Posted Sep 10, 2019 by Michael L. Brown

I imagine I’m not the only one this happened to, but still, you hate to see it happen at all. You express your support for Trump on a given issue, and an old friend or acquaintance dumps you. That’s how fiercely they oppose – or even despise – him. How do we best navigate these turbulent waters?

Growing up in a small Jewish community on Long Island, most of my best friends were also Jewish. And like the majority of American Jews, most of those old friends are now liberal Democrats. And a few of those old friends – or neighbors – are my Facebook friends.

That means they see my many posts about controversial cultural issues, like abortion and LGBT activism, and they do not unfriend me.

Others, not surprisingly, did unfriend me along the way, which I fully understand. We weren’t super close, and they didn’t appreciate my views. All clear.

But one in particular, whom I had known since elementary school, somehow stuck around, and every so often he’d post a nice comment to a family update or the like.

Unfortunately, the day came when my support for the President on a particular issue was more than he could take, and that was the end of that.

I wasn’t offended, but I hated to see it happen.

More recently, another childhood friend, named David, posted this in response to one my Trump-related articles: “How can any Christian support such an immoral and divisive man? He’s broken every commandment and has committed all Seven Deadly Sins. Ask yourself two questions....would Jesus support such behavior?

“Would Jesus treat illegals the same way?

“The answer is no to both questions and I question your commitment to Jesus if you support Donald Trump.

“Instant redemption is bull as Trump never seems contrite in his poor decisions.”

How did I respond to a post like this?

It appears that the order of the day is to fight fire with fire, offense with offense. You blast me and I blast you. Forget about substance. About content. About details and facts. And forget about conducting ourselves in a godly manner. Not a chance. Fire away!

But the Book of Proverbs has a relevant word for us here: “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Proverbs 15:1, NLT)

I knew his life experience and faith perspectives were very different than mine, and personally, I was glad to see he was still a Facebook friend, despite our differences.

I wrote back, “You definitely represent the concerns of many others, especially non-Christians. Here's the short answer: 1) Donald Trump is NOT our Savior, and for many of us, he was the last choice of the Republicans running for office. But a vote for him was a vote against Hillary, who we believed would be a disaster for our country. 2) While the issue of migrant children is a serious one and needs to be addressed, for us, slaughtering one million babies in the womb [each year] is a massively bigger issue. The brutal and horrific slaughter and torture and displacement of millions of Christians in the Middle East by ISIS and other Islamic militants is a massively bigger issue. The possibility of Iran getting nuclear weapons to attack Israel fits in this same category. And these are just some of the biggest issues to us. That's why we voted for Trump. We felt Hillary would be on the wrong side of all of these. As for immigration, remember that Obama deported far more illegals, at this time in his presidency, than Trump, and the problem of separating children from parents has existed for years before Trump. Christian supporters of Trump simply need to make clear that we want something done that is compassionate and fair. 3) When we excuse Trump's sinful behavior, we discredit our own witness. I agree. But we do NOT compromise our Christian witness when we say, ‘We deplore his past, playboy lifestyle, and we hate his crude and ugly attacks against others, but out of the choices for president in 2016 (or, potentially in 2020), we believe he's the better choice.’ I encourage you to think this through. God bless!”

And how did David respond on Facebook? He wrote, “Michael, thanks for the answer. As you know, we have many issues facing us as a country and as religious groups. There are no easy answers. I’m not sure if prioritizing our response based on religious views is the answer.

“It saddens me to see not one of the responses I got from people here address my two questions about Jesus approving of Trumps actions. I see a herd of Trump apologists who cherry pick their Christian values.

“Michael, I admire you as a person, you serve a very important role in today’s world. Keep up the good work you do! Be well!”

I responded, “Thanks for the kind words. This is the kind of interaction we all need. Much appreciated! And keep raising your voice when you want to weigh in. I always welcome respectful differences of opinion.”

As of today, David and I are still Facebook friends (David, I hope you’re reading this! If you are, encourage Robert to rejoin us!). And the point of me posting this is not to say, “Look at how wise my interaction was!”

The point, instead, is this.

