2016: Destroying our witness

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For an introduction to these articles on the election, see here.

For a description of why both major party candidates are dishonorable choices, see here.

So, why should evangelical Christians support Donald Trump? Here are the reasons I’ve heard:

“He’s not Hillary Clinton.”
Some people despise Hillary Clinton so much, they’re willing to do just about anything to prevent her from becoming president. But just because a candidate is throughly corrupt and deceitful, this isn’t a good reason to support another corrupt, deceitful, morally bankrupt candidate. This is similar to another defense we’re hearing more and more:

“Bill Clinton was worse.”
Maybe this is true. But it’s entirely beside the point. Even if Bill Clinton is Satan himself, that doesn’t magically turn Donald Trump into a good person or an acceptable candidate for president.

It’s ironic that in the days before this most recent scandal became public, the Trump campaign was focusing on the women from Bill Clinton’s past to try to discredit Hillary. They insisted that these stories were still relevant even though they’re decades old, and that victims should always be believed (despite Trump himself insulting and demeaning these victims of Bill Clinton back in the 90s). Now Trump and his people have completely flip-flopped. They now insist that the accusations about Trump are too old to be relevant, the women (more are going public all the time) are all liars who can’t be believed, and this is part of some vast, global conspiracy.

“If you don’t vote for Trump you’re voting for Hillary.”
What’s amusing is the other side says the same thing, that if you don’t vote for Hillary you’re voting for Trump. So, apparently by voting for neither, we’re voting for both! The fact is, voting for Trump is not just voting against Hillary Clinton. If you vote for someone, you share responsibility for what they will do as president—especially if we have clear warning now of what kind of person he is and what he will do with real power.

“We’re not electing a pastor/Sunday school teacher/pope.”
Everyone knows this. No one is suggesting that presidential candidates should be held to the same standards as pastors. But does this mean that character somehow doesn’t matter? Don’t we still have the responsibility to support a candidate who is trustworthy and has good character? And if character isn’t an issue, why is Hillary Clinton so despised? Does character only matter for her but not for Trump?

“But Trump apologized.”
Did he really? Trump said he was embarrassed. He apologized to those who were offended by what he said, and then immediately and repeatedly dismissed his words as merely “locker room talk.” (In other words, ‘I’m sorry if that offended you, but it’s really not a big deal.’) And he kept pointing to Bill Clinton during these “apologies,” saying that Bill Clinton was worse than him.

So let me ask you parents, would you accept this kind of “apology” from your child? Would you allow them to get credit for apologizing while they continue dismissing the seriousness of what they did, and point their finger at someone else who is supposedly worse? And what about apologizing for all the other horrible things he’s said and done to people? We haven’t heard any apologies for the rest of Trump’s reprehensible behavior. Do we really want to give him kudos for this kind of childish nonsense?

“What about grace?”
It’s certainly true that we are all sinners forgiven by the unmerited grace of God. And we should be ready to forgive anyone. But Donald Trump hasn’t shown any real remorse for what he’s done or any real desire for forgiveness. And just because we sincerely forgive someone, doesn’t mean they’re suddenly qualified for any job. If you forgive someone who’s mean to your kids—but you don’t hire them as a babysitter—does that mean you’re unforgiving? Is that a lack of grace? Just because we should forgive Trump (if he ever actually asks for forgiveness), doesn’t mean he’s suddenly a good choice for president. There’s grace, and then there’s gullibility.

“Trump is the only one strong enough to do what’s necessary for the country.”
If anyone seriously mistakes the bluster, boasting and bullying of Trump for real strength, then nothing I say will change your mind. Apparently, you must think Jesus was a real wimp. The idea that, “Sure he’s a total jerk, but he’s our jerk” just doesn’t work for followers of Jesus Christ.

“It’s all about the Supreme Court justices.”
This is the only argument that has any merit to me. Hillary Clinton will almost certainly appoint justices who will continue to protect abortion rights and erode religious freedom. Donald Trump has said he will appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. Isn’t this a good enough reason to hold our noses and vote for him? Here are some reasons why I don’t think this argument works:

We have no reason to believe that Donald Trump is sincerely pro-life.

