A Personal Perspective on Evangelical Support for Trump
This is going to be a calmer post than I originally intended. My emotions ran high Saturday night with the results of the South Carolina primary. Make no mistake, I am deeply disturbed by political developments in the Republican party, but I will attempt to offer a reasonable commentary to explain my deep concern.
While Trump’s victory, in itself, is disturbing, it’s the way he won that bothers me more — with the apparent backing of a plurality of evangelicals.
According to the exit polls, Trump took about 34% of evangelical voters, while Cruz got around 25% and Rubio slightly fewer. One can always say that at least the combined tally for Cruz and Rubio was greater than Trump’s number, but just the fact that 34% self-identified evangelical Christians would vote for this man defies logic.
Perhaps logic is in short supply. Perhaps real evangelicalism is in short supply also. Perhaps the term “evangelical” has come to have so many different meanings that it is now a worthless word.
To me, an evangelical is a true disciple of Jesus Christ, committed to reflect the righteousness of God in one’s own life. A real disciple of Christ would want to see His ways permeate society, and a real evangelical Christian would never vote for a person whose lifestyle and policy positions were in direct opposition to the Biblical message of salvation and moral behavior.
Yet that is precisely what 34% of South Carolinians did.
First, let me say that I don’t necessarily accept the notion that all self-identified evangelicals are really Christians. Many are probably “cultural Christians” in the sense that they grew up in the church and still attend but have never had a face-to-face encounter with the Living Christ followed by a genuine heart change and desire to serve Him gladly.
Then there are those who may be genuine Christians but who either don’t have a good grasp of how Biblical principles apply to government or who are operating out of emotion—angry over the trends they see in the nation and allying with Trump simply because he expresses their anger well.
Voting on emotion, and particularly the emotion of anger, is not the Christian way. We need to stay focused on principles and vote according to which candidates are most consistent with those Biblical principles.
I’ve said the following things previously, but the time is ripe for a reminder. If you vote for Trump, here is the man you are voting for:
- Donald Trump has publicly stated that he can’t think of anything for which he has had to ask God for forgiveness. That’s because he claims to be a good man. This means he has no understanding of sin in his life and no desire to get rid of it. Neither does he have a clue as to why Christ laid down his life for sinners, since Trump doesn’t consider himself to be one of them.
- Trump dumped two wives at his own personal whim when another woman appealed more to him.
- He has boasted of having had sex with many married women. He also calls his sexual dalliances his own personal Vietnam (where he was able to avoid serving) because he dodged his own bullets of sexual transmitted diseases.
- Up until recently, he was aggressively in favor of abortion, even the partial-birth variety. He says he is now pro-life, yet continues to claim that Planned Parenthood does many good things for women. He even touted his sister, a pro-abortion judge, as a possible candidate for the Supreme Court. That sister, by the way, decided a case that rejected a partial-birth abortion ban.
- Just last week, he said he endorsed Obama’s healthcare mandate while simultaneously saying he would get rid of Obamacare, as if the mandate has nothing to do with that monstrosity. Does he even know what he’s talking about?
- His entire campaign has been built equally on vague generalities, personal insults toward other candidates and anyone else who crosses him (e.g., Megyn Kelly), profanity-laced harangues, and phony threats of lawsuits (even a threat against Cruz using a video of Trump in his own words displaying his abortion views).
- Increasingly, he has become an embarrassment by his over-the-top behavior at debates and rallies. He never really answers criticisms of his positions with reasoned responses. Rather, he starts yelling that the accuser is a liar, constantly interrupting and losing his temper. Is that what we should want in a president?
No one in the Republican field of candidates is more inherently contrary to a Biblical worldview than Donald Trump.
Yet he gets 34% of the evangelical vote.
This is a travesty. Those who claim to be the representatives of Jesus Christ in this woeful world need to match their words with their actions, and one of those actions is to vote according to the Biblical worldview they profess to believe in.
To vote for a man like Donald Trump is to violate one’s confession of Christian faith.
I’ve said it rather bluntly, but I will not back down despite the criticisms that may come for being so blunt. It’s time to be serious about how our faith ought to be expressed in the political realm.
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