Decision 2016: Should a Christian Vote for Donald Trump? No

Today is the opening arguments phase of the debate between Robb and Jason on voting in the upcoming election.  For details, read their joint statement here, and be sure to check out Robb’s opening argument here.

In keeping with the theme of the continuing decline of our republic, we are faced with the unsavory proposition of voting for a candidate that is wicked to the very core.  An excellent liar, this candidate has perpetrated historically fantastic deceptions.  The very thought of this candidate having access to nuclear weapons, command of military forces, ability to choose judges, or discretion to sign bills into law ought to fill one’s heart with dread.  This candidate says what needs to be said to please the audience to which the candidate is speaking.  The candidate changes principles and proposals to align with the tide of popular opinion.  Yet, the candidate is a willing slave to core constituencies that shower the candidate with endorsements, money, falsified credentials, and unearned credibility.  These constituencies gleefully look the other way as scandals engulf the candidate; making transparently thin excuses in an effort to progress the cult like campaign.  This candidate is, in every sense, unfit for public office and of disreputable, despicable personal character that seems fitting for a dystopian novel.  The candidate belongs in prison, not the White House.

Pop quiz!  Who am I describing in my first paragraph?  Some would conclude that the candidate exists, and SHE is winning the election by a seemingly unstoppable landslide.  Others would decide that HE is losing the election, and that loss will be “YUGE”.  Both answers are correct.  The candidate in my mind in the opening paragraph is both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

I join with my fellow believers in the Never Hillary camp.  Undoubtedly, Hillary Clinton is not an option for Christian support.  Any Christian that wishes to be taken seriously cannot support Hillary Clinton.  However, I am charged in this debate to defend the position that Christians should not vote for Donald Trump.  It is a position that comes naturally for me.  I often wonder why brothers and sisters in the Never Hillary camp do not also join us in the Never Trump camp.  I have heard the arguments from supporting the lesser of two evils, to saving the Supreme Court, to just plain stopping Hillary.  Some of the arguments are respectable, some are infantile.  But what summarizes their arguments is one word: PRAGMATISM.

 

The entire argument for Trump is a pragmatic argument.  Pragmatism emphasizes consequences.  Right and wrong depend on the circumstances of the situation, the goal to be accomplished, furthering the cause… anything but principle.  Quite simply, if the desired outcome is more likely or stands a greater chance by taking a particular action, that action is taken.  Ethics are situational.  Truth is fluid.  Right and wrong become subjective.

The evangelical wing of Trumpism believe they are doing the right thing because they are being practical; and intentions to save the country, protect the church, and save lives are pure.  I believe they are, albeit well intended, in great error.  I believe evangelical Trump supporters sell our birthright for a bowl of rancid stew, trading our future credibility for an outside chance at a short, temporary, and spurious peace.  Let us instead make principled decisions first, and trust God for the results.  Let us arrive at those principles through Scripture, not the shifting standards of the day.  Let us hear Scripture’s call that duty belongs to us, while results belong to God.
1) “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings {Dan 2:21a NASB}

14681620_1141291165951093_8890561343054414551_nEvangelicals supporting Trump speak of having little choice, needing to make “the best bad decision”, and extending peace a few more years.  Often appealing to the idea that politics don’t matter because ‘politics is not the Kingdom of God’.  Yet, Scripture tells us that God is sovereign over these matters.  God’s use of human means to accomplish his removal or establishment of a king does not permit us to abandon other precepts He has given to us.  Simply because it may be God’s will to establish Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as President does not mean that God is requiring us to suspend biblical decision making and support one or the other.  In fact, it is precisely because God is sovereign that we are free to do the right thing.  God calls us to obedience, to be holy… not to effect a particular outcome.  If God’s Word is sufficient, not only does it give us principles for voting, but we are also held to account for obeying those principles.  If God’s Word is sufficient our justifications and rationalizations for bad behavior, be it an election or marriage, fall quickly by the wayside.  God is sovereign, we should stand for what is right and trust God for the outcome.

2) Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: … to keep oneself unstained by the world. {Jas 1:27a, c NASB}  Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” {1Pe 1:13-16 NASB}

By supporting unrepentant, celebratory sinners for public office, we are no longer holy, unstained by the world.  Rather, we are no different than the world.  In our hypocrisy, we imply the things Donald Trump does are only a problem for those who don’t serve our purposes and achieve our goals.  We essentially communicate to the world that the ends justify the means and achieving our political goals covers a multitude of sin   We undermine our own message and restrict our own ability to do what God commands of us: proclaim His righteousness to a sinful world in need of salvation.  At the very least, it cannot be seriously argued that we are not joining with wickedness.

So, while it’s acceptable for a Christian to vote for a non-Christian with some past issues, it is UNSEEMLY to lend our credibility and support to someone who persists in debauchery, defending it and celebrating it.  After all, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.” {Pro 22:1 NASB}.  When we excuse his lifestyle of celebrating his own sin, dismissing it as trivial, we transform the testimony of the church from declaring the righteousness of God to peddling spiritual credibility to those who wish to paper over moral rot.

