In the race to recapture the White House, Donald Trump's biggest obstacle has never been Hillary Clinton. It's been himself. Saddled with baggage from years of crass comments, Trump has been his own worst enemy.
Those self-inflicted wounds continued last week, when footage surfaced from 2005 of the GOP nominee making contemptible comments about women. Now, with 26 days left until the election, the Trump campaign is in the unenviable position of not only trying to win people's votes — but keep them. Caught between a candidate who doesn't share their sense of decency and a woman who stands against everything they believe in, evangelicals have some difficult decisions to make.
In an election between two people who have said and done things that stand in contradiction to biblical values and truths, Christians are intently wrestling with what they should do. I know, because I'm one of them. For some, the temptation to throw in the towel and walk away has been overwhelming. As an individual, I publicly supported and campaigned for a candidate in the primary with whom I had shared values and a shared worldview. He didn't prevail. So now, faced with choosing between two candidates that are far from ideal and a nation on the brink, what are Christians called to do?
Number one: exercise our moral responsibility to vote. When Jesus was asked whether or not a Jewish person should pay taxes or tribute to Caesar, a man who declared himself to be a god, Jesus responded, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's." Our Republic is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people as Abraham Lincoln said. Number two: we are instructed to be salt and light, to be agents of transformation in the broader society. Now, I'm not suggesting that political engagement is the source of that transformation, but I am saying that it should be transformed by the truth just as every other realm of society is transformed.
The choices we have before us in the presidential race are disappointing, but they're also a reflection of who we've become as a country. Too many Christians have become comfortable sitting in the safety of the sidelines rather than being in the battle for the heart and soul of America and her future.
I respect that there are some very frustrated evangelicals out there who are having difficulty reconciling Donald Trump's personal failings with his political potential. But, like other Christians, what brought me to support Trump wasn't common values — it was common concerns over the Supreme Court, abortion, religious liberty, and our nation's ability to protect itself. Are his comments from 11 years ago disturbing? You bet they are. Am I excusing them? Absolutely not. But as distasteful as the past is, he can't change it. He needs to own it, apologize for it, and learn from it. In the meantime, our country hangs by a thread over a raging fire. And as much as I believe that there are good people on both sides of this question, I cannot stand by and watch other Christian leaders mislead Christians by suggesting they should abstain from voting in the presidential election.
Paul talks about the Church being a body with many members. Like a human body each part has a vital function to play, and each is equipped for performing its duty. My team and I at FRC are parts of the body focused on these issues day in and day out. These issues aren't always at the forefront, but they are now.
God called me to the political realm 20 years ago and to FRC over 13 years ago. With your prayers and your support, we are here in our nation's capital representing biblical truth and helping Christians across America integrate their faith with the cultural and political engagement. We carry this responsibility with great solemnity knowing that our actions have consequences, but more importantly knowing that we will give an account to God for the decisions we make and the people we influence.
For more on the controversy, check out my weekend interview with Neil Cavuto.
DISCLAIMER: Tony Perkins is supporting a candidate in his individual and personal capacity only, and it should not be construed or interpreted in any way as the endorsement of FRC, FRC Action, or any affiliated entity.