The presidential election of 2016 is forcing all Americans to consider their moral compass in selecting a candidate to vote for in the upcoming presidential election. This challenging decision is perplexing for American Christians. Normally sincere Christians could resoundingly and – more often than not – proudly support the Republican candidate, but this cycle poses a peculiar moral challenge. The main concern Christians have regarding Trump is his flawed behavior, now and in the past. Whether the immoral action in question is Trump’s past infidelity, his crass language, or his bombastic sexist and judgmental comments about women, the conclusion seems to remain the same: Trump is not a person a Christian could support in good conscience.
Let’s say resoundingly and assuredly that yes, Trump is a flawed person, but who among us is not? We are all flawed humans, so our decision to support or reject Trump must rest on whether his flaws are so serious they outweigh all other considerations. Christian voters should consider whether the flawed Trump is a good candidate who supports the beliefs and values of Christian voters.
I intend to convince you that voting for Trump is not a morally evil choice. The fact that Trump is a flawed person does not necessarily make him evil, nor is there necessarily anything morally wrong with voting for a flawed candidate. On these grounds, voting for Trump can be a reasonable decision simply because he may ultimately do more good for the nation and Christian-supported issues than his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Consider for a moment the ill effects of Clinton appointing justices to the Supreme Court in terms of preserving Christian mores and values. Wouldn’t many Christians be upset as they watched liberal judges assault religious freedom protections in the First Amendment? Whereas with Trump wouldn’t most Christians feel confident and satisfied with Trump’s judicial nominees? Judicial protection of religious freedom is reason enough to support Trump over Clinton.
Further, consider for a moment the abhorrent tendency of liberals, such as Hillary Clinton, to support abortion—even late-term abortion, which amounts to infanticide. Clinton suggested that abortion, under certain circumstances, should be legal up until the final moment before live birth. How could any Christian in good conscience support a candidate who denies a basic principle of scripture—the protection of all of God’s children? The unborn should be protected, and Christians should vote for candidates who will protect the unborn. Trump has repeatedly stated that he will protect unborn children and that he finds Clinton’s comments and philosophy repulsive.
Christians should not be complacent and argue that the inaction of not voting is morally superior. Scripture reminds us the health of our city is a function of Christian activity; standing idly by while Clinton is elected president and then causes harm against Christian values is unbiblical. Rather, Christian voters should vote for Trump because he is the better choice for our nation and more importantly for Christian believers. He is the candidate who correctly asserts marriage is between a man and a woman. He is the candidate who believes that life is sacred and should be protected, even—especially—the lives of the unborn. He is the candidate who believes that religious freedom is a fundamental pillar of free societies. Trump also chose Pence as his running mate, an unashamed champion of evangelical Christian viewpoints.
Voters are not tasked with casting judgment on a candidate (or any person for that matter) other than considering which candidate will further the good of the nation and the kingdom of God. On these terms, Trump expresses more concern and agreement for the moral viewpoints of conservative Christians than Clinton.
Scripture reminds all Christians that we must partake in the welfare of our city (Jeremiah 29:7). The welfare of our city includes the question of what city our children will grow up in and what values the city will endorse. Trump’s expressed views on the sanctity of human life and religious freedom are much more in agreement with Christian values than those of Clinton.
Christian voters should focus on saving the nation from the tendency of liberals to undermine Christian values. In this election the only candidate running for the presidency who shows any support, even if only mildly and confusedly at times, towards Christian values is Donald Trump.
I am sorry, normally I agree with this reasoning, but this is not a normal election. Trump is a candidate openly promising harm to Muslims, African Americans, woman, immigrants, the poor, refugees, all people Christians are called by scripture to love and protect. When a candidate is regularly inspiring violence, such as the burning of a black church yesterday, and is being endorsed by hate groups such as the KKK, Christians must show our neighbours in danger that we stand against hate and for them, even if it means giving up power and privilege. Jesus did that on the cross. We can do no less.
