This is a coming out, of sorts. As a conservative Evangelical and a minister in a denomination known for traditional values, I have felt a bit closeted as a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President.
It isn’t that anyone directly said, “You’ll go to hell if you vote for that pro-choice, gay-loving, socialist.”
They didn’t have to. That message is communicated by our Evangelical tribe every day through countless social media posts on the evils of socialism, sotto voce comments about gays and “baby killers,” and the unquestioned assumption that we are, every one of us, dyed-in-the-wool Republicans.
Most of my friends are. Nearly all of my family members are too. Most of the people I know seem to think Barack Obama is a Muslim, Bill Clinton is the Antichrist, and Rockefeller Republican is another term for communist.
So believe me when I say that I’ve thought long and hard about declaring my support for Bernie Sanders. Yet there are times when the cost of keeping quiet is greater than the burden of being misunderstood or derided. This, for me, is one of this times.
Our society faces a moment that will define its character, perhaps for generations. This is no time for preachers of the gospel to be silent.
Though I have never publicly endorsed a political candidate before, I choose to do so now because silence is a form of consent, and I do not consent to the moral direction of our culture. I speak also because I believe my voice can make a difference. We have an opportunity to effect real change for the common good, and I’d like to contribute to that. And I speak because it isn’t enough for religious leaders to say what we’re against, something Evangelicals are well known for. At some point we must say what we are for.
I’m for Bernie Sanders, and I think you should be too.