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I'm in the 18% of white evangelicals who won't vote for Trump

After reading Leonardo Blair’s article in The Christian Post, “82% of white evangelicals would vote for Trump despite concerns about job performance: study,” I was disturbed by the fact that a majority of white evangelicals would still vote for Trump even though his job performance has been among the poorest in presidential history.

As an evangelical who is both a conservative and a Republican, I’m writing to suggest that voting for Trump should be tied to his character, not his job performance. It is out of one’s character that presidents generate the policies they come up with and how well or poorly they execute them. A president’s policies and performance don’t take place in a vacuum, and, when both are bad, you can be reasonably sure their character is as well.

At the risk of inflaming pro-Trump evangelicals, Trump is a deeply flawed human being when it comes to his characterological make-up.  Allow me to use two passages of Scripture to make this point, both of which speak to the why Christians who support Trump should seriously reconsider whether or not to vote for him in 2020.

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In Proverbs 6:16-19, the Bible says, “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”

Trump frequently manifests many of these troubling traits in how he conducts himself in the White House. I would think it hard for any Christian to truly believe a holy and righteous God would want His followers to support someone who regularly and remorselessly practices the things He hates.

In 2 Timothy 3:1-4, the Bible says, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

Once again, Trump exhibits most of these character defects. If this is true about the president, he can’t possibly be God’s choice to lead our country. God is clear about how we are to deal with someone as deeply disturbed as Trump: “Have nothing to do with such people” (2 Timothy 3:5). Nothing means nothing.

Trump is a racist, misogynist, xenophobe, narcissist, and sociopath. He is someone who has a “seared conscience” (1 Timothy 4:2) in that he never admits to doing anything wrong and is utterly unrepentant about his sins. Remember, this is the man who said he has never asked God to forgive him because he hadn’t done anything bad enough to warrant doing so. Most followers of Christ are more aware of their fallenness than that.

I’m under no illusion that my words are going to persuade any of the 82% of white evangelicals who support Trump to start opposing him. It’s probably the case that those who back the president strongly disagree with what I have written and are greatly bothered that I would say such negative things about his character.

Nevertheless, character in a president matters, and it matters a great deal. When character issues in a president are this problematic, his policies and performance inevitably follow suit. Do we need to look any further than Trump’s malevolent border policy mishandling of the coronavirus, or the mean-spirited way he stokes racial unrest in this country to know this is true?

My hope is that evangelicals who support Trump will be willing to think through the passages of Scripture mentioned and be honest about whether or not they fit the president. If these passages describe Trump, I would further hope pro-Trump evangelicals would be willing to admit as much and have nothing to do with this president.

Trump has had three-and-a-half years to prove he is up to the task of being a competent and moral leader, and he has fallen short in the ways that truly matter. Trump’s immorality, ignorance, and incompetence clearly demonstrate he is not fit to be president and should not be given another four years to further prove it.

When the dust settles from this presidency, we are going to see that Trump was the king who had no clothes, an unrepentant “lover of self,” and someone who conned the majority of white evangelicals into believing he truly cares about them, our nation, and, most importantly, God.

Ours is a great nation. Our country deserves a leader who doesn’t spend his day devising wicked schemes, pouring out lies, rushing into evil, and stirring up conflict in the community. It deserves a leader who is loving, forgiving, honest, self-controlled, genuine, humble, compassionate, and kind. Trump is the former, not the latter.

When it comes time to cast your vote in 2020, vote for the person who best personifies the character of Christ, not someone who personifies the opposite.

Chris Thurman, Ph.D., is a psychologist and author of The Lies We Believe

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