As an evangelical and member of the Global Advisory Board of Christian Post's parent company, I was heartbroken to read CP's recent editorial telling evangelicals that we have a moral obligation to vote and must vote for either Donald Trump or a protest candidate.
I see three options for evangelicals in this election and none of them include voting for Trump. Evangelicals can morally justify a protest vote for a third party, not vote at all, or join the 30%+ of evangelicals saying they'll vote for Hillary Clinton.
What we cannot do is to cast our vote for Donald Trump. The harm to the Christian witness if we support this man who embodies everything Christ warned Christians against in the Sermon on the Mount would last generations.
What will our Latino brothers and sisters think of us? How could we ever again have credibility on religious freedom if we are willing to trade the First Amendment rights of our Muslim American neighbors so easily? And what will our children learn when they see us cast our lot with this man?
We cannot be deceived about the man we'd be voting to make the most powerful man in the world.
Trump has said he will order U.S. soldiers to kill innocent women and children of our enemies and do "the unthinkable" when it comes to torture—all in violation of international law and Christian morality.
Trump said he has never asked God for forgiveness and does not need to.
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Trump is a thrice-married adulterer who brags not only about cheating on his own wife but with the wives of other men. In the words of GOP Rep. Reid Ribble, "Trump is often simply hateful," having mocked the disabled and saying things about women CP won't even let me print. Remember, this is the man who says he's never needed God's forgiveness.
I know the editors of CP to be good evangelical Christians, but they made the same mistake many evangelicals are liable to make. They said they were actually tempted by Trump's offer to "Vote for me, and I will give you Supreme Court picks and abolish the Johnson Amendment."
Trump's "tempting" offer is remarkably like another made two millennia ago … when the Devil offered Jesus the power to rule over all the kingdoms of the world with justice and mercy, if only Christ would bow down to the Devil. American Christians should not take a deal Jesus rejected.
It profits a man nothing to give his soul in exchange for the entire world ... how can we possibly consider doing so in exchange for Trump's empty promise of Supreme Court nominees?
It can't be because of abortion. When George W. Bush was President, 2/3 of the Supreme Court were Republican appointees, and Republicans controlled the White House and all of Congress. Yet Roe remains. We cannot possibly be so naïve as to believe Donald Trump — who until he decided to run as a Republican supported partial birth abortion without restriction — would do more.
I sure hope it's not because of "religious freedom" or the fear I've heard that if we get a liberal Court, Christianity will decline in America. I absolutely reject the fear that underlies the Supreme Court idolatry taking hold in some of our churches. If the Church needs the Court to save souls and empower a faithful witness — both spoken and lived — then we are truly lost. Christ promised us a cross and the Holy Spirit as our advocate, not tax breaks for our business and a worldly Court to defend our beliefs.
It would be the extreme of folly to place our hope of religious freedom in a man who says he'll use the government to spy on houses of worship, deny sanctuary to families fleeing ISIS and disqualify judges based on their faith, and who the Christian Post editors said would silence Christian leaders who oppose him like Russell Moore and Max Lucado. What would it say about us to accept this deal of Trump's on the condition that we turn a blind eye to his taking religious freedom from others and persecuting some of our most faithful Christian leaders?
And where did this anti-Johnson Amendment stuff come from? In what world do we think it's a good idea to allow our tithes to be used to support political candidates and for churches to become openly partisan political operations? Is there a faster way to turn God's house from a house of prayer into a den of thieves?!
To the faithful, Trump has said, "Christians should vote for me because if I'm there, you're going to have plenty of power. You don't need anybody else." Trump claims to be sinless and without need of God's forgiveness. Let me ask you, when the beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies, what kind of things do you think he said?
What will it do to the evangelical witness if we are marked by our support of Trump? And given Trump's life of broken promises and worship of only himself, even if the cost of accepting this deal were not so high, why would anyone put their faith in Trump to keep his vows once he has gotten what he wants?
But perhaps worst of all, if we accept Trump's deal, we'll trade all we are for nothing. Trump will definitely not save the Church or restore morality and Christian decency in America. But it's also becoming increasingly clear he will lose this election. America has seen Trump for what he truly is. He will lose, and we will have traded all we are to join the losing side.
The age-old question for believers during times of trial is whether we will turn to a Strongman for salvation or keep faith in the One who binds the Strongman through meekness, love, sacrifice, and forgiveness. God's kingdom will come regardless of what we do now. But later, when our children ask whether we cast our lot with a man like Trump and our Lord ultimately asks who we trusted in this time, what will we say?