Well, that is a tough question. I’ve thought about it for a long time. Never in my life have I seen people who are a lot like me so torn. I’m Christian and conservative and the greater portion of my friends are too. If I expand my sample to my Facebook acquaintances who are proportionally about 90% Christian and conservative as well, I find the exact situation. They run from Trump-Is-The-Answer to Never-Trump. Worse, they are mad at those other Christians who are opposite of them—I mean really upset.
I’m a great microcosm of this newly divided group. I say newly divided because we have over the years, for the most part, been on the same page about presidential elections. Sure, we liked our options better some election cycles than others, but we have usually landed in the same place. Though we have been both bewildered and upset with Republican leadership multiple times, we have overwhelmingly voted for the Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan. I mean several of us were skeptical that John McCain shared our values, but we compared him to Barrack Obama and felt totally at peace with the lesser-of-two-evils argument. But that argument isn’t cutting it for all of us this time around.
When I say I’m a great microcosm of this group, I mean I have both thought about voting for Mr. Trump and not voting for him. Like others in this group, I’ve NEVER thought of voting for Mrs. Clinton. Still, I’ve never thought Mr. Trump was the answer, I’m positive that he shares neither my Christian nor my conservative values, and he lacks the temperament to be a leader. So while I’ve never for a moment thought he’s just what our country needs, I was at one point deciding to vote for him. At other points I had decided I would not.
Why would someone who has been a Christian as long as I have suddenly vacillate so much? Why would someone who has been so sure of the right answer in every presidential election of his lifetime be all over the place this time? Even worse, why would someone who is a pastor, however unreasonable this expectation may be, not have the explanation this election cycle? In my defense, I am not alone.
The problem with deciding is not one of a lack of intelligent arguments. Both sides have given great fodder for thought. Here’s the best, from my point of view, from each side:
Vote for Trump
- The Supreme Court.
Most believe that we have a better chance of molding the Supreme Court a more conservative direction with Trump. Not that the Supreme Court has done either Christianity or conservatism much good in my lifetime, it is still important since there will likely be a few vacancies in this term. We know that Mrs. Clinton will nominate people who continue the moral collapse of our nation. With Mr. Trump, there is at least a chance. I fear he will fail us here, perhaps by nominating his liberal sister, but it is still a shot with none on the other side.
- The Lord Doesn’t Advance His Work Through Government, So Vote for the One Least Antagonistic to Christian Work No Matter His Or Her Morals.
That makes a lot of sense. The Lord works in spite of government and almost oblivious to it. Think how little Jesus had to say about Rome. He never did any political crusades. When I first heard that argument from a pastor in Ohio it really got my wife and I thinking.
- Mr. Trump Has Never Said Anything Against Parental Rights.
I’ve not actually heard this one, but it concerns this father of six homeschooling children very much. Mrs. Clinton and her it-takes-a-village-to-raise-a-child attitude strongly feels that the state owns the children. She has believed it her whole career. Even Mr. Obama hasn’t attacked on this front. Perhaps he wanted to and ran out of time, but Mrs. Clinton will likely make an attempt even if Congress, I believe, will keep her in check on this one.
On the other hand:
Don’t Vote for Trump
- In a Choice Between Two Evils Choose Neither
When I first heard this from some pastor friends in Ohio, it really got me thinking again. I already alluded to how we have been comfortable in previous elections with the lesser-of-two-evils argument, but perhaps there was a clear lesser of two evils. Can we argue that there must always be a lesser of two evils that we must pick? What if our choices were Hitler and Stalin? Would the theory hold? Some of us have sensed a Hitleresque attitude in Mr. Trump with his trust-me-I-will-fix-it attitude with no details but himself. On the other hand, Mrs. Clinton could be the Stalin with her far-left ideas. (I realize there’s a little exaggeration here, but you get the idea).
- Christians Will Lose Their Moral Authority In Supporting Mr. Trump.
A missionary friend shared an article that is far better than what I could say (here). He reminded us how all of us lambasted President Bill Clinton for his lies and affairs in office. We all said then that he lost his moral authority to be President. Now we support Trump? When the next President that we don’t like does greatly immoral things, how can we say anything after Mr. Trump has bragged on his adulteries in this election? This may end up being the most important issue of all as it actually undermines Christianity itself and its voice in our generation.
- As Long As We Stay In A Two-Party System, We Need To Force The Republican Party To Get Back On Track.
We are blowing an easy layup this election. Mrs. Clinton is one of the most beatable candidates the Democrats have ever put up with her email scandal and various other gross illegalities. The Republicans need to know that we are true to our principles and not their party. They had better put up a candidate whose principles we can support. In other words, the decades ahead are more important than one 4-year term.
So What Are We To Do?
I’ve seen Christians I respect on both sides. I’ve seen pastors I admire on both sides. I’ve seen missionaries who really love the Lord passionately on both sides. I suspect those who read this article are made up of some on both sides.
Ted Cruz got it right—vote your conscience. I’ll only add that we carefully seek the Lord. I’ve made an emphasis in my ministry for soul liberty and this is a great place for it. It’s time we realize that those who love the Lord are greatly divided here and both sides have good arguments, so the attacks on each other should stop. We should stop accusing those who support Mr. Trump with being immoral. We should also stop threatening those who cannot with supporting Mrs. Clinton.
To Trump or not to Trump? Just take the Lord into the voting booth with you and pray that He will make something good out of our disastrous choices.