Against Donald Trump: Why Evangelicals Must Not Support Trump

The rise of Donald Trump among some evangelicals is an understandable, even if unsettling phenomenon. The alienation and despair that he has both fostered and exploited is a pervasive feature of some corners of American life. But no one is more susceptible to such hopelessness about our political class than working-class, rural, white evangelicals, who have been tutored more by the grievance and resentment theater of both conservative and evangelical talk radio than by the good news of the Gospel. As Ben Domenech has astutely explained, having lost every culture war such evangelicals are now fighting on the only terrain they have left: political correctness. And Donald Trump is their gift to the world.

I have relatively deep roots in the conservative evangelical world. In 2007, Justin Taylor and Joe Carter let me join with them in endorsing Mike Huckabee. (I have since grown to regret this.) Unlike many of my more moderate peers, I have publicly defended traditional marriage. I have spoken at the Values Voter Summit. When progressive Christian Rachel Held Evans wanted to find a Christian to explain why they are drawn to political conservatism, she kindly invited me. I have written a cover story and a number of other pieces for Christianity Today. I am unswervingly pro-life and will unflinchingly describe the abortion regime as an American genocide. I think Values and Capitalism is among the best programs in the conservative world.

I have also never written about immigration, but my own views are somewhere between Rubio and Cruz. (This must be said, as it has become a litmus test for evangelical conservatives in this campaign.) I am skeptical of the relaxed immigration policies that many countries in Europe have practiced, but also recognize that America isn’t Europe and that we may be able to sustain and assimilate higher percentages of immigrants than countries with tiny land-masses. Ross Douthat’s ten theses on immigration seem enormously sensible to me. Like many Americans, I think blanket amnesty is a bad idea—and I see no way to deport 12 million people. I have friends and neighbors who are both members of the white underclass and are undocumented immigrants, and see regularly firsthand the challenges both sets face in trying to sustain their way of life.

Born of the tribe of Dobson and inducted into the party of Reagan on the eighth day, I have supported every Republican presidential candidate in my lifetime. And never before have I been more ready to dissolve that union.

If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, I will not hesitate in abstaining or voting for a third party in November. And neither should you.

——

In January, I compared Donald Trump to Sir John Falstaff, whose debauched and degenerate jollity has long intoxicated audiences with the strange brew of repulsion and mirth. Falstaff is larger than life itself: He somehow stands outside morality, even as he stands outside the political order. But Henry, having deliberately shrouded his character in the stench of vice through his close friendship with Falstaff, knows that the friendship cannot endure in the same way when he assumes the throne: “I will banish thee,” he promises Falstaff in the midst of their revelry. They both know it must be true: The legitimacy of Henry’s rule would be imperiled by his close friendship with the lecher.

Trump is a not simply a charlatan, a huckster, a con-man, though he is all of that. He is also shameless. The more outlandish he is, the more he is rewarded with the only currency he cares about: attention. He has none of the checks or balances that make the rest of us mortals weak and irrelevant. He is T.S. Eliot’s Hollow Man’ come to life: He blows wherever the loves of money, fame, and his indulgent fantasies of being a ‘winner’ will take him. As Joe Carter said recently, his penchants for insults betrays an incredibly insecure mentality, the sort that breeds a harsh authoritarianism at the first whiff of power. Nothing else will matter except maintaining the delusion that Trump is a Winner, Baby: the common good be damned.

Such shamelessness is his greatest asset: It is also one of our political order’s most deadly foes. As Eliot Cohen recently argued, Trump’s debased approach to political life signals a “larger moral and cultural collapse.” While ‘political correctness’ may slowly suffocate meaningful debate and dissent, the festering of an environment where outlandish and disgusting ‘rhetoric’ are rewarded with a party’s nomination will only embolden imitators. (Twitter is full of them, and they are terrible.) And we will be the worse for it: The shame that prompts our politicians to try to wiggle out of being called a ‘liar’ is what, in some instances, will actually prevent them from lying.

The lack of trust between the people and our government is a pernicious social disease that has been growing for a long time. But Trump is not so much a cure for our malaise as a more potent dose of the same venom. A political environment in which the truth is openly mocked, spit upon, and dragged through the streets before the cheering crowds places itself in serious jeopardy, as it reduces political relationships to who wields the instruments of power. If Trump, God and heaven forbid it, were actually to win the office, he would have his reward while the rest of us face la guillotine.

While evangelicals have gravitated to Trump precisely because of his repudiation of the ‘political correctness’ of our day, the brutal irony is that he is its final triumph, its consummation and perfection, its heroic champion…even down to his followers’ technique of shaming and silencing dissenters on Twitter. The reduction of politics to power and the assertion that argument is a cover for bigotry finds its completion in the devil-may-care spectacle that is the Trump campaign. He has persuaded even those who claim for themselves the name of the Gospel that nothing matters besides being told the warm and comforting truth that We Can Be Winners, that the truth is dispensable provided our needs are satisfactorily met. The irrelevancy of truth for the sake of power-relations in Trump’s campaign has transposed ‘political correctness’ into a new, contrarian key: Trump has not left it behind so much as co-opted it for his ends–at least until its purpose is served.

And those who support Trump will be most likely to lose out if he eventually wins. So it has often been for those who have bought into his lies. From Trump’s casinos to Trump University, like the prosperity preachers he emulates Trump has preyed upon the very people he claims to love and support. And why would a President Trump be any different? We have been given no reason why the Newly Converted Conservative Trump will be any better for America than the liberal Hillary Clinton. And no reason can be given because none exists outside of Trump’s most solemn word, a word that his history suggests is as valuable as the degrees from his University. For those drawn to Trump’s policies, on what reasonable basis would you expect him to not sell you out? Because the fearsome power of the Republican Establishment will hold him to account?  The same Republican establishment that is now bending to kiss the ring?

T.S. Eliot was not wrong about much, but he was about this: The world may end, but it will not be with a whimper, except from the conservative Republicans who have decided Trump is their only hope for the relevance and influence they crave.

——

There is no conservative argument for Trump. Conservatives once held that virtue and character are essential requirements for a just society, and that a stable marriage and family is among the best way to nurture those virtues. Those virtues, we contended, were essential for ensuring that the market not only operated efficiently, but stayed within its appropriate boundaries. The conservative movement once believed that religion was central to our social fabric, that not everyone had to be religious but that it needed to be afforded due respect and even reverence. Turning religion into a political prop would only cheapen it, and eventually corrode it. The political virtues that conservatives once cared about—temperance and restraint—are now treated (by ‘conservatives’) as the stuff of compromisers and weaklings: “Damn your concern for principles and prudence: We shall have our riots in the streets!”

My depiction of ‘conservatism’ is, admittedly, both nostalgic and not policy-specific. But it gestures at a set of intuitions which have helped me maintain my ties to a party that I have frequently found myself in disagreement with. I have always been happy to be an idealist: Chesterton taught me that it is the only path toward reform. Still, if the Republican party has become so detached from the conservatism that I depicted that it is willing to allow Trump to bear its mantle, it deserves the violent death that it currently faces.

It would be easy to look upon Trump and see him as an outlier in American life. But the Trumpian disregard for the truth and virtue is a cancer that has beset us all: Trump is a candidate for our time, a fitting judgment upon us who magnifies our sins and our vices. He may be a caricature; but he is a parody of us, a morality tale whose meaning we should heed.

But there is a difference between acknowledging the degraded political character of our age and joining with the Visigoths while they tear down the Roman monuments. That the Babylonians were God’s instrument for judgment does not mean the Israelites should have cleaned their swords. If the gods have released the Kraken upon us, shall we join him for tea and crumpets?

The Republican Party Establishment—may they rest in peace—has been leaning toward doing just that. Having failed to even try to stop him, they will now tell us that we are obligated to support him in November. At the moment when Falstaff must be banished, Chris Christie pledged his fealty—and was rewarded most handsomely for it. Hugh Hewitt has begun banging the unity drum. I have long admired him, though he has oft been tempted to prioritize the party over principle.

More will unquestionably come, with cries of “The Court, The Court, The Court!” So the wholesale repudiation of conservative principles by the party pledged to defend them will proceed, washed down by the smooth pragmatic consequentialism that has placed its principles on the altar of urgency. That the party of Lincoln would demand that we support Donald Trump suggests there is no one who might rise the ranks to whom such individuals would say ‘no.’ One might think that such unprincipled weakness is partly what has undermined our country’s respect for the party and given us….Donald Trump. The party leadership has not learned its lesson, but they will have their reward in full: a weekend stay at Mar-a-Lago, which should keep them warm and cozy in their infamy.

I do not despair at the prospects of President Trump: If that is the judgment upon us, then I will meet it with as much good cheer and confidence as I can muster. What tempts me to despair is the number of otherwise sensible people who will capitulate to the shameless huckster to preserve the shreds of their power. Yes, the Supreme Court is important. But if the Republic is in such dire shape that we have to vote for a chronic liar who has knows how to distance himself just enough from the racist underbelly of American life to hold it together, then we should just honestly acknowledge that she is already mortally wounded. This election is about “saving the country,” Hewitt cries, as though all it will take is three Supreme Court justices and a much stronger navy. If the country is imperiled, it is so because of the rot within–the rot that Trump’s overtly race-baiting politics has brought to the surface, and which the Vichy Republicans are currently planning to make terms with.

Besides, Trump’s promises to appoint conservative justices are worth what, exactly? More or less than the Trump University degree? That the next President may appoint three Supreme Court justices is not an argument for voting for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. Given Trump’s penchant for telling people what they want to hear for the sake of his own advancement, we need some argument independent of his own words that he will suddenly become trustworthy when he is in office. The entire history of his character bears witness against it.  

But I am not convinced it has come to that, because I think there are enough decent, clear-headed men and women left in this country that Donald Trump will never be President. Would that there were more of them within the Party’s leadership.

Trump is the candidate Republicans deserve. But I will not be complicit in their folly. With Erick Erickson, I will never vote for Donald J. Trump. He has neither the character nor the principles to commend him to the office.  That this even has to be said is indictment of the world enough. It is an age of high folly when banally obvious truths have to be uttered by ordinary men and women.

The right response now to Donald Trump by any conservative is Erickson’s and Ben Sasse’s: We shall fight on Super Tuesday, we shall fight on the plains of Ohio, we shall fight in Florida, we shall fight with the cheer of knowing we are in the right, we shall fight on the floor of the convention, we shall never join with him. The Republican party may die, but conservatism and its principles will go on and be renewed without it. #NeverTrump. Not now, not ever.

But to that I would add that I may never support a candidate who endorses him, either. Offering support to Trump is such a gross error in judgment that I will be highly skeptical of any politician who lends their aid to place him in the White House. The party simply isn’t worth it. It never was, and as long as it continues to embrace the myth that the Party Matters Above All, it never will be. The only meaningful way to defeat Trumpism permanently is to offer a better politics, a politics rooted in integrity and character and concern for our neighbor, a politics that takes seriously the concerns of Trump’s followers without capitulating to their leader. Such a politics can win the respect of a majority of the country only if it breaks with Trump himself, and ignores the browbeating about the Court that the Vichy Republicans (like Hewitt) will offer until November 11th.

