A Letter To Christians Who Still Support Donald Trump

To those in Christ who still defend Donald Trump and see him as a viable candidate for president of the United States,

I too am highly suspicious of why the tape of Donald Trump's conversation with Billy Bush was released now, as this article by Ben Carson points out ("I cannot Condone Donald Trump's Comment. But Let's Recognize What Progressives Are Doing Here"). Maybe one day the truth of where the leak came from will come out, but for now how can we help but believe it can all be traced to Clinton's camp or someone who is an ardent supporter of her? As many Americans have said already, this whole election is a mess and America is in a sad and troubled state with the choices before them.

Nonetheless, when people we know and prominent Christian leaders keep defending their vote of Mr. Trump you need to realize it makes us lose respect for you and makes us not take what you say seriously any more. We are done. We are ashamed of our Christian brothers and sisters who do not denounce this man. We are grieved. We do not understand why you hold so dearly to a political ideology. That means nothing to us compared to who we are in Christ. We ask again: Please take away any support for him and refrain from showing any confidence in his ability to lead our nation justly and competently.

Whatever "Conservatism" is or was, it is dead now, or is dying off (as this article portrays: "A Republican Intellectual Explains Why the Republican Party is Going to Die"). And whatever the Republican party has said it stands for hardly matters anymore. "Conservatism" will fail to mean anything or get anything accomplished for decades as a result of the Trump campaign and candidacy, unless it comes at the hands of another demagogue who rises up in Trump's place (assuming he is not elected), though, is that what "Conservatism" wants to leave as its legacy? A demagogue?

Many of us however, are even more concerned this all represents the death of the American Church. The continual justification of this man's behavior (his words and deeds) and the continual endorsement of him for our president is hurting our witness among those in whose lives we are trying to be a light for Christ. If you do not believe this is happening because you have not seen evidence of it yourself, please take my word for it, it really and truly is. As you and others continue to say "But the Supreme Court is our top priority...." those outside the Church shake their heads and are disgusted (besides, there is not much to indicate he will make the choices you actually want anyway, as this article points out: "If Donald Trump Has Done Anything, He Has Stamped Out the Religious Right"). Our non-Christians friends see us as living in a fearful and xenophobic state, placing self-preservation before goodness, justice, and yes, even sanity. We are afraid there is an entire generation's worth of damage being done to the words "Christian" and "Evangelical". Many of us are left to denounce these titles because our witness has been damaged so much. We are forced to continually over-explain ourselves and have to prove we are "not THAT kind of Christian", the kind who thinks Trump is even a remotely viable candidate.

As an example, you keep bringing up the importance of a president to be "pro-life", but how has Trump proved himself to be "pro-life" for anything other than through slogans? Are you really convinced he cares anything about protecting the lives of the unborn? Go back and look at his track record regarding abortion. It's either non-existent, indifferent, or pro-abortion. What is more, through his many words and actions he does not actually seem to care that much about all the other "pro-life" issues, but instead is using "abortion" as a political talking point, and thus he is using you for political gain, knowing he will never be able to do anything about it. We see this happening to you and we don't want you to be fooled anymore.

Of course Christians' support of Trump is only one problem of many the Church in America faces, but from our vantage point we see this moment in time as a capstone, as a culmination, and it is blaring like a siren announcing an impending disaster.

Even so, we realize many of you will not change your vote or refrain from voting, and with that in mind there are a few things we want you to consider changing in how you speak about politics, this election, Trump, and Hillary Clinton, if and when either of them become president:

1.) If you are going to continue to endorse him as president so be it, however, if you're going to publicly say you would vote for him, could you at least always say: "I'm still voting for him but he should be in prison"? You see, you continually say this about Clinton. Will you now make a point to say this about him as well? Because the "locker room talk" tape that surfaced isn't mere talk. He is admitting to actual sexual assault on women—no matter if he denied it during the debate or held a pre-debate conference with Bill Clinton's victims. What Trump described is criminal. Even if you still support him with your vote, will you be willing to call out his actions as not merely "lewd talk" or "bathroom talk" or "something he said 11 years ago," but instead as criminal, worthy of receiving a jail sentence (assuming actual sexual assault could be proved)? On top of all this, there are many other possible things that could warrant jail sentences or fines for Trump: mishandling of funds in his foundation, the many unknowns regarding his personal finances and paying taxes, breaking the laws on America's embargo on Cuba, racial discrimination towards the tenants of his father's rental buildings, not operating Trump University with an educational license and scamming students who never received a real degree, using undocumented workers to build his buildings, and actual rape violations (Check * at the end of the article for my sources). Trump has so many scandals, allegations, and shady dealings following him it makes no sense to keep saying "I'm much more bothered by what Hillary has done than what Trump has said." To start with, our words are inextricably connected to our actions. Next, in most instances we are concerned with Trump's actions and not just his words. Finally, none of us have any idea about the things Trump has done that have not come to light yet. So please, if you are going to support him publicly, please preface that support with "I know he should be in prison, but..."

