Praxis Connection Review is an online journal that highlights collaboration, innovation, and impact through churches in NYC.

Do the Ends Justify the Means

by | Praxis Connections Review Volume 1

In a recent interview President-elect Trump was asked if he regretted any of the harsh rhetoric that he used in the campaign. His quick response was, “No we won.”  In other words, the ends justify the means.

Many people took an “ends justify the means” approach when they supported candidate Trump when the Access Hollywood tape came out, or when he marginalized people based on their race or the fact that they were immigrants. To be clear, the election did not offer great choices. Moreover people have a right to choose who they like best. People choosing a candidate is a good thing. Christians ignoring or staying silent about their candidates bad behavior or rhetoric is not okay. That being said, the Public Religion Research Institute found that 81% of white evangelicals and 67% of white Catholics voted for Donald Trump despite his behavior towards others. Why is this? Where was the prophetic voice of the church? Perhaps Mr. Trumps promise to appoint judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade and the selection of white evangelical Mike Pence silenced the voices of those who would normally stand up for women, the poor, and refugees. Few voices came out to say, “while we support you, in this we cannot support how you talk about our neighbors.”  Perhaps the ends were more important than the means and more important than how it made our brothers and sisters feel who were being targeted by Mr. Trump..

Jesus did not preach an “ends justify the means approach.”  Jesus, the refugee, whose parents fled persecution in the same way modern day refugees flee worn torn countries today. The same Jesus who in Mathew 25 tells us that how we treat the hungry, thirsty, imprisoned, stranger, and homeless is how we show our love to God.

I’m afraid that the silent voices that wanted so much to win on Roe v. Wade have provided a compromised view of the Body of Christ which has alienated the millennial generation and, whether they realized it or not, communicated a value judgment about immigrants, Latinos, and African Americans that is hurtful & hateful. Unintended consequences that have unleashed a flood of alt right, white supremacist voices & increase in hate crimes in ways that we would have thought unthinkable a few years ago. Hopefully we will not also see an increase in sexual assaults as well.  Yet the church remains silent. Unwilling to stand up for justice in one area because it was seeking justice in another. This is the kind of false righteousness that John the Baptist & Jesus confronted the Sadducees and Pharisees over.

We do not have to play Solomon with justice and split it in half. We are called to justice, mercy, and love. We need to call our leaders to their highest behavior and stand against oppression. Our country has many wounds. Many feel neglected and marginalized. Feeding into these feelings by blaming one tribe over another when it just is not that simple. Immigration has not caused globalization or the acceleration of the technology economy that has caused so much job displacement. When driverless cars displace millions of workers it will not be because of an immigrant. We should of course pray for the new President Elect. But what does the church say if his policies, behaviors, and actions are harmful to those on the margins? Stay silent? No the bible is clear we need to stand up for those in need. Let’s not feed into the tribal effect. Let’s love our neighbor in word and deed. Asking for forgiveness when we have hurt one another.

Praying for a fruitful New Year!