Faith

Look Who Preaches a Message of Hate

Christians, conservatives, and yes — those who back the GOP nominee — are judged most harshly

After a summer that was far too brief, the morning dawned. Despite the wall of busyness that I had built around my family in the days leading up to Aug. 1, the first day of school still arrived.

Time cannot be stopped, no matter the amount of apprehension. And so, we dropped our son off at first grade with a high five and our oldest daughter off at pre-K with one last hug. As I struggled to hold back a few tears, my husband and I took our youngest daughter to the PTA coffee area to say hello to other parents.

“As I walked my son to the bus stop, we actually saw a Trump sign in someone’s yard. Can you imagine?” this mother sneered.

After a few minutes of chitchat with moms and dads I had met over the last year, a woman turned to me and introduced herself.

She was the representative on the school board for our district in Oklahoma. Her youngest son was starting kindergarten; her oldest was attending his first day of high school. I felt immediately that we could bond over mutual new beginnings within our families. However, our conversation quickly went in another direction.

“As I walked my son to the bus stop this morning, we actually saw a Trump sign in someone’s yard,” she said. “Can you imagine? A Trump sign in this neighborhood?”

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I stood in place, taken aback, but hoping to politely redirect the topic by not commenting.

Disregarding or possibly failing to see my discomfort, she continued, “My son wanted to write on the sign with a marker, but I told him, ‘No, that’s what Trump supporters do!’ We preach a message of love, not hate.”

I felt like a deer in headlights — I was so shocked I could not move. It felt like a trap, or possibly a “Candid Camera” moment. She went on to share with me more of her personal facts and political opinions. I honestly can’t remember how we disengaged from one another, but I thought about that interaction for the rest of the day. “A message of hate”? Is that what people think?

Related: 8 Key Questions Faith-Based Voters Have

I grew up in a family that attended church every Sunday morning, and many Wednesday evenings as well. I went to a private school and a private college that encouraged (but did not require) traditional Christian values. I believe that we — all people, including myself — have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We need salvation through Jesus Christ in order to be reconciled to God. And although I stand firm in those beliefs, I have never hated someone because I disagreed with him or her.

I have several friends and co-workers who do not share my faith or my political opinions. And yet, we still find plenty of topics to talk about. We share the love of our children and the struggles to keep everything spinning in our lives. We have somehow managed to converse with one another over the years and never drawn lines in the sand over our differing opinions.

And yet, in one brief PTA breakfast, I was informed that I am hateful. That I have no compassion. That I am not informed. That I am somehow the problem — me and my values. Even more concerning is that this revelation took place in an elementary school, at a casual breakfast, with a complete stranger.

Related: People of Faith Are ‘Deplorable’ to the Left

The assumptions on this other mother’s part were incredibly aggressive and undeniably incorrect. She took no time or effort to know me, hear me, or consider my perspective. She made harsh judgments and said rash words, like so many people who are rabidly gnashing their teeth in a polarizing political atmosphere. But the problem is that that no common ground can be found once war is declared on those who dare to disagree.

In a society that claims to be anti-bully, it is amazing to me how acceptable it is to bully a conservative — and especially a Christian. I am told that if I disagree with a liberal policy, it is due to my lack of education. If I hold to a traditional view of biblical principles, I deserve to be bullied. If I stand for my faith, I should be punished by being denied my livelihood.

And I am the one with a message of hate?

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