On May 4, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order promoting free speech and religious liberty. This action enabled clergy to more openly engage the political discourse without negatively impacting the tax-exempt status of places of worship. At the signing ceremony surrounded by many distinguished clergypersons, President Trump said, “you’re now in a position to say what you want to say” without fear of government retribution. So, I am grateful that for the first time the door opens wide for clergy to share remarks about an election cycle. As tempting as that is, I am convinced that the church pulpit is for one thing only: to expound on the Word of God. So, I will not tarnish the pulpit by bringing politics into the sanctuary. Which is the reason for presenting my views via my blog.
The Presidential election is just days away. Up to this point, I have carefully researched the current political climate in an attempt to balance it with my understanding of Christian orthodoxy. I have prayerfully read, reviewed, listened to the opinions of others, and even explored the gamut of obscure ideas in order to arrive at a sensible view of the political landscape. Through the years, I have learned that it is difficult to critique differing positions without first making a sincere effort to understand all sides of controversial issues. With this in mind, I have specifically tried to balance President Trump’s tenure, with an eye on trying to understand. Sadly however, the scale for me tips toward unacceptability. As a result, the time has arrived to share a few of my thoughts on some of the President’s public policies juxtaposed against my understanding of Christian orthodoxy. Rather than present a point-by-point examination of all that can be said, I have narrowed down my observations to just three compelling reasons why I cannot vote for President Trump.
Please be aware that I am not operating from a vacuum, but rather I am informed by an overarching biblical construct which teaches that everyone will ultimately give account to God (Romans 14:12). This means President Trump, me, and yes you as well, will all one day stand before our Maker. Careful deliberation and prayerful focus are critical and have been engaged. I understand that some will not agree with where I have landed. I respect our difference of opinion and commit to not judge your conclusions. However, I simply ask that you do the same of mine.
1) I am pro-life, not pro-birth. Permit me to explain the difference. The ‘sanctity of life” is a phrase that is often used to describe the biblical reason to protect the unborn. The phrase connotes the idea that since mankind was God-breathed and made in His image and likeness, it possesses greater intrinsic value than the rest of creation. Today, most pro-life ideology attempts to legislate protection of life while inside the womb. Once birth has happened, proposed protections disappear. So, what is generally promoted as a Christian position is actually a political one: pro-birth and not pro-life.
The Christian pro-life position goes beyond the gestation period, exerting every effort to promote robust public education, an effective public health policy, secure fair housing practices, and providing dignified senior care, to mention just a few examples, as vital to protect the entire cycle of human life. Political pro-life ideals champion efforts to get the baby out of the womb alive, but then backs away to let the infant fend for itself afterward. This is not biblical. (Stay with me!)
My understanding of Scripture is that God values every single life. He imbued mankind with His image and likeness, thereby elevating the intrinsic value of each person in relationship to the rest of creation. One example of this is the “Parable of the Lost Sheep” (Luke 15) which illustrates how the shepherd left the flock, in order to seek, find, and celebrate the one that was lost. To the shepherd the one that was lost mattered equally as those left behind. It just needed particular attention. The total number of sheep in the pen did not matter more than the one wayward sheep.
Another example is when Jesus pauses the redemptive process of the cross to say to the criminal that he would be with him in paradise (Luke 23:43). For God, one life matters equally as do the many. In his famously popular Christian song “There’s Room at the Cross for You”, Billy Gaines includes the line “Though millions have come, there’s still room for one. Yes, there is room at the cross for you.” The individual life of the millions of aborted babies matters to God as much as each individual that comprises the 220,000 plus Americans who have died of COVID19. Such high numbers should have been lessened, but were not. America, its leadership, and the American evangelical church will have to give account for this. Political pro-life is limited; Christian orthodox pro-life is broader. As a pro-life proponent, I believe in the protection of life from conception to death.
Christianpost.com recently featured an article by Leah Marie Ann Kleet which quotes a warning to Christians from Dr. Tony Evans saying, “Life,” Evans explained, includes “pre-born life and post-born life; abortion before birth, and abortion after birth.” The biblical support of life does not end after gestation, but rather continues until death because the entire span of human life has value. The President and his followers are actually pro-birth. Therefore, because I am pro-life, I cannot vote for Trump.
2) Racism is sin because it devalues, discriminates, and antagonizes the personhood of others based on the belief that one race is superior. A way of looking at racism is that it attempts to weaken the humanness of a person, while elevating the perceived worth of another. Although I have tried to reconcile Trump’s racist comments, it is clear to me that our President is in fact a racist. One does not have to go further than his remarks to the mostly white Americans attending his political rally on September 18, 2020 in Bemidji, Minnesota, when the President said to them “you have good genes”. This is hallmark racism which alludes to comments connected with Nazi genocide and is nothing short of depraved racism. I think that the President will have a problem accepting the heavenly image of Revelation 7:9. Because I am against racism, I cannot vote for Trump.
3) Trump is a habitual, perpetual and prolific liar. He is so good at lying that he can make it seem that the hearer incorrectly heard what he said and meant. The Bible teaches that the mouth speaks what is in the heart (Luke 6:45). Yes, certainly there are other people that have problems with the truth, but Trump sits in the Oval Office as our President; the highest office in the land, where public trust is the primary currency for effective governance. And public trust is built on honesty. The sad part is that Trump lies for no reason at all.
The President continues to promote this idea of wide-spread voter fraud, for example. However, the preponderance of evidence from his own federal agencies point to the contrary. Yet, he continues with this lie. There is just no credible evidence of the rampant voter fraud he alleges. He knows that a large voter turnout will threaten his election to a second term. So, he lies and goes even further to state that he might not accept the results of the election. He has even called on his army of supporter to show up at voting locations to watch for any fraud, thereby intimidating voters. Because he is a pathological liar, I cannot vote for Trump.
In conclusion and as stated earlier, I accept that some will disagree with me. The beauty of our democracy is that all Americans have the right to their opinions. I hope that we arrive at those opinions after a period of thoughtful consideration, honest deliberation, and deep prayer filled reflection. We cannot engage a public discourse that is based on emotional and incendiary rhetoric.
A powerful tool in our democracy is the right to vote. Let’s agree or disagree at the ballot box and then commit to adhere to the outcome. Above all, make sure to vote on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020. Every good Christian that can vote, should!