Donald Trump is not a Christian. His life bears witness to this fact. If he IS a Christian, then it is a fairly recent development. And if that were true it would take some time to see spiritual fruit develop in his life. For now, I assume him to be an unbeliever. But with that said, he is an unbeliever that Christians should have no problem supporting for President. Some cry out that he is too immoral of a man to be elected. What these people fail to see is that they have NEVER VOTED for a “moral” person in their life. Every candidate (indeed every person on earth) is flawed and exhibits some level of immoral conduct. Granted, some outwardly are worse than others. But an unbeliever, on their best day, is still enslaved to their sin nature. Of course Hillary is not a Christian either; and her life and policies continue to give daily credence to this obvious reality.
With two immoral candidates running, Christians assume they are left with few options. They could simply sit out the vote; and this is a legitimate position. If they can't, in good conscience, support anyone then no one says they must vote. But they also can't force their decision of “conscience” upon someone else's conscience. The “no vote” position sounds a little bit like a man who sits on his front porch and watches a burglar attack his wife and kids because he “doesn't want to get involved.” He can claim innocence from doing anything against the intruder. But such pacifism in the face of criminal aggression is less than noble. And the havoc a president can potentially unleash on your family and country is immense. So we are left with merely "doing the best we can" when considering candidates.
Christians can also vote third-party; and while this may soothe the conscience it's unrealistic to think a third-party candidate has a shot in this election. Furthermore the third-party candidates are less than stellar, from a Christian perspective. Libertarian Gary Johnson is pro-abortion. Independent Evan McMullin is a Mormon cultist (more about that later). And every other third-party candidate is someone you've never heard of. NEWSFLASH: They aren't winning this election. Maybe someday a third party will be viable. I hope so. But not today.
While Trump is not a Christian, he does have Christian influence; and he has announced policies that would be in accordance with Christian values. He has staunchly held a Pro-Life position and has produced a list of judges he would consider for future Supreme Court vacancies. All of these judges are Pro-Life. He has vowed to fight any who would try to squelch religious liberty and has been especially outspoken regarding Christian persecution. Economically speaking, he has said he will renegotiate trade deals in which America is currently getting ripped off. This seems like a possibility, given the fact that negotiating is his strong suit; and most countries want to do business with America. We should be in a much better economic situation than we are.
As for Trump's faults? They largely center around his blunt and outspoken personality. Trump's greatest asset is speaking the truth when no one else will, but this is a two-edged sword. He is not afraid to call a spade spade, but he's also not afraid to call Rosie O'Donnell a pig. Their heated feud has gone on for years. But most of it is in the past. As are the vile words he was caught using on tape in 2005. And honestly, anytime a conservative candidate gets close to gaining an office, you can always expect a bevy of women coming forth on cue with sexual harassment claims. It's interesting that someone in the public eye as much as Trump has always been, has had zero allegations against him until he is one month away from potentially knocking Hillary Clinton out of the White House. The Democrat ground game has always been to harbor the real sex offenders (Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, etc.) and slander Republicans on this issue (Herman Cain, Clarence Thomas, etc.). Trump may very well be guilty, but the discerning voter who is paying attention will recognize this ploy as Democratic standard procedure. Lie about yourself and destroy the enemy. This is what Hillary is doing. And her work is easy because Trump frequently puts his foot in his mouth; and because Hillary has a lap dog press in her corner.
Sadly, she also has a lot of “lap dog” Christian leaders who despise Trump and have focused most of their attention on blasting his words rather than her actions and history of corruption. If the establishment press can shout loudly enough about how immoral Trump is, then many Christian leaders like Albert Mohler, Russell Moore, Max Lucado, and Beth Moore will get distracted and hone in on Trump. They are more than happy to do this for Hillary because, although they are not Pro-Democrat, they are Anti-Trump; and what's more they are Pro-Establishment. They would much rather have another Bush or Clinton who won't rock the boat; as opposed to a Trump who promises to “drain the swamp.” But these Christian leaders don't really want the swamp drained. The current Republican establishment has given them power and placated them with the desire for them to deliver the “evangelical vote.” This election involves a Republican who is less than sterling, on the surface. The establishment hates him; so the Christian leaders follow suit and do their civic duty by attacking him and his supporters. All the while hiding under a "holier-than-thou" veil of piety. They are inoculated against criticism from Christians because they can always play the "Trump is immoral" card. And while they attack Trump, they subtly grant support to Hillary by attacking her main rival. The result is Christians either run from Trump for fear of being labeled immoral by their Christian leaders. Or they vote for a third-party candidate with no shot of winning. Sometimes these Christian leaders even go so far as to suggest that by supporting Trump you may not be a Christian after all. This is wrong. No American will ever go to Hell for voting Trump. They'll go to Hell for rejecting Christ. And the “Christ” issue, rather than the “Trump” issue should always be paramount in a Christian leader's ministry. Politicians come and go. Jesus is eternal.