It strains plausibility to claim that since the President isn’t a pastor, how he behaves does not matter in choosing to support him.

 

In fact, that argument is almost laughable in any other circumstance (“But Daddy, I’m choosing a husband, not a pastor!”).  Donald Trump is, in almost every sense, wholly given over to sin.  This should not surprise us as he is not a Christian.  America isn’t a theocracy so he doesn’t have to be a Christian to have our support for President.  He should, however, not be an embarrassing reminder of our hypocrisy undermining our credibility to preach moral right and wrong.  We’re wise to hear Scripture: “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” {1Co 5:6b NASB} A church that endorses a man like Trump knowing his moral decadence is a church that is swimming in leaven.

If we lend our credibility and support to a three-time adulterer who proudly boasts of his infidelities, we no longer have standing when we support the sanctity of traditional marriage.  It is difficult to decry the immorality of gambling when we excuse our candidate’s operation of a casino.  Warnings against the evil poison of pornography fall on deaf ears when out of the same mouth comes a rallying cry for a porn actor and aficionado who owns strip clubs.  It is difficult to condemn sexual misconduct among men when the man we endorse should likely be in prison for sexual assault.  The argument for transgenderism as a cover for predatory men becomes difficult to defend when we see fit to support one of those predators for President.

3) My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. … My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, {Pro 1:10, 15 NASB} Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” {1Co 15:33 NASB}

The most troubling development of Evangelical support for Trump is the joining together with horrendous people to accomplish the goal of electing him.  Donald Trump’s popularity was an enigma as he was rejected by Republican voters and yet won primaries bringing new people into the party.  This was possible because Trump’s core is not in the traditional right.  Instead, the alt-right propelled him to power.  Among his earliest supporters were White Nationalist racists who were emboldened when Trump refused to denounce them.  To a certain extent, a candidate can’t help who votes for him.  But Trump went farther than tepidly accepting their support.  Instead, he fully encouraged their awful behavior.  Trump retweeted memes of modern Jews dying in gas chambers, encouraged violence against minorities at his rallies, and sent every signal to the vile and disgusting among us that racist backward thinking is acceptable in his movement.  His followers are replete with hashtags speaking of white genocide, slogans to make America white again, and disgusting propaganda once only found in Nazi circles.

The church, aware or not, is responsible for lending this deplorable movement aid, comfort, and friendship.  Joining the Trump movement to achieve the common Trump goal while rejecting the most fundamental beliefs of its most ardent supporters is akin to purchasing a pornography magazine because you believe the articles are beneficial to your life.  While that may or may not be true, you’re still buying pornography and it is impossible to denounce pictures while you purchase the very magazine in which they are published.

Joining a racist movement is a betrayal of our calling to make disciples of every tribe, tongue, and nation.  It is wholly unlike Christ who was always found among sinners to call them to repentance, not to affirm their sin.  The church cannot and should not be associated with the alt-right nor its chief patriarch, Donald Trump.

4) “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. {Jhn 14:27 NASB} “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? … “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. {Mat 6:34 NASB}

A recurring theme among evangelicals in this election cycle has been fear of a Hillary Clinton presidency.  Undoubtedly we’re in for some hard times with Hillary in the Oval office.  As Americans, we have been freely comfortable far longer than most Christians throughout history.  While I wish to preserve that freedom if possible, freedom serves little purpose for the Christian if he abandons living as a Christian to obtain it.  The Bible says the key to overcoming fear is to trust God.  It does not tell us that we must compromise, pragmatically manipulating circumstances to maintain it.  Come what may, we’re to fight the good fight, and run the race.  God is judging our nation by giving it exactly what we deserve: wicked rulers.  Let us not be found cowering in fear calling evil good and good evil so that we may buy one more day to cower.  Afraid or not, Christians cannot and must not support Donald Trump.  Rather, strong in holy biblical conviction, courageously relying on God, we must be faithful to His call: stand on principle and leave results to Him.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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4 Comments

  1. As a Christian, I was raised to understand that if I was ever faced with the choice of standing up for my convictions or avoiding persecution, I was to choose my convictions.

    I never imagined that choice would look like THIS, of course, and I grant that a Clinton presidency could be a daunting gateway to greater persecution of Christians and should be resisted. But how can I look an unbeliever in the face, after having voted for Trump, and preach the gospel with any credibility or power? Even if supporting him could lead to a Clinton presidency, how is my witness less important than my comfort?

    No. I cannot embrace either of these two candidates.

  2. Well done. I like the comics and the rules you and Robb are following. I am enjoying reading.
    Are you always going to post so much in one day or are you going to release articles on separate days to give readers a chance to think before seeing the response?

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