As many have pointed out, Donald Trump is not really a Republican or a conservative. He hasn’t given any reason why he suddenly switched from being pro-choice to being pro-life (except his decision to run as a Republican). He hardly ever mentions abortion. The one time he said much about it, he seriously botched it and caused all kinds of problems for pro-life groups. He’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t even understand the pro-life position. He defends Planned Pregnancy and makes the same exceptions for the health of the mother that Democrats routinely make. He also seems to lack any real awareness of the issues regarding the preservation of religious freedom.

Donald Trump is no “constitutionalist.”

Trump has an extremely poor grasp of the US Constitution, as he’s displayed many times. And he’s shown again and again that he intends to subvert the constitutional separation of powers, and meddle with the legislature and judiciary. Should we expect someone who’s expressed an intention to abuse constitutional power to appoint real constitutional conservatives to the Court?

We have absolutely no reason to trust Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is a flagrant, unrepentant liar. He lies about his past positions on issues. He lies about his business history. He lies about the amount of money he donates. He lies about his lies. He flip-flops on issues when it’s convenient for him. He bails on his businesses, protecting his own interests, and leaving others to hold the bag. He even said he might appoint someone not on his touted list as a Supreme Court justice—and he said this almost immediately after releasing the list! He has demonstrated over and over again that he is completely untrustworthy. So I ask those who will vote for him: Why should we trust him?

And let’s consider how this would realistically unfold. Even if they manage to retain a majority, the Republicans will certainly be weakened in the Senate. So let’s say Trump surprisingly honors this commitment, and appoints a real conservative, say another Robert Bork. And let’s say, as is very possible, that his first choice is shot down in the Senate. At this point, all bets will be off. I tried to appoint a conservative; it didn’t work. He would then be free to appoint anyone he wanted. We would have sold our political souls for . . . nothing. Of course, this is if he actually tries to fulfill this commitment, which, again, I see no reason to believe.

This is ‘the end justifies the means’ thinking.

Are we really supposed to support an immoral, reprehensible, dangerous candidate for president of the United States, just because he mouths support of a position that he doesn’t even understand?!

How gullible are we?

And how low will we sink?

Will we support anyone if they pay lip service to our cause?

How bad does someone have to be before we finally say:
“No, I can’t be part of this”?

Does God need Donald Trump?

Would we vote for a Hitler or a Stalin if they promised to end abortion? If Bill Clinton had been pro-life, would we have defended him in the 90s? A huge number of evangelicals were outspoken in their opposition to Clinton, proclaiming loudly that his poor character had disqualified him from serving as the nation’s president. Now some of these same evangelicals are defending Donald Trump, using the same excuses Clinton’s defenders used, excuses these evangelical leaders ridiculed 20 years ago! How is this not hypocrisy? Do we have any convictions that aren’t for sale?

We’ve seen the hypocrisy of Republican leaders. Many finally spoke out against Trump after this vile tape was made public. But then—after his stronger showing in the second debate—they reversed their reversals. Apparently, it’s okay for the party’s standard bearer to be someone who sickeningly boasts about sexually assaulting women . . . as long as he looks like a winner!

When Trump supporters tell the rest of us to put on our “big boy pants” and support Trump too, what they’re saying is that we need to grow up and play the game like the rest of the world. When in Rome, we need to be like the Romans. (I seem to recall someone trying to persuade Jesus to put on his big boy pants and play the game like everyone else.) No, we follow Christ. And he instructed us to be in the world, but not of it. We do need to grow up, put on our big boy pants and take the harder path of resisting the pressure to be like the world.

Should evangelicals be guilty of the same hypocrisy we see in the Republican leadership? Shouldn’t we stand up for what we say we believe in? Students and faculty of Liberty University have finally had enough. Their president, Jerry Falwell Jr, was one of Trump’s earliest evangelical supporters, and defends him still. He recently said on television that even if he knew these accusations to be true, he would continue to support Trump’s candidacy. So these students and faculty-members had to speak out. Sickened at the thought of the reputation of their school, and their witness to the world, being ruined by association with this evil, they put out a public statement strongly repudiating both Trump and the inappropriate stance of their president.

