When my op-ed, “How Can You Follow Jesus and Support Trump” went viral, many of the negative emails came from folks who asked similar questions, and the one that topped the list was “How can you support a man who always lies?” This was followed by questions such as: “How can you support him based on his lifestyle?”
In answering the lying charge, we have to ask the most important question of our day: Where are we getting our information? The emails I received sounded more like sound bites from anti-Trump news outlets than people doing their own unbiased research. Most in the media will doctor numbers, erase information, take things out of context, and outright lie to make Trump look bad.
What most call lies or misleading statements are actually differences of opinion rather than facts. For example, when the president says that this is the “best economy ever,” that can be supported by some and refuted by others. One pundit said it’s a lie because, in his opinion, the economy under Lincoln was much better. I’m currently reading A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White, and I can assure you, based on my understanding of a strong and healthy economy, that Lincoln’s economy was not as strong as ours. However, we must remain humble and vigilant in our pursuit of God and not trust in our economy or military, but trust in God alone. (More here at our YouTube page; make sure to subscribe.)
Charges are also leveled at him that he inflates numbers and stats. But statistics are often the art of deceiving with numbers, and can vary greatly depending on the agenda and presuppositions of the person you ask. A national economist who hates the president will say he is off on the numbers, but an investment banker who has a pulse on the economy will say that he is right on.
On the other hand, many speakers, from the late Billy Graham to current pastors and preachers, give out numbers and stats in their sermons but sometimes find out later they had wrong information or misquoted someone. Although we should double check our facts, this isn’t lying; it’s being human — having wrong information, forgetting exact numbers, or mixing up stats in your head. For example, I recently said, “I think that 85 percent of all lottery winners end up losing their money in the end.” It’s actually around 70 percent. My critics, undoubtedly, would level charges of lying against me too.
So again, most of the recent charges against President Trump for lying are simply unfounded. Granted, he is not perfect and, indeed, has lied and will lie (we can simply look in the mirror to validate this truth), but is he improving, learning, and growing? Is he looking out for the American people according to Romans 13? I’m not saying that lying is OK, but I am saying that much of what we hear about Trump is actually designed to mislead the public. Ironically, those saying that he is lying are actually the ones doing the lying.
Another question goes something like this: “His values don’t line up with the Bible. Aren’t we straying from God when we support him?” First, I would encourage you to read the op-ed mentioned at the beginning. Second, we must wrestle with this question: What if God put him in office? Did you know that God used pagan kings to accomplish his purposes — from Cyrus to Artaxerxes and many others. Regardless of the king or president, the key questions to ask are: What direction is the leader taking us and our children, and where is he seeking counsel? Is he really trying to honor God through legislation?
President Trump has an incredible team around him offering spiritual advice on a daily basis. Can you imagine having people like Jack Graham, Jim Garlow, James Robison, Jack Hibbs, and countless others speaking into your life or the life of our president? We should be extremely thankful. I find it ironic that many of the never-Trumpers fail to take this into consideration. We should be shouting with joy rather than having sour looks on our faces.
We must remember that President Trump is growing and maturing as a leader. I often wonder if these people casting stones at him also cast stones at others struggling through life. I’m not suggesting that we look the other way and sweep deception under the rug, but clearly who he was 15 years ago is not who he is today. God often uses broken and flawed leaders. Based on their reasoning, my past just a few decades ago would disqualify me from becoming a pastor! And struggling with dyslexia and reading disabilities and having graduated high school with a 1.8 GPA, I should not be writing op-eds on the national level or speaking to tens of thousands on the radio and other media outlets. My critics will laugh at me, but many others will be encouraged (i.e., if God can use Shane Idleman, He can use me, too, if I repent and turn to Him). I am flawed, broken, and utterly dependent on God, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. My strength actually comes from my weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-11).
To reiterate, we are not supporting President Trump's past lifestyle; we are supporting a movement back to God. God will use unlikely candidates to accomplish His purposes. As I said in the op-ed above, innocent children are being protected, godly counsel is surrounding President Trump, terror is being restrained, good judges are being selected, socialism is being resisted, employment is at an all-time high, prayer is being brought back in schools, God’s wisdom is being sought, and on and on it goes. I’m more concerned with our nation’s national character than I am with the president’s personal character. But with that said, this is not a time for gloating and arrogance but for brokenness and humility. Trump being re-elected is not certain (read more on that here).
At this point, one may ask, “But what about all the examples in the Old Testament of ungodly kings causing Israel’s depravity and, ultimately, their judgment?” There is an enormous difference — back then, they were being drawn away from God and into false worship to Baal while sacrificing their children. Make no mistake here: we are still sacrificing children today on the altar of Planned Parenthood … sexual fulfillment void of responsibility. But today, we are being drawn back to God and fighting against the massacre of innocent children.
Yes, I wish I could edit the president’s tweets before they are sent, but he wants to bring prayer back into the schools. Yes, I wish his words were seasoned with grace, but he is attempting to remove the muzzle of the Johnson Amendment. Yes, I wish we’d see more apologizes and humility, but he appoints God-fearing judges and protects innocent babies. I can keep going if you’d like — such as more sex-trafficking arrests than all other presidents. I’m amazed at how anyone can overlook these things.
Let me leave you with this final thought: Can you honestly look into the face of a precious baby whose life is about to be terminated by being removed limb by limb from the mother’s womb and say, “I’m truly sorry, but I could not vote for Trump. I don’t like his character.” What would that say about your character? If that is really the position of the American Christian, God help us.
Three additional resources: 1) “You can murder babies in the womb, teach evolution to our kids, and flaunt sexual perversion, and I'm supposed to keep my mouth shut? I don’t think so.” Watch this short sermon clip here. 2) Other questions that came in were answered on this short video clip. 3) If you’re concerned about America but also need hope, download my free e-book, One Nation Above God.