Church leaders express their hopes, fears and expectations for the next American president:
** UPDATED THROUGHOUT THE WEEK **
“I am a devout evangelical and have sympathy with fellow evangelicals who see Trump’s affirmation of some evangelical values as progress in what might be the direction of American public policy under his watch. As evangelicals we are probably used to a marginal existence at the periphery of power and public policy influence. So we welcome the crumbs that fall from Trump’s table.
“Leave aside the fact that he may not even mean what he said, given the personal improprieties in his own life as exposed during the campaign. But, the thing with the rather personal values that Trump promises to uphold, re abortion etc, being a black South African, I have seen how values of personal piety can be co-opted in the service of social injustice and foreign policy cruelty. So I lament our readiness to be satisfied with Trumps concessions to a limited selection of Christian values while we surrender the broad sweep of prophetic critique of his social vision both in the US and around the world.
Moss Nthla, General Secretary of TEASA, the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa
Christian Association of Nigeria: Trump will fight American Immorality
In reaction to the election of Donald Trump as the American President, the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle sees Trump’s election as God’s plans to address the immorality in the USA. “God has now positioned him to fight the immoral life in the American society. The nation that was once known as God’s own country is vastly becoming Sodom and Gomorrah.” He said addressing the 29th General Assembly of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) held at First Baptist Church, Garki, Abuja, on Thursday.
Nigerians have been opposed to same sex union and abortion. Many Christians prefer Trump, “especially when he said he would reconstitute the Judges to stop the issues on abortion.” Rev. Nenman Gowon said.
“The only question many of us are wondering is if Trump will assist Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram or he will ask the country to pay for any military assistance we get.” Esther Dogara, a women leader said in Abuja.
“Trump’s win probably does not signify anything positive for India. All the campaign comments he made about Indians taking jobs away from the USA and other things indicate a xenophobic kind of mindset which is likely to manifest itself in the coming days which cannot be helpful for the Indian economy.
“As far as his victory and the Church is concerned, I have understood that the church in the US is divided. There have been elements who have been quite supportive, there have also been lots of people who have spoken up against his comments which were offensive and I think that the church in the US should come to terms with what it makes of him once he assumes the Presidency and starts unveiling his policies. The Indian church is not going to be affected singularly by Trump.
“Muslims are on an even shakier ground as his comments on Muslims are unambiguous. He has not singled out any class of Muslims but his anti-Muslim comments are out there, so how much they will play out in policy remains to be seen. We have also seen anti-Muslim rhetoric during the Bush’s administration and I don’t know whether he can break that barrier, which almost bordered on genocide, so whether Trump will raise that bar further, is something we have to see.”
Dr Shantanu Dutta,Interserve
“As an observer, both of politics and international relations, and the Christian situation in the world, we have been looking at the election campaign in the United States which with India is the second largest democracy in the world. The campaign itself led to many anxious moments. There have been statements made by either sides that have caused anxiety in a country like India where there are many types of religious minorities, as also the fact that many Indians work in the United States or do the back room work of corporate sectors of the United States while staying in India.They too have had anxious moments fearing whether their jobs are safe.
“But the election is a democratic process, expressing the will of the people. We [Christians in India] are quite used to results that seem very startling and possibly not to our expectations, but we have always welcomed it and therefore I welcome President-elect Donald Trump and I hope that the United States under his leadership will be a bulwark for peace, will be an agency against war, and will work towards a situation where religious minorities of all sorts, in every country will be able to freely express and practice their faith. He has our prayers and he has our good wishes.”
Dr John Dayal, spokesperson of the United Christian Forum and the Founder Secretary-general of the All India Christian Council
I think with Donald Trump’s victory, America will give the world a new and different direction. His victory has come with a lot of mixed feelings, especially for minorities in America but also for minorities in the world.
“The question is whether USA will look inward and not embrace everyone as it used to do.
“For the churches in Nigeria and among many Christians, I can say that we welcome what has happened. Trump speaks reality of what is happening in the world and what is also happening in Nigeria. He spoke of issues that are real which politicians always shy away from especially when they are seeking votes.