Paul admonished the Corinthian church for approving behavior that even unbelievers condemned. Now, we see an almost universal abhorrence of Donald Trump’s vile abuse of women, and it’s evangelical leaders who are defending him on national television! Fortunately, most evangelical pastors and leaders are opposed to Trump’s candidacy. But a surprising number of evangelical Christians are supporting him. If, through our support, we associate the evangelical faith with this morally bankrupt candidate—who the world recognizes as reprehensible—we will destroy our witness for years to come. In the eyes of our society, we’ll be tied to Trump’s moral filth, and we will have no credibility.

So what do we do?

Donald Trump uses women and then discards them. He’s done the same thing in his businesses. He does the same thing to those who help him politically—he uses them and then discards them. He loves them when he needs them. They become ‘his African Americans’ or ‘his evangelicals.’ But we do not belong to Donald Trump or any other politician. We need to send a strong message that, as followers of Jesus Christ, our votes are not for sale. We can’t be seduced by lame lip service or a few insincere statements.

Imagine if a huge number of Americans vote in this election, but they don’t vote for either of the major party candidates. Imagine if the experts in the press discover that it was the evangelical Christians who refused to support these unthinkable candidates. We would be sending a very loud message to the political parties that we cannot be taken for granted. We’d make it very clear that believers in Christ will not vote for shameful, dishonorable candidates no matter which party supports them. Then they would know—and we would know—that we will not sell our birthright for a bowl of lies and corruption, even with appealing but fake promises sprinkled on top.

If we vote for this man, we share responsibility for him. And evangelical Christians must not be even partially responsible for Donald Trump. Our mission is too important and our witness too valuable to waste on a madman.

 

 

Once again:

Any vulgar, hostile or demeaning comments will be deleted. We are not seeking to merely win arguments or vent anger, but to challenge and encourage each other in edifying ways. If you can’t comment with a loving attitude, do not comment here.

19 thoughts on “2016: Destroying our witness

  1. I appreciate your conclusion, brother. Too frequently, we, as followers of Christ, are more concerned with our personal comforts rather than the long-term state of this nation. It’s time (past time) that we remember that we are citizens of a different kingdom, and our presence here is to “demonsrate the manifold wisdom of God” in order to exact change in the hearts of men…..thank you for being bold in your convictions…..ty

  2. Curt, would you consider one more essay? There is a real possibility that whoever is elected Nov. 8, they may die in office, either naturally or violently. Could you write something on which Vice President would be a better President should that happen? Forget Trump and Clinton in this one, and just focus on the VP’s, and then address the question, is this alone a valid reason to vote for one or the other? Or if the VP candidates were the actual candidates, who would you support, if either?

  3. Thanks, Ty.

    Paul, I think a lot of people would be relieved if both tickets were flipped, with the VP candidates leading the tickets. Then we could have a much better discussion comparing candidates. But the current presidential candidates are both so profoundly unthinkable as president, voting for either in hope they won’t be able to finish their term and their VP will take over is, IMO, too reckless a gamble, based too much on wishful thinking. I still couldn’t vote for either in good conscience or recommend one over the other.

    Both of the VP candidates eagerly and knowingly partnered with the respective presidential candidates. Whatever good may be otherwise said about them, this calls their judgment seriously into question. I would suggest this should discourage us from ever considering them as good choices for president. A trustworthy president doesn’t partner with evil people who will harm the country for the sake of his own political advancement.

  4. Agreed. It’s my conviction that both candidates are representative of where the American people, as a norm, have digressed. It grieves me to even say such a thing. However, as in the day of the Church’s inception, it’s an opportunity for Believers to shine; to truly be led of the Holy Spirit…..in power, love, and grace.

  5. “Imagine if a huge number of Americans vote in this election, but they don’t vote for either of the major party candidates.”

    If that happens, Curt, Hillary Clinton will become president. Millions more innocent children will surely die. Illegal aliens will continue to flood into our country. Increasing numbers of unvetted Syrian Muslims will populate communities across our land. Hillary will wage war against the Christian church and our Constitution. And that’s just for starters. Read her pledges and policy statements.

    Donald Trump is certainly a flawed man, but Hillary Clinton is evil to the core. I don’t believe she has any conscience at all. Like Obama, she is a Marxist and would like to throw away everything that once made the U.S.A. an exceptional nation. She does not love our country. And if she wins the presidency, there is a strong likelihood we will never recover from the damage done. There may not even be a next election. And the only way to keep Hillary out of the White House is to vote Donald Trump in.

