Martyn Atkins, my former principal at Cliff College and former General Secretary, Methodist Church in Britain, in one of his books, Sermon on the Mount: Following Jesus in Today’s World,’ emphasised the urgent need for the character of Beatitude people rather than ‘conquer of die,’ democratic programmes. According to him, ‘beatitude people aren’t likely to get elected.’ The Beatitude sounds good news to the people while the Brexit and Trump-et sounds anger, division, and hatred for the world. Atkins explained that, ‘a manifesto of poverty of spirit, mourning, meekness, thirsting after righteousness, mercy, purity of heart and peacemaking is not likely to catch many votes.’ Using the words of Atkins, I think we need to ask ourselves some questions: ‘What sort of people come to mind when you read the Beatitude,’ in comparison to when you read and listen to the news about the June referendum in UK and November 8 Presidential election in US? Atkins explained that ‘Beatitude people wear God’s glasses .. to view the world like God does … not about what we think works, but about how God works,’ where wealth does not equal success, where pride, ‘them and us’- race, migration, and assertiveness are not priced.
The world experienced a political lightning strike twice when Trump’s Brexit prophesy proved true with the November 8, US, Presidential election. Trump movement, founded on self sponsorship within the Republican ‘Establishment’ has risen from political laughing stock to lead the free world. Indeed, ‘the triumph of the unspeakable makes acceptable what before was publicly unsayable: on race, on women, on the poor.’ Flaunting a Bible his mother gave him some years back, at the beginning of his electioneering campaign with a promise to restore the poster of ‘Merry Christmas,’ in shops, Trump portrayed himself especially to the American Evangelicals to be a Christian President. The tragedy is that, Satan, even quotes Scriptures to Jesus.
It is observed that Trump’s Presidency and Brexit have an ‘astonishingly similar’ base among those left behind by globalization and angry at the political class. Just as the Christian message through the centuries have carried the sounds of Pontius Pilate, whose ‘name firmly fixes the crucifixion in history,’ the political class behind the Brexit and Trump-et sounds division and hatred for the world. In the way Pontius Pilate, a Governor of Judea from AD 26-38 showed ‘very little understanding of the Jews whom he was sent to govern,’ the political class of today are not different. In the beginning, Pontius Pilate and his wife were both impressed by Jesus, and Pilate did try to release him, but he later became ‘cynical…, he handed over Jesus to be crucified.’ The suffering of Jesus under Pontius Pilate is a helpful reflection for Christians putting their trust in the political class of today. Bearing in mind that we are like ‘a prepaid card with limited validity,’ Pontius Pilate lost control and steps out of history but God remains the unchanging changer.
The human and democratic system under the good guys versus the bad guys theory of history ‘reveals us to be non-Beatitude people.’ Just as a narrow 49.8% to 50.2% electoral college win for Trump, a narrow but clear 52-to-48 percent win for Brexit. The campaign slogans also hint at the parallels: ‘Stronger Together’ vs. ‘Make America Great Again’ in the United States; ‘Stronger In’ vs. ‘Take Back Control’ in the United Kingdom. Former American House speaker Newt Gingrich has gone further, suggesting there are Trump’s voters who do not want to reveal their true intentions to pollsters, “just as with the Brexit vote in Britain.” For example, ordinary people in UK don’t know the content of the EU Article 50.
To secure victory for Trump, what the American evangelicals did on November 8 points to “the greatest parallel between the Brexit vote …. Brexit mobilized a large number of nonvoters — indeed, some people who had never voted in their lives.’ The world is in dilemma just as Pilate was because ‘human affairs rarely allow for a simple choice between good and evil, light and darkness. Whatever we choose to do is wrong because our nature is wrong; there is a profound distortion at the root of things which makes all our choices corrupt to some degree.’ One of the challenges of leadership is when our usefulness in a tense situation is compromised.
The statement by the former US vice-president hopeful Sarah Palin in response to the election of Mr Donald Trump as the American President-elect calls for prayerful concern. According to her, ‘America – and Britain! Look how we’re hooking up now – we’re taking back control.’ The question is, what are they taking back to control? One can easily read the undertone of taking back control as it was before, making America great at the expense and blood of others?