For evangelicals, the decision should be easy. Sadly, for many who are already supporting Trump, it is not. We have Bible verses clearly indicting Trump’s behavior, and in the strongest possible terms. I mean, look at the list from Proverbs about what the Lord hates: “haughty eyes, a lying tongue… a false witness that pours out lies…” Accepting Trump because he announces that we can be warm and filled completely divorces our political commitments from our interest in the Gospel. This is the time to recognize what you have wrought, and repent: The hour draws nigh, but it is not too late. Shamelessness is not courage. Defeating political correctness through wickedness is not a victory for the truth. The enemy of our enemy is not always our friend. If we feed the beast, he will someday grow strong enough to turn on us. And that day will come: Trump’s history of being blown by every wind and wave of sentiment virtually guarantees it.

For those evangelicals who are seized by despair at our political order and interested in burning it to the ground, consider instead voting for someone with the firmness of principles and character that will guarantee that when he arrives, he will not lose sight of his mission. C.S. Lewis once said he would rather play cards with an atheist who never cheated over a Christian who didn’t care. In the same way, disaffected evangelicals should prefer someone with a moral center over the hollow core of a B-grade celebrity. In other words, lend your support to Bernie Sanders: You’ll have as much of a chance of overturning our political order, having your interests represented, and passing pro-life policies as you will with Donald Trump. And he at least has the advantage of being a decent human being.

There is no world in which I would vote for Bernie Sanders. But I would consider it before I would ever consider voting for Donald Trump. And Republicans who expect us to fall in line come November should know that among evangelicals who have voted with them in the past, I am not alone.

Feature image via: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/8567825104

Enjoy the article? Pay the writer.

$
Select Payment Method Loading...
Personal Info

Donation Total: $0.00

  • Tom

    Sir, I say this as someone who will vote third party come November if Trump is the Republican nominee: you have undercut yourself with your last two paragraphs, and badly.

    • And why? I’m not suggesting voting for Bernie. Not in the slightest.

      • Tom

        I know you’re not, and you know you’re not.
        But this is the Internet.

        • Sure, but writing for the “this is the internet” constituency sounds pretty miserable to me. Where does *that* end?

          • Matt

            Thanks for the article Matthew. And in response to “this is the internet” if people who read articles like this aren’t challenged to read such in its entirety and engage fully and give thoughtful consideration to what’s being said, society will continue to decline as the American people become like sheep lead to the slaughter… Thank you again Matthew for encouraging this thought.

          • Tom

            In actually getting your ideas heard by the people who need to hear them?

      • He means look for the following Pulpit & Pen hit piece to appear later this week: “Anderson slides from “mere” orthodoxy, says he will vote for Sanders.”

  • Pingback: Loving Your Political Neighbor in an Age of Trumpian Anxiety | Reformedish()

  • Keith Miller

    Did you read Peggy Noonan’s piece this week?

    • I hadn’t, but it’s very good and I agree with it almost entirely. MBD’s piece that I linked above is very similar. My argument above is simply that the cost of voting for Trump the man is too high to pay to express the frustrations that Noonan articulates.

      • Keith Miller

        I agree that it is one of Noonan’s best efforts in recent memory. MBD has also been very insightful throughout the Rise of Trump.

        You and I agree that voting for Trump in the primary is too high a price to pay to express the frustrations that Noonan articulates, but taking the path of Senator Sasse and preemptively declaring Trump to be an illegitimate nominee comes across as declaring that the millions of voters expressing those frustrations are also illegitimate. Let us beat Trump while we may, but let us not fail to hear the legitimate grievances of the unprotected.

        • “Declaring Trump to be an illegitimate nominee comes across as declaring that the millions of voters expressing those frustrations are also illegitimate.”

          Not at all. Having legitimate concerns and investing them in a candidate who no person should ever vote for are totally commensurate.

  • Justin Rupple

    Well articulated! Thank you for thoughtfully voicing what so many of us think about a potential Trump presidency. It pains me to talk with fellow believers that support him blindly because he “gets things done” and “tells it like it is.”

  • slop101

    Agreed. Though Cruz is even more frightening to me.

    • Shaniqua

      So, you prefer hillary and obama?

      • Laura

        A vote for Trump IS a vote for Hillary. He cannot defeat her.

        • Joe Stocker

          Maybe he can if…

          Democrat voter turnout is low because NOBODY likes Hillary
          Trump bets on class rather than identity politics (like Sanders)

  • Is there a candidate who you can (generally) happily align yourself with and support?

    Thanks.

    • Shaniqua

      Christ. ONLY CHRIST could win ALL OF HEARTS and DOES! But we need to pick the person who will stand up for ALL of US living on EARTH and in America and continue to be against all the corrupt and evil politicians/people here in the USA and around the world. That would be Trump. Are you so blinded by your hatred of Trump to not see how the corrupt Leaders here and around the world are fighting like hell to keep Trump out. WHY do you suppose they don’t want Trump in? It’s because they FEAR ANYONE who will Stand up for what is right for US and the AMERICAN people over anyone else. Trump has fought for us for DECADES! He’s been before Congressional committees speaking about corruption, lies, fraud, etc. and fighting against bad trade deals, waste of tax payer money, etc.

      • Was he fighting for you when his gamblings were profiting off of your neighbor? Was he fighting for you when his mortgage company deliberately practiced sub-prime lending to steal money from unqualified borrowers? Was he fighting for you when he set up a fake university and charged thousands of dollars for a piece of paper?

        • Kepha Hor

          And when his companies fail to turn a profit, he declares bankruptcy, leaving the investors in the lurch. To build casinos, he exploited eminent domain laws shamelessly, putting people out of their homes. Perhaps the only good thing to say about Trump is that he doesn’t pretend to be a saint. Instead of being a whitewashed sepulcher, he lets all the rot, decay, and stench of death come out.

          But I think there is one important element here that your article missed. Tucker Carlson observed that Evangelicals have given up on having a brother as POTUS, and are simply looking for a bodyguard. I’m not a Trump fan, I sympathize with what your article is saying, but I’ll add that I understand why Trump resonates.

    • Cornelius

      I am Canadian, so my perspective is different. My wife and I think that John Kasich and Bernie Sanders are gentlemen.
      My family moved to Canada from the U.S. when I was a young teenager, now I am close to retirement. My father was a clergyman; born and raised in northeast U.S., spent his whole ministry in mid-western U.S. and Canada. I remember he always said “vote for the person, not the party”. Having said that, i think he voted Republican most of the time. ☺ Being from Canada we are not adverse to socialism, our political spectrum is more left here then in the U.S. it has been said by some that our conservatives are more like your democrats. My wife has had cancer twice and i had a quad by-pass a few years ago. Neither of these three everts cost us more than parking fees at the hospital, literally. We have a great universal health care system, so we dont understand the republican issues here. To us health care is a human issue, not a left-right issue.
      What concerns us most as north americans is the general rise of xenophobia. Over the past 25 years my wife and I have hosted numerous students from all over the world, we have sponsored refugees, volunteered in other countries helping the poor, currently we are volunteers helping an Iraqi family get settled in Canada. What scares us is the general rise of xenophobic attitudes in both Canada and the U.S. To us, like health care, this is NOT a left-right issue, it is a human issue, it is a Christian issue. In all of our volunteering we are continually reminded and amazed by the simple realiizatin that “all over the world people are just like us, they have the same fears and dreams as we do.”
      Trump scares us. It will be a sad statement of western society and the Christian faith If he becomes president of the most powerful nation the we live next to,

      p.s. Matthew Anderson, we really enjoyed reading your comprehensive artcle, i have shared it with many of my friends.

    • Andrés Weaver

      There is one for me. Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party. The Constitution Party is not on the ballot in all fifty states yet, but they are in progress!
      I would much rather vote for a candidate who represents Christian values, even though he or she may not have any chance of winning the election, than vote for the supposedly “lesser of the two evils”. In this case, the two major presidential candidates are equally evil! After all, the Clintons and Trump were good friends before he decided to enter the Republican primary. They are really two sides of the same coin. I believe that they will be good friends again after the presidential election is over with.

      • Thanks, Andrés! I too would much rather vote for a candidate who represents Christian values (even if that person has no chance of winning), than to choose for the lesser evil.

        • Andrés Weaver

          Thanks for your reply, Spencer!
          Here in Mexico where I have been a missionary for over 22 years, every believer that I have talked to about this agrees with you and me. A Christian candidate from a new political party here in Mexico, which has Christian values, recently won the election to be the “deputado federal” (which is equal to a U.S. representative) from the state of Aguascalientes. I believe that if enough of us vote for a godly candidate our voice will be heard in Washington!

  • W. Scott Lamb

    Hence the reason the “Why I will never vote for Ted Cruz” pontification was so short-sighted.

    • It’s possible that I would never vote for either, and that for similar reasons. Cruz has obviously tried to follow in Donald’s wake this entire election….even down to promising to support him if he’s the nominee. It says a lot that the purported ‘conservative compromiser’ Rubio has gone full #nevertrump, while Cruz is still saying he’ll back him if he’s the nominee.

      So yeah, I’m still feeling good about not supporting Cruz either.

      • W. Scott Lamb

        Hyperlink-blaming Rush Limbaugh and AFA for Trump, while failing to acknowledge the dead-end political strategy of “I’d never vote for Cruz” is hypocritical.

        Cruz or Rubio–either man would have been a stellar POTUS, once in a generation.

        Cruz fanboys couldn’t get past “Gang of 8” and Rubio fanboys couldn’t get past “David Barton runs the PAC.”

        • Sorry: where is the hypocrisy between pointing out that the same people who fed the phenomenon that gave us *both* Trump and Cruz and saying that I’d never vote for either?

          The point of my first essay linked together Trump and Cruz, and argued that sometimes, ‘winning the WH’ shouldn’t be the only consideration. That you think I am adopting this for the sake of a “political strategy” means that you’ve misread me….badly.

          • W. Scott Lamb

            I’m not saying you adopted it for political strategy.

            I’m saying “trash Cruz” or “trash Rubio” was, for all who participated in that, a foolish strategy (even for those who say they are not led by political strategy concerns).

          • One man’s principled objection is apparently another man’s “trashing.” Either way, I’ve been consistent about those principles this entire cycle, and they’ve lead me to reject both Cruz and Trump. Your charge of hypocrisy is completely unfounded.

          • hoosier_bob

            For what it’s worth, I have the same reservations about Cruz that I have about Trump. Yes, Cruz isn’t as much a libertine. But he has the same low regard for the truth, and also seems to be telling people what they want to hear. Ted Cruz is smart enough to know that David Barton is a con artist. But he aligned himself with Barton because doing so would curry favor with a certain brand of “evangelical” voter.

            Rubio is a poor fit for this election cycle. He’s too conservative on social issues to appeal to moderate Republicans, and Ted Cruz has the values-voter crowd locked up. So, Rubio has no natural constituency. I suspect that many moderate Republicans will vote for Trump, if only to block Cruz. Then, they’ll vote for Hillary in the general.

      • Shaniqua

        Your absolute ignorance in not supporting the GOP front runner-TRUMP- will put hillary in. Are you really willing to allow that? There is NO perfect Candidate, but the right one is TRUMP!

        • I noticed that you didn’t answer my question. Would you provide a single reason for me to believe that he’s a Christian besides that he says he is one?

          And a vote for Trump is a vote for Hillary. He won’t win the White House. So, um, nice try.