    Yes, Trump has his problems. And some of them are glaring. But I believe he does love our country and he will work to preserve it, not throw it away. And while he many not be good at articulating the pro-life view, his pledges and policy statements are the most pro-life I have ever seen. No other presidential candidate in history has even come close to Trump in terms of pro-life political commitments.

    In fact, Donald Trump’s pledges and policy statements in toto are the best and most conservative I’ve ever seen in my 67 years.

    We should not defend Trump’s flaws or his sins, but voting for him does not require that we do so. We can vote for him on the basis of what he says he will do. He may not do all that he has said he will do, but all he has said he will do is good. In contrast, all Hillary has said she will do is bad. Very bad.
    Recognizing that failing to elect Donald Trump means our nation will be subjected to a Hillary Clinton presidency for the next four to eight years, I could not in good conscience do anything but vote for Trump. He is the moral choice. Millions of innocent children’s lives say he is the moral choice. And I would rather share in the responsibility for Trump’s failures than in the responsibility for Hillary’s successes.

    Cale

  6. Hi, Cale. As you might guess, I disagree strongly with your conclusions. I’ll try to be as brief as possible in my response (since this is not intended to be a political blog, and I’m not seeking an ongoing debate about policy details—at least not in this venue).

    “Imagine if a huge number of Americans vote in this election, but they don’t vote for either of the major party candidates.”

    If that happens, Curt, Hillary Clinton will become president.

    Actually, if most evangelical Christians declined voting for either major party candidate, there is a strong likelihood this would trigger an election crisis, turning the election of the president over to the House of Representatives.

    Cale, as a friend and brother, I have to challenge much of your rhetoric. This sounds to me like populist rumor-mongering from a Sean Hannity-type propagandist, not the judicious, equitable reasoning of a mature Christian. Let me give you some examples:

    You claim that both Obama and Hillary Clinton are Marxists. Now, I am the last one to defend the politics of either. But Marxist? You don’t carefully describe the dangers of their liberal views and policies; you don’t even nuance this accusation by saying their policies show socialistic tendencies. You label them as “Marxists” (a very specific, detailed political ideology). Are you aware that progressives are highly suspicious of Hillary because they view her as too capitalistic, too conservative? This accusation is at best tendentious, and at worst it’s slander. This is straw man argumentation, political demonizing of one’s opponents—and it’s beneath your Christian dignity, Cale.

    And let me say this as a Christian (first) and a free-market conservative: There is nothing inherently evil about socialism and nothing inherently righteous about capitalism. I know some European believers who hold to political socialistic ideals whose spiritual devotion and faithfulness in ministry are beyond question. One can disagree with their politics, but for anyone to call the integrity of their faith into question or to say they are evil would be sinful condemnation of a fellow believer. To equate the Christian faith with capitalism or even conservative politics is idolatry. I hope you’re not doing this, and it’s fine to oppose someone’s politics. But if you’re implying that Obama and Clinton are evil because of their economic ideology, you’re straying into unchristian judgmentalism.

    You claim that Hillary Clinton will “wage war” on our constitution. So you support a man who has routinely expressed a willingness and desire to subvert the constitutional separation of powers and constitutional freedoms by seeking personal vengeance on his enemies in the judiciary, legislature and the press. How is this equitable or rational? How is this not hypocritical? How is this not closing your eyes to the dangers of an authoritarian who admires totalitarian leaders?

    Cale, you wrote:

    And while he many not be good at articulating the pro-life view, his pledges and policy statements are the most pro-life I have ever seen. No other presidential candidate in history has even come close to Trump in terms of pro-life political commitments.

    In fact, Donald Trump’s pledges and policy statements in toto are the best and most conservative I’ve ever seen in my 67 years.

    I’m trying to write this as respectfully as I can, but I find this claim to be utterly preposterous. George W. Bush didn’t articulate his views well, but it was clear he had deep convictions. Donald Trump has shown over and over again that he doesn’t even understand pro-life viewpoints or constitutional conservatism. He wasn’t even the most pro-life or conservative GOP candidate during the primaries. And you say he’s the best in your lifetime?!

