The speech I gave this year at Taylor University, a predominantly white evangelical university in the Indianapolis suburb, was perplexing yet rewarding. I understood that white evangelicals voted more than 80 percent for Trump in 2016. I came there with a disdain for all who would dare vote for Trump as president, but I left feeling somewhat like Coretta King, my mentor, who could see the good in everyone.
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Going to Taylor University touched me for several reasons. The leadership there is at least trying to see a side of life that is foreign to many of them. They have not walked in my shoes and neither have I in theirs. Some of their top officials had just returned from a civil rights tour, including Memphis where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was killed, Birmingham where white haters filled four little girls in a church basement bombing. They invited me to speak knowing that I did not come armed with an assault rifle, nor a powder puff.
The 1000 -member student body, read a peace pledge to work together as a human right movement, heard and sang the theme song of We Overcome and gave me one of the warmest welcomes ever. I listened to some of their stories, understood that many only watch Fox News like I only watch CNN and MSNBC, that they see the economy moving along, which is good news for their future., but I see a man who is emerging as a vindictive White Supremacist dictator.
Yet on college campuses I do not find the hatred vitriolic spirit that some of their adult leaders have. I see hope rising. If more adults who think differently work with them and we share our love for Christ, things could change for both of us. Evangelicals have a history of working in the anti-slavery movement. At Taylor, a man they embrace and have a statue in his honor is Samuel Morris, a black immigrant from Liberia, who in the 1800s came to the campus, with such a powerful prayer spirit, it helped the school from closing.
I see hope rising.
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