A friend recently questioned how Christians could vote for Donald Trump. He cited 2 Timothy 3 before concluding that: “I get it Hillary is horrible, but if we continue to support Trump how can we as Christians remain credible with non-believers if we are standing with this kind of man…” After much debate, he finally requested a list of things that I like about Trump.
My response comes days before the election. What influence could anything I have to write now possibly have on the outcome? None, and that’s not why I am taking the time to write this. The following exposition will be fitting for every election to come. But more importantly, it addresses how we as Christians should apply our critical thinking skills in all related matters. Substitute the names, the scandals, and the rumors and the application will forever remain the same.
“In God’s system of government historically, there are no political campaigns, no elections. It is not a democracy, but a theocracy. ..The only “election campaign” waged by God’s leaders is simply to become as righteous as possible—to develop character through obedience to God’s law. There is no need for them to convince anyone else of their plans, their competencies and capabilities. God places them in office and the people are obliged to follow. But now, a vital question: How did these leaders perform? ” (J. Hilliker, the Trumpet).
Saul, one of the greatest leaders of a revelation that changed the world, was a horrible person. He was initially rejected by most everyone within his newly assigned mission. But after time, he proved himself to be a changed man of God. It was not until the work was done that history could judge the effectiveness of the man that became Paul. Here is the most important point of this thesis, we can only judge the fruit of a person, not their heart. Furthermore, we should avoid judging out of context. When Saul was a pharisaical Jew, he acted righteously, it wasn’t until he stepped into his new role and new name that he fully realized that persecuting Christians was wrong.
In the present presidential election we have a candidate who has been in political office for many years. There is much fruit to judge in how she acted in governing leadership roles. How did she perform? Was she honest, successful, prudent, or trustworthy? The same cannot be said of the other candidate because he has never served in a governing leadership role. Does that mean we throw out everything he has done in his private life? There were plenty of people who actually walked with Jesus Himself, but God chose Paul—a seemingly horrible man. In essence, we see that Hillary Clinton had an opportunity to choose righteousness within her governing roles and she chose not to. Now we have an opportunity to see if Trump will choose differently. I don’t know what he will do, but I know what Hillary has done.
It should be clear that third party candidates are not a viable alternative to escape any conviction of voting for a seemingly bad or immoral individual. If third party candidates were vetted in the same way primary candidates were, they would not come out looking any better. For those who think they are taking the moral high ground, you are simply putting on a blindfold because third party candidates don’t get the same scrutiny or media attention. And don’t worry about the argumentative fallacy of the lesser of two evils. If you are a Christian, you know we are all evil. Ain’t nobody voting for Jesus anytime soon.
Thinking about not voting at all? At which point does your non-vote have consequences? When one million of you agree not to vote, or two million? Well, if enough of you vote not to vote, I guess you’re right. But for the Christian to argue that it’s moral or wise not to vote for an immoral candidate, well, you did vote, you just didn’t mark a ballot. We all vote. One way or another you vote. So if the most reprobate of characters claims the highest position of the land, you, in part, voted for that. Congratulations. Paul not only invoked his heavenly citizenship, but he also invoked his Roman citizenship on many occasions. He used the law and governing authorities, as fallible as they were, to his advantage when possible. Should we do no less.
So what do I like about Trump, my friend asks. It seems that he’s assuming one must (or should) like things about a candidate in order to vote for them. The fact is, you need not like anything about them. I can simply reason that within a two party system one of two candidates is going to win, so I vote for the one of those two that has demonstrated two things. A willingness to become better than they are today (e.g., willing to apologize for past mistakes and listen to people that demonstrate moral character). They should also have a past track record that demonstrate leadership skills and the ability to work well with other people. From what I have seen and heard from both candidates, Trump demonstrates these qualities more readily than Clinton.
And yes, there just so happens to be many things I like about Trump. I agree with most all of his political positions, especially on abortion, gun control, immigration reform, social security, and health care. I like his support of the constitution. He seems to have done a really good job with his children. Trump worked very hard in the private sector to earn a living. He could have hidden the money he inherited from his father in a safe place, but instead chose to multiply his talents many fold. He has publicly admitted to faults and apologized for them, something I have never seen his political rival do. He has stated he will stand up for Christians. He speaks what is on his mind—he’s blunt to a fault and yes, I like that because I know where he stands, he is not two-faced, even if I disagree with him. He paid for his own primary campaign—he put his money where his mouth is. I like that his employees and those that have worked with him speak highly of him, again unlike his political rival. I like that he is campaigning so hard, city after city, day after day. I like that he has a sense of humor and he’s quick witted. And finally, I like his list of Supreme Court nominees, perhaps the most important thing of all on this list besides his anti-abortion stance.
The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Nixon and Reagan , unlike that of Carter, Kennedy, Clinton, and Obama, usually hold their own to a higher standard. Bill Clinton is still regarded by Democrats as their greatest president, yet he lied under oath and was impeached—among many other scandals during his political career. Nixon, on the other hand has never been lauded for his effectiveness because he did not live up to the standard that Republicans thought he should. In the current election we see many conservatives calling Trump out on his indiscretions. And so they should. Yet, I have yet to hear Democrats do anything similar to Hillary Clinton’s many wrongdoings. Furthermore, from a Christian standpoint, Trump has publicly apologized for that which he has been called to task. I have yet to hear Hillary Clinton apologize for anything.
I am not going to make a long list of Hillary or Trumps indiscretions. But note this; All of the faults, mistakes, and lies that I would list for one Hillary Clinton would all revolve around the job she is seeking to claim—that of governing leader. The same cannot be said of Trump. Like Saul, later named Paul, we all deserve a chance to live up to the opportunities God places before us. Hillary Clinton has had many chances to live up to the call and she has failed every time. If Trump, given a chance by God to lead this country, fails as well, I’ll admit it, own up to it and pray with my fellow Christians for the next assignment. But in the meantime, we will have a Supreme Court that will still allow us to gather and pray.
Video of Trump Apologizing: PBS Newshour: I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.
Another Trump Apology: I regret it, especially where it may have caused personal pain.
Trump on Supreme Court: How he picked his potential list.
Trump’s View on Abortion: Campaign event in Marshalltown, IA