• Kristi Burke

An Open Letter To The Christian Trump Supporters Who Raised Me

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

When I was a little girl, I looked up to you with stars in my eyes. I once called you my home, my shelter, and my refuge. You were my friends, my family, my Sunday school teachers and my role models. I wanted to be just like you. When you told me that to be Christian was to love, I believed you. When you taught me to stay pure, humble and holy, I listened. When you entrusted me with the task of being a shining light for the church, I accepted that responsibility with great pride. I sat in cheap, uncomfortable seating every Sunday morning, Sunday evening and each Wednesday night, groomed by your commandments to love thy neighbor, do good to others, put away pride and sin no more. I was but a small child, and my mind was like a sponge. You knew I would absorb every word. I now sit here, puzzled, wondering at what point in your own life you abandoned these very teachings in exchange for political superiority.

As I grew with age, your expectations of me grew, too. Gone were the days where it was enough to bow my head and pray for god to save my soul before a night of sleep. You knew those childish songs and simplistic verses that I was forced to memorize would no longer speak to my pubescent mind. So instead you used fear to keep me in line. You warned me of "the world" and how deceptive it would be. You cautioned me against falling for false prophets and dishonest leaders. You created impossible rules about how I should dress, speak, and act. I was taught never to let an idle word slip from my tongue. I was shamed for simple things like wearing spaghetti straps or sporting chipped nail polish because it didn't fit the image you had in mind of what a Christian was supposed to look like. It was frowned upon to have friends that weren't Christian - or even friends of other denominations (such as Mormon or Catholic. They were all going to hell). It was discouraged to watch secular movies or listen to secular music. I was not to even speak unless it edified god and his special, chosen people. I was warned against dipping my toes into anything that wasn't explicitly christ-centered, which I was told would infect my heart and soul and lead to a life of misery, destruction, and even hell. You said I could not be good without god and his teachings, and for a long time I believed you. Then I grew up and realized that you had no idea what true goodness was.

When you first saw the signs that I had started questioning those teachings, you shamed and emotionally abandoned me. You warned me of how destructive my new path would be. You expressed dissatisfaction in my life choices every step of the way. You called me a slut, a backslider, and a prodigal; a sinner headed straight for hell. You were shocked when you found out that I had allowed alcohol to touch my lips. You were appalled by my less-than-holy vocabulary the first time you heard me use an "idle word". You were disgusted by my defilement of the marriage bed by sleeping next to someone I loved, but who had not yet taken my hand. You monitored and judged my every word and action. You whispered gossip behind my back. You spent your Sunday mornings huddled with your holy-rolling friends, synchronously pleading for god to save me. You reminded me again and again how disappointed you were in the person I had become. I was shamed into a shell, and it took a decade to break free. After much reflection, I am now flipping the script, reclaiming my life and taking the opportunity, in confidence, to tell you just how much you have disappointed me.

When Donald Trump- a greedy billionaire with dozens of former lawsuits, multiple divorces, rape accusations, shady business dealings and zero evidence of personal faith- announced his run for presidency as a Republican candidate, you wasted no time expressing your support. This should have surprised me, as you had spent the previous eight years complaining about the "antichrist" that was Obama; a man earning less than $100k a year who proudly spoke of his Christian faith and attended regular church services with his family. But it didn't surprise me. You see, despite everything you instilled in me about love and peace, humility and holiness, I knew there was still another side. My mind was indeed a sponge, and it did not only absorb what you wanted it to on Sunday mornings. It also assimilated the moments you let down your guard and revealed who you truly were. The moments you would gossip about the sexuality of others, whispering the word "gay" as if it were a curse. When you would speak poorly of Spanish-speaking immigrants, and how they were "ruining this country." The times I heard you huff and puff over the site of an interracial couple. When the word "black" was said with emphasis, as if you were so unfamiliar with the word that you felt the need to drag it out in conversation so that those around you could take the time to process it. You ignored your own teachings about idle words and respecting authority when you expressed deep-seated disgust for the black man who was running your Country. You turned your back on goodness and holiness the moment you defended Trump's admitted sexual assault as "locker room talk". You rejected the teachings of sexual purity that you forced down my throat as a prepubescent teenager, when you praised Melania for her grace and class - despite her being unapologetic for what you would have called a pornographic, sexually immoral photo shoot- one where she posed nude with her body pressed up against other female models (to clarify, I have no qualms about that photoshoot). You never even gave Michelle a chance, claiming she "lacked class" by revealing her bare shoulders at presidential events. You showed your true colors long ago, it took me until right about now to stop denying it and making excuses for your hypocrisy simply because I hold love in my heart for you.

