The election is over. God be Praised! Since the nomination of Donald Trump to be the Republican candidate, I have tried to say very little about my views. My credibility as a preaching Pastor was a concern to me since so many evangelical friends held opposite, and often combative, views. In fact, I cannot recall any issue when Bible-believing people with so much in common had such different positions on a candidate…or where so many spoke with such certainty and hubris as they critiqued one another.
I watched as many Christians were stunned and even angry that other evangelicals could support Trump. At one point, I grew disappointed at the high level of virtual contempt expressed by some towards others…crisscrossing a range of opinions and certainties that became mutually condescending.
I heard from people who pointed out that Mr. Trump had been married three times and had been an open blasphemer. I was reminded that his policy positions on abortion and gay marriage and other things have vacillated to the point where perhaps he cannot be trusted. His record of earthy comments and open improprieties was unparalleled. How could any self-respecting evangelical vote for such a man? Ought not that Christian voter be ashamed? And what of their witness to those who need Christ? (That last concern stuck me as really quite irrational. Somehow I doubt very much if my unbelieving neighbors would come to Christ if I denounced Trump.) In short, the incoming fire from other believers was often uppity and disrespectful. It amounted to: How could an evangelical support Trump in view of his obvious depravities? Could any of us really vote for him?
I did. And I did so with a clear conscience. Now, for any who might be interested, I will say why. Be assured that I found Mr. Trump’s obnoxious and unwholesome (read dirty) remarks to be totally repulsive. And I made no arguments for nominating him as the model father or husband or citizen. I got it. But I voted for him as any pragmatist would.
I wondered how so many evangelical friends could be so incredibly judgmental. With respect for these folks whom I love…I wondered if they had spent adequate time lately in the Word of God? The fact is that God often used and uses very flawed people to do His will; I am one. Abram showed the traits of an untrusting serial liar repeatedly, yet God used him to lead Israel. David was practically a sexual predator and clearly a murderer yet the Bible says he was a man whose “heart was devoted to God” (1 Kings 15:3). Saul became Paul after he brutalized many of the early Christians. The list is lengthy of imperfect people used by God. Almost as if He delights in deploying the weak and sometimes wicked for his own purposes and often converting them!
I also wondered if many evangelicals would do well to consider the real world in which we live. A season reading the biographies of past presidents will open one’s eyes to how few of them were men who would be welcome as members in our churches. The fact is that if we Christians want good governance, which has moral implications of its own, we sometimes have to separate our moral preferences from the practical reality that not many of these candidates would qualify as elders in our midst.
I was called a pragmatist…one who puts the practical over the idealistic. Guilty as charged. I felt we needed a president with some leadership skills. Using my vote for an unelectable third party was entirely unacceptable to me.
It struck me as something one does to feel better but is totally pointless. But…that leads me to my second point. I said I was puzzled. HERE IS WHY I AM RELIEVED AT MR. TRUMP’S VICTORY. All of my reasons, in my view, occupy high moral ground and were sufficient for my conscience to vote for him. Why am I relieved?
I am relieved that his presidency will mean less babies will have their heads crushed and their arms torn off and their skin burned away because of judicial appointments he will make. His opponent actually argued for partial-birth abortion openly in a debate! That is a moral issue.
I am relieved because he will give much needed support to our nation’s law enforcement. Men and women who risk their lives every hour being treated with contempt. That is a moral issue.
I am relieved because he will re-build our military so that it will be prepared, when necessary, to protect our nation and other nations if the cause is just. And that will include a proper level of respect and care for the relatives of Abram…God’s ancient ethnic people Israel. That is a moral issue.
I am relieved that he will embrace economic policies that might bring America back from the brink of real-time economic collapse that will leave millions unable to live decently. That is a moral issue.
I am relieved that he will propose solutions to inner city decay and infrastructural ruin thru real economic opportunities. I am relieved that our nation will no longer be managed by an administration that has actually made living in America worse for the poor in the last decade. That is especially true for minorities and those whose economic mobility has remained beyond minimal. That is a moral issue.
I am relieved that he will generate changes to a health care plan that was conceived in deceit, passed thru partisan bullying and that is collapsing visibly as it goes forward. That is a moral issue.
In short, I was willing to vote with an eye to policies not piety. It would be nice to have both. Perhaps someday we can. But at this point, I am reminding any Christian in whose life I have influence…that by the power of the Holy Spirit people can change. What we should be doing is praying daily for Mr. Trump and his house to truly come to the Living Christ! And I rather suspect that God will use him in days ahead to join with others and give this nation some much-needed management.
Do others around the world wonder how we could elect such a man whom they have heard speak with such careless buffoonery? Sure. But… I suggest that they get the boards out of their own eyes before they say much more. And we Christians might do well to remember that God is the great change-agent and is full of redemptive surprises. Indeed, the Apostle Paul by the Holy Spirit said this:
1 Corinthians 1:27 (NIV) 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
I think this election and its result suggest that God the Holy Spirit is up to something in our midst. Let’s pray He is Glorified in it!
Blessings! Pastor Alberta