With what Laura said, I’m not entirely sure how this pull quote can be used to support Trump:
“HOW COULD ANY CHRISTIAN IN GOOD CONSCIENCE SUPPORT A CANDIDATE WHO DENIES A BASIC PRINCIPLE OF SCRIPTURE—THE PROTECTION OF ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN?”
The protection of all God’s children doesn’t extend to the people that Trump has openly mocked and incited violence against. Why is it so difficult to understand that there is more to “pro-life” than being anti-abortion?
There are other statements in this article that are confusing too. How is Trump pro-life when he wanted one of his children aborted? How is he pro-marriage just because he supposedly believes it is only between a man and a woman? He’s had multiple affairs and marriages himself. Those are overlooked because they are heterosexual? That’s Christian values? How is he for religious freedom when he doesn’t want Muslims in this country?
I agree with what Laura and Gretchen say. Trump is so hard for a Christian to endorse. He is so negative against the “little” people who we should be for.
Justin, can you please cite Scripture each time you say “Scripture reminds us” or something is “unbiblical?” Even pulling out the Jeremiah 29:7 is quite a stretch comparing a letter to exiles to our current situation today.
You also said Trump believes that life is sacred and should be protected, but he is very much pro-death penalty. That doesn’t make too much sense to me. As Gretchen said in comments above, pro-life means more than anti-abortion and, in this case, I don’t see that from Trump.
I can’t see any justification in voting for Trump, either by Christian values or not. He’s just not a qualified candidate.
I have to wonder if we as a people have brought this problem upon ourselves in major part due to our wholehearted embrace of postmodernity.
In a world where every action and phrase has been stripped of any objective judgment, it’s no wonder that our politics have devolved to unwatchable debates with dwindling attention given to political issues and partisan values and ever-increasing attention drawn to personal attacks, name-calling and ridiculous lies – on both sides of the aisle.
Postmodernism’s insidious nature also presents itself when the media no longer strives for integrity, accountability and truth in its reporting – devoting itself religiously to the next muck-raking scandal, no matter how unfounded or one-sided it may be.
No wonder Trump’s campaign has been seriously bolstered by memes (!) and Clinton interviews on a predominately black radio station talking about how her one essential in her purse is hot sauce.
I’ve read each voting article on iAt, and at this point I think I’m with Donald Roth on not voting at all (his article is very insightful and refreshing). What a shameless, truthless election – I can find much better ways to engage in politics than the ridiculous situation of the present political season.
“In this election the only candidate running for the presidency who shows any support, even if only mildly and confusedly at times, towards Christian values is Donald Trump.” – I disagree that Trump shows any support – at least any sincere support – toward Christian values. Even if he did, though, this should read “the only MAJORITY PARTY candidate.” Evan McMullin is an independent candidate who (as a Mormon) shows support for Christian values. He’s on the ballot in Iowa.
You can of course argue McMullin has no chance of winning, but that’s a different point.
Once again, I’m voicing my dissent on having contributors to iAt post campaigning articles, but I’m glad that iAt at least posted one from each of the two major parties, plus the most well-known 3rd party candidate, and one for not voting.
But for the author of this article, I have 27 reasons why I won’t be voting for Donald Trump (and why I may consider a vote for Gary Johnson): https://www.facebook.com/notes/tom-de-jong/27-reasons-why-i-refuse-to-vote-for-drumpf-and-why-i-may-vote-for-gary-johnson/10154729269914292.
But in everything, let’s keep our rhetoric, especially toward fellow believers, above the fray, respectfully dissenting and making our case, without bombastic claims or personal attacks.
You list 2 issues that give you reason that conservative Christian should vote for Trump – his Supreme Court appointments and the abortion issue. Trump doesn’t have a very good track record on either of these issues.
Trump has a long history of wanting to weaken the freedom of the speech and the press. Trump and his companies have sued people over 4000 times. Many of those have been against journalists for libel. He has NEVER won one of these free speech related lawsuits. Since well before he’s been a presidential hopeful, Trump has said how he wanted it to be easier to sue journalists for libel. And Trump has continued to say this during his campaign.
Trump has also said numerous times during his campaign that we should have a religious test to not allow Muslims into the country. This is also quite clearly against the first amendment.