          • Joe Stocker

            Well he isn’t a Christian. But the odd thing about attacks on Trump is that they are also attacks on his supporters. That doesn’t happen with Cruz/Rubio.

          • razajac

            Here’s one for you: Was “W” a Christian? He did, after all, repeatedly say he was one.

            And… be careful. Don’t fall for the fact that he got that evangelspeak down, icy cold.

        • QED

          Shaniqua,

          No. Actually your campaign for Trump will put Hillary in: http://www.redstate.com/dan_mclaughlin/2016/03/01/vote-trump-vote-make-hillary-clinton/

  • Larry28

    I live in one of the Super Tuesday states. Formerly a Republican, I’m now an independent who’s grown disgusted with the leadership of both parties. Yet I still plan to vote in tomorrow’s primary, taking advantage of living in a state with an open primary system. I don’t want to see Donald Trump win the Republican nomination, but he may be well on his way following tomorrow’s primaries and caucuses unless one or more of his opponents does much better than expected.

    That having been said, what if we wind up with a general election choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? For in my view, she is at least as unqualified to be president as Mr. Trump. How many other candidates currently seeking the presidency finds themselves in the position of potentially facing an indictment before the general election?

    Lord, have mercy on our country.

  • Laura Goetsch

    Thank you for this. It is both wise and shrewd. I only wish that the people considering voting for Trump were the type to read it, but they are not.

  • I really do think you should re-evaluate your last two paragraphs, at least for the primaries.

    For years conservatives have been saying that character matters. In this election there is good likelihood that we will be voting for Clinton or Trump, both of whom have real character issues. I think there is a good reason, at least for the primaries, for Christians to support Sanders. It is unlikely that Trump can be stopped. But Clinton can be stopped and Sanders has a better chance of beating Trump in the general than Clinton does.

    Sanders seems a perfect example of good Character that, while you may have real policy issues with (I am a solid democrat and even outside of abortion I have real policy issues with Sanders), would actually try to work for the good of the country. And Sanders is not hugely beholden to the Democratic party. He has been outside of the party system for virtually his entire political career.

    And for everyone that is concerned about Sander’s socialism, it is unlikely that anything substantive that he is proposing would pass. So we would have another 4 years of gridlock. Which given the other alternatives, seems like the best option.

  • Matthew Miller

    “Trump is a candidate for our time” – Matthew Lee Anderson

  • Rebecca

    Your article was so disturbing to me in so many ways. You don;t know me & you surely do not know Mr Trump. You are going off how the media portrays him. I am so utterly sick & tired of the corruption in both parties. The corruption in corporations, churches and from the very leaders that are stealing from “we the people”. The lies and empty promises are never ending. Year after year….it is all for greed & power to the elite. Your tone & words lead me right to the rest of these “rapist”. How you people sleep at night is beyond my comprehension. Every candidate, both parties, are bought & paid for by their donors. They are puppets, and once elected, will turn on the very people who elected them and go with the donors wished. This I know. Trump is the only candidate who can not be bought. The establishment is desperate to stop him. They have deep pockets and they are not ready to give up the goods they steal from us on a daily basis. Even tho I do not always agree with Mr Trump, it is the same with my family & loved one. We can be on different sides of an issue, but we still love one another….because we trust each other. I trust Mr Trump, as I know him & have followed him thru his many endeavors. He loves this country & he loves the people. He does not have to do this. It is dangerous for him to do this. He is just as fed up as the rest of us to see the corruption continue. We are at a point of no return. He is the only man available that cannot be bought that can save us. I am sorry, but you are so wrong.

    • Rebecca,

      Thanks for the comment. I sleep at night just fine, thank you for asking.

      I don’t know how to respond to the claim that Trump’s deceptions are simply a product of the media. I’m going off of pretty obvious facts about his history of both political positions and business dealings. The people who paid for degrees from ‘Trump University’ trusted him, too….and were defrauded. Through his casinos, he has stolen money from the people he claims to now represent, and has given nothing back.

      I’m sure he loves the country. But why is his own mouth more credible than the ‘media stories’ you dismiss?

      Matt

    • I wonder if you could flesh this out a bit: “He is the only man available that cannot be bought that can save us.” Could you say more about why you think this?

    • Shaniqua

      Hypocrites are what these so called Christians prove to be. Trump is proud to say he’s on the side of the Christians and yet doesn’t claim to be a saint. Trump is more honest than Cruz and many Christians and proves it daily. Christians are proving themselves nothing but ignorant judgmental hypocrites. I too love Christ and follow him, but realize that when a country needs real leadership and one with more experience in trade, jobs, budgets, etc., than most, I’ll take the guy with the spine to do what needs to be done and stand up to our enemies here and around the world without EXCUSE!

      • Hi Shaniqua,

        When Trump is proud to say that he’s on the side of Christians, why do you believe him? Because he says so? Can you point me to any evidence in his life *besides* what he has said about his faith that shows he is in fact a Christian?

        Just one thing. That’s all I ask.

        Matt

        • Joe Stocker

          (Upper?) middle class Christians conflate middle class values with gospel values. It’s easier for working-class people to fail a “behaves like a Christian” test if it is set by someone who misreads and dislikes working class culture. I’m not suggesting that you do this but ask your white underclass and undocumented immigrant neighbors “How do you know when someone is in fact a Christian?” and they might put more focus on personal characteristics that to you seem rather weak substitutes for ‘good arguments’.

          I’m not claiming Trump is a true Christian – but I do understand how Cruz can be read as a different kind of con man.

          • I didn’t ask for much. I asked for one piece of evidence. Given the volume of his lies, we have vastly more evidence to suggest that he is not anywhere close to being a Christian.

            The question has nothing to do with class. I am well-aware that real Godliness can exist in surprising and even off-putting social forms to middle-class Americans. But the gap between such Dickensian goodness and Donald Trump is…..yuge. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

          • Joe Stocker

            The entire Trump roadshow has everything to do with class.

            The problem seems to be spilling over into church life as well. Russell Moore is hilarious when he says the evangelical label is now “meaningless” and he now identifies as a “gospel Christian” because Trump is polling well with evangelicals. It’s all too easy for everyone to go their separate ways – never encountering another ‘class’ in the workplace, socially or even in church. Losing touch with and insulting the base is the Republican establishment response to Trump. Moore would apply the same tactic from the pulpit.

            I’m viewing this from a country that no longer has a working class church culture (except black Pentecostal churches). No evangelical in the UK talks about class any more. They are comfortable helping a poor African from a distance but don’t want to share a pew with a local chav (redneck). The white working class know they are despised and are equally happy to stay well away from middle class evangelicals. It’s a disaster for the gospel.

          • hoosier_bob

            What makes you think it’s different in the US. Evangelicalism in the US is also a middle-class phenomenon. Working-class people may identify as “evangelical,” but they don’t attend church regularly, and for many of the same reasons that you mention.

          • Joe Stocker

            This is the looming disaster – once a week Christians become one a month Christians who then become weddings and funerals only Christians because “gospel Christians” vote Rubio (and never get drunk and swear)!

      • Saun Hytche

        The Pope says anyone who would build walls instead of bridges is not a Christian…what would Jesus do?

        • Joe Stocker

          Walls don’t have to be made of brick and stone. Elites protect themselves well enough without physical barriers.

          • Saun Hytche

            I think that’s where the Pope was going…

        • Jump

          Well, that’s a poor slogan for the Pope to utter, Saun: the Vatican is a walled city. Also, my house has a wall. Does yours? Seems to me not much moral disapprobation should follow from that.

          • Saun Hytche

            Getting a little nit picky, are we?

          • Jump

            “Getting a little nit picky, are we?”

            If pointing out inconsistency is nitpicky in your book, so be it.

          • Saun Hytche

            Trump proposes a wall another country will never pay to have built. The walls of Vatican City were built in the middle ages. What the Pope says applies to those wall builders of the middle ages as well. Yes he lives there- – comes with the job. No reflection on the honor of his statement.

          • Jump

            All interesting points, Saun. I thought you had been arguing that it was wrong to build walls to keep people out of places. Evidently, you weren’t.

          • Saun Hytche

            Nah…just arguing new wall to limit immigration case. The Great Wall of China might have been the largest public works project in history, and probably like the walls of the Vatican, were built for defense long before sophisticated arms and armies. While I agreed with President Obama’s approach to immigration- -that if peoples’ homelands were better places they would want to STAY there, I cannot relate to how bombing the shit out of countries would help to make those places where people want to stay.

    • Saun Hytche

      The Pope said anyone who would build walls instead of bridges is NOT a Christian…the Pope ought to know.

      • Kalvin Sid

        The Pope isn’t the one who has to pay for the billions of dollars it costs us as country to support illegals, much less the risk of allowing terrorists to come in

  • Matt Petersen

    Thank you.

  • koochfive

    Blessings upon you. Great piece. I will join you in not voting for Trump. Thank you

  • Roberta Lippse

    This is entirely motivated by the big business part of religion. Religious groups are making millions of dollars in government money resettling refugees and illegal aliens. Keep in mind they really don’t care what happens to the people- they will dump more refugees into a town than there are residents and put in incompatible mixes- with slaves and slave owners all in the same bunch. It is things like this that has Austin Texas schools trying to teach with 22 different languages in the classroom- so no kids are learning anything other than foreign cusswords. I can’t believe that anyone who is from a religion other than a Islam is not backing Trump 1000% because he is the only candidate that will keep us from becoming a Muslim country. Muslims are bound by their religion to kill or enslave and tax any non-Muslims – period. They are not following their own religion if they do not do it. They have not gone through a reformation and do not have anything equivalent to a New Testament that stops the barbaric tribal crap. The other candidates are buying into the nice peaceful Muslim stories, which sound good until they build up in numbers enough to start rioting and implementing sharia law. Look at Brittian. They are posed to have a Muslim Prime Minister, have massive no go sharia law zones, women and children are being raped everywhere- do we really want that here? How about any single country in Europe? Is there even one that has not been harmed by the flood of Muslim immigrants? I don’t care how many millions of dollars that the big business churches rake in from resettling immigrants, they are opening the flood gates to getting their own parishioners killed and welcoming the end of their own religions or any type of religious freedom in America. Take a look at this for yourself and decide. I have already changed from Democrat to Republican and voted for Trump by early ballot. Big business religion really does not have anything at all to do with religion and I really don’t care who they want me to vote for.

    • I encourage you to listen to the podcast we did on refugee resettlement. Your description of England is just nuts. But I agree with with Ross Douthat’s post on immigration above.

      Even if you were right about it all, none of the policy positions would justify voting for a moral cretin like Trump.

  • Yossi

    I’m no fan of Trump, and there are several other Republican candidates I would much prefer to him, but articles like this one strike me as “ad hominem” attacks… few specifics, just a lot of repeating of innuendo and “everyone knows he’s a terrible, evil and vile person” kind of talk.

    There ARE a number of specific things about him that give me strong reservations about how good he would be as President regarding support of conservative positions, but should he win the nomination, I plan to vote for him. Admittedly, it would “suck,” but better to elect someone who is running on a conservative platform which would be the basis for a principled attempt to “hold his feet to the fire” should he do otherwise once elected, than to elect the corrupt liberal (or avowed Socialist) who is running on and has a demonstrated history of support for principles antithetical to my conservative beliefs.

