Before getting to the moral case for voting Trump, let’s look at a notionally compassionate, holy, pious Reformed Church of America (RCA) pastor’s deep dislike of the Republican candidate.
As my post from yesterday on Trump’s Christianity stated, he still considered himself connected with a RCA congregation — Marble Collegiate Church — although Marble quickly issued a statement saying he was not a member. Trump’s parents were members and their children, including Donald, attended Sunday services when the late Norman Vincent Peale was pastor. They had a close relationship with Peale.
Returning to the link in the first paragraph, the young pastor’s post ends with this:
All I’m asked to do is love my neighbor as myself.
Even if it’s Donald Trump.
Loving my neighbor one of the hardest things to do – especially when Jesus chooses my neighbor for me.
However, it is prefaced with the following statements that override his conclusion. I am breaking these down into separate sentences, although some are part of a paragraph. Trump or not, this is a dangerous and unbiblical place to be (emphases mine):
Donald Trump … is not someone I would enjoy spending time with.
He’s arrogant, abrasive, hyperbolic, and seems to lack compassion.
See, I don’t want the Donald to go to my church.
His attendance, in my mind, is like some sort of tarnish …
… no, I don’t want Donald Trump to be a part of my church.
I don’t really love him and I’m not interested in trying.
And when I say I don’t love him, it means I don’t love Donald Trump as I love myself.
I have made Donald the other, willing and able to exclude him from fellowship because he doesn’t make me comfortable.
I’m able to write him off because he thinks differently than I do.
I give them [other people] grace. But I won’t give it to Donald.
He speaks his mind and you know exactly where he stands.
I don’t want Donald to be a part of my church because he is cartoonish.
This reminds me of what the retired lawyer wrote on an ex-Hillary supporters site. Some of you will have read this yesterday. It dates from primary season:
I ran into a young lady who wants Bernie, but will not go to the polls to vote for him.
But if Trump is the Republican nominee, then she will go to the polls and vote against him.
She admitted the reasons she would do this[:] because Donald is not nice.
In other words it is a matter of style–NOT SUBSTANCE.
Would it matter to you if he gave you a better future, even though he is not nice?
Would it matter to you if someone who was nice, condemned you to a negative future?
Echo answereth not. Neither did she.
Now, onto one of the posts of the year. Everyone who considers himself or herself a Christian should read it.
Dr Wayne Grudem is Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona. He is a graduate of Harvard (BA), Westminster Seminary-Philadelphia (MDiv, DD), and the University of Cambridge (PhD). He has written more than 20 books, including Systematic Theology, Politics According to the Bible and (with Barry Asmus) The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution.
He contributes to Town Hall and wrote ‘Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice’ after the Republican National Convention concluded in late July. I am grateful to my reader Anna Wood for posting an introduction to the article on her website.
Grudem’s article is lengthy and detailed, which is why it is worth reading in full and bookmarking to your favourites so that you have it handy to send to others and reread before November 8.
Excerpts and a summary follow — some taken out of order for emphasis. Subheadings are mine.
Christian objections to Trump
Pious churchgoers have said, including on my site, that Trump violates everything they believe in.
Grudem has heard similar objections. The solution from these churchgoers is to write in a candidate on their ballot or to vote for a marginal third party.
As a professor who has taught Christian ethics for 39 years, I think their analysis is incorrect …
I do not think that voting for Donald Trump is a morally evil choice because there is nothing morally wrong with voting for a flawed candidate if you think he will do more good for the nation than his opponent. In fact, it is the morally right thing to do.
I did not support Trump in the primary season. I even spoke against him at a pastors’ conference in February. But now I plan to vote for him. I do not think it is right to call him an “evil candidate.” I think rather he is a good candidate with flaws …
“But are you saying that character doesn’t matter?” someone might ask. I believe that character does matter, but I think Trump’s character is far better than what is portrayed by much current political mud-slinging, and far better than his opponent’s character.
In addition, if someone makes doubts about character the only factor to consider, that is a fallacy in ethical reasoning that I call “reductionism” – the mistake of reducing every argument to only one factor, when the situation requires that multiple factors be considered. In this election, an even larger factor is the future of the nation that would flow from a Clinton or a Trump presidency.
Grudem firmly believes that Christians are exhorted to vote
in such a way that will “seek the welfare” of the United States.
To support his position, he presents us with the following Bible verses:
the prophet Jeremiah’s exhortation to the Jewish people living in exile in Babylon:
“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7).
… I feel the force of the words of James: “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17).
… the teachings of Scripture do not allow us to escape moral responsibility by saying that we decided to do nothing. The prophet Obadiah rebuked the people of the Edom for standing by and doing nothing to help when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem: “On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that . . . foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.” (Obadiah 1:11) …
Some Christians have even hinted to me that “persecution would be good for us.” But the Bible never encourages us to seek persecution or hope for it. We should rather work to prevent such oppression of Christians, just as Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). Paul did not encourage us to pray that God would give us bad rulers but good ones who would allow us to live a peaceful life:
“I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1Timothy 2:1)
Under Clinton, ethics and Christianity in danger
Grudem presents us with real perils, likely to happen if Hillary Clinton is elected in November.
The Supreme Court requires not only a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia but also for several ageing justices:
A President Clinton could possibly nominate three or four justices to the Supreme Court, locking in a far-left activist judiciary for perhaps 30 or more years. She could also add dozens of activist judges to federal district courts and courts of appeals, the courts where 99% of federal lawsuits are decided. Judicial tyranny of the type we have seen when abortion rights and same-sex marriage were forced on the nation would gain a permanent triumph.