Why should we believe that Trump will appoint judges that will not “assault religious freedom protections in the First Amendment” when Trump has a long history of wanting to do just that?
Another court case that conservatives generally disagree with was the KELO decision. Trump praised this decision (of course, why wouldn’t a real estate mogul like that decision?).
Trump has broken his word over and over. There is no reason to believe that he will appoint conservative judges to the Supreme court. And there is every reason to believe that he will appoint judges that will weaken our rights in just the way he has always wanted to.
Regarding abortion, is there any reason to believe that Trump even cares about the issue of abortion? We know he has said he is pro-choice in his pre-presidential campaign days. Is there any reason to believe that he has had a change of heart on this? Has he given any specific policies positions regarding abortion? He has no statement on his website “Positions” page about abortion. One would think if this issue was important to Trump, he would at least tell us what he thought about it. Trump, of course, tells us he is pro-life when he asked by journalists but is there any reason to think this is a concern of his or that he will do anything about it. I am doubtful.
I probably agree with some of Laura’s underlying concerns, but her statement, “Trump is a candidate openly promising harm to Muslims, African Americans, woman, immigrants, the poor, refugees” is not accurate. Openly promising harm? When? With what words? Is the open promise of harm contained on the campaign website? In the party platform? For example: What specific, open promise of harm has been made against African Americans? Has he told his supporters to burn down churches or join the Ku Klux Klan or lynch people with brown skin? Of course not. Trump is the first Republican nominee in years to openly court Black voters. Worried about the enthusiasm level for Clinton on the part of their most loyal (and taken-for-granted) voters, the Democratic Party is using racial divide-and-conquer tactics against Trump. Democratic leaders are scared that Trump is polling 15-30% among African Americans. That’s a threat to their power. It has nothing to do with real concern about Black Americans.
No doubt Laura and millions of others sincerely believe that Trump is a dangerous hater who is “openly promising harm” but it’s simply not based in fact. It’s just Clinton campaign propaganda. That’s what the Clintons have always done–play hardball. No need for anyone to whine about it but also no need to play along with cynical ploys by pretending they’re true (no matter how many times an ad, or a “news” report, repeats the ploy).
It’s also interesting that those who see so much racism on the part of Trump are not familiar with the race-baiting that was so in evidence when Bill Clinton ran for the 1992 nomination and Hillary for the 2008 nomination. Examples: Bill going back to Arkansas to personally oversee the execution of a brain-damaged Black man on the eve of the ’92 New Hampshire primary, standing with Sen. Sam Nunn in a prison yard with Black inmates in the background like some plantation master on the eve of the Georgia primary, publicly attacking little-known rap singer Sister Souljah in front of Jesse Jackson to signal to whites that Bill wasn’t going to cater to the “Black special interest,” Hillary’s ad showing a little white girl in bed with an ominous voice-over talking about who can be trusted in the middle of the night, Hillary saying that despite nice speeches and dreams (think Obama and MLK) it took a white president to enact civil rights laws in the 1960s, Hillary’s close friend telling DC reporters they should check out Kenya for Obama’s possible birthplace, etc. Sad to say, Republicans are not the only ones who practice the politics of racial fear for selfish gain.
In this campaign, Trump has used such tactics far less than did the two Bush presidents who have become so near and dear to Clinton Democrats. Let’s debate Trump versus Clinton on their merits, not based on overheated campaign propaganda from either side.
You really haven’t heard him say openly dangerous things regarding race?! That is very surprising. From years of questioning the legitimacy of the current president by refusing to believe he is American, to refusing to believe the innocence of some wrongly accused black men, to encouraging his audiences to “rough up” BLM protesters, to being caught refusing housing to black Americans, to having his ONLY endorsement by a newspaper be the one published by the KKK, he has a pretty wide record of open hatred and promotion of violence. This article outlines some of the things that make minorities feel anxious, and rightfully so (this only for issues of race, not even mentioning the harm electing a person who admits to assaulting women would have on that half of the population!). I think Christians can say these actions against minorities don’t matter to them as much as other issues (and certainly many seem to) but it is very hard to say they don’t exist.
