If you’ve listened regularly to my "Line of Fire" broadcast or read my articles consistently, you’ll see that I’ve said or written very little about former President Trump for some time now. There are several reasons for that.
First, I have cut way back on political commentary in general in order to avoid getting caught up in election fever, especially since the presidential elections are more than 13 months away and there remains real uncertainty about who the candidates will be.
Second, I generally do not comment much on legal cases (in this case, indictments against Trump or the potential impeachment of President Biden), since these are outside my areas of expertise.
Third, while I have made clear that I would prefer a candidate other than Trump for the GOP in 2024, I am not a Trump basher and I have no desire to needlessly alienate tens of millions of loyal Trump supporters. Instead, my goal is to rally all of us around righteous and godly causes.
That being said, when an issue comes up that is worthy of discussion, and when that issue causes me to differ with Trump’s position, I will do so freely. That’s because my loyalty is to Jesus rather than to a political leader or a political party. And this is not on a scale of 10 to 1 or 100 to 1 but on a scale of infinitely multiplied trillions and billions to a very tiny one.
Even as a Trump voter and supporter, I wrote a book titled Donald Trump Is Not My Savior: An Evangelical Leader Speaks His Mind About the Man He Supports As President. The message I wanted to shout to the whole world was this: JESUS IS MY LORD AND SAVIOR. HE DIED FOR ME AND PAID FOR MY SINS AND I OWE HIM MY HEART AND MY LIFE AND MY EVERY BREATH. I LIVE FOR HIM AND WILL JOYFULLY DIE FOR HIM.
Then, in a very small font: Donald Trump is my president.
These would be my sentiments regardless of who was in the White House. JESUS IS LORD. The rest of us are redeemed dust at best.
When it comes to my voting preferences, beyond the obvious question of the candidate’s character and trustworthiness, I always start with the abortion issue. How strongly pro-life is the candidate? Next, I look at where they stand on moral, family issues, such as same-sex “marriage” and transgender identity. Then, I look at their views on Israel, then on other relevant issues (such as national security, the economy, international relations, etc.).
Other voters might start with the economy. Or race issues. Or border control. Or education. Or national security.
I respect that, and that is their prerogative. But we each have our priorities, and that is what informs our voting.
When it came to voting for Trump in 2016, the biggest issue for me was the potential of him appointing pro-life Supreme Court justices, and he delivered on his promises, contributing in a massive, fundamental way to the overturning of Roe v Wade. For that, I am deeply grateful.
But when he says that Gov. DeSantis made “a terrible mistake” by signing into law a ban on abortions after 6 weeks, I categorically reject his position.
In fact, this is the very reason we so wanted to see Roe overturned — in order to see bills like this pass in state after state.
Trump’s whole approach, in which he says that “15 weeks” is a number that everyone seems to like, is misguided, failing to address the injustice of abortion. And he is quite wrong in thinking that both sides will like his pragmatic approach. (From the pro-life side, just ask Lila Rose.)
What happens when I dare take issue with Trump for his comments?
I get comments like this, posted on our YouTube channel in response to the broadcast: “Shame on you Mr. Brown for not remaining loyal to Trump. Trump was CHEATED and you are looking for ‘better’ candidates? You profess to stand for life but you can't even stand up for the man who overturned abortion & was cheated. REPENT! stop being jealous. Deep down you know Trump is smarter than you and it drives you nuts. REPENT. you think you can do a better job...admit it.. but you can't..he is tougher & smarter ... Trump has to get done what is realistic because HE IS INVOLVED IN POLITICS ... He is not your pastor ... if you Loved TRUTH you would LOVE REALISM ... because they are the same.”
Putting aside the silly, schoolyard-level attacks, the issue is very simple: my loyalty here is to the pro-life cause, and if I believe that Trump’s view is weak — as do many other pro-life leaders who are much more on the front lines than I am — I will say so.
I don’t need to “stand up for the man” who helped overturn Roe. I need to stand up for the unborn. In this case, there may be a big difference. (In a separate article, I’ll return to the larger issue of political pragmatism in the abortion debate, something advocated by Republican candidate Nikki Haley.)
It’s the same when it comes to LGBTQ activist issues, number two on my list of priorities when voting. I take deep exception to Trump saying last December to a crowd filled with LGBTQ activists and their allies, “We are fighting for the gay community, and we are fighting and fighting hard.”
He also said at the gala event, held in Mar-a-Lago, “With the help of many of the people here tonight in recent years, our movement has taken incredible strides, the strides you’ve made here is incredible.”
Sorry, but those sentiments do not get my support, even if Trump opposes the transitioning of children. (Name me one prominent GOP candidate who does support the transitioning of children.)
So, when it comes to voting, I have my lines drawn in the sand. Should a candidate move from those lines, I have not abandoned him. He has abandoned me.
Where the former president will ultimately land remains to be seen. But my loyalty is to my Lord and the causes I believe are important to Him. All other loyalties are filtered through that lens.