While many prominent pastors and Christians refuse to stump for Donald Trump,
theologians like Wayne Grudem and others have come out of the woodwork in enthusiastic support. Grudem’s post this week, Why Voting For Donald Trump is a Morally Good Choice, is now making the rounds and was sent to me by a friend who is, as I believe are many well-meaning Christians, struggling with what in the world to do with this election. As people do in many issues, and as the Bible contemplated in holding leaders to an even higher standard (James 3:1), we sometimes take our cues from our leaders.
After reading Mr. Grudem’s article, I replied to my friend and since I knew many other friends would read this article, I felt making my counterpoint public might be worthwhile. I don’t pretend to be a theologian, just a Christ-seeking and daily-forgiven daughter of the King, wife of a gracious husband, mother to three raucous boys, and rare disease advocate.
Dear Mr. Grudem:
I appreciate your thoughtful article. And I respect your willingness to stand in places of God’s calling in the midst of controversy, such as your discussions of the roles of men and women in marriage. I believe in many cases, your positions are consistent with the Bible and with God’s calling on our lives.
But I cannot stand by your endorsement of Donald Trump for many reasons, four of which I lay out below.
1) Your premises are wrong – such as Trump not being a racist or misogynist.
I’m not surprised, since you are a white man, that you could come to the conclusion that Trump is not a racist or misogynist. But I’m disappointed, since you are a Christian. As a Christian woman, married to a Christian black man, I see it very differently. While Trump may not be in the KKK, it’s clear he holds broad beliefs and prejudices about racial groups, and while we all have some of these based on our backgrounds and experiences (see the Harvard Project Implicit on race), as Christians, we should work to fight against them. Trump cultivates bias in himself and others and displays it without apology.
With respect to misogyny, both his recent actions (the picture of his wife next to Ted Cruz’s – come on!) and his history with women (proudly owning strip clubs, his proud involvement with Playboy, statements about his own wives, his long-running comments about women including his tiffs with Megyn Kelly versus how he would have reacted had she been a man), display his misogyny. Again, not surprised that a white man doesn’t truly see or feel offended by either. But as Christians, we’re called to help the oppressed, not vote for the oppressor.
2) Your earthly perspective is misguided.
Like so many evangelicals who are stumping for Trump, you partly make your case by all the evils that will come from a Hillary presidency. This is an earthly focus. We are called to a heavenly focus. If I personally were campaigning against Hitler, not knowing what would transpire, but seeing his policies were dangerous, could I go on air to advocate for and absolve myself and decide that it was NOT a sin to go buy a gun and shoot him? Is it okay to shoot an abortion provider because it saves babies? Of course not. A sin to stop a sin is still a sin.You can’t take earthly results, as horrible as they may be, to justify behavior that is otherwise un-Godly. They are separate questions.
We have to gauge each of our actions independently before the Lord. It is not, “as a Christian, will God absolve me from voting for Trump because it prevented Hillary from being elected?” but instead “Is voting for, supporting, or speaking out for Donald Trump something Jesus would do?” Period. I think he would be speaking out against him so no, I don’t think anyone is making that argument. If we can’t, then it shows that our perspective is earthly instead of heavenly.
God doesn’t need my vote to accomplish His result on earth. He needs me to be obedient and be a display of Christ-like sacrificial love to those around me. I don’t think I could do that by voting for Trump. How would I walk out Christ-likeness to my young children by voting for Donald Trump?
3) You are constrained by the status quo.
One of your premises is that the Republican party can and should remain intact. If one believes the Republican party should no longer continue in its current form, it destroys much of your argument. I personally believe what Donald Trump has done to my former party would be irreparable should he win the election. No longer will there be a party of faith, family values, and the higher good should he win. And THAT is a poorer and longer legacy than Hillary becoming president. This is of course not a deciding factor in my vote, since this is part of that earthly perspective, but a balanced counter to yours, if you or a reader can’t bring yourself to the heavenly perspective of letting the result sit in God’s hands while our actions before Him rest in ours.
4) And most importantly, holding Donald Trump up as beacon of our faith is just… wrong.
Donald Trump purports to be a Bible-believing Christian. I could have easier voted for him as a pragmatic candidate had he not made such claims and held steadfastly to them. In such a vein, his beliefs and actions are displayed as the testimony of Christianity, and even to a higher standard (according to the Bible itself) as are yours, since he seeks to be a leader and you are one.
Flawed candidate, you note. Of course, none of us are perfect. And we seek forgiveness in that. And just in those two premises, Trump displays a wholly anti-picture of Christianity – he proudly boasts of himself not being wrong and that he doesn’t need to seek forgiveness. Those are not flaws, they are wholehearted and unapologetic rejections of two BASIC tenets of Christianity. That doesn’t even get into his inordinate pride, unapologetic adultery, lust, advocacy for revenge, I could go on an on. The opposite of Christianity. Unapologetic. Unforgiven, because he doesn’t even see the need to seek it. Unworthy standard bearer for the name of Christ.
Christians en masse supporting Donald Trump displays what opponents have always believed about our faith – that it’s not really about being Christ-like, sacrificial, and loving, but instead, it’s about being right, first, and winning. Even if one Christian personally can justify voting for Donald Trump, I won’t be part of a movement that makes that statement about a faith I hold so dear.
So no, your article doesn’t convince me at all. I hold the picture of standing before the Lord and how will I answer to Him in the forefront of my mind.
Your sister in Christ,
Last modified: December 31, 2017