Even if evangelicals cannot bring themselves to support Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio in tomorrow’s GOP primary, they would be better off staying home than compromising their Christian values by voting for a man like Donald Trump.
You may think such a vote would shake things up and send a clear message to the political establishment, but voting for Trump would also be your personal endorsement of his unapologetically flawed character, his unrepentant immoral lifestyle, and his corrupt, fraudulent, and even destructive business practices.
If you support the man, then you support the man, “warts and all.”
Is that really something evangelicals want on their conscience … joining a man who just said Planned Parenthood does “wonderful things,” who brags about having sex with married women, who preys upon those addicted to gambling, who collects rent from strip clubs, and who pays corrupt politicians to do “whatever the hell” he wants?
If we are to “recognize them by their fruits,” then what a bitter harvest we should expect from a Trump presidency.
Instead, evangelicals should heed the psalmist who wrote, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.”
I know what you’re thinking: “We’re not electing a pastor. We’re electing a president, and one who’ll lead us and finally fight our battles.”
This should sound familiar to those who know their Scripture.
As they say in church, turn in your Bibles with me to the First Book of Samuel (or “One Samuel,” as Trump would say). In chapter eight we learn how the Israelites became frustrated with the corrupt judges governing their lands, so they asked an aging Samuel to appoint a king over them, someone to rule firmly like kings in other nations.
God told Samuel to give the obstinate people what they asked, but to also warn them of the authority such a king would have – the power to take everything away from them, including their own freedom. “When this takes place,” Samuel told them, “you will complain against the king whom you have chosen, but on that day the Lord will not answer you.”
“Not so!” they shouted, again demanding a king to “lead us in warfare and fight our battles.” So they got their warrior king, a man named Saul, who behaved as Samuel prophesied. The people suffered until a young man with a sling and a few smooth stones eventually changed things.
The Israelites weren’t interested in what God wanted for them. They only wanted something quick, something firm, yet something ultimately destructive. So God gave it to them.
The same can happen to us. God has blessed us with remarkable leaders who are truly unparalleled in history – George Washington, Abraham Lincoln – yet he could just as quickly curse us with dreadful, dictatorial leaders, especially since we seem so willing to toss his commands aside in favor of the Sauls of the world.
Exit polls indicate that a clear majority of evangelicals are supporting Trump, even while he cynically tells reporters that the IRS audits his taxes because he’s “such a strong Christian.”
Really? I won’t go as far as the pope and say Trump isn’t a Christian, but a man who says he doesn’t need to ask for God’s forgiveness clearly lacks a firm grasp of our faith.
And now we have some evangelicals saying that a candidate’s faith and his behavior don’t really matter. When Jerry Falwell, Jr. endorsed Trump a few weeks ago, he justified turning a blind eye to the man’s persistent moral failures by quoting the “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” verse from the Gospel of Mark.
Evangelicals should recognize that argument as one often misused to push Christianity out of the public square by saying we shouldn’t apply its teachings in matters of government.
Using your opponent’s arguments is a sure sign you’ve lost your way. And as every Scout knows, the first thing to do when you’re lost is stop, catch your breath, and regain your bearings. When you do, hopefully you’ll see the “path of the righteous man” leads away from, not towards, Donald Trump.