    Donald Trump is a repudiation of much of what conservative Republicans have advocated for decades. Instead of conservative policies he pushes protectionism, isolationism and nativistic nationalism. He refuses to seriously address social entitlements. This is 180 degrees from what fiscal conservatives have been saying, loudly, for quite some time. More Republicans opposed Trump than any other candidate in history. A huge number (majority?) of Republicans feel he is neither genuinely Republican nor conservative, and this includes both of the previous Republican presidents, all of our previous presidential candidates (save one), virtually all of our previous secretaries of state, in fact virtually all of our previous cabinet-level leaders, most of our foreign policy and national security experts, most of our economists, a huge number of Reagan administration leaders and Bush administration leaders, some of the most consistently conservative Republicans in Congress, almost all the noteworthy (IMO) conservative commentators, the leading conservative magazines, every previously GOP-candidate-supporting newspaper (save one), etc, etc.

    Catholics are mostly opposing him. Most evangelical pastors and leaders are opposing him. (I don’t personally know a single pastor or evangelical educator supporting Trump, and it’s frequently discussed. Most who I’ve talked to are perplexed by evangelical support of Donald Trump.) Even the Mormons are strongly opposing Trump. It’s one thing to say you’re going to hold your nose and vote for him, but to say his policies are the best and most conservative you’ve seen in your lifetime? Really?? I’m not only incredulous, I’m dumbfounded.

    Cale, you wrote that Hillary:

    would like to throw away everything that once made the U.S.A. an exceptional nation. She does not love our country.

    Yet you support a candidate who has called into question—without any evidence—the integrity of our election process. Even most of his own people try to distance themselves from this idea the election is rigged. Yet Trump keeps doubling down on it (just as, according to Trump, the Emmys were “rigged” and the 2012 election was “rigged”). One of the hallmarks of our national heritage is the trust in the election process resulting in the peaceful transition of power. No presidential candidate has ever suggested (loudly, publicly, angrily) that—if he loses—the election is rigged. I consider this tantamount to treason! And you advocate the support of this man while castigating Hillary Clinton for not loving our country and for throwing away what made the US exceptional? How is this not hypocrisy?

    You write that Donald Trump is “flawed,” that he “has problems,” and you admit that “some” of these problems are glaring. But, in comparison, you write that Hillary Clinton is “evil to the core,” and that you “don’t believe she has any conscience at all.” How is this equitable? How is this not hypocritical? Can you honestly disagree with the assertion that Donald Trump is a vile, immoral candidate? And yet you say he is the “moral choice”? (Notice I haven’t judged Trump’s heart, just his outward behavior. But aren’t you condemning Hillary’s heart? Are you qualified to suggest she has no conscience? Are we not to leave the judging of people’s hearts to God?)

    I agree with the many conservative, Republican leaders who—though they utterly despise Hillary Clinton—feel that much of the rhetoric against her is hysterical, and that a Hillary Clinton presidency is very survivable. She would face stiff resistance in Congress from the very beginning (possibly even being impeached), and would likely serve only one term. She would continue much of Obama’s failed policies, which would hurt the nation but not destroy it.

    On the other hand, a huge number of solid conservatives fear that a Donald Trump presidency could prove catastrophic to the nation. (I outlined many of the reasons why in my previous post.) A Trump win would definitely re-form the GOP in his image, with Trumpist populism replacing conservative influence in the party. A Trump presidency could lead to irreparable damage to our governmental institutions, terribly ill-advised war(s), and possible economic collapse. After seeing what he’s done to the Republican party, I don’t think it’s alarmist to think he could trigger the collapse of our nation. As many others have said, we have a good idea of the damage Hillary can do, and we can survive it. We can’t even imagine all the horrible things a Donald Trump could do if we foolishly give him real power.

    You wrote:

    We can vote for him on the basis of what he says he will do. He may not do all that he has said he will do, but all he has said he will do is good.

    “All he has said he will do is good.” Really? What about all the horrible things that he’s said he will do (that I wrote about in my posts, and that others have been discussing ubiquitously)? A great many conservative Republicans are deeply concerned about this very issue—that he will do precisely what he’s been saying he will do!