Trump, the American President-elect has also called himself the ‘Brexit President,’ … indicating a sense of common bond with the UK people, if not their Government, as go-it-aloners.’ It is on record that Trump was the only global figure to celebrate the June referendum result and promised a new ‘trade deal with Britain as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU in around 2019.’ Trump ‘has repeatedly fed that belief, calling himself “Mr. Brexit,” predicting ‘Brexit times five’ and vowing that ‘there’s going to be a lot of Brexit happening in about two weeks. A lot of Brexit’ in America.
In Trump’s first official statement, within his 100 day in office, ‘the Trans-atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between US and the European Union now looks doomed.’ On his foreign policy, Trump summed up and declared that America ‘will get along with all nations who get along with us.’ The reflection is the world now need to adapt to Trump’s America. What happened to the protection of human rights?
Brexit and Trump-et sounds to Africa could be likened to Pilate’s inevitable decision to sacrifice one innocent man for the sake of maintaining peace and making Rome great again, just as Trump want to make America great again. It is a picture of Pilate and Christ, Brexit/Trump-et and the world. The tragic flaw in Brexit and Trump-et sounds to the world forces some inhuman decisions and hatred, including turning our backs on the needs of others, on the demands they make on us. The Pilate in us makes the unavoidable decisions (to hand over Christ), allowing other to suffer so that we can make ourselves great again.
Brexit and Trump-et sounds calls for a rethink and repentance among the African leaders to stop looting African common wealth. Indirectly, African leaders are part of the ‘executioner,’ doing the dirty work of corruption, causing poverty at home, thereby sending their people to become war refugee and economic migrants. The political classes – Caiaphases and Pilates of this world will not come directly to exploit Africa as a laboratory, but will use home based rulers to drive the thick nails through the economy and resources of Africa, they don’t have direct contact with the poor masses. These home rulers are under the international orders like IMF and World Bank.
Brexit and Trump-et sounds to Middle East calls for the need to make sense of the savagery of the jihadists towards their opponents in enforcing Islamic State. Patrick Sookhdeo in his book, Unmasking Islamic State: Revealing their Motivation, Theology and End Time Predictions, offers a blueprint for action against the IS totalitarian ideology and terrorist practices. The Brexit and Trump-et sounds to the world, especially to the Middle East goes beyond accusations of Islamophobia.
Brexit and Trump-et sounds for the world points to a failed mass democracy, hence, according to Rowan Williams, ‘it’s time to seek a human alternative.’ The suggestion on the need for a ‘better analysis of and investment in local activism’ by Williams to move forward may amounts to what Atkins described as what we think works and not about how God works. From the church perspective, the salt and the light of the world, the book of Joel provides a way forward to the Brexit and Trump-et sounds for the world. With the failure of mass democracy, the church is called to ‘blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitant of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand’ (Joel 2:1). The Brexit and Trump-et sounds for the world the alarm bells against two faced politicians; the burden of the Lord to issue a warning to ‘a nation which had experienced the hand of Almighty God in blessing – all down the years of her history and in remarkable deliverance – to become a nation under God’s judgement.’ Gardner says it better, ‘it is high time to sound the trumpet and warn the people,’ especially, the alt-right, ‘conquer or die’ extremists.
 Atkins, Martyn, Sermon on the Mount: Following Jesus in Today’s World (Peterborough: Foundery Press, 2002), pp. 5 -11
 Polly, Toynbee, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/10/brexit-trump-whitelash-politicians-must-not-pander
 Holloway, Richard, Behold Your King! (London: SPCK, 1995), pp. 29-35
 Thrills and spills on rollercoaster night that rocked United States,; in London Evening Standard, Wednesday 9, November, 2016, pp. 6-7
 Griff Witte, ‘Donald Trump and Brexit: How similar are they?’ in http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/donald-trump-brexit-presidential-election-2016-how-similar-are-they-comparison-a7388521.html
 Newt Gingrich cited in Griff Witte, Donald Trump and Brexit
 Holloway, Behold Your King!, p. 33
 Joe, Murphy, Trade and Nato are key as UK gears up to deal with ‘Brexit President,’in in London Evening Standard, Wednesday 9, November, 2016, p. 9
 Sookhdeo, Patrick, Ummasking Islamic State: Revealing their Motivation, Theology and End Time Predictions (McLean; Vi: Isaac Publishing, 2015), pp. 17-60
 Williams, Rowan, http://www.newstatesman.com/world/2016/11/mass-democracy-has-failed-its-time-seek-humane-alternative
 Gardner, David E, The Trumpet Sounds for Britain – Volumes 1,2, and 3 (Chichester: Jesus is Alive Ministries, nd), p. 99