Albert Mohler has done great things for the “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary” in Louisville. Once a bastion of liberalism, he became president in 1993 and immediately set the institution on a course toward adherence to the Bible as the school's authority. He has hired professor, after professor who are top notch scholars and theologians. He has made Southern a very special place. But he has also sought to play “king maker” in the realm of politics. His weekly podcast “The Briefing” is an exercise in TELLING Christians how to think, rather than TEACHING Christians how to think. And Mohler has said in print and in speeches that Christians are making a mistake in supporting Trump. Mohler has accused Christians who do so of “ruining their witness” and “dishonoring Christ.” Such divisive banter should have no place in Christian dialogue over complex political issues. But Mohler seems content to be the establishment's water boy on this one. And if he must slander some fellow Christians in the process, then so be it. Trump must be destroyed at all costs.
Moore has been equally unfair to Trump and his supporters. Once again citing his own personal piety, Moore besmirches any Christian who supports Trump. As president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Council of the SBC; Moore is a paid lobbyist for the denomination. This is not necessarily a bad thing when the ERLC sticks to the issues of the day and speaks out from a Biblical perspective. But, like Mohler, Moore is too enamored with getting his name in the headlines by playing “king maker” in the election process. Moore, who boastfully refers to himself as the “Evangelical Pope” obviously knows he has some influence over Southern Baptists; and sadly both he and Mohler have largely abdicated their role as gospel prophets in favor of being verbal henchmen for the political ruling class. I was amazed to recently hear Moore bemoan to Andy Stanley the fact that “Christians should not be judging unbelievers.” Yet Moore has spent the better part of two years “judging” Trump at every turn. I assume Moore meant that those who take orders from him shouldn't judge; but that the rule doesn't apply to him personally. And yet again we see a Southern Baptist “preacher” who acts like a hypocritical politician.
Max Lucado and Beth Moore are other prominent Christian names who are “never-Trumpers.” And while they are certainly entitled to their opinion it is sad to see them exert their influence so virulently against the only viable candidate in the race who is pro-life. Trump has withstood a barrage of attacks from these Christians for his language and his past behavior; and while no Christian should defend Trump's sins; no Christian should dig in their heals and refuse to forgive him either. When Jesus was questioned about how often we should forgive, Peter asked if it were up to 7 times? But Jesus said, 70 x 7 is more like it. (Matthew 18:22) In other words, a Christian should have a heart that always stands ready to forgive, since “God through Christ has forgiven” us. (Ephesians 4:32) This doesn't mean you have to vote for Trump. But it DOES mean you should avoid ridiculing Christians who do. Lucado has openly questioned how any Christian could support him and Beth Moore has railed against him for his past misdeeds. Sadly, Moore has been mistreated by men in her past. Which unfortunately blinds her to any sort of rational response when weighting the candidates. Thus in her mind, it seems, Trump's bad words are worse then Hillary's openly criminal acts, including her outspoken support for the murder of children (otherwise known as abortion).
I suspect that if Trump were the next door neighbor to any of these Christian leaders, they would treat him much differently. I suspect that if Albert Mohler or Russell Moore had a neighbor who was foul-mouthed and outspoken; who was pro-life and pro-border security; who was a friendly fellow though maybe a little too opinionated; they would seek to share the gospel with him. They would seek to befriend him. They would accept his personality “warts” and lovingly hope and pray that he would see the light of the gospel in their lives and in their words. I don't suspect that would say as hateful things to their lost neighbor as they have said about Trump. If they truly are the gospel witnesses they claim to be they would long for his salvation. And they would certainly turn down the rhetoric of smearing brothers and sisters in Christ who happen to see the election differently than they do.