    • I made claims above and used links to other pages for evidence. So if you want specifics…..they are there.

    • Kepha Hor

      I’ll add that Hillary Clinton and the administration she serves all but handed swathes of the Middle East to the selfsame people who brought us 9/11 (the Muslim Brotherhood, Nusra, which is Qaida lite, etc). Her use of a private e-mail server to send highly classified materials shows a serious carelessness about national security, and makes me groan every time I hear about how “competent” she is.

      • Yossi

        Yeah… using an analogy from the movie “Schindler’s List,” Oscar Schindler may have been an amoral serial adulterer, have run a number of businesses into the ground, and was a Nazi party member, but as a Jewish person, I’d rather put myself into his care than into the care of Amon Göth (the commandant of the Płaszów work camp). I’d rather cope with a President with Trump’s flaws, bad history and recent profession of a conservative orientation (of questionable sincerity and understanding of what “conservative” actually is), than someone who has been consistently and unapologetically devoted to radical liberalism.

    • razajac

      Nobody held Bush’s feet to the fire. Did you? Or did you vote for him *again* in 2004? The Avowed Socialist running today (2016) wants to use the people’s money in fine republican fashion; by taking steps to provision a decent life for all Americans. Bush took your money–and your grandkids’ money!–flung in into a pit and torched it. So which governing philosophy is _really_ more in line with your “conservative” beliefs?

  • Kepha Hor

    Male Vanity Hairdoooooo, and shameless toooooo, running against Shrillary Shroooooo….What is our country

    coming tooooooo? [sound of wailing].

  • What was wrong with Huckabee? He would have been better than Obama.

    • Truth Unites… and Divides

      I voted for Huckabee in the primary, and held my nose to vote for McCain.

      I’m voting Cruz all the way this year.

  • tb03

    I thought this was a interesting article with insights I have not though about before. However, I’m left thinking that there are fundamental denials, or at the very least deep reflection, that is causing an inability to more fully connect the dots regarding the Trump phenomenon.

    I’ve read here and elsewhere that a primary reason that Evangelicals (please note-only some Evangelicals, probably most, but not all) are voting for Trump is due to the Republican establishments failure is following through on their promise to advance favored social policies. This in part may be true, but I think there is a larger view missing in these arguments. If we consider two of the biggest social issues in the past 5-10 years, abortion and gay marriage, we need to examine how in synch the fundamental arguments of social conservatives on these issues and the type of authoritarianism that makes Trump so appealing. The pro-choice position is a simple one: Every pregnancy places the pregnant person at risk. Every pregnant person is an autonomous human who has the right to defend their person, their own body. No one else can be considered a reliable witness and decision maker for another person unless it is socially and legally recognized (spouse of an incapacitated adult, a parent of a young child, ect.) Therefore, it is irresponsible to let those who know very little about the situation and will ultimately suffer no consequences of their decision dictate another life. The vast majority of Americans believe that abortion is necessary in at least some circumstances (I bet the remaining 20% or so would be convinced of the necessity of abortion in at least a few circumstances. Ectopic pregnancy and still refusing to allow abortion? Get real!) The pro-life argument realized in public policy is essentially a hostile takeover of another person’s body. This point gets lost because many believe they are the caretakers of unnamed children, but this is only accomplished through the domination of a sentient, named being. This position effectively negates any moral presumption of the pro-life movement. It is the dominance, the demonizing, the lying that is weaved throughout the pro-life political movement that is in lock step with the Trump message. Trump is a lier and fraud who lacks credibility and substance! But, so is CMP (attempted to buy human tissue while falsely accusing Planned Parenthood of selling, using misleading internet footage of unplanned miscarriages exploiting those families and passed them off as elective abortions, doctoring video footage to completely misrepresent conversations, stole another person’s identity, I could go on) and you had no problem with that 5 minutes ago, why whine now? This makes it hard to take the high road in my book. Of course Evangelicals support Trump!

    The second issue of gay marriage is much the same. Evangelicals often assert that homosexuality or bisexuality is contrary to nature because same sex relationships do not sexually reproduce. Anderson himself wrote at great length about why same sex marriage be banned on the basis of lack of procreative capabilities. When such arguments are made in a secular way they tend to fail because they allow for infertile opposite sex marriages which ultimately undermines the very premise it presupposes. If made from a religious viewpoint it fails (at least in the minds of affirming religious people) because homosexuality and bisexuality is mistakenly assumed to be a neurobehavioral disorder instead of a part of God’s good creation. God does not make what is “disordered”, that’s impossible. No, queer people are born queer as God made them. Queer people who marry someone of the same sex is often following a clear calling by God in their life as a gay person. This cannot be sin. Evangelicals often support their confusion through more confusion. If I remember right Anderson argued that same sex marriage does not follow God’s command of “being fruitful and multiply”, but he misquotes Genesis as this was never a command…It was a blessing. That is what God literally says in Genesis 28 (and also gave that blessing to fish and birds if I remember right). God, who says “Let there be light” and a universe is made does not NEED or require humans to procreate. That’s just silly! Yet, it’s this sort of creation idolatry that warps the minds of many Christians. They of course, being the little gods they are, translate biblical teaching into an overly legalistic approach of theology/public policy in order to dominate entire families. So, in reality, the fruits of banning same sex marriage are this: it erases parents from the lives of their children and spouses from each other in a political assassination attempt of innocent people who have done nothing but live their lives. Evangelicals call that “pro-family”-the irony. Then, to underline that point, they complain about tone policing by saying they are being silenced! Seriously, entire articles are written on this issue (some hyperlinked in Anderson’s article). Isn’t this another infamous Trump twitterism? What’s the difference?

    In short, what is missing in this piece is a good, old fashion reality check. Given the stakes of this lack of self reflection I feel it is in bounds to post what is essentially my argument as shown here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiZ-XgJKAIk

    • It’s great to hear from you, tb03. I’m glad you still pop in and read things every now and then.

      Best,

      Matt

  • Stephen

    I really want to know what’s behind this: “There is no world in which I would vote for Bernie Sanders.”

  • Pingback: The Daily Discovery (March 1, 2016) - Entreating Favor()

  • Obama Sandwich

    Amen to everything you said. Absolutely everything.

    My only question would be, if the choice boils down to Hillary or Trump, do you vote the lesser evil, or do you write in another candidate?

    • Truth Unites… and Divides

      Write in Cruz.

  • Jeanne

    Before we start bashing candidates let us look at ourselves, the church. I
    am convicted this morning about moving mountains with faith alone and
    disregarding the greatest commandment love. We are a famished people if we
    side step our duty to be God’s hand and feet. Prayer is a first step but
    works must accomplish something good.

    The “church” is grafted into God’s family and stands with Israel, God’s
    blessed nation. The church must stand with Israel and be her defender! Is
    Israel blessed by our belief they are His people and Jesus is the Promised
    Messiah? That Israel, along with the church, is called to be light and bring
    truth to a dying world?

    This calls us to examine how the church has and is fulfilling God’s will.
    I’ll start with abortion. I believe it is murder in situations and other
    times an agonizing decision between mom and/or baby’s health. I am not
    referring to disabilities or disease. I am considering the problem of mom’s
    mental health as well as the potential for orphans, foster care children and
    the problem of dysfunctional families on society. Where does the church
    stand on these issues and the problems of sexual impropriety, divorce and
    marriage, quality parenting and dealing with hurting people feeling the
    world closing in on them? I was let go from a CCP center because I cared
    about the woman’s situation. I sat with her for 2 hours listening to her
    story. CCP administration was concerned far more about the baby than mom,
    the one who was more than likely going to raise this child. Her mental
    health was pushed to the bottom of the heap. The child was being protected
    in the womb when she entered our care and what she needed was someone to
    walk beside her to continue protecting her child while walking with her as
    Jesus. Solely utilizing an ultrasound, as effective as that is, solves only
    one moral problem. And what about the other growing problems society faces?
    Homeless dying on our streets, sex slavery, poor communities and violent
    young people. Are we dealing with these issues effectively and in a God
    honoring way?

    As citizens, who can vote, we have an obligation to do our civic duty. I
    agree with all your arguments about Trump’s character. But nowhere in your
    article do you criticize the other candidates, who have been in politics and
    have not accomplished any good and who use political tricks to sway voters,
    albeit a bit more civilized. Why not give a chance to someone who plans to
    keep our constitutional freedoms, protect our country and follow the rule of
    law? Other elected politicians have reneged on similar promises so that
    argument falls short of its purpose. They all can point fingers and they do.
    Your article accomplishes this as well.

    We all stand before a righteous judge. Let us figure out our answer to God.
    The church is covered in His blood and rests in His peace. That is the Good
    News, not who will be president and whether they will fail or succeed in
    God’s will. The government is there to bring judgment or blessing. God rains
    on both the righteous and evil. Vengeance against evil is His.

    I will not judge how you vote and condemning how I vote is truly not
    productive. Maybe Trump will bring judgment and maybe he will bring
    blessings. All the other candidates could bless or bring judgment. Trump is
    winning. So I will choose between Hillary and Trump. Voting against Trump
    assures us we will be judged. I will give an egotistical man my vote over a
    traitor to a nation that has been a blessing to countless people until just
    a few years ago. We are traveling down a dark road and I intend to have my
    voice heard. I am saying your argument does not convict me I am voting for
    the wrong person.

  • Corey

    It amazes me that the same Christians who screamed that character matters during the Clinton years, now don’t care about Trump’s repeated infidelities, 3 marriages, shady business deals and so much more. The “evangelical” voice is no more, and perhaps that is good. I will never vote pro choice, and as far as I am concerned, Trump is still prochoice. His reasoning for being pro life is that a a friend had a kid and it “turned out great”. So his valuing of life is based on success. He has no moral underpinning for being pro life, therefore he will only be pro life as long as it gets him votes.

    For the first time in 25 years, I most likely will not vote for a presidential candidate. The DNC offers up either a marxist or an incompetent traitor and the GOP will most likely offer up the political equivalent of Kanye West.

    • John Hutchinson

      Non or scratch voting is probably also my choice..

      However, before painting all Christians with the same brush, maybe it is about time that we begin to properly define a Christian. Scriptures certainly gives us the right, prudence, and duty to do so (1 Cor 6, Gal 5, Matt 7)

      John Dickerson in “The Great Evangelical Recession” (2013) claims that the # of true Evangelicals by historical standards are between 7 and 9 percent (4 studies). This would certainly be more consistent with fruits, since it took about 10% of the Roman Empire population to be Christian in order for a cultural revolution to take place in the 4th century, even if I think that revolution was corrupted. In the current environment, Christianity is in full sociopolitical retreat.

      What is it to be a Christian but to trust on Christ; trusting on the full scope of Christ; His promises, counsels, virtue of the commands, Justification etc to the best of our sinful and imperfect ability. But to trust involves practicably operating upon the basis of promises, counsels, commands, assertions, whether in God in Christ, or horses, or chariots. Faith is a generic, universal, psychological and ontological existential reality and social necessary. Faith in Christ is what is God given.

