By Victor Ochieng
Exits polls conducted on November 8 was so discomforting to non-white Christians, specifically because it showed that many white evangelicals voted in favor of Republican Donald Trump. Why would that elicit such feelings? To begin with, Trump openly advocated for policies that appeared biased against members of the Muslim community, including not ruling out the possibility of establishing special ID’s for Muslim-Americans. Secondly, Trump’s history shows he’s s*xist, racist and a bigot, characteristics that should make a true Christian not to support his candidature.
In spite of Trump’s controversial stand on several topical issues, he still managed to secure endorsements from many Christian leaders, Black and white. Realizing how polarized the two main presidential candidates were, some church leaders refrained from declaring their political stands.
The same could’ve been true of Pastor Joel Osteen were it not for a previous praise he hailed on the now President-Elect. It all happened during an interview on Fox News radio’s “Kilmeade and Friends.”
“He’s an incredible communicator and brander,” Osteen said of Trump. “He’s been a friend of our ministry. He’s a good man.”
That statement didn’t go down well with many people, some of who took to social media to criticize the self-proclaimed man of God. Some of his followers thought it wasn’t right for the pastor to involve himself in politics by endorsing a candidate, while others just thought a true Christian shouldn’t support a candidate whose proposed policies appeared more divisive than uniting.
Following the backlash, Osteen came out to clear the air. He said his statement had been misinterpreted, clarifying that he didn’t in any way endorse the New York billionaire.
From the look of things, his perceived endorsement of Trump isn’t about to go away. During a Tuesday interview on T.D. Jakes Show, the host, Bishop Jakes, asked Osteen whether or not he had endorsed Trump.
In his response, Osteen denied having endorsed the controversial politician. He said his praising Trump shouldn’t have come as a surprise, explaining that he never says anything bad about others. So, what is he actually saying? The point is that he was misunderstood, or so he says. Osteen blamed social media users for changing his words into something else. He said that, like Bishop T.D. Jakes, he wants to remain neutral so that he can reach everybody with the gospel message.
The thought of white evangelicals having been solidly behind Trump has been so unsettling to African American Christians fellowshipping in predominantly white churches. It’s been so bad that some have taken a step back to reconsider their association with such churches.
Regardless of such feelings, true Christians should maintain their religious brotherhood and remain united under our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.