Photo Via @TheNewDaily

Over the last four years, there were a countless number of times when I read the news and thought surely this would be the smoking gun-the final straw, the one thing that would break your support and make you question Trump's true character and intentions. I waited for four years, wondering what it would take to make you reconsider your unwavering support. I kept wondering when the verses you fed me as a child about loving your neighbor, feeding the poor, welcoming strangers, reserving judgement, showing compassion for sinners, being cautious of false prophets and rejecting greed would resurface inside your own heart. I watched, confused, as you urged your friends to support Trump, and shamed me for criticizing his reckless immorality. With every proven lie he told you, your support for him only grew. With every idle word he spoke, you jumped deeper to defend him. I watched in consternation as you succumbed to the cult that is trumpism, with blind faith and without rational thought, in self-righteousness and indignation- just as you had to your religion so long ago. You clung to the false notion that you have been made the victim of oppression, while working so hard to oppress those with whom you do not agree. You hopped right aboard the train of victim hood, leading to a false sense of injustice within your group that has inevitably led to violence, chaos, and now domestic terrorism. You have sided with authoritarianism. You have adopted an appreciation for fascism. You have contributed to the collapse of freedom and democracy for all Americans. You have blasphemed your own Holy Book by using it as a tool to gain power and dominance, as you feel the last of your superiority slip away in a country that is rapidly shedding the toxic sludge that is fundamentalism.

I want you to know that I will forgive you for indoctrinating my eager, undeveloped mind with your frivolous ideas. I will forgive you for the shame and guilt I carry every day, thanks to your emotional abandonment in my most burdensome years. I will forgive you for the gossip, the name calling, the pointed fingers and the now empty space where my sense of family and community used to reside. I can even forgive you for the thousands I've spent in therapy just to expunge your nagging voices from my head.

But I will not forgive you for your unconditional support of Donald Trump. I will not forgive you for ignoring your own moral standards to defend a man that spent four years dividing our nation for his own personal gain and inevitably committing treason, leading his most loyal followers in an insurrection at the Capitol less than two weeks ago. I cannot forgive you for the deaths of citizens, protesters and even police officers at the hands of those you side with. Your gullibility, false sense of persecution and willful ignorance has led to the rapid and toxic spread of fake news. Your carelessness with information, your recklessness with amateur You Tube videos and conspiratorial articles has cultivated an environment where nobody knows what to believe, but you seem so confident that you hold all the answers. You run with conspiracies that originated on 4chan, a breeding ground for pedophiles whose only goal with Qanon was to deflect from their own misdoings. You cry "fake news" at the slightest bit of criticism of your beloved president, but gorge yourself gluttonously on every article starting with "Hunter Biden" or "The Clintons." You'll accept every foul rumor you hear about the democrats you've been trained to hate, but won't even listen as Trump's own words reveal his true intentions. I will not forgive you for, once again, shamelessly feigning moral superiority while you propagate poison in private. Your red hat is now a symbol of domestic terrorism. The golden cross around your neck serves as a distraction for hate inside your heart.

America is facing the greatest threat to democracy that any person alive has ever seen. And the threat is coming from your camp. In just a few days, Joe Biden will be sworn in as President of the United States Of America as a result of an overall fair and free election (at least on one side). Trump will (fingers crossed) exit the White house and he will soon be nothing but a dried, orange bloody stain on what I can only hope will one day become a truly great nation. You will have the choice to either move on and accept Paul's words in Romans*, when he tells you to submit yourself to all heads of authority, as god has placed each an every one according to his will, or you'll continue clinging to a dying, cult of fascism and hate, eventually fading out with it. I know what to expect from you at this point. I'm just hoping you'll surprise me.


The one who broke free

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Instagram: @artistkristiburke

*Romans 13:1-5

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience."

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