Trump addressed the issue of Islamisation and terrorism which resonates with us here in Nigeria. He also addressed the issue of abortion and is pro-life which also resonates with the Church here in Nigeria.
I can say that a lot of Christians are happy with the outcome of the elections.
Rev Yakubu Pam, Assemblies of God, Jos, Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria Northern Nigeria and National Vice President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria
“India and the United States of America are the two largest democracies of the world and although they have different election processes, there is a similar mass participation in the processes of governance. We have successfully had an election two and a half years ago and we are happy to know of the largely peaceful elections in the US although there were moments of anxiety during the tense election campaigns of the leading candidates of the Democrats and Republicans.
“Mr Donald Trump’s victory is therefore a tribute to the judgement and the wisdom of the people who really know best.
“We in India, particularly the Christian community, have always believed that democracy is a gift of God and taking part in its processes is how we celebrate this gift.
“We wish President Elect Donald Trump all the very best from the people in India and we hope that under his leadership, relationships between the two countries will grow, that peace will be strengthened, and that the interests of the various minorities in both the countries will be protected, which can only be done if the Governments of the respective countries and its peoples understand the value of religious freedom.
“We particularly cherish religious freedom and we celebrate it also as a cardinal guarantee in the United Nations charter and in our own Constitution.
“We look forward to collaboration between the peoples of the two countries, and between the Christian communities of the two countries carrying out the commandments of our Lord, particularly the commandment of peace.
Rev. Vijayesh Lal, General Secretary – Evangelical Fellowship of India
“Barack Obama ran his first campaign for president on the promise of change, and he delivered. Donald Trump’s victory signals a rejection of his changes and trajectory by a significant number of Americans and a mandate to ‘drain the swamp’ of (Democrat and Republican) corrupt government. Yet the future is very uncertain as the Republican Party becomes less Conservative and more populist. Americans do not know what changes will come in health care, global economic and political relationships, a stronger military, change to the judicial system, decentralization (e.g., education). Will America’s anger at Washington translate into good government?
“The Evangelical Church has largely supported Trump for political and especially social (abortion, LGBT) reasons. The Church has been under increasing attack, and it is expected that Trump’s win will somewhat ease the persecution from government. A problem arises if Evangelicals in particular think they have ‘won’ when, in fact, the culture is increasingly anti-Christian and Trump does not share many Evangelical values. Perhaps Muslim immigration will slow, but will America’s increasing rejection of Christianity continue?
Rollin Grams, an Anglican priest who ministers in both the US and South Africa
” The issue is not Donald Trump, but what the vote represents of people’s views of extremism on both sides.
“There is the extremism of the liberals which overrides conscience and religious truth which is met with a desire to overturn it completely from its opponents. Is this democracy without principle on both sides?
“In other words, democracy and freedom cannot function well in a society without commitment to God’s truth and law?”
Chris Sugden (Canon Dr) Secretary of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life
“Based on media reports and opinion polls, Trump’s victory is totally unexpected. What would be the impact?
“I doubt it will make much difference for our country, except that given his negative views on free trade, the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) may not be ratified. This may affect the country’s economic growth which has become rather trade-dependent.
“For the global church, a Clinton win would likely see the US adopting or continuing a pro-Saudi foreign policy with the latter’s covert efforts at advancing a Wahhabi Sunni agenda globally, especially in the Middle-East and other Muslim majority lands.
With Trump, this is less likely. Consequently I hope hardline Islamic pressure on non-Muslim minorities in Muslim-majority countries will slacken somewhat in the near-term!”
Hwa Yung, Bishop Emeritus of the Methodist Church in Malaysia
“We have joined in prayers and watched with keen interest the US elections, it is now over and one person Donald Trump is elected. The parties may be different but the overriding interest is the nation of America. America has a God-given place in the history and affairs of the world.
“We have high hopes that the plight of troubled parts of the world will be priority of foreign policy, we hope that terrorism around the world and especially in Africa will be of concern to America.
“We also hope that freedom of religion and thought will be upheld and seen to be in practiced in all democratic nations in the world. America has another chance to show its best in generosity, sacrifice, excellence and leadership in all goodness and faith.”
Ben Kwashi, Archbishop of Jos, Anglican Church of Nigeria