    You wrote:

    We should not defend Trump’s flaws or his sins, but voting for him does not require that we do so.

    It doesn’t? If you vote for him, aren’t you supporting the whole package? Or are we now admitting this is a Machiavellian, end-justifies-the-means kind of decision on the part of evangelical Christians? Are we saying, ‘Yes, Donald Trump is a morally vile and repellent candidate—and we don’t defend his total lack of character—but we’re voting for him anyway because he’s said he’ll support our cause’? I’m sorry, but if you’re supporting him, he is your candidate. You’re tied to him. And you share responsibility for him.

    And I have to say this: If I was someone being drawn to the gospel of Jesus Christ, I can’t see how I could perceive evangelical Trump supporters as having any moral credibility. I think this is absolutely toxic to our witness.

    This reply is a lot longer than I intended it to be! But, I guess ‘in for a penny, in for a pound!’ Cale, if you want to continue this exchange I’d appreciate it if you would address specific points I’ve made in the original posts or in this response. In particular, if you’d respond to these questions:

    In light of everything people have observed about Donald Trump’s pattern of lies, lack of any indication of real pro-life principles (or principles in general), and willingness—even delight—in surviving at the expense of others, why do you trust Trump to follow through with his infrequent pro-life statements?

    Did you personally oppose Bill Clinton in the 90s because his lack of character disqualified him from serving as president? If so, isn’t it hypocritical to now support Donald Trump?

    If someone expresses support for the pro-life cause, will you support them regardless of anything they do that’s immoral? What would they have to do before you’d rescind your support? Where do you draw the line and say ‘I can’t be part of this’?

    Have you given serious consideration to the possibility that evangelical supporters of Donald Trump are being conned and manipulated for their support in the election?

    Does God need a morally vile candidate to protect the unborn?

  7. Curt, I had drafted a three-page response, but I’ve decided to spare you that and cut to the chase. Phyllis Schlafly, for whom I have great respect, believed Donald Trump would be a good president. She laid out her reasoning in her final book, “The Conservative Case for Trump”. You might want to take a look. Pastors and other evangelical leaders who have met with Trump also give me hope that he is a man who wants to do what is right for our country. Despite his public bravado which may be the result of growing up in New York City, he is apparently a gentleman who listens and receives correction in private. And from what I can tell, he has reared his children to be respectful, responsible, hard working people of integrity. He has evidently done a better job of parenting than many pastors have, and that also give me hope that Trump will keep his promises to the American people, at least to the best of his ability. I know what Donald Trump has said he would do as president. And I know what Hillary Clinton has said she would do as president. Since Trump and Clinton are the only real options we have, we can vote for Trump and hope that he will do what he has promised or we can hope that Clinton will not do what she has promised. I think the former is the more reasonable and responsible course.

    The election crisis you envision is just wishful thinking. You’re not going to have huge numbers of Americans, Christian or not, voting third party in this election. There is too much at stake. Besides that, Trump, despite his flaws, is a better candidate than the third party candidates who have garnered the most support. In any case, it’s far too late in the game to generate meaningful support for another candidate. We’re either going to have President Donald Trump or President Hillary Clinton. Those are the choices God has given us. Of course you can choose to vote for a third party candidate if it makes you somehow feel better about yourself, but it won’t accomplish anything except perhaps help Hillary win the election. In fact, that is exactly what she and her supporters are hoping you’ll do.

    To briefly answer some of your final questions, I opposed Bill Clinton in the 90s because I supported a better candidate who had a chance of winning. I cannot reasonably say what I would do in a hypothetical situation with many unknowns. I will say that to my mind the very real hope of ending the holocaust and saving the lives of millions of children—saving even the nation itself—far outweighs Donald Trump’s past sins and present flaws. I certainly think people are being manipulated, as happens in every election cycle. But I think most of the manipulation is being engineered by the Clinton camp. I don’t think God needs anything, but I believe he wants US to protect the unborn and he has given US a window of opportunity to do so.

