had no political experience, he insulted racial and ethnic groups, he said that John McCain was not a war hero, he made disparaging comments about women in general and even inappropriate comments about his own daughter. Trump understood the despair, distrust, and disillusionment of a signifi- cant segment of the population when he said, he could shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters. His complete faith that he could do anything and say anything and not lose a single voter suggests that he knew more about the American people than we knew about ourselves. For those observing the response of professing Christians, Gandhi’s statement resonated, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Many Christians knew President Trump had been married three times, accused of sexual assault by several women and prior to his run for office was indifferent to abortion, contraception, pornography, and marriage equality. In 2015, he said at the Iowa Family Leadership Summit that “I am not sure that I have ever asked God for forgiveness, I just go and try to do a better job from there.” A tenet of Evangelical Christian belief is that Jesus life, death, and resurrection is the only source of salvation and forgiveness of sins. Yet 81% of white Evangelical Christians voted for Trump. Michael Bird in an article entitled: “US election: Why did evangelicals vote for Donald Trump?” argues that the answer is varied. Some who label themselves as evangelical are the “America, God, and guns” contingent who are evangelical mainly in a political and cultural sense. A second segment of evangelicals were opposed or outraged at his personal behavior and racist language but saw him as the lesser of two evils. The third group of evangelicals were wedded to the same beliefs of former generations but did not make religion the basis for their vote.

Faith is a core belief in the Christian community, but it seems that faith in the teachings of Christ were inconsequential in selecting a President. Some have been willing to sacrifice key elements of Christian principles on the altar of antiabortion, good paying jobs, the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice, and closing the door to immigration. While the reduction of abortion (lowest level since 1973), the desire for good paying jobs, and regulated immigration are supported by most Americans, the question is at what cost. Thirty pieces of silver was the price for which Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. While Judas accepted the coins, when Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. We have limited view of the future and we act in ways that we believe are beneficial, but time will tell if the choices we have made bear bitter fruit or fruits of the spirit.

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