If you are tired of presidential election blogs, go ahead and skip this week’s Doyle’s Half Dozen.
I open this DHD addressing three popular justifications from Evangelicals who plan to vote for Donald Trump in the November election. I also pose three questions to challenge these same Evangelicals, as well as myself.
Before I begin, please know that I have friends who have made all kinds of voting decisions. As it is during every political season, there are always disagreements in how to vote. However, this presidential election is the most polarizing ever in my life time, possibly in American history and especially among Conservative Christian voters.
I humbly share with you that I struggle with the disappointment of no strong conservative representation in this year’s presidential election and don’t consider myself the exact authority. However, I do listen to many great Christian leaders and have been involved in healthy dialogues about this election. I recommend to you and other Christian voters to do the same.
- “Not voting for Donald Trump means Hillary Clinton wins”
This is the most popular rationalization Evangelicals use to solidify their position. So let’s analyze this and see if it holds true.
First of all, I live in Oklahoma, considered to be one of the most conservative states in the U.S. In fact, if I recall, Oklahoma is the only state that had every county support Mitt Romney in the 2012 election. Also, according to www.270towin.com, Oklahoma has voted for the GOP candidate in every presidential election since 1948.
If you can remember from high school civics how the Electoral College system works, each state has a set amount of electoral votes in a national election, and whoever wins the popular vote in that particular state will receive all of those electoral votes. A candidate must receive 270 electoral votes to win the presidential election.
Now, considering the voting reputation of Oklahoma, I am pretty confident all seven electoral votes will be going toward Donald Trump this November, whether I choose to vote for him or not.
Does this mean I believe since it’s already been decided that I shouldn’t vote? No, not at all. I believe all Christians should observe their civic duty and be active citizens. I also believe there is more involved than deciding whose little box on the ballot sheet I’m going to darken. As a Christian voter, you have a powerful opportunity to demonstrate obedience to God. However you conclude, you can demonstrate a vote for righteousness and consider which candidate, from your research, best represents the principles God made known in His Word. This can happen in every election.
This year’s election, however, makes it more challenging to determine how to vote for righteousness. But I can tell you how I have concluded because I believe God is greater than any election system. I will not vote for either Clinton or Trump. At this point, I will either vote for an alternative candidate, or I will leave it blank and have my vote be classified as an under vote.
Kevin Baird offers an excellent response to this: “It may be a foregone conclusion that a certain candidate may win an election or for that matter it may be a forgone conclusion that one of two unacceptable candidates will win an election. That natural reality does not release a Christian to empower a ruler by their vote. God’s sovereignty is at work through all things, but my personal actions must demonstrate obedience to His precepts.”
- “We are not voting for a pastor”
I think this is the most ridiculous response. I’m sorry, but it’s major weak sauce.
If you are having to make excuses for Donald Trump in order to vote for him, I would question your own life principles. But the biggest problem I have with this silly remark is it can be equally used for Hillary Clinton. Seriously, how can this weak response nullify a person from voting for her? She would meet the same qualifications as Trump in this line of thinking.
Russell Moore has pointed out that outside of Jesus Christ running for President, everybody would fall short. Everybody has flaws and failures, but when it becomes too obvious that a candidate totally objects Biblical instructions, such as does not believe in needing forgiveness, this is too glaring of a flaw.
No we are not voting for a pastor, but I still desire to elect one who will attempt to adhere to a pastor’s guidance.
- “Trump said he is pro-life”
If you truly believe Trump values the sanctity of life, I have some property I would like to sell you. Nobody who genuinely understands and respects the process of life, the development of life, and recognizes Who is the Creator of life, would offer any support for Planned Parenthood, the world’s largest abortion provider.
To trust Donald Trump to make executive decisions favoring the Pro-Life platform is very risky. It is not in his line of thinking. He may say he is Pro-Life, but based on other things he has said, there is no evidence to support his statement, rather there is evidence to prove him wrong.
- What would Trump have to do for you to NOT vote for him?
For my final three DHD topics, I pose questions that I would like answers from an Evangelical Trump voter. My first question involves the moral standards of such voter. What would Trump have to do for you to NOT vote for him?
Usually, the defense involves why this voter would not vote for Hillary and would give an elaborate response on why they disagree with her. Most of what would be shared I would support. In no way would I defend Hillary Clinton. How she views the issues is the complete opposite of my view.
But my question is to directly get this voter to tell me why they are FOR Trump. What is it about his platform that you believe is favorable? They may find some legitimate views, but as inconsistent as Trump has been on the issues, it would be hard to hold him to anything, especially when he says everything is negotiable. It is evident that Trump is not strong on social issues, and I don’t believe such are negotiable.
So I welcome a dialogue on what would Trump have to do to convince Evangelical Trump voters to change their support. Obviously these voters are fine with him supporting Planned Parenthood. They seem to be okay with him calling a national Southern Baptist leader a “nasty guy.” They seem to think it is okay for Trump to reference a male body part in a nationally televised debate. They seem to be okay that he has made favorable comments about same-sex marriage and transgender issues. He makes slanderous, baseless remarks about other candidates and doesn’t apologize for them.
So what would Trump have to do to break the deal? There are six more months in this important campaign. Have you considered what else he may do that would be against Christian moral principles? Are you ready to justify these actions? Or have you identified your breaking point?
- What if Trump selects a favorable running mate?
This question I am posing to myself, and it can be a difficult question for me. I am already stunned by people I do respect who are in the Trump camp, especially Ben Carson.
My past voting record will reflect that I have voted for a presidential candidate because of the VP candidate. Every time this has happened, and it has happened three times, the candidate I supported lost. Since I have been burned three times under such conditions, I believe I have learned my lesson this year.
I am curious if it were to happen. It could make an interesting twist when Trump makes his running mate announcement. But unless Trump himself makes stronger stances on important issues, the running mate selection is a non-issue.
- How can the Gospel be shared through your involvement in this election?
Here is another sincere question I have for my Evangelical Trump voting friends. Can the Gospel be presented through your voting decision? Maybe it can, and I would love to hear how. This is not a snarky statement.
As I said, I have many friends who have differing voting views. I know some are respected Christian leaders. One thing that makes this election interesting is the possibilities of healthy dialogue between Conservative Christians. And I do encourage all dialogues to be “healthy,” even respectful and kind.
I have had some conversations about this election, and they allowed for topics relating to the Gospel to be mentioned. Considering our lives are compared to a vapor (James 4:14), this year’s election is only a blip in comparison to eternity. How can your decision on this election affect eternal decisions?