Mohler, Moore, Lucado, and Beth Moore are welcome to support or oppose any candidate they wish. But they do not have the right to go “scorched earth” against brothers and sisters in Christ, in their zeal against Trump. It is interesting to note Mohler and Russell Moore both openly supported Mitt Romney in the last election. Romney, a devout Mormon, was outwardly glib and polished; just like the establishment wants. And as a Mormon, he belongs to a cultic version of Christianity that has deceived far more people than Donald Trump every dreamed of. But Mohler and Moore both carried the water for the Republicans because Mitt looked the part; and most importantly he didn't rock the boat. Not surprisingly he lost the election.
In 2008 Mohler and Moore had no problem supporting John McCain, a truly profane man who openly joked about bombing civilians in war zones. McCain's language in private was every bit as bad as Trump's but Mohler and Moore gave him a pass. After all, McCain was a “company man” and so are they. If the entrenched political powers wish to stay in power, they must play “kissy face” with evangelical leaders who are more than willing to play "kissy face" right back and bring out the vote. But if an outsider happens to sidestep the establishment hierarchy, appeal straight to the people, and win the nomination; then all hell breaks loose. The Bushes and the Clintons cannot have a Trump who might upset the Washington gravy train that so richly rewards those who toe the line. Mohler and Moore gladly follow orders from Washington and attack the would be usurper. And the people get the short end of the stick again. It matters little to prominent Christian leaders because regardless of who wins, Mohler and Moore will still be invited onto CNN and Fox News. They'll still see their religious empires grow because of the vast amounts of Christians who look to them and respect them. At the end of the day, why should they care; as long as the establishment wins.
I think these Christian leaders owe Donald Trump and his supporters an apology. They have gone overboard in their rhetoric and they have publicly trashed him and his followers as “less than spiritual.” They have swallowed the Hillary line of declaring Trump supporters to be “a basket of deplorables.” All the while, saying little to nothing about Hillary's vast criminal empire. As morality goes, Trump seems to be heading in the right direction, while Hillary is trending even further downward. And with their words, these Christian leaders have sided with Hillary. Other Christian leaders have openly endorsed her. This is a travesty beyond description.
Contrary to Mohler's opinion, Christians who support Trump are not in danger of losing their witness nearly as much as a Christian leader who constantly attacks and parrots the establishment line of seek and destroy. Mohler, Moore, Lucado, and Moore could even see some of their support dry up when this thing is said and done. And it will have been their own fault. Rather than focusing primarily on the gospel and addressing cultural issues from a Christian perspective; they have inserted themselves into the political race and constantly trashed a pro-life, pro-Christian candidate. They have held his sins and his faults against him. They have publicly goaded him and they have smugly talked down to his supporters. Trump's faults are many. But Hillary's are too many to count. Trump may be a sleazy salesman; but he has some Christian influence and he has vowed to protect life. Trump's biggest fault, it seems, is that he isn't hypocritical enough to act polished in public and profane in private. This is what most politicians do; and the Christians typically fall for it hook, line, and sinker. Trump is publicly what he is privately. I find this refreshing. At least I know what I'm getting to some extent. Hillary has a lifetime of corruption and crime in her past. She acts like she is above the law, and indeed up to now, she has been. Trump threatens to hold her accountable. The establishment powers are nervous. The Democrats, Republicans, and the press say Trump must be destroyed at all costs. And many Christian leaders are either blindly or willfully helping them do it.
Albert Mohler doesn't tell me how to think or vote. Neither does Russell Moore, Max Lucado, or Beth Moore. They can do as they please. And I will do as I please. I refuse to step in line behind any of these leaders on this issue. I refuse to kiss their ring and submit. Some say Trump has brought a new level of sleaziness to this campaign. But people are ultimately responsible for their own actions.
Southern Baptists can think for themselves; and it seems from the primary results, that they have. A panicked power structure has come unhinged and started a Christianized mud slinging barrage against Trump supporters. We expect this from Hillary and her ilk. It is disappointing to see it from Christian leaders. Vote for whoever you wish; and don't let “leaders” intimidate you into submission and silence. Their piety is not what it seems. They don't want you to rock the boat. So I say we should rock it until it tips over! And starting in January maybe we won't need the boat anymore. Maybe by then, Trump will have “drained the swamp.”