There you have it, just as I said it would be. PRAGMATISM. We have to support a bad candidate because we need to effect a certain outcome and obtain a particular result. Otherwise, if we choose to vote our conscience and our principles instead, we’re somehow complicit in the actions of what a candidate we didn’t support will do. We must come to our senses, my dear opponent tells us, compromise, and ignore the precepts of Scripture to do right and trust God for the outcome. We must play our role in perpetuating the two-party system we’re stuck in and sick of or else we’re almost as guilty as the person who actually wants our worst fears to happen. There’s an election to be won, a goal to be achieved, and no price is too high.
With all due respect to my beloved brother on the other side of this debate (and my brothers and sisters on the other side of the issue), this pragmatism is dereliction of duty. We are nowhere called in Scripture to be cogs in the wheel of a corrupt political system, cannon fodder in the war between two depraved worldviews to gain votes. Quite the contrary: we’re called to be set apart, holy, blameless in wrongdoing, and not of the world. We’re called to boldly and courageously declare God’s righteousness and glory to a lost and sick world, not to peddle it for a cheap worldly political victory.
Brothers and sisters, I know this is difficult. Hillary Clinton is a terrible person. Her policies are the antithesis of EVERYTHING this country was founded to be. If she is elected, it will be a bad 4 years and the effects of her influence will take much longer than an election cycle to unravel. These are honest and serious concerns. My esteemed opponent rightly raises them, and the impulse of those who share his position to do what it takes to stop her are born from a position of honor, patriotism, informed observation, and sound conservatism. This is why my argument was directed to the church, not to conservatives. Conservatives prioritize the nation and see the church as an element contained within the nation. Christians prioritize the church and see the nation as the temporary ecosystem where the church lives.
So then, conservatives can afford to be pragmatic. They can afford to change the make up of the church and re-purpose it to help their priority: the nation. Christians do not have this luxury. Christians cannot change the church or use it for purposes it was not intended so as to alter the ecosystem in which the church lives. Rather, Christians recognize that it is not they who have built and defined the church, but their Lord. It is to that Lord that they must bow and do as He prescribes; adapting, not conforming, to the ecosystem in which the church lives. Better to be an inadequate, limited conservative and a fully committed Christian than be a fully committed conservative and an limited, compromised Christian.
The singular biblical argument my honorable opponent makes comes from his last paragraph. Quoting 1 Timothy 2:1-2 he says
“Christians, therefore, should vote for Republican party candidates running for office, including even Donald Trump, and pray we may continue to live tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity in the United States of America.”
He says this because
“Whenever we are exhorted to pray for anything in Scripture, it is a fixed rule that in whatever way possible and lawful we are commanded to act toward the same end.” (emphasis original)
Summed up: we are called to pray for peace and tranquility in life as it relates to those who govern us and the way to do that is to vote Trump. Again, you see the pragmatism in the drive to effect the outcome and reach a particular goal. The assumption is that a Trump government will beget peace to Christians. While it may, it is in no way guaranteed. It must also be said that Paul’s precept here is to pray, give thanks for, petition, and entreat those in power. He does not say support or help to gain power. The verse speaks of how to interact with government, not how to choose it. The verse is certainly not a blank check to support whatever a ruler may do. In fact, we have many more examples in Scripture of believers calling out authorities for their misconduct than we do of them excusing it to have peace.
Furthermore, I point those on the opposing side to Peter’s instructions in 1 Peter 2:16-21 on how to interact with hostile rulers. Peter’s commands are clear: if we suffer because we have done wrong, we deserve what we get. But if we suffer and have done no wrong, we find favor with God. If we are to suffer Hillary Clinton, let us do so having done no wrong trusting God for the outcome.
Having dealt with the singular biblical argument, let’s now deal with the conservative arguments made in my esteemed opponent’s piece.
1) Donald Trump is better on life than Clinton
It’s hard to be worse than Hillary Clinton on life. It is a fair point that Trump at least makes overtures and says the right things about life and I commend my opponent for drawing attention to Trump’s inconsistencies on the matter. However, I believe the Gospel is what will end abortion, not politics. Trump in the White House will not change minds. If you want to end abortion, get busy doing what you can to regenerate dark hearts. The solution lies there, not at the ballot box. Additionally, I remind those in opposition that while the result of abortion is a culture of death, the cause of abortion is a culture of sex. The culture of sex has no bigger advocate, no greater champion than Donald J. Trump. It strains credibility to believe that a former supporter of Hillary Clinton, who as recently as this past spring stated Planned Parenthood does good things, who embodies the very lifestyle that gives rise to the demand for abortion will lead the charge to end the very thing lifestyles like his depend upon.
2) The GOP Platform is far superior to the Democratic Platform and a vote for Donald Trump is a vote for the GOP Platform
Since when do platforms matter? They certainly did not in 2004 when the GOP controlled the presidency, both houses of congress, and their appointees held 7 of 9 seats on the Supreme Court. The GOP was, by any definition, fully in power. Let’s examine the GOP platform against the harsh realities of how they ACTUALLY governed.
Platform: “we say the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”
Reality: 1.2 Million abortions were performed in the United States in 2004. ZERO abortions were prosecuted as murder.
Platform: “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make it clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”
Reality: On April 1, George Bush signed the Unborn Victim of Violence Act. The law makes the death of an unborn child indictable if it happens in the course of an act of criminal violence. The act specifically excludes abortion as an act of violence (18 USC 1841 (c) (1)).
Platform: “Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions.”
Reality: ZERO laws were considered or passed outlawing abortion. ZERO prosecutions were attempted under existing laws.
Platform: “We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it.”
Reality: The Federal government gave Planned Parenthood $272,000,000 in 2004.
In the words of Donald Trump…