I didn’t realize that I had groaned aloud. My eight year old daughter asked me what was wrong.
“Nothing you need to worry about. It’s not important.”
“Dad, when you say that it usually means that it is important.”
“You’re right, it’s just nothing you need to worry about.”
I had groaned while reading an opinion peace printed in our local paper. The writer, Susan Stamper Brown, compared Donald Trump to the Apostle Paul. She was writing about Christians who have decided not to support Donald Trump. Brown wrote that the video containing Trump’s now famous locker room talk came years before, what she called, his conversion to Christianity. She noted that in 2011 Trump claimed to be a Christian. Brown wrote that this conversion has led Trump to be pro-life and in favor of conservative judges. She then took evangelicals to task for not backing Trump.
Brown then wrote: “It’s fair to ask what would have happened to Christianity if the apostle Paul was treated the same way some evangelicals treat Trump for his preconversion activities.” She correctly noted that Paul rabidly opposed the church before becoming a believer. Plus, she proof-texted from Romans 7:15 that Paul still struggled with sin after conversion.
Hence, my groan.
The apostle Paul, once the scales fell from his eyes, immediately began proclaiming Jesus as Messiah. He immediately discipled others. Certainly the leaders of the Jerusalem church were doubtful, but God used Barnabas to take care of those hesitations.
Trump, however, does not display the fruit of Spirit. While we cannot truly know someone’s heart, we can view spiritual fruit. At best, if converted, Trump is a carnal Christian.
So, what do we do in November?
I’ve had several church members ask me about the election. I’ve hesitated to write this post because the situation is so volatile. However, I’ve always been very open about why and who I’ve voted for with my congregations, so I’m going to try to be consistent.
First, since my first opportunity to vote in 1996, I’ve always supported the Republican candidate. Like many evangelicals, I’m pro-life, in favor of small government, lower taxes, a strong military, and pro-second amendment, among other stances.
Second, these opinions mean that I cannot vote for Hilary Clinton. It’s not an option.
Third, I cannot vote for Donald Trump.
I’ll give you a second to calm down.
I know. I understand all the arguments favoring Trump. They all make sense.
But, I just can’t do it.
I’ve asked myself if, twenty years from now, I can look my wife and daughters in their eyes and say that I voted for a man who viewed women like Trump does. Notice that I said “does.” After the second debate, in which he dismissed his “locker room” talk, Trump spent time criticizing Clinton’s body, specifically her rear end. He said, “I’m standing at my podium and she walks in front of me, right. She walks in front of me, you know. And when she walked in front of me, believe me, I wasn’t impressed.” I googled “Trump body shames Hillary Daily Beast” to find the article on the news site The Daily Beast. I’m not linking it here because the article contains offensive language when quoting Trump’s hot mic conversation. I’ll let you decide about visiting the page.
I cannot bring myself to vote for a man who would treat my wife and daughters that way. I realize I have a strong protective streak and that this decision probably stems from that instinct. My daughters are going to encounter plenty of creeps like Trump. I’m not willing to help make one of those men the most powerful leader in the world.
Before I say what I plan to do when voting, I also want to address the main issue for many evangelicals—the Supreme Court. I understand that judges need to be put in place who hold to the Constitution’s original intent. I understand the issues surrounding judges and abortion. I understand that Trump has pledged to appoint conservative judges.
Can Trump be trusted to do what he says?
Never forget that Trump is a master negotiator. Commercial real estate is about making deals. Can Trump be relied upon to uphold his pledge if it isn’t politically expedient? What if appointing, or not appointing, a particular judge becomes part of larger political agenda. I believe Trump won’t hesitate to do what Trump thinks is best for Trump’s success.
So, what about November?
I’ve decided to vote for the independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin. He’s a write-in candidate in Tennessee and I plan to do just that. McMullin’s positions are consistent with my own and he doesn’t have the character questions associated with Trump.
I don’t accept the argument that a vote for a third party is a vote for Hillary. I understand that McMullin doesn’t have a real chance to win. Honestly though, neither did Bob Dole, John McCain, or Mitt Romney when I voted for them. But, when I look back on 2016, I have to be able, in good conscience, to say that I voted according to my principles and beliefs. We all do.
I’m not trying to tell anyone how to vote. I know that most who read this will be voting for Trump. I understand why and respect that you have thought this through as I have.
What we all need to remember is that no matter what happens, God allows it. Our calling as believers is to be the best citizens we can be, no matter who is in White House. Paul made it clear in Romans 13 that we are to be submissive to government.
Do I fear what happens if Clinton is elected? I’m certainly concerned. I pray that those in Congress can stop the continuing rise of liberalism. If they can’t, we’ll deal with the world we’ve been given. After all, this world is not our home. Ultimately our citizenship is in Heaven.
The great news is that our eternal leader has no flaws.