The nation would no longer be ruled by the people and their elected representatives, but by unelected, unaccountable, activist judges who would dictate from the bench about whatever they were pleased to decree. And there would be nothing in our system of government that anyone could do to stop them.
He explains that this election is not just about defeating Hillary Clinton but putting paid to the Democrat machine, which is illiberal in every respect.
Left-leaning justices, he says, could find the ban on partial-birth abortion unconstitutional. In 2007, the ban passed by only one vote (5-4). Similarly, they could override restrictions on abortion time limits.
He reminds us that same-sex marriage is now not the law of individual states but the entire nation. The same can be done with abortion:
The Supreme Court has spoken, and therefore the issue is settled in the political system of the United States. We lost – not at the ballot box, but because we had a liberal Supreme Court that nullified the democratic process regarding the definition of marriage.
So it would certainly be with any efforts to place legal limitations on abortion.
Christians — bakers, florists and others — who want to refuse business on grounds of personal belief are already being put out of business or forced to obey laws with which they disagree. This will only accelerate if another Democrat is in the White House and more in the Supreme Court. Grudem cites several examples.
Restrictions also currently apply on public prayer and educational institutions. The vise will only be tightened if Democrats (!) are in charge.
These incidents show that it is not an exaggeration to say that, under a liberal Supreme Court resulting from Hillary Clinton’s election, Christians would increasingly experience systematic exclusion from hundreds of occupations, with thousands of people losing their jobs. Step-by-step, Christians would increasingly be marginalized to the silent fringes of society. Is withholding a vote from Donald Trump important enough to pay this high a price in loss of freedom?
Faced with these real possibilities, can churchgoers still consider ‘conscience voting’?
I wonder if their consciences have considered the gravity of these destructive consequences that would come from a Clinton presidency. A vote for Trump would at least be doing something to prevent these things.
What Donald Trump proposes
Trump will promote conservative, ethical justices to the Supreme Court:
we could see a 5-4 or even 6-3 majority of conservative justices on the Supreme Court. The results for the nation would be overwhelmingly good.
Such a Supreme Court would finally return control of the nation to the people and their elected representatives, removing it from dictatorial judges who repeatedly make law from the bench.
Conservative justices could well overturn Roe v Wade and return abortion legislation to individual states.
Same-sex marriage could be overturned on a federal level and devolved to individual states.
They would also restore the First Amendment to its rightful place in American society:
A conservative court would likely declare that the First Amendment was only intended to prohibit the establishment of a state-sponsored church or denomination.
Other real possibilities of a Trump-appointed Supreme Court would be the freedom for private business owners to operate according to their conscience.
Trump pledged again — as recently at Iowa’s Roast and Ride event last week — to have Democrat Lyndon B Johnson’s 1954 amendment to the IRS code repealed. This would be good news for all church congregations:
the 1954 Johnson Amendment to the IRS code … has been used for 62 years as a threat to silence pastors from speaking about political issues, for fear of losing their tax-exempt status. This would be a great victory for freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
Only Donald Trump is promising this repeal. Hillary Clinton certainly isn’t.
Donald Trump pledges to support Christianity in America. Why won’t Christians vote for him?
Trump will also lower taxes for many — including the middle class:
Trump is advocating a 15% tax rate for corporations rather than the current 35%. Lower corporate taxes would lead to business expansion and a massive increase in available jobs and higher pay levels. For individual taxpayers, Trump favors a top rate of 25%, but for Clinton it’s 45%. Most small businesses file under this individual rate, so once again Trump’s lower taxes would result in substantial expansion of businesses and many more jobs. Finally our economy would snap out of its eight years of anemic growth.
Lower taxes mean more freedom to do what you want with your money!
Trump also pledges to make America’s inner cities safer and to improve schools. He will be reiterating and expanding on his plan in Detroit on Labor Day.
More families — not fewer — have been thrown into inner-city poverty during eight years of Obama. Unemployment is also higher under Obama than it was under previous administrations.
Grudem gives us a quote from a Trump speech:
Nearly 4 in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58% of African-American youth are not employed . . . . This administration has failed America’s inner cities. It’s failed them on education. It’s failed and on jobs. It’s failed them on crime . . . . Every action I take, I will ask myself: does this make life better for young Americans in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Ferguson who have as much of a right to live out their dreams as any other child in America? . . . . We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice.
Trump will create a stronger military. America needs one if it is to face up to IS and threats from China, Russia and Iran.
He will also repeal the poorly-named Affordable Care Act and give Americans a health insurance system that works:
Donald Trump has spoken with thousands of Americans over the past 14 months. He will be meeting with many more in his continuing near-daily speeches and rallies across the country.
Unlike Hillary Clinton, Trump talks with Americans of every walk of life after his speeches. In fact, he meets more working and middle class Americans than upper class ones.
He has heard hundreds of stories of loss. He will do something to reverse the damage done to the United States over the past 25+ years.
His family have said on many occasions that when he says he will do something, he does it. I believe them.
In closing, Wayne Grudem says:
my conscience, and my considered moral judgment tell me that I must vote for Donald Trump as the candidate who is most likely to do the most good for the United States of America.
I hope and pray that anti-Trump Christians of whatever political persuasion agree with Grudem come November.