2.) Since you and many others continually deflect his behavior and words towards women and many other groups of people, asking us to focus on what he stands for as a candidate, could you at least also couple those statements with how you were wrong for saying Bill Clinton was morally unfit to be president due to his similar scandals and that you instead should have only focused on his policies and his ability to lead the country (assuming you made those statements back when he was president or have continued to make them now)? If this describes you at all, will you be willing to admit your hypocrisy? 

Along with that, I've heard many of you say something to the effect of "No one is perfect except Jesus. He's not a saint and he never claimed to be, but he is the only person who can stop Clinton from ruining our nation. Besides, I also believe God's been working on him." If you are going to say something like this about Trump, fine, but please also be willing to give Hillary Clinton the same mercy, understanding, patience, and "benefit of the doubt." Whether you like it or not Clinton has claimed to be a committed Christian for years and has stayed in her marriage with Bill through all the hell that her life has been. In other words, if you are going to give the vileness of Trump a merciful pass, why is that same mercy not displayed toward the vileness of Clinton? Can God not be working on her too? Does she not deserve reserved judgment and mercy as well?

3.) If Trump is elected president and he spearheads a law that you disagree with or he fails to follow through with his campaign promises, will you be some of the first to call him to account? Or instead will you invoke Romans 13, choosing not to criticize God's instituted ruler: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment." But, if Clinton is elected will you conveniently bow out of leaning on Romans 13 and so use every opportunity to tear down her presidency and her as a person, as you have done with President Obama's term in office? Instead, no matter who is elected, are you able to live fully into Roman's 12, 13, and 14, accepting God's hand in the placement of our ruling authorities while also holding them to account when necessary, but with a Fruit of the Sprit, Kingdom of Heaven approach and not a slanderous character assassination approach? If so, I will stand with you and do the same.

4.) Finally, and this is a shift to to issues surrounding the Church, are you able to make peace with the Church being persecuted? Not that we would ever seek persecution out, but Jesus said blessed are those persecuted in his name. Here is a quote that struck me as prophetic: "More importantly, while I think Hillary Clinton will do long term damage to the country, I believe Donald Trump will do far more damage to the church, which must be my chief priority. A Clinton Administration may see the church besieged from the outside, but a Trump Administration will see the church poisoned from within." It is from this article: http://theresurgent.com/coming-to-terms-with-trump/.

What I am grieved by the most is seeing those around me who claim Christ continually sacrifice our identity as those in his Body, as the radical community he is fashioning in his image and for his glory, for fleeting and corrupt political ideologies and party affiliations. If you have made politics your idol and an identity other than Christ, will you repent and instead follow the way he laid out for us in Matthew 5-7? If I have done this as well, I too will repent.

So I plead with you, would you consider revoking your support of Trump, prioritizing Christian witness over political gain? Or would you consider "throwing your vote away" by voting for a 3rd party candidate, a write in vote, or a conscious protest vote by not voting at all? Or, if you still feel convicted to vote for him, could you refrain from making public comments for him and against Clinton, could you refrain from posting articles about the election? Could you find a way to simply remain silent? Because, if we are going to be persecuted, let it be for the right reasons... 

I ask all this for the sake of Christ's Church, the Body of Christ within which he moves and his kingdom reigns. And if I ask it of you, I will expect the same from myself. Let us commit now to praying for the Church, for each other, for our country, and for our world.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

DISCLAIMER: This "letter" will be the last I write on this issueI will not be responding to any comments on this letter, though I will read the comments and take them seriously, assuming they are sincere and worthy of reading. I am tired and I am grieved, so I just can't debate anymore, at least not through the endless vortex of "social media". If you are reading this and we have a personal relationship, I will gladly discuss the candidates and the issues facing our country in person. Perhaps I have a too self-important view to have written on this issue in the the hopes that someone would read it. Nonetheless, I felt compelled to write something and my prayer is the people who need to hear it will read it.
* SOURCES: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/donald-trump-scandals/474726/ and http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-accused-underage-rape-lawsuit-a7352976.html 


Pastor D said...