      If a person empirically demonstrates a consistent variance between the stated imperatives of Christ and his/her own actions, perhaps we should stop naming them a Christian. And I am not talking about Trump so much as the people you deem to be voting for him. From what I am observing and finding trusted “gospel Christians” observing and declaring; most of those who vote Trump are cultural/nominal non-going Christians or gnostic Charismatics or the Jerry Falwell/Pat Robertson folk. While it is not my business to deign this or that person a Christian; at the same time I do not feel it fair to cast aspersions on Christians because of the conduct of likely wolves.

    • razajac

      Ironically, that “marxist” is about as close to an actual (small-‘r’) republican as you’re gonna get, this go-’round!

  • Erin Bartels

    Yes. A thousand time, yes. Well said.

  • Lamar Carnes

    Your slander and mean spirit toward Trump is being heard loud and clear. With your mask of Christianity you think you can lure people away from the only person who has this nation and its people on his heart and desires to bring us back to sanity. Being brainwashed as you have been showing up in your own remarks by many different persons and groups, slander seems to be in line these days as a favorite pastime sport of evangelicals. Pharisee ism is rampant in the moral deists of the day. Trump certainly has his faults but not as radical as Cruz and Rubio. Cruz is very mean spirited and creates an attitude not only as we see him T.V., but in Congress where he is hated by his peer because he is so mean spirited. Also, his lying and actually usage of a State form to try and sway voters away from Carson wass deplorable! Yet, you folks who enjoy deceit, lies and mean spirited people like him think you are so pious. Take the mask off please and repent of else you will face the Judge of all mankind one day for such debit and support of evil practices. Rubio also is a bend in the wind guy who supported the Mafia gang of 8, as well as now slandering and making disgusting remarks about the actual facial characteristics of Mr.Trump. How could you even think of voting for this guy and he has absolutely no experience in doing anything just like Cruz. Nothing bu smiling shaking hands and voting of issues on the Senate. No real job or experience in life!
    Donald Trump turned from liberalism and is a Conservative Republican period!
    Donald Trump is a outspoken in your face honest guy who tells the truth even if it hurts.
    Donald Trump has excellent experience in economic business activities and knows how to deal with all types of people in business and in Government and world leaders. He will not allow anyone to deceive him if he can help it.

    Donald Trump is rattling the cage of those entrenched old guard professional political hacks and elected men and women who do nothing to help the American people nor do they stand for the Republican principles we were told they would do when in office. They have failed us every time when they needed to stand up and be counted for our nation and its Conservative ideals.
    Donald Trump isn’t being BOUGHT OUT BY MONEY OR MEN OR WOMEN IN OFFICE OR BIG BUSINESS MOGULS! HE IS HIS OWN MAN! That is why they hate him. That is why the RNC leadership hates him for they will be put out of office and we will see something accomplished for the better.

    His few slang words are nothing in comparison to the other dudes who use God’s name in vain and yet pretend to be so great of a Christian. He doesn’t do that. Nor does his language really offend most people. He also professes Christianity and His trust in Christ! To say that is not so indicates one is a liar and the truth is not in them or they are just plain ignorant.

    Donald is just as Conservative and good for our nation as Ronald Reagan was, or George Bush was. Not much difference at all.

    I want also t o say this;; I have never seen in my entire life so much HATRED spewed forth from any person or organizations against a man who has done nothing to deserve such at all, and also a man who is very much qualified for the job. I have literally listens to men on talk shows who seem to be demonically possessed in their anger and hatred toward the man! It is sick! I hear journalists, talk show hosts, even so-called Christian ones spewing forth hate and disgusting attitudes and lies also along with other types of misinformation about him. That is sick and reflects the heart of individuals. Christianity is really being smeared now by those who claim to be followers of Christ – for they are not demonstrating it for one moment in this election. I vote for Trump because; He is qualified; has experience enough to hold such an office; will correct multitudes for wrongs done in the past; will help bring about economic stability; and also make our nation strong again militarily; and solve the immigration problem along with stop the Muslim terrorists from being brought into our country!!! If you don’t stand for that you are not as patriotic and as Christian as you seem to imply! We are NOT electing a Pastor or a Seminary professor to be our President. We are hopefully never going to go that direction which started with Constantine in the 3rd century (yoking up State and Religion). Trump supports and stands for the Christian faith and promised to make sure he would work against those who are trying to abuse and harm us!! But again, we are not electing a person who meets the criteria of a Pastor, but rather, a finite man who will work to do the best he can for the over all good of the nation. We don’t need moralist who force upon others their religious values and kinds of favoritism to one denomination or the other. Our CONSTITUTION AND BILL OF RIGHTS IS ALL WE NEED AND IT SUPPORTS PRO LIFE ISSUES, AND IT ALSO SUPPORTS FAMILY VALUES IF TAKEN SERIOUSLY. WE DON’T NEED NEW LAWS, BUT ONLY ENFORCEMENT OF THE ONES WE ALREADY HAVE FROM OUR FOUNDING FATHERS!~ TRUMP HAS PROMISED TO DO THAT!

    I know I won’t change your mind at all. But hope you can see that to slander and castigate a man who is NOT a charlatan as you call him incorrectly and slander, but rather just a normal business man and certainly one who stands up for his own beliefs. If any are charlatans, it is those who put their religious mask on and pretend they are pious to get votes!! And then by their life style and actions show they are pagan in their style and activities!!! That I resent for sure!! You can continue support them if you wish but I won’t do it. I prefer a man who isn’t using a mask and let’s the real person stand out clear to all of us. He is honest and the others are NOT! To close; God will have the final vote! Are you going to support HIM when the final vote come in? No, for you say you won’t! So you rebel against God for many times HE places a pagan in office, but Trump is no pagan!! Sorry you are being misled in your approach!

  • Kalvin Sid

    I don’t want to vote for Trump, but would that be a vote for Hillary?

  • Melanie Mustain Bivens

    What a bunch of garbage. If you don’t like him, just say so, but don’t put out half truths and outright lies tp push your point. Just 1 thing, among MANY others for you to chew on, the Trump Org gave 20 million dollars to St Judes Childrens hospital to help kids fight their diseases and go home to their families. Pretty christian of him isn’t it? How much have you donated to help kids fight their unfortunate diseases and go home with their families? Second, his casinos didn’t steal money from people. People play of their own free will and enjoy it, plus it is none of your business who goes to a casino. How many people in your church play the lottery, so give it up junior.

    • JaxDad

      So your contention is that charity = Christianity? And on that day when Donald Drumpf dies and stands before God in all His holiness, you think “I paid my way in down there” is a sufficient enough answer to “Why should I let you in?” Drumpf knows nothing of Scripture, of God, professes no repentance for sin, and exhibits character COMPLETELY in opposition to the life Christ has called us to. Lots of atheists are charitable. That doesn’t make them a Christian.

      But the more concerning part…why are so quick to try and justify someone’s faith who doesn’t profess Christ…and why are you not more concerned that they only defense you have of his faith is “He gave away a lot of money. Boom. Jesus.” You’re even willing to act like Jesus didn’t have hard words about gambling, that gambling doesn’t ruin lives, and that someone who preys on the poor in such a way doesn’t bear SOME responsibility for it. What other compromises of your faith are you willing to make in order to feel good about supporting Trump?

      • Melanie Mustain Bivens

        You have absolutely no idea if Trump is a christian or not. None of you do. You have no idea what he does in private and neither do the rest of you pseudo christians. Do you, or any other of you self righteous clowns have a secret phone line to God who lets you in on what is in Mr Trumps heart? Charity is a BIG part of christianity, surely you know that, well maybe you don’t.

        • Joe Stocker

          Conservative elites have absorbed some of the lessons of political correctness. PC speech codes prohibit making negative statements about any group except whites. What’s an upper middle class person under the burden of ‘white privilege’ supposed to do in that situation? The obvious answer is to distance themselves from “white trash”. That’s what ‘gospel Christian’ Russell Moore (and many of the Gospel Coalition crew) are now doing in their Twitter feeds – virtue signalling that they are “better than other white people”. Their churches probably aren’t that diverse – either in terms of race or economic/educational background – so it costs them nothing to declare that the evangelical label is now “meaningless” because some self-identified evangelicals are backing Trump.

          Trump probably isn’t a Christian but attacks on Trump also seem to be attacks on his supporters – who don’t deserve to be stripped of their “Christian” status (I wouldn’t go that far) because they do support him.

          In the UK working class people have drifted away from evangelicalism entirely, leaving middle class and ever so politically correct “gospel Christians” to run the show. It’s a shame because, aside from their obvious social and cultural prejudices, they have done a lot to keep the gospel message alive.

          • Joe,

            I’ve heard this argument several times in various places, and honestly, I only partially buy it. If you read the essay by Alastair that I linked, he identifies the occasional classism that the anti-Trump movement has been inflected by. I linked it because I agree with it almost in full.

            But, on the other hand, reducing any strong opposition to Trump to “virtue signalling” that middle-class white evangelicals are “better than other white people” is the kind of deconstruction that entails we should all just accept Trump *on the basis that* his supporters have made him the party frontrunner. If any objection is simply a sign of class privilege, then no reasonable objection can be made.

            I made sure, in the opening paragraph, to acknowledge that the support for Trump is understandable. I think I get it pretty well, and I think I get it pretty well because I’ve been listening to and talking with Trump supporters privately since this began. It would be wrong if I objected to Trump because his supporters are lower-class–but I don’t. In fact, I object to Trump because I think there’s tons of evidence he’s using the lower classes for his own purposes. In fact, my main objection is not to Trump at all–it’s against those white, upper-middle class Republican operatives who are going to demand that “for the sake of the party” we all get on board with Trump *if* he is the nominee.

            Best,

            Matt

          • Joe Stocker

            I get the #nevertrump response – but by the time a wave of #nevertrump articles were published it was far too late to offer the disenfranchised core of Trump’s supporters an third way alternative to either ‘winning’ or burning down the entire (in their view corrupt) system.

            The one word that stood out for me when I first read this article was ‘shameless’ – because that’s what the lower classes often are (it is also the name of a UK/US TV comedy series about the white working class). Working class people have an attachment to ‘shamelessness’ that upper middle class people readily misunderstand (it’s my background as well so Trump’s cussing and “tell it as it is” vulgarity doesn’t demoralize me). Maybe working class habits are now spreading to the center (Trump is counting on it). If they are, the answer isn’t for more affluent and academically privileged people to disengage from the shameless underclass. The answer isn’t to promote “virtue and character” without understanding how those values are expressed by the underclass. You and other conservative evangelicals are free to go your separate ways but how does someone like Russell Moore writing “Many of those who tell pollsters they are “evangelical” may well be drunk right now.” dispel the idea that the impending separation has more to do with cultural differences than the gospel?

            This election cycle reminds me of Charles Murray’s book Coming Apart. Elites on the left and the right of the traditional political divide are becoming more like each other and the center is collapsing – economically and culturally. In our highly individualistic society there will never be a coming together again – as both sides of this new “class’ divide adopt a vocabulary of disdain for each other. The US Reformed tradition will then left in the hands of an affluent, well educated but culturally insular white elite (as has happened in the UK).

          • hoosier_bob

            I wouldn’t exactly call the Gospel Coalition crowd an elite group of people. Even so, these guys do seem to have appointed themselves as the arbiters of who’s a true evangelical. Of course, as the Larycia Hawkins at Wheaton illustrated, these too-good-for-Trump evangelicals are no less racist and sexist when it comes to their personal dealings than Trump’s supporters. The latter are just honest enough to admit to their prejudices, while the former craft theological arguments to serve as the vehicle for their bigotry. In that sense, I trust the average Trump supporter more than I would trust any of the clowns who make up the Gospel Coalition.