The things you cite are not the same as “Trump is a candidate openly promising harm to…” Openly “saying dangerous things” is quite different than “promising harm.” Criticizing someone for saying “dangerous” things is a subjective opinion. It depends on how we define “dangerous.” Is it dangerous to accuse your opponent of being a puppet of a foreign government? Is it dangerous to joke, after the fact, about the murder of a foreign leader? Is it dangerous to suggest that Julian Assange should be assassinated by a drone strike? Clinton has said all of those things. Questioning Obama’s birth location was begun by the Clinton campaign in 2008 and it wasn’t motivated by race. It was motivated by a desire to win. It may have been naive, but Trump’s later questioning was probably coming from a sincere doubt about Obama’s birthplace. Is that better or worse than a cynical ploy for the sake of power? Trump has no control over who endorses him, any more than we should blame Hillary for the fact that the Communist Party USA has endorsed her. It doesn’t make her a Communist any more than it makes him a Klansman. A racial discrimination investigation, when he was in business with his father, decades ago has little do with his presidential candidacy. But, in fairness, if we want to go back in time, we can see that Arkansas was one of two states in the entire nation that had no state civil rights law after a dozen years of the Clintons being in power. Why? Is that not equally relevant? It’s even more recent (1992). Does that prove that Bill and Hillary are racists? No. It might just mean that they fit in comfortably with their time and place (perhaps to their discredit).
Regardless, Trump the candidate has never openly “promised harm” to African Americans or any of the groups you mention. He is polling considerably above previous GOP nominees among African Americans. They must not have gotten the memo from privileged white folks about what a danger he is. Instead, they are probably listening to his actual words instead of relying on biased second-hand interpretations by Democrats and journalists. Also, Trump has never admitted to assaulting women. He probably is a male chauvinist pig but we learned in 1998 that such an attitude, and even behavior, has nothing to do with being a good president. That’s strictly between the man and his wife. It’s “just sex” and that’s a personal thing, not a political thing. The Clintons told us that and two-thirds of Americans agreed. That’s why Bill was impeached but not removed from office. Are we supposed to unlearn that lesson now that a Republican is being accused of having the same character flaws?
Again, we’re probably on the same page in many of our values. I just don’t like seeing propaganda substituted for facts and a double standard being used–especially when the real objections to Trump by those with power have nothing to do with his crass and insensitive style. (Do you really think the DC power brokers, Wall Street millionaires, and Hollywood casting-couch veterans are choirboys or feminists?) The real objections are policy objections. Let’s debate those.
If the things that Clinton has done and said seem equivalent to the things Trump has done and said in your ears (and you don’t hear him admit sexual assault when he brags about grabbing women’s pussies against their will,) then I am sorry but your priviledge is showing. These things might seem equivalent to you, but they do not to immigrants who worry about being deported, to Muslims and immigrants who might be banned from entering the country, to women who have been sexually assaulted and now hear Christian leaders minimizing their trauma, to black Americans who have struggled to find housing and other basic rights . . . Not hearing these stories as radically different than anything the Clintons might stand for is to not be listening to your neighbours (or not believing them). I am sorry but this is a failure of the Christian imagination on a massive scale.
I’m totally disappointed that this. Log hose to post such a sad view of our Christian faith. We get so stuck on “morality” (which is based on a person’s worldview or societal norms – and is a way we allow ourselves to justify binary thinking in a world that is far more complex). Why can’t we shift this to a discussion around integrity – which actually is the living out of morals in a consistent manner with the values and morals one purports to follow. If Christians can with honest say that they believe this is a candidate that has fidelity around their moral values, then I will stand up and suggest they need to dig deeper into the facts. And if it becomes a binary conversation about “well, if not Trump then it’s ‘the liberals in charge’ I challenge you to think bigger and wig more hope for our society. We have more choices than just two – unless of course we allow public sentiment and media portrayals to allow us to believe we lack choice. I urge In All Things to choose authors who have a more thoughtful worldview than this myopic post allowed.