Trust not in rulers they are but mortal;
Earth-born they are and soon decay.
Vain are their counsels at life's last portal,
When the dark grave engulf's its prey.
Since mortals can no help afford,
Place all your trust in Christ our Lord

Stanza 2 from the hymn "Praise the Lord, the Almighty"

Christopher said...

Very interesting read. I appreciate you sharing and I share many of the same feelings. I've decided to vote 3rd party, knowing that my vote will be in the loser's pike, but in the hopes of breaking down the 2 party system that has put us in this predicament in the first place. Choosing the lesser of two evils is not, at least in my mind, the optimal position for America or the world.

God will judge the just and the unjust and I have supreme faith in his credentials. His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, I pray.

Thanks again for sharing and for your honest reflection of the sad state of current affairs. God bless you and yours, brother.

Anonymous said...

Who was it that said "He who is without sin, cast the first stone." Donald Trump has lived a past that may have challenged his morals from time to time, and at some time or another... not being Jesus Christ, the Devil won him over. So all you "Mightier that Thow Christians" who tout that they are bible thumping Christians, look back on your own past. When and how was it that you were saved. Did Satan ever challenge you to jump off of that cliff? Did you jump and did he catch you as promised? So I say to you, You who are without sin, cast the first stone. It seems like many of you already have and that you do not believe that Donald Trump is Irredeemable. That he does not deserve to be admonished and then forgiven for his sins? So sure, withdraw your support and let the MOST CROOKED ORGANIZATION THAT IS KNOW TO MAN WIN THE THRONE! Because you have cast the first stone then YOU LIVE IN THE HELL THAT YOU HATH BROUGHT UPON YOURSELVES!

Unknown said...

Chris, this was an interesting read; articulate, well written, and thought-provoking. I share some of your frustrations, but I think some that read it will miss your point and view it as an anti-Trump piece. Which begs the question: why pick on Trump? Reading back through it I think you could substitute the name “Hillary” almost every place the name “Trump” appears. Christian support of Hillary is equally damaging to the church. Neither candidate has the moral high ground; both candidates are equally unfit to be president of United States. We can only assume the media is holding more dirt on Trump and will release it at strategic intervals until the election. Are we to judge who is the viler of the two? The biggest sinner? I am dismayed that out of 300 million people, these are our choices. In my view, Christians have been voting for candidates who defy the Word of God for decades, and the damage to the church has long been done. I do not believe, however, that Christians should sit out this or any election. We have been blessed with the power to influence the society we live in. Since neither candidate gives me anything to vote for, I must look at the platforms they stand on. The choice then becomes clear. The most compelling reason to vote for president and Senate in this election is to shape the Supreme Court. Granted, Trump’s choices are uncertain at this point, but no one doubts the certainty of what the court will look like if Hillary is president. If the court falls to progressive ideology, it will no longer matter who our elected officials are. It's easy for me to be critical of Lot for making his home in Sodom. But voting for progressives and/or not trying to prevent evil from overtaking society is essentially the same thing. Persecution of the American church has now begun, and I believe will continue to grow. It is very different than the persecution seen in nations hostile to Christianity, but it will become increasingly difficult. I don't necessarily fear it, but if I'm honest, I do resist it. However, I don't think it's wrong to vote to keep it at bay. God blessed me with that privilege and I will exercise it; the power to vote is a stewardship granted to us by God that should not be squandered by sitting out or throwing our vote away. The harsh reality is that anything other than an actual ballot cast for Donald Trump is a vote for Hillary Clinton. We can only hope Trump is true to his platform; we can be certain Hillary will be true to hers. But the bottom line is this: in my opinion, God is fulfilling prophecy and removing the United States from the world stage. He will raise up a leader to facilitate His will. It is so very interesting to watch. Thanks for what you wrote.

Unknown said...

Much respect. This is one of the best statements made concerning this election. Thanks for being honest and not just politically expedient. I was also shocked when so many Christians backed Romney, a Mormon (read:idolater).