            For what it’s worth, I’m planing to vote for Trump. I supported John Kasich. But I feel that stopping Lyin’ Ted Cruz is more important than anything else. So, this Republican will vote for Trump now, and for Hillary in the fall.

          • Joe Stocker

            Hillary in the fall? Why would you do that?

          • Truth Unites… and Divides

            “In that sense, I trust the average Trump supporter more than I would trust any of the clowns who make up the Gospel Coalition.”

            I wouldn’t. Oh my goodness, I absolutely would not.

  • JaxDad

    Every word of this is gold. From the bottom of my heart: Thank you.

  • Pingback: Never Again: My Profound Disappointment with Evangelical Leaders Supporting Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican Primaries | PONDER ANEW()

  • Bonnie

    Just popping in to say that the Lewis quote is from Abolition of Man: “I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite skeptical about ethics, but bred to believe that ‘a gentleman does not cheat’, than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among sharpers.”
    Carry on~

  • Speaking as a Christian Fundamentalist who is also an anti-capitalist leftist, should note that that label is redundant for a reason, I very much appreciate your article and will be putting a link to it on my blog sometime next week.

  • Pingback: Defining Evangelicals in an Election Year - mosaicversemosaicverse()

  • Pingback: Defining Evangelicals in an Election Year | It Ain't Christian - Or is it?()

  • Pingback: EXCLUSIVE: Robert Jeffress: 'No Christian Has the Right to Impose His Preference as a Litmus Test for Someone Else’s Christianity' - Breitbart()

  • Pingback: Defining Evangelicals in an Election Year | Spiritual Words Magazine()

  • Pingback: Defining Evangelicals in an Election Year |()

  • Pingback: EXCLUSIVE: Robert Jeffress: 'No Christian Has the Right to Impose His Preference as a Litmus Test for Someone … – Breitbart News()

  • Pingback: EXCLUSIVE: Robert Jeffress: 'No Christian Has the Right to Impose His Preference as a Litmus Test for Someone … – Breitbart News()

  • Pingback: Defining Evangelicals in an Election Year | The Chronicles()

  • Dave Boettcher

    Matt: 

    “But no one is more susceptible to such hopelessness about our political class than working-class, rural, white evangelicals, who have been tutored more by the grievance and resentment theater of both conservative and evangelical talk radio than by the good news of the Gospel. As Ben Domenech has astutely explained, having lost every culture war such evangelicals are now fighting on the only terrain they have left: political correctness. And Donald Trump is their gift to the I understand world…”
    This statement may be the granddaddy of all stereotypes.
    1. “hopelessness about our political class…” Hopeless about what? And, whom are the “political class”?
    2. “than working-class, rural, white evangelicals, [uneducated and gullible] who have been tutored [cannot think for themselves] more by the grievance and resentment theater [emotional] of both conservative and evangelical talk radio than by the good news of the Gospel.” [not followers of Christ, but fundamentalists. ”
    3. As Ben Domenech has astutely [code for he agrees with me] explained, having lost every culture war such evangelical [sometime why not define terms] are now fighting on the only terrain they have left: political correctness. And Donald Trump is their gift to the world….”[ Not my gift.]
    I confess, I am a evangelical Christian with a family, living in a very rural area. We attend a very church. Many of the my friends are those TYPE of which you write.

    However, my wife earned a BS in Nursing, took the boards and is the RN in charge of the Indian Healthcare and community clinic, which, because of the remoteness acts often as an urgent care center.

    I am an attorney of 28 years. My theology is more in line with the reformed tradition then anything else.

    Though, I fear you use evangelical as code for fundamendalist, which is not used in polite company, I am evangelical.

    The best I understand the thesis of this post is “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and Trump is the worst of the worst of the worst, so I ain’t voting for him. And, I thought I was the worst!

    Would you have voted for King David? How about Peter, who three times denied Jesus? Would you vote for your self?
    No, I am the “hollow man.”

    Oh! you of little faith. Do not you see God is in control. “For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.”

    In the primary elections I will not vote for Trump unless there is no one else. The general election poses a different a different issue; if Trump is still in the running, or anyone else: should I vote for the lesser of of two or three evils? I choose the the lesser rather then then the greater. By not voting or voting for another. Either type of vote, is a vote for a woman who is going to be the Democrat nominee.

    Iet us look at the two individuals, let’s say Clinton and Trump, and draw a ventricle line.

    Compare each persons views on issues, weighted toward the most important issues, to me, abortion for example. Place the persons view above or below the line. With the line being the minimum opinion the candidate must have to pass. Which ever candidate is above the line most, giving extra for the important issues, is generally and almost always, should get you vote.

    The last step is to pray and believe the Scripture which teaches God has put in place our leaders. He controls all our leaders.

    Who, amoung us is blameless so to deserve ones vote? None. It is Gods choice who will rule.

    In the end, there may be reasons not to vote for Trump, and reasons to vote for him and the same for the Democrat, what those reason are would be a riddle to me. But there are reasons none of us qualify to be President.

    Lastly, this opinion piece sounds more fundelmentalist than
    an opinion of a highly educated Oxford scholar working toward a Ph.D., white collar worker, urban dweller, regardless of color.

    Yours in doubt,

    Dave Boettcher

    • John Hutchinson

      Dear Dave:

      The lad, from reading his other posts over the years, does have the silver spoon, ivory tower condescension to us plebes.

      But aside from that . . .

      This is the dilemma that voting one way or the other poses. Let’s say that I believe that voting Clinton will provoke a civil war (Supreme Court appointment …), but Trump will somehow produce an authoritarianism, and the end of free civic republic. If i vote for either, and what I believe comes true, I will deem myself or will be deemed to have contributed to an ontological sociopolitical evil. There was always a chance that I was wrong about the other choice.

      Or it is like if the Poles had been presented with a 1940 plebiscite as to which set of barbarians will rule them. A Sophie’s Choice

      I do think that in that case, choosing not to vote for either is a legitimate and even more prudent choice.

      This is not to sway your choice. But it is an outside-the-box-one-is-given consideration.

      • “The lad, from reading his other posts over the years, does have the silver spoon, ivory tower condescension to us plebes.”

        Apparently, that condescension is catching!

        I’ve always tried to write in such a way that an audience of interested laypeople could find something worthwhile to think about, and in such a way that would force them to think harder about it. If expecting my audience to be willing to think along with me–and, if they have to, to use a dictionary–is “condescending,” then okay. I’ve always thought of it as a sign of respect: I refuse to treat my audience to the indignities of bullet-points and bold fonts because I think they are capable of more than that.

        You are free to disagree. But only one of us has a low opinion of those they are talking about.

        Best,

        “The Lad”

        • John Hutchinson

          Dear Laddie:

          It is quite apparent that you do not know when you are being deliberately provoked. And unlike the disciples, who, in humility, wondered whether it was they who betrayed Christ, although none had empirical reason to believe so; your first response is to act defensively, not weighing the feedback possibility that you do insidious manifest and emit such condescension.

          But you yourself admit to your own propensity to condescension.

          “By vocally articulating our opposition to Trump supporters and confessing our white
          privilege—those uneducated white working class evangelical rubes just don’t get
          it!—we can now demonstrate our virtue to others within our social class on
          social media and tut-tut about how stupid, evil, deluded, and backward wide
          swathes of our Trump-supporting compatriots and coreligionists are.

          The above has an element of caricature to it, of course, but the subject of the caricature is recognizable—many of us, myself included, have borne more than a passing resemblance to it on occasions.” – Trumped Up? Is the Donald’s Support Really Driven by Racist Xenophobia”

          Well, I am a plebe, one of your non-seminarian grunts on the pew, even if a working-class intellectual. And yes, I have self-appointed myself to be a bully to the bullies, and a browbeater to the browbeaters (And I am rather good at it, considering how easily I got under your skin); just as you have deigned yourself to be the fountain of all political wisdom, in not only casting aspersions on Trump, but elsewhere also on Ted Cruz, who in “The Undead Religious Right: Why I Cannot Support Ted Cruz,” you disparage as basically a Trump-lite.

          If the normally scurrilous Harry Reid acknowledges some level of respect for Cruz for the courage of his convictions (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/03/02/reid_on_cruz_i_have_some_degree_of_respect_for_him.html),
          what manner of Christian are you to snipe that Cruz “promises evangelicals
          Trumpism with a veneer of respectability.” No. Cruz sees himself as a latter
          day Cato the Younger or Cinna, striving to save the Republic in its last days from
          a series of demagogues and philhellenists. I cannot vote for Cruz, primarily
          because I am not American, but also because Cruz belongs to the Patrick Henry
          stream of American Protestant thought. But I am disinclined to so quickly publicly
          ascribe vile and venal motivations without incontrovertible empirical evidence,
          something that even your ivory tower colleagues should have taught you, although
          this appeal to “intellectual civility and winsomeness” is only but a rumor to
          me.

          I would furthermore suggest that you reconsider your allegiance to conservatism and capitalism. Neither belong to True Christianity than any other human ideology. Your idolatrous allegiance becomes a plank to your sight. And there is a distinction to be made between free markets and capitalism. The former, as the prophets tell us, idealizes every man owning the means of his own production, and enjoying the full fruits of his own labor.

          They shall build houses and inhabit them;
          they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
          They shall not build and another inhabit;
          they shall not plant and another eat; (Isaiah 65:21–22)

          Capitalism involves, by definition, the shearing of another man’s labor. And in its advanced stages, it makes incredibly difficult for every man to be his own entrepreneur, inordinately tilts the organic economic balance of power and leverage between haves and have nots; and thereby tilts the socioeconomic plane such that few poor can leap onto the upper echelons; or even nowadays, with Fed-induced asset bubbles, buy a house. It is little wonder that I hear again the sound of the guillotine.

          The “Values and Capitalism” think tank is, in effect, a shill and intellectual cover for those “who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land” (Isaiah 5:8).

          In Christ,

          “Grunt on the Pew”

          • Thanks for the reply, John. I knew I was being provoked: I was also being provoked in such a way that any kind of reason-giving that would demonstrate your wrongness would obviously be met as defensive. You gave no reasons for your assessment of my purported condescension: you simply asserted it, so I met the charge with all the serious consideration that it deserved. People who think deliberate antagonism of strangers on the internet is a form of Godly Christian witness are, in my view, not really to be trusted in their assessments of character…or much else, for that matter.

            Enjoy the internet. It’s vast, and no one has forced you to read my work. I suspect we might both enjoy the world far more if you don’t.

            Best,

            Matt

    • Dave,

      My analysis is based on two factors: (a) the results we have seen has demonstrated that Trump has done well among those who are ‘evangelicals’, however that gets defined. (b) Results have also indicated that Trump has done well in rural areas.

      Thanks for the feedback on the opening paragraph. Like many essays, it was trying to get people’s attention in the opening and to set up more analysis. It’s in no way a complete body of work. If I had made it more complete, rather than accusing me of being ‘condescending’ everyone would have instead accused me of being too verbose. So, I made certain shortcuts.

