Below is a brief supportive comment that I wrote in response to an article by Peter Lumpkins on SBC Today entitled, Joe Carter, the ERLC and Division over Donald Trump (Parts 1 and 2). Peter’s article responds to some general statements from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) that continually positions those who may vote for Trump in a very dim light. In part two, he specifically analyzes the language of a particular article by Joe Carter (ERLC staffer) that juxtaposes the debate between the “Justice side” (those evangelicals who would vote for Trump) and the “Witness side” (those who would not). Unfortunately, the juxtaposition is unduly reductionistic and results in favoring the “Witness side” rather than equally presenting both. Lumpkins does a good job of pointing this out.
Thank you for a well-reasoned article. I agree with your sentiments and appreciate you taking the time to deal with this. To the ones who tend to castigate those of us who consider voting for Trump, I would like to suggest they contemplate the following.
I think that framing the issue as the “lesser of two evils” provide never-Trumpers with an unjustified easy out. I do not even call Hillary evil; although I do call some of her policies evil.
The truth is that as Christians, we should not choose the lesser of two evils because that is evil, choosing evil (ethically, I am a non-conflicting absolutist). However, because we live in a fallen world, we constantly choose the better of the two available options in most of our decisions. To state it negatively, we choose the least bad option. If we fail to recognize this, we are not facing reality. Of course, this is no more true anywhere than in elections.
What do the former presidents Thomas Jefferson, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James Garfield, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, William G. Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon Johnson all have in common? They either allegedly or certainly committed adultery once or more, and some of them bore from one to six out of wedlock children. Add to them Nixon who was a Quaker who massively lied.
Some of the same Christians who voted openly for Romney (I did as well), now argue that voting for Trump hurts our “witness.” However, I think the argument may even be more powerful that voting for a Mormon, which perpetuates the normalization of Mormonism’s heresies, may be more eternally damaging; at least, I can argue that it potentiates being equally as damaging—following the never-Trumper line of reasoning. Tragically, along with these conflicts that Christians have had to consider in the character of the above mentioned politicians, a virtually unending list of those who lived and talked contrary to what they did in the public eye is easily assembled—not to mention did not follow-through on their campaign promises, i.e. lied in some cases.
I believe absolutely that morals matter to the point that I am usually sickened during election time and none so much as now. However, I also have learned that the most moral people do not always run for office, and therefore, my options are not always what I would like; actually, rarely, if ever, is that the case in the general election.
Reagan is the only divorced president in American history. That may not sound very significant in light of today’s sensibilities, but thirty-five years ago it was so significant that some did not vote because of conscience—for the record I did vote.
Baptists supported Thomas Jefferson, but he gives no evidence of being a Christian or even demonstrating the moral standard of the Scripture and Baptists of that day. In some ways, he may be considered to have acted appallingly immoral. Although Baptists well understood that, they supported him because of his stand for religious liberty (to be able to “gospelize”), which was the overarching issue of their day and ours, and unabashedly celebrated his election from the farmhouse to the pulpit of the church house to the White House—literally.
For some to even intimate that those who will, in light of all the facts, vote for Trump are lacking in concern for our witness or evangelism is an egregiously unenlightened understanding of those with whom they disagree.
For me, the overarching issues are the advancement of secularism and Islam, both of which seek to either massively sequester or eliminate effective Christian witnessing, thereby silencing the gospel and the only voice for the preborn; thus, to conclude that people like me who have been what I call possible Trumpers (I was a Ted Cruz supporter, but each step of the way I have to consider all the facts, which are fluid) are not prioritizing the salvation of souls is, I trust, an unwitting oversight.
Christians in other countries vote for warlords or crooks, based upon who will not rape their daughter or behead their spouses. Can that be a Christian vote? I would say yes! Since progressivism & Islamists destroy religious liberty in the US, should not our voting decision exemplify a strategy to counter them? Before God, I am unwilling to permit my disgust with Trump’s skullduggeries to “trump” my gratefulness to speak for freedom to “gospelize,” protect life, liberty, and the safety of others.
A vote for someone who is the better of the two does not necessarily entail an acceptance of his skunkiness, e.g. Baptist support Jefferson. Neither are the terms vote, support, nor endorse precisely synonymous. In our thought process, we should remember that partial birth abortion is no more essentially evil than other abortions; it is just that its barbaric ghastliness is undeniably graphic.
If I could awaken unto Jesus the morning after the election and Clinton won by the one vote that I did not cast, I would not vote. But I cannot!
While I understand the decision of my brothers and sisters who cannot bring themselves to vote (I have struggled greatly), I do know that they care about the same issues that I do, but we see how biblically to affect them quite differently. As a steward of God’s grace, I have chosen the best between the available options, as I see it, which does not entail sin by violating the clear commands of Scripture.
Peter, thank you again for using your abilities for the benefit of us all.
Ronnie W Rogers
I would add two other resources that you may like to consider: an article by Wayne Grudem that argues for voting for Trump
I also preached two sermons on the election entitled “Some Election Concerns” Part I & II, which can be heard at: http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?SourceOnly=true&currSection=sermonssource&keyword=trinitynorman