    In closing, I respectfully suggest that Mario Murillo sees our present situation more clearly than you do. https://mariomurilloministries.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/gullible-christians-are-helping-to-kill-america/

  8. Cale, by this point I don’t think there’s much either of us can say to change the convictions of the other. Mario Murillo’s opinions do not hold any weight with me at all, sorry. (Ironically, Phyllis Schlafly was also an ardent supporter of Barry Goldwater.) I’m sure you’re aware that I could respond with articles strongly opposing Donald Trump, written by prominent, highly respected evangelicals such as Max Lucado, Russell Moore, Denny Burk, Peter Wehner, Thabati Anyabwile, Philip Yancey, Michael Brown, Beth Moore, Erick Erickson, Al Mohler, etc. And you could respond with James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell Jr, etc. A lot of this comes down to which leaders you most respect, and I’m not seeing any of the evangelical pastors, scholars and leaders to whom I look for wisdom and leadership who are supporting Donald Trump.

    I’m sorry but for people to meet once with a man—who has a huge motivation to win evangelical support and who has openly pandered to us [Trump to evangelicals after quoting Bible verse: “Is that the one you like?”]—and then to reassure us that Donald Trump is really a gentleman(!)—this would be laughable if it wasn’t so embarrassing. This is like a woman whose husband publicly berates and humiliates her, but she insists he’s really a nice guy in private. As I used to warn the singles I pastored: If he’s nice to you but he’s a jerk to the waitress, then he is not a nice guy!

    We just studied Matthew 12:22-50 Sunday. A tree that consistently bears bad fruit is not a good tree. A person who continually speaks evil does not have a good heart.

    I am not voting based on wishful thinking or coldly pragmatic politics. I am voting my convictions. I trust that you are as well. I share your urgent burden for unborn children, so I understand at least part of your motivation. But I couldn’t disagree more strenuously with your conclusions.

    Donald Trump is corrupt and deceitful. He has a long history of broken business promises. He is ideologically and morally bankrupt. He has the most shockingly un-Christlike character of anyone I’ve seen in presidential politics.

    I believe it is appallingly naive and irresponsible for evangelical Christians to trust this man, to expect good fruit from a bad tree. This is wishful thinking.

    I believe it is dishonorable and shameful for evangelical Christians to support this man. It’s not that I won’t vote for Donald Trump, I can’t vote for him. To do so would violate my conscience before God.

    I have absolutely no reason to trust this man, and every reason to expect artifice and lies.

    I repudiate his loathsome behavior in the strongest terms.

    I will not sell my vote to him.

  9. Curt, you wrote:
    “Donald Trump is corrupt and deceitful. He has a long history of broken business promises. He is ideologically and morally bankrupt. He has the most shockingly un-Christlike character of anyone I’ve seen in presidential politics.”

    You honestly think Donald Trump has a more “shockingly un-Christlike character” than Hillary Clinton who has proudly and boastfully conspired to perpetrate a genocidal holocaust which has claimed the lives of tens of millions of children?

  10. Donald Trump has also been a supporter of abortion rights for many years, including partial birth abortion. There was no indication of any change until he decided to run as a Republican, he has a history of suckering people to get what he wants, and it seems all too apparent to many of us that he is now suckering Republicans to get them to vote for him. So, yes.

  11. If we don’t elect Trump, we’ll get Clinton, so I can only surmise that is your preference. I know you don’t really like our options and I understand that, but they are what they are. I just hope and pray we don’t get what you would set us up for.

  12. By the way, if Clinton wins this election, there is also a very good chance the Democrats will regain control of the Senate. If that happens, the U.S. Supreme Court will be in their pocket for decades. With control of the executive branch, the judicial branch, and half of the legislative branch, progressives will have virtually free rein over the country for years. And at the rate Saul Alinsky’s playbook is being implemented, that will probably be the last we’ll ever see of the republic and the freedoms our founders left to us.

  13. “If we don’t elect Trump, we’ll get Clinton, so I can only surmise that is your preference.”

    Cale, the only way you can surmise this is by ignoring everything I’ve written concerning my own motivations and preferences. You are assuming your own position and then evaluating my personal preference through the lens of your viewpoint. Can’t you see how fallacious and offensive this is? This is like a Calvinist telling an Arminian they can only surmise that the Arminian wants to control their own life rather than God controlling it, which—regardless of which position we take—is erroneous. One of the very points being widely debated (which has been debated for a long time) is whether we must vote for one of the two primary candidates, or whether we have other valid options. But you assume your conclusion, and then evaluate my personal motivation based on your conclusion. Can you not see how arrogant and unhelpful this is?