      1) The hopelessness of many people that I think are going for Trump is animated by two conditions: (a) distressed economic conditions and cultural conditions that are not in line with their point of view, and (b) a lack of representation in our political order. By our “political class” I mean the politicians in DC and the cluster of media that surrounds them.

      2) “than working-class, rural, white evangelicals, [uneducated and gullible] who have been tutored [cannot think for themselves]…”

      Those insertions are yours, not mine, and I refuse to own them. If you read the sentence as written, it doesn’t communicate *any* of those aspects. I think that such working-class, rural, white evangelicals *can* think for themselves and *can* be persuaded to do other than they are doing–which is why I took such a strong line against Donald Trump. I think they are not gullible at all. I simply think that pervasive exposure to certain media will have an effect on them, as it would on anyone! Conservatives have decried the corrosion of Hollywood for years for just this reason: because what we immerse ourselves in matters for how we see the world. So, no, I don’t think that white, rural evangelicals are the least bit unique in their intellectual capabilities: I’ve spent far too much time, contrary to what you might want to believe, with those who are in that class to believe for a second that they are incapable of leading wise, intelligent, fully flourishing human lives.

      Also: “tutored more by the grievance and resentment theater [emotional] of both conservative and evangelical talk radio than by the good news of the Gospel.” [not followers of Christ, but fundamentalists.”

      I’ll accept your suggestion that I mean “emotional” to describe such theater. It is ’emotional.’ And I don’t view that as necessarily bad. But it is also an emotional performance that is, in many cases, ordered toward simply displaying those emotions rather than actually effecting change. Cruz’s non-attempts to stop Obamacare are a good example of this sort of performance.

      3) “I confess, I am a evangelical Christian with a family, living in a very rural area. We attend a very church. Many of the my friends are those TYPE of which you write.”

      Great. Send the article to them and ask them not to vote for Trump.

      4) “Though, I fear you use evangelical as code for fundamendalist, which is not used in polite company, I am evangelical.” I’m not sure what the point is here. I think there are lots of evangelicals going for Trump. I didn’t *distance* myself from them: I argued that they are horribly mistaken for doing so, and that no evangelical Christian should. That’s very different from *disowning* them, though.

      5) “Would you have voted for King David? How about Peter, who three times denied Jesus? Would you vote for your self?”

      To your last question….not in an instant. I’d absolutely vote for David and Peter, though, as both of them clearly demonstrated virtues in line with such leadership, despite their serious and grave (occasional) moral failings. What we see in Donald Trump, though, is not an occasional moral failing, but an entire life of such failings, and an entire campaign of lying profligately without caring, and an entire life built on rapaciously stealing from the very people whom he now claims to represent. So, as politicians go, Donald Trump is vastly worse than the characters you mention.

      6) “Oh! you of little faith. Do not you see God is in control.” Yes. And I also see that no evangelical Christian should ever vote for Trump.

      7) “In the primary elections I will not vote for Trump unless there is no one else. The general election poses a different a different issue; if Trump is still in the running, or anyone else: should I vote for the lesser of of two or three evils? I choose the the lesser rather then then the greater. By not voting or voting for another. Either type of vote, is a vote for a woman who is going to be the Democrat nominee.”

      Well, a vote for Trump is a vote for a Democratic nominee wearing Republican garb. Given that he’s now reversing course on his immigration stance, that he is a lifelong supporter of Planned Parenthood, that he is a serial adulterer…are you so sure that he is the lesser of two evils next to Hillary?

      Abstaining is not a vote for Hillary. It is simply…not voting. You could also vote for a third-party candidate. No one is obligated, as citizens, to vote for one of the two candidates who might reasonably win.

      Best,

      Matt

  • Dave Boettcher

    To ensure all are clear, in my first post, “regardless of color” does not refer to the “white collar” worker. It does apply to “white evangelical” used by Matt in the first paragraph.

    Dave Boettcher

  • hoosier_bob

    As someone who spent 15 years within evangelicalism, it’s quite clear to me why Trump is doing well among evangelicals. He’s an authoritarian. And a lot of evangelicals are, at heart, more wedded to authoritarianism than they are to biblical principle. Authoritarians tend to gravitate to religious movements because such movements allow them to dress up their authoritarianism in the garb or religious conviction. And evangelicalism has been reluctant to weed out these false Christians. Evangelicals guard their left-facing border with ferocity, but are pretty lax about guarding their right-facing border.

    For the past few decades, evangelicals have gravitated to a political style that tends to blur the lines between Christian orthodoxy and a panoply of other right-wing ideologies, e.g., cultural conservatism, authoritarianism, social traditionalism, value-based capitalism, etc. Cruz’s pitch is probably the best example of that style–a pragmatic blending of various right-wing ideologies that are bound together by nothing more than that their adherents oppose progressivism. But authoritarians are part of that mix. And Trump offers them a chance to vote for someone who speaks their language directly, and not someone who’s pragmatically blending it with 5-6 other ideologies.

    But let’s not pretend this is a shocker. Evangelical churches are packed full of people who are there for all kinds of reasons besides the Gospel. These folks are minimally Christian, if they’re Christian at all. But because they’re not liberals, they largely go unnoticed within the “conservative” culture that dominates within evangelical churches. Authoritarians make up part of this pragmatic “conservative” alliance. And a lot of them are sitting in the pews of evangelical churches on Sunday morning.

    • razajac

      This is right on, and I could hardly say it better.

      Tho I do want to emphasize something about the timing of all this.

      It’s not like Trump is some kind of outlier who disgusts the “true Christians(tm)” now running headlong away from the “Evangelical” appellation. It’s that the disgusting, decades-long parade of smiling, Republican anti-republicans who’ve been milking the “evangelical vote” like the dumb animal it actually is, is finally being treated to a healthy dose of what-the-doctor-has-really-been-ordering-all-along.

      And, yes, that thing the doctor’s _really_ been ordering all along is the authoritarianism you’re talking about. Right on. Deal with it, evangelicals.

  • Glaivester

    Why is there not a post on why you would never vote for Rubio? This is a man who won his Senate nomination by lying about his position on immigration (he was always anti-enforcement in the Florida legislature, then claimed to be against amnesty to win in 2010, then immediately joined the Gang of Eight). He also spent the first half of 2013 either lying about what was in the bill or else he truly did not know.

    Gang of Eight was not just an acknowledgment that we can’t deport everyone and an agreement to amnesty some of them. It was in effect an amnesty for everyone who was currently here illegally, vast increases in future legal immigration, and tying the hands of immigration enforcement (the fig leafs of increased enforcement spending meant very little, because the actual process of deportation would be made much harder and more expensive). When the bill was developed, the input of the Border Patrol was not asked for and they were deliberately kept out of meetings.

    The fact that you don’t see Rubio as equally unacceptable as Cruz (forgetting Trump for a moment) suggests that you really don’t understand the concerns of the white working class.

    And apparently you really don’t know the history of the Gang of Eight, because if you find gross dishonesty to be a deal-breaker, you cannot possibly find Rubio acceptable.

    I am skeptical of the relaxed immigration policies that many countries in Europe have practiced, but also recognize that America isn’t Europe and that we may be able to sustain and assimilate higher percentages of immigrants than countries with tiny land-masses.

    Given that this mass migration is tearing Germany and Sweden apart, and likely many other countries, the fact that you can’t do better than “skeptical” suggests again that you really don’t understand the issue.

  • Casabeca

    Thank you for this. My (very Christian) father tells me each time we speak that no true Christian could vote for any Democrat. He also sings the praises of Trump ;). I just listen and say “maybe this one will rise” or “how do you like so and so?”.
    What an astonishing election year we are having!
    Thank you for speaking up where it is helpful and appropriate, a task probably just as difficult or more so than holding my tongue when it is helpful and appropriate ;).

  • Pingback: Recommended Readings: March 5-11 | Pursuing Veritas()

  • Ronda

    You say so eloquently with sound arguments what I want to shout to all who profess the name of Christ! Thank you! I have already determined not to vote for Trump for the reasons you outline above – to do so would go against all I believe as a follower of Christ. Christ must be first!

    • razajac

      Well… Bernie’s a Jew, so I guess that puts him out of the running, eh?

      But consider that Bernie’s probably the biggest (small-‘r’) republican currently running. Why should he be, uh, “chopped liver” in the eyes of good Christian Americans?

  • Pingback: Evangelicalism After Trump: The Moral Bankruptcy of the GOP – CHRIST THE MORNING STAR()

  • Bob Cratchet

    Dislikes Trump due to Trump’s name calling…….. Calls Trump every sort of name. #Hypocritemenot

  • Bonnie Johnstone

    I am pro life. It troubles me that the same pro life people have no problem voting for a pro death penalty, pro gun, pro war candidate. What good is pro life on one hand if you kill millions on the other hand?
    All life is precious literally.
    When we must choose a political candidate we are not picking our religious leader (this has failed throughout history) but our civil leader. With much prayer and study, we make our best choice.

  • mrsjpjp

    Our faith, if it has anything to do with our lives, will inform our vote. But if this election has done one thing for me, it has made me realize that our vote is only sacred in the same way tending a garden is sacred. Some seasons it is about choosing which weed is the most noxious, and disposing of that one first. As for me (do what you will, I may very well be wrong) I take my cue from Gen. 4 as to what is the most noxious thing. “Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. 11 Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you.” This next election (I must deal with what IS, not what should be) presents me with a candidate who promises in all candor to select the kind of Supreme court justices who will keep the blood pouring into the ground for years to come. She spelled it out very clearly on national television, that she thinks a child in utero up until the due date and moments before birth- has NO rights. The other choice, while hardly ideal, indicates that the child in utero deserves some (I don’t think he himself is yet clear on how much) level of protection. As for me and my house, to vote for the other guy turns my stomach, but more so does the election of a woman who will stack the supreme court against acknowledging the human rights of the most vulnerable human beings, for another generation. The shedding of innocent blood cries out to God from the ground- this fills me with fear for what is left of the next generation. One noxious weed at a time.

  • Pingback: Is Voting Trump Worthy of Church Discipline? | Reformation500()

  • Pingback: The Religious Right's Come-to-Jesus About Trump – Celeb Gossip()

  • Pingback: The Religious Right’s Come-to-Jesus About Trump – TheTampaPlug()

  • Pingback: The Religious Right’s Come-to-Jesus About Trump | LIFESTYLE()

  • Pingback: The Religious Right’s Come-to-Jesus About Trump()

  • Sandra Trusso

    I care deeply about the fact that Trump has conducted himself in a despicable manner, is dishonest, is ignorant of the issues before us, has already back tracked on some of the major issues which brought people to supporting him, has told us of actions he’ll take which are unconstitutional (but a vast majority of the electorate doesn’t even know the constitution, has flagrantly lied about the characters of his opponents, portrays himself to be that which he is not… and I could go on for days about how disgusting he is.

    Having said that, for 40 years I have been fighting the programs supported and put in place by Hillary Clinton since her days at Wellesley. I’ve fought her programs before I ever even knew it was she who was behind the programs. She and her leftists peers are responsible for where this country is today. I will fight with all my might to keep her from completing the destruction of this country that she, her husband and Barrack Obama have put into motion. Although she’s never admitted to being a Socialist bordering on Communist, she’s told us that she will continue Obama’s policies (which we all know are Socialist, working toward Communist).

