Anyone who knows me, knows I’m no fan of our President, much of his rhetoric, and some of his policies. However, I want to be fair and promote truth and charitable discussion. Pastor Jesse’s post here is worth reading, even by those of us who disagree with his final choice and who cannot stomach voting for Trump. We should still thoughtfully consider Jesse’s arguments. -Erik
“As those who know me can attest, I did not vote for President Trump 4 years ago. I did not believe him when he said he would draw troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, nor did I believe him when he said he would appoint pro-life judges. Moreover, I was afraid that if our nation had a president who flaunted his sexual immorality such as Trump had, it would lead to a downplaying of that sin by Christian conservatives.
This year I plan on voting for him, and my reasons are all connected to why I refused four years ago. First, he did substantially draw down our nation’s troops from those indefinite wars. Second, he did indeed appoint pro-life judges; in fact, not only pro-life judges, but judges that uphold religious freedom. It is no coincidence that Capitol Hill Baptist won their right to re-open in DC from a judge who graduated from Wheaton and was appointed by Trump. “Elections,” as President Obama often said, “have consequences.”
But the third reason I plan on voting for Trump next week is the one that hits me the hardest. Four years ago, I was afraid that a president who spoke like President Trump speaks would lead to a growth in brashness, pride, and sexual immorality in those who imitate the president. Call this the “John Piper reason for not voting for Trump.”
Yet the truth is, in the last few years I have seen nearly the opposite problem. While certainly I have encountered my fair share of people who do imitate Trump’s anger and spite, and make poor attempts at copying his vitriol and pride (all of which are sinful and shameful), I have seen many more people who—out of opposition to Trump—have sought to downplay the sinfulness of abortion. They minimize abortion by saying things like “Republicans are only pro-life until the baby is born, and then they don’t care” as a means by which they justify voting for a candidate who supports (and is supported by) Planned Parenthood.
This leads me to California’s Kangaroo Court.
Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris is no run-of-the-mill, middle-of-the-road member of the Democratic Party when it comes to abortion. She was the Attorney General in California when journalists made undercover videos of Planned Parenthood violating federal law by selling body parts from aborted babies. When those videos were leaked, rather than encouraging a federal prosecution of Planned Parenthood, she initiated a prosecution of those that made the videos.
In other words, she used the full force of the government to prosecute pro-life activists for exposing the criminal activity of one of her biggest donors.
Of course the eventual “trial” of those activists was one act of injustice after another. The State asked for a gag motion to keep the “defendants” (the pro-life activists) from talking about their case. The state also seized their videos and their cameras, and made it impossible for them to release more footage. Their federal trial was held in front of a judge who used to be on the board of a local Planned Parenthood, and whose wife who is one of Planned Parenthood’s biggest fundraisers. That judge, by the way, was appointed by President Obama. He did not go to Wheaton.
I’m very aware that some Christians have sought to downplay President Trump’s sin in order to justify their vote. Trump was wrong to question President Obama’s legitimacy—that was racist and sinful. He is wrong to insult his opponents with lines like “Don’t ever use the word ‘smart’ with me; there is nothing smart about you Joe.” That is brash, arrogant, and sinful.
I’m also aware that no matter who wins next week, it will be someone with a history of making raciststatements, as well as someone who has been credibly accused of sexual assault. No matter who wins next week, it will be someone who is openly in favor of government recognition of same-sex marriage. I wish our country had leaders for whom those things were not true, but we don’t.
Yet I’m also aware that President Trump’s administration has been a reprieve for Christian schools, Christian universities, and for churches. If you are not in administration at a church or university, it is really hard to understand how difficult life was getting under the Obama administration. Their revamped Title IX procedures were nearly impossible to deal with, and severely crippled Christian school’s ability to operate. Biden has vowed to reinstitute them if he is elected.
In this election the difference in how the candidates view Christian education is on full display. Karen Pence teaches at the school affiliated with the church I pastor, and both Karen and the Vice President have been vocal proponents of Christian education. Meanwhile Biden and Harris have vowed to pass the “Equality Act” which again would put a monumental burden on religious liberty and specifically Christian Universities.
I affirm that people should be able to worship together and be in full and harmonious fellowship in the Lord together who share different political calculations. I want Immanuel (the church I pastor) to be a place where both Democrats and Republicans feel welcome—and I know many who do feel that way!
But at the same time I want to make sure people understand that Kamala Harris has already demonstrated her willingness to use state power to arrest pro-life activists, whereas President Trump spoke at the March for Life. Biden wants restrictions on Christian schools, and I cannot find a single abortion restriction he is in favor of. That is not to say that President Trump is a qualified leader—his conduct is publically sinful and harms our nation. But ultimately I’ll be voting for the candidate who appoints judges that protect the right to worship, and who affirms the pro-life cause. Here is Mohler making this same point—it’s worth quoting at length, and I’ll leave that as the last word:
“Let me be as clear as I know possible: President Trump’s behavior on Twitter and his divisive comments and sub-presidential behavior are an embarrassment. Constantly His arrogance and ego and constant need for adulation drive me to distraction…but character is some strange combination of the personal, the principled, and the practical. I cannot accept the argument that a calm man who affirms the dismembering of babies in the womb has a superior character to a man who rants like Genghis Khan but acts to preserve that life. In my ideal world, I would vote for a candidate in whom the person, the principled, and the practical earn my admiration. I do not live in that world. I live in this world, and I must act accordingly.”