    Even if you’re right about the nature of our choices, this doesn’t determine the personal preferences or motivations of your opponents. If we are ever going to get anywhere in discussing highly charged issues with people with whom we disagree, we must stop attributing false motives to those we oppose. It is unproductive, unhelpful, and simply wrong. It adds rhetorical heat, but no light to this kind of exchange.

  14. “By the way, if Clinton wins this election, there is also a very good chance the Democrats will regain control of the Senate.”

    Comey’s latest actions regarding Clinton’s emails actually seems to be affecting the close Senate races in the Republicans’ favor. I’m hearing a lot about people splitting the ticket. And it’s doubtful the Democrats will gain control of the House. But—beyond all of this—let me ask you a question:

    Not assuming what specifically would violate your conscience, but would you violate your conscience to keep the Democrats from gaining control of the nation?

    If not, then you understand the clear choice that I and others perceive.

    If so, then would you not be putting country above God?

  15. Curt, I never meant to offend you, but I don’t think your comparison is analogous to my remark and I’ve not attributed any motivation at all to you. You are following your conscience, just as I’m following mine, and I respect that. I simply drew the only logical conclusion based on the obvious fact that, apart from divine intervention, our next president will be either Clinton or Trump. If we reject Trump we will get Clinton. That much should be obvious. If, therefore, you reject Trump, the only logical conclusion is that you would prefer Clinton to him. That doesn’t mean you really want Clinton to be president, and I think I acknowledged as much in my last post. It’s just a matter of necessary outcomes. If we don’t elect Trump we will get Clinton.

  16. Curt, in answer to your last question, no, I would not violate my conscience for any political cause. As noted in my last post, I respect that you are following your conscience. As for me, my conscience will not let me turn my back on the opportunity to end the killing of our children, my distaste for Donald Trump notwithstanding.

  17. Cale, I didn’t think you were being intentionally offensive, and I don’t want to belabor the point. I appreciate that you acknowledge I’m following my conscience (as I also said of you a few comments back), but you still seem to be missing my point and the reason why my comparison is appropriate. And you’re contradicting yourself in your own comment. The only way you can reach a logical conclusion that I prefer Clinton is by assuming I share your binary view of our election choices. But if, as you acknowledge, I am following my conscience, and if, as I have attempted to clearly explain, my conscience precludes me from choosing either major candidate, then your logical conclusion no longer works.

    Let me try another illustration. Let’s say our club is going to hold a banquet, but to save money they can only offer one entrée. So we’re all voting on whether we’ll eat steak, chicken or fish. Very few people are choosing fish, but the steak and chicken lovers are going head to head. Chicken is ahead and is going to win—unless the steak-lovers unite. But some club-members are vegetarian, so they’re not voting. It wouldn’t make much sense for a steak-lover to surmise that the vegetarians really prefer chicken (because chicken is going to win if they don’t vote for steak). That conclusion is not so logical. Both options are completely unacceptable to the vegetarians, and the question of which is preferable to them is nonsensical. The only way one could surmise the vegetarians prefer chicken is by insisting they perceive their choices through the carnivore “lens.” Of course, the vegetarians would view this as presumptuous and offensive.

    This isn’t a perfect analogy (I’m not a vegetarian, and I am going to vote), but I hope you see the point. If my conscience will not allow me to vote for either candidate, then this is true regardless of who is winning. Preference doesn’t even enter the picture. And to surmise that I actually do prefer the apparent winner—because I’m not voting for their opponent—is to ignore or discount everything I’ve been saying about how I perceive this election. (And a preference for a certain candidate is a personal motivation, is it not?) So, I think my initial response was on target, and your latest response somewhat confused. You can’t acknowledge that somebody’s conscience precludes them from voting for either candidate, and then surmise they prefer the one that’s currently winning because they don’t vote against them. That’s contradictory and logically inconsistent. And—unintentionally I’m sure—it’s also offensive.

    But thanks again for acknowledging that I’m following my conscience. I know that you are as well.

  18. You’re right, Curt. I wasn’t clearly seeing your position and I apologize for that. I love you, brother.

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