    Bernie Sanders is a self proclaimed Socialist, who has at least been honest about it, but who never admits to the fact that the only difference between Democratic Socialism and Socialism, is that we, the ignorant, get to vote for the which Socialist programs we want until we’ve voted ourselves right into Socialism ready to accept Communism. Sanders stands for the exact same programs and policies that Hillary stands for.

    The bottom line is that while I do not trust Trump, there is a very minute chance that he will implement at least some of the good things he’s claimed he will implement. While with Hillary and Bernie we know for a fact that they will quickly complete the destruction of America’s republic and our US Constitution. When I stand before my God and he asks “what did you do to protect the children?” I will answer: I tried to elect the person who claimed he would stop terrorists from taking over and killing Americans, who claimed he would nominate conservatives to the US Supreme Court, who claimed he would protect Americans from illegal immigrant criminals from coming into our country, and I did this because the pattern of the other two choices was such that their records have proved beyond a doubt that they would not! – As much as I believe that transgender bathrooms, gay marriage and much of the other things he has and seems to continue to support, are against God’s laws, I also know that He tells us that anyone who hurts one of His little ones, it would be better for him to have a millstone tied around his neck and be thrown into the river. I also believe that this includes those who never tried to stop these crimes against our children. At least he’s told us he will protect the very lives of our children, stop Common Core, fight to end abortion (even though the support of the other moral issues is equally as harmful, at least he’s promised, perhaps empty promises, some of the protections of our children, whereas the other two have promised NONE.

    I will therefore gag all the way to the polls and pull the lever for one of the most egotistic, narcissistic, and disgusting persons… Donald Trump. Notice I say “one of the most”. Because Hillary and Bernie scare me even more than Trump …. for what they’ll do to our children, our system of government, and our morality (as well as even stopping our ability to practice our Christian morality)

    Thank you for your opinion, and for allowing me to express mine.

  • razajac

    “Still, if the Republican party has become so detached from the conservatism that I depicted that it is willing to allow Trump to bear its mantle, it deserves the violent death that it currently faces.”

    Not quite. George W. Bush was the Final Detachment of the Republican Party from actual Conservatism. Trump IS the violent death/coup-de-grace which that husk of conservatism (if not America, itself) so richly deserves.

  • dennis richardson

    Being a Christian is what some Southern Baptist clergy claim but are pursuing the religious synchronizism of Freemasonry. I reject any thing Russell Moore has to say about any moral issue, particularly for the coming presidential election. The Council on Foreign Relations as such influence in America they want criminal Hillary next to continue their evil influence. Freemasonry has bribed their way into Southern Baptist leadership, just as 3/4 of Congress has been bribed with an average of 200 million dollars, according to Bob Chapman. Shut your mouth Russell Moore, keep your Vatican subordinate opinions to yourself.

  • Jump

    “we need some argument independent of his own words that he will suddenly become trustworthy when he is in office.”

    This is false. Independent confirmation is great when you can get it. But when you can’t get that, AND when you KNOW the alternative is guaranteed to appoint the wrong people (and guaranteed in virtually all ways to act inconsistently with the values necessary for a flourishing society), you take a gamble and go with what they say.

    • Not if that person has a demonstrable and known history of being a shameless liar.

      • Jump

        This is also false. At least it’s a gamble. And if a gamble is as good as you can get, you’re obligated to go with the gamble.

        • No, it’s not a gamble. No one is “obligated” to go with a bet they know they are going to lose, especially when they have other options before them.

          • Jump

            What other choices are there? There are only two candidates now.

          • I can think of hundreds of other names more qualified. Write in any of them, and go on with your life in good cheer.

          • Jump

            I can think of many names more qualified, too, Matt (you or me, for instance). But that ship sailed a few months ago. Why? Because, alas, history demonstrates that a vote for a third-party candidate in the U.S. is equivalent to a discarded vote. At least, we have few good reasons for thinking otherwise. Failing to vote for Trump is therefore letting a Hillary vote go unanswered. If there is reason to think I am wrong on this lesson from history, I am all ears. But this area (the empirical claim about the viability of third party votes) is where the debate must focus, because the “we mustn’t vote lesser evil” argument is unsound. In the end, I remain in good cheer even if the foundations of the earth crumble, and even if I must vote for Trump.

          • Jump

            Also, you’re equivocating on “losing”. The notion of losing in this gamble is not all-or-nothing. Lost (or won) ground comes in degrees in elections. In this case, you’re not losing quite so badly if your vote at least offsets a corresponding vote for Clinton.

          • No. None of that is true. The “offset” argument ignores the moral dimensions of voting, and reduces it to a technical procedure whose intentional content is filled by math alone.

            There may be “wasted votes” mathematically. But there’s no such thing as a wasted protest against evil.

            For more, see these two pieces:

            http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/07/17420/
            https://blog.vernacularpodcast.com/in-defense-of-third-party-voting-33456b12a150#.7ug60632n

          • Jump

            No, it does not ignore the moral dimension of voting. When (and only when) an act involves no violation of a moral duty (or, if you prefer, is consistent with natural law, or what have you), its moral worth is determined with reference to the consequences of that act. Since it’s no violation of a moral duty to vote the lesser of two flawed candidates, one therefore must make the decision by comparing the likely consequences of electing each candidate. Now, you are welcome to argue that it’s *always* wrong to vote the less flawed of two flawed candidates, but that has some extremely untoward implications. You’re also welcome to argue that when the candidates are both *this* flawed, it’s not permissible to vote for either one–but I can’t see how to you’d argue this without the claim being question-begging.

            Talk of a “protest against evil” is fine as a slogan, but it doesn’t add any justification for your view. This is because talk of “evil”, “lesser of two evils”, and the like is emotionally-loaded language obscuring the unremarkable fact that the choice of electable candidates is limited to two flawed people. Further, since the morality of such voting is the very issue in question, one could just as easily adopt your slogan to justify the *denial* of your view.

            Thank you for the links. I have read 3 or 4 others like this. The arguments for their main theses are unsound though, I think.

            Re: the Witherspoon Public Discourse piece: his claims are that, (1) a vote for Trump (or Hillary) is evil because they are evil, and (2) to vote for Trump (or Hillary) would entail that one wills an evil–namely, by wiling that one bring it about that an evil candidate be president. Reply: My comments on the use of “evil” attempt to address his (1). As to his (2), there is no entailment: one could vote for Trump (or Hillary) only for the sake of bringing it about that Hillary (or Trump) NOT be president. (Note how John Mark Reynolds’s reply to Grudem today makes this same mistake.)

            Re: the Vernacular link: I’ll comment on his “poll-as-proclamation” argument for third-party voting here, because it seems to be the focus of his piece. Reply: First, sure, you can lodge a protest vote for an unelectable candidate–but how do you morally justify this? Is it by noting that the candidates are evil? My comment above on use of “evil” talk in this context applies here. We have to answer to God and our kids on this stuff. Second, what practical difference does a protest vote make? It would be forgotten a week after the election. In the meantime, one of those two candidates we protested against would be in the White House. Why not rather lodge a protest against the worst electable candidate by voting the less-worse electable candidate? Third, and, I think, most problematic: it follows from “poll-as-proclamation” reasoning that you should always cast a vote for an unelectable candidate out of protest, since there will always be someone more aligned with one’s views–even if it’s oneself.

          • “When (and only when) an act involves no violation of a moral duty (or, if you prefer, is consistent with natural law, or what have you), its moral worth is determined with reference to the consequences of that act.”

            I’m pretty sure I disagree with this formulation, but I would want to hear more to be sure. It seems to me that you’re presupposing a kind of baseline Kantianism, which I simply don’t think quite captures what happens in moral reasoning. On my understanding (which I think is Thomas’s), every act has moral duties which are specified in part by the ends, but also by the circumstances and intentions. That would include voting. Either way, the claim that one is obligated to vote for the least-flawed candidate is separate from the “offsets” claim that you started with. And there is nothing that I can see that obligates one to “gamble” when one is faced with two morally bad choices.

            “You’re also welcome to argue that when the candidates are both *this* flawed, it’s not permissible to vote for either one–but I can’t see how to you’d argue this without the claim being question-begging.”

            I don’t see how it’s question-begging. The argument that there is a threshold above which a politician must rise for a vote to be morally licit. The reason for this is that a vote is more than a recognition of a pre-existing authority; it is a granting-of authority, and so is self-implicating in a way that being born into an unjust polity is not. If one reasonably thinks that either candidate undermines the integrity of the government–as we have serious reason to believe both candidates will in this case–then one is obligated not to vote for either of them.

            “This is because talk of “evil”, “lesser of two evils”, and the like is emotionally-loaded language obscuring the unremarkable fact that the choice of electable candidates is limited to two flawed people.”

            Tell your grandmother about their flaws, and see whether she thinks they are fitting for a President. The reality is that by defining deviancy down this way, we participate in the further corrosion of the moral fabric of our culture. Call it the political equivalent to handing out contraception everywhere to avoid some ‘greater evil’: “Well, everyone’s going that direction anyway, so we might as well try to limit the consequences!” As a cultural, moral, and political strategy, it’s simply wrongheaded.

            “Reply: My comments on the use of “evil” attempt to address his (1).”

            I’m not sure how. All you’ve done is unjustifiably assert that the candidates aren’t “evil,” but are “morally flawed.” And, I guess, have moral flaws that we should just accept from our Presidents? Either way, you haven’t given a counterargument; you’ve simply asserted the contrary view.

            “One could vote for Trump (or Hillary) only for the sake of bringing it about that Hillary (or Trump) NOT be president.”

            Yes, one could have that intention as a psychological state. But in doing so, one also endorses in fact one candidate for President, which is why this is simply untenable. Look at where Rubio has gotten to: he started at this position, and now he’s outright supporting Trump. That’s because the “vote against” without it being a “vote for” locates the meaning of the act *entirely* in the voter’s mind; but, well, that’s not how we assess what people do in any other context. See Anscombe’s *Intention* for more.

            “Second, what practical difference does a protest vote make? It would be forgotten a week after the election.”

            This just presupposes that assessing the licitness of voting should *only* happen on consequentialist grounds. Which is precisely what the poll-as-proclamation argument rejects. So you’re not arguing against it, again; you’re just stating the opposite view.

            “Why not rather lodge a protest against the worst electable candidate by voting the less-worse electable candidate?”

            The reasons why not are too obvious to state.

            “Third, and, I think, most problematic: it follows from “poll-as-proclamation” reasoning that you would always have to cast a vote for an unelectable candidate out of protest, since there will always be someone more aligned with one’s views–even if it’s oneself.”

            No, it doesn’t at all. And it’s easy to see why: the argument against both candidates is not an argument for candidate-purity, but rather an argument that hinges on a baseline or threshold for reasonable support. So, there’s no entailment that one would always need to select a perfect candidate. Indeed, that would be a kind of hubris on the part of the voter, a presupposition that they are, in fact, right about everything to such a degree only those who share every single one of their views can represent them.

            Matt

  • Pingback: clarity – Words Have Weight()

  • Pingback: Evangelical Outrage Against Trump; Why Not Clinton? - Juicy Ecumenism()

  • Pingback: Evangelical Outrage Against Trump; Why Not Clinton? - Derryck Green()

  • Pingback: Evangelical Outrage Against Trump; Why Not Clinton? - Theolitics()