Let’s do our best to communicate. To interact substantively rather than be reactionary. To do our best to hear someone’s heartfelt concerns.

And then, rather than dismissing those concerns as if they were baseless – is that how we want our concerns treated? – to share our point of view with clarity and grace.

In the end, rather than losing friends over views about Trump, we just might gain some.

Hey, it can’t hurt to dream.

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Comments

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words2yz posted a comment · Oct 04, 2019
I had hoped the evangelicals who helped elect Trump would hold him accountable for his actions and words SADLY NOT !!
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Skeptic posted a comment · Oct 01, 2019
Yes Mr Daniels, we should provide medical care! But since you are probably a Christian, you don't care - I understand. Other parts of the Bible, which tell you to hate LGBT folks, are probably more important to you. Awesome. I know, I know... this is not really fair... but is it? ;-)
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Sdaniels posted a comment · Sep 29, 2019
Kenneth Greifer, " How many pregnant women living there without good medical care, nutrition, and even space to walk two feet have had miscarriages because of the cruel conditions they are living under?" Cruel conditions? Have you even seen the facilities? Why do you blame the president, or more accurately, the American people for not providing them with medical care? Is it really our responsibility? Are we also to blame for not having enough facilities to greet the exponential increase in those coming to our border? Do you know the average number of people coming to our border today compared to 5 years ago?
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gerald a posted a comment · Sep 12, 2019
This thing about 10,000 lies or whatever it's supposed to be is the same other liberals who show up here said. Politifact etc. are not credible arbiters of truth. They are in fact a joke. "To give but one example, PolitiFact took a statement by Casey Mattox that is 100 percent true and rated it “half true.” His statement was “Zero Planned Parenthood facilities are licensed to do mammograms. Planned Parenthood, women don’t need you!” PolitiFact, after many, many, many paragraphs of throat clearing, admitted that the fact claim was true — zero Planned Parenthood facilities are licensed to do mammograms". "But aha! They said “numbers don’t tell the whole story” on mammograms because people at Planned Parenthood could talk to women about mammograms and stuff. When Democrat Martin O’Malley said that “97 percent of the work that Planned Parenthood does is about mammograms and preventative health,” which we know is not true since zero percent of the work that Planned Parenthood does is mammograms, PolitiFact rated that “half true” as well". There are so many "fact checks" that ludicrously strain to find something wrong with something Pres. Trump said it's impossible to keep up with them all. Here's some ridiculous fact checks on an Oval Office speech. https://thefederalist.com/2019/01/09/medias-angry-response-to-president-trumps-oval-office-speech-comes-up-short/ Pres. Trump said that 266,000 illegals arrested at the border in 2 years: "The fact checkers at the Washington Post characterized this Trump claim, which they admitted was factual, as “misleading” because, and I quote, “this figure includes all types of crimes.” You can’t make it up".
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Keith Heimann posted a comment · Sep 12, 2019
Friends with someone who voted Trump in 2016 because they hoped to upset the apple cart? No problem. Friends with anyone who continues to support Trump today, after non-partisan groups like FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.org document at least 12,000 blatant lies? No thanks.
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Kenneth Greifer posted a comment · Sep 11, 2019
Dr. Brown, I understand that you support Trump because you think he will end legal abortions in America, but religious Christians and Jews should also be able to demand that he treat asylum seekers and illegal immigrants as human beings. Keeping them in rooms where they can't walk two feet or lie down because they are so crowded is cruel and unhealthy. How many pregnant women living there without good medical care, nutrition, and even space to walk two feet have had miscarriages because of the cruel conditions they are living under? Ironically, they are paying businesses that run these detention centers so much money per person, that they could put individuals and families in hotel rooms with room service for the same amount or less. You can support Trump and also expect him to not violate human rights. Deporting parents without their children and then trying to find them later is crazy and cruel. Can't you be against abortion and for the living people who are suffering at the same time? Trump can be your hero and still be criticized. I have not heard any well-known or barely known Evangelical Christian leaders or any top Jewish religious leaders speak out against his human rights violations, so now I think you all are cold-hearted people beneath all the talk about love and kindness. I hear many atheists who care more about human rights than you all.