Trump and the perceived gains.

I thought I wouldn’t write another Trump blog, but the divisions in this election are clear and the emotions are high. I’ve had family and friends encourage me to be careful in political statements on social media. I’ve been de-friended by a FB friend because he believed I’ve adopted “liberal” views (I’m still trying to sort this one out). While, on the other hand, I’ve had people write me privately saying they appreciate what I’ve had to say and to please keep sharing. And to be honest, I don’t think, I personally, have said all that much. I’m often sharing various articles that I find interesting. However, I guess I have a dissenting view to many. Either way, I feel the need to clarify a few things and why I’ve been “vocal” about Mr. Trump. To be clear, I’m not trying to bash Trump. I’d have this conversation with him over coffee if I could. That said, I pray my words here are full of grace and seasoned with salt.

First, This is blog has an audience.

It’s for my Christian brothers and sisters who are struggling with whether or not to vote for Donald Trump. And the reason my attention is focused on him is that he is the one who claims, “the evangelicals love him” and he has claimed to be their candidate. He also has a so called, “religious advisory” board made up of various evangelical leaders across the country- although some are  now heading for the door. And, being a church leader myself, I have keen interest in the relationship of politics/faith. More than that, I believe many Christians are at risk in damaging their witness at the expense of “perceived gains” and I feel the need to encourage my brothers and sisters to think critically and biblically. To be clear, I believe both Clinton and Trump are not fit to serve as POTUS. This post is about Trump, so please don’t take what I’m not saying to mean something else.

And, I don’t think the “buts” matter.

But, Hillary.

But, SCOTUS.

But, Guns.

But, Religious liberty., etc.

Hopefully, I can explain.

Scoffer for Commander in Chief?

I’ve been consistent in my dissent against voting for Trump. I don’t think we should have to close our eyes (and ears)  in disgust while voting for someone who the Bible would call a scoffer.

“‘Scoffer’ is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.”

-Proverbs 21:24

The verb indicates the manifestation of contempt by insulting words or actions; it combines bitterness with ridicule– ie. Mr. Trump.

Some have said that Trump is a “baby Christian” and dismiss his language as “locker room” talk and that people should forgive him. Firstly, he was describing sexual assault and how he uses his power to exploit and denigrate women. And as of this morning, we now have allegations of sexual assault. Secondly, just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you should vote for them. Trump would call this #extremevetting (Sorry, I had too). And further, some say we need to give him more time. Well, nothing has changed. Just have a look at his Twitter and tell me if the scoffer label should be removed.

Some will point to his inner circle of religious advisers as a way to influence Mr. Trump. Either no one in the circle has been challenging Mr. Trump  or he isn’t listening. And it appears it’s the latter. (James McDonald ,Trumps Inner Circle, speaks out). I’ve also heard people compare Trump to the kings of Israel and that God can use evil kings for his purposes.  Have we forgotten how the king thing started for Israel and Samuel’s warning, ” When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.” 1 Samuel 8:18

Trump has proved, more than once, that he will devalue anyone who might oppose him, he’s not open to suggestions.

“A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.”

-Proverbs 15:12

The book of Proverbs is not full of cute coffee mug quotes, it’s wisdom for life. This wisdom should not be ignored.

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.
 
Trust in the lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
 
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.
-Proverbs 3:3-8

With no options. Choose none.

I respect many who look at this situation and are trying to make sense of it. They are not dismissing the insanity of it all, but are trying to do their best. I completely understand this and respect it. They are trying to make the best out of a no win situation.  Many have mentioned the “lesser of two evils” position. It may sound attractive, but it’s a logical fallacy. Partly due to the fact that you have more than two legitimate candidates on the ballot. It’s not a simple dichotomy.

You can write in a name, vote for someone else on the ballot, or not vote all together. Not only is it philosophicaly illogical, it’s morally wrong. Here’s how one author explains it:

“Let us do evil that good may result”? Romans 3:8a

Or, to put it another way, “Do the ends justify the means?”

Or, to put it in more biblical terms, “Should we compromise what we know is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise if we think the result may be something good?”

Or, to be more specific, “Should we support a morally repugnant and unqualified person if we suspect some good may result from it?”

…Perhaps there are better things than winning. Like an appeal to a good conscience before God (1 Pet. 3:21).

And to be honest, the evilness question might be debatable- especially for our Christian witness.  What is more dangerous? A candidate who claims to be for Christians, but he himself represents everything Jesus and God’s word says to avoid, or a someone who openly mocks the Christian community altogether? I’d rather deal with corruption head on, than evil disguised as an angel of light.

I’ve repeatedly heard that SCOTUS is the main concern of many supporting Trump. They argue a vote Trump (reluctant though it is) will ensure conservative nominations. I don’t think you can’t be faithful to the Scriptures and obey God’s moral law in exchange for a perceived gain. You must remember that a President can only nominate, the Senate must confirm. This is happening right now. Obama has made a nomination, but the Republican majority has not confirmed. This can play out for quite some time.  Given the Republicans rule the Senate right now, even with Clinton in office, they can stop the show.

Every vote counts. Even no.

I’ve been accused of putting my head in the sand, handing my vote to Clinton, or neglecting my right to vote all together. In a democracy, every vote counts- even a vote to conscientiously object in my opinion. There is no such thing as a wasted vote if you’re voting your conscience.

Welcome to Babylon.

This is the hardest one for American Christians to accept. It isn’t new, but the church is being marginalised in America. This explains (in part) those holding their nose to support Trump for the sake of perceived power/rights.  People are scared. They are worried they are going to lose something. This whole section needs a book to explain what is happening and Christians should live in this enviornment, but a picture is worth at least a thousand words in this case.

I saw this photo on FB. The photo speaks for itself. It’s the story in Daniel 3 where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were charged to worship the idol of Nebuchadnezzar. They could not. I’m sure the analogy falls apart at some point, but the point remains—your witness matters. Even with the possibility of perceived gains. 

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And this is why, for me,  it must be a NO to Mr. Trump. My witness as a follower of Jesus demands it. Just because I have the right to vote doesn’t mean I must (or should). Side note: Read Mike Rowe’s interesting take the right to vote. (read here).

Likened to Moses, my ‘American rights’ are second in light of Jesus and my witness. Yes, even guns rights for my Texas friends 😉

24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaohʼs daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

I admit, some of my views have changed since moving to the UK, but my commitment to the gospel remains the same. I acknowledge that I’m looking from a distance and I’m not swimming  in the election narrative as many of my friends. But, I can tell you, the world is watching.  Every time my accent gives me away,  the election undoubtably comes up. Everyone I’ve met is entirely confused about Trump. I do my best to explain the sad reality and how we got here. How we’ve idolised money, fame, power for so long and that we’ve gotten what our democracy has asked for. What I can’t explain is why Jesus followers would support him. This leaves me speechless. There are no gains if we lose our witness.

 

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