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So What?

October 12, 2016

These are difficult days for evangelical voters.  In the aftermath of the release of Donald Trump’s vulgar language on an Access Hollywood bus we are in a quandary.  How can we vote for such a man?  Many Christian leaders who have endorsed Mr. Trump for President are now struggling.  A few, like Wayne Grudem, have withdrawn their support and several others have deplored Trump’s comments but been silent about their endorsement of him.  Still others, like Jerry Falwell Jr., have doubled down on supporting Trump.

Falwell has managed to infuriate many with his accusation that “establishment Republicans” may have planned to leak the tape at precisely this time in an effort to destroy Trump’s candidacy.  His  accusation, which was full of the usual fact-free assertions and vague disclaimers that typically are in conspiracy theories, made for painful reading.  So did his “we’re all sinners” comment.  That last one is the line grasped by so many Christians who find themselves in an ethical dilemma.

I found this line of his morbidly funny:  “I’ve got a wife and a daughter, and nobody wants to hear their women talked about in that manner.”  While it is laudable that he tries to express his outrage at the sexism in Trump’s tirade he manages to, at the same time, indulge in a milder form of sexism himself.  “nobody wants to hear their women talked about in that manner?”  Their women?  Why not just “women?”  What purpose does the added “their” serve?

But for Falwell and others it seems as if Trump has only one remaining virtue – he is not Hillary Clinton.  One author has called this a “Flight 93 election”  effectively saying we may not pull off the effort to stop Hillary but if we fail we all die anyway. If she is elected the country is doomed.  Some have even suggested that history itself may come to an end; that this act will usher in God’s final judgement.

The primary argument for this is that if we don’t try America is finished. And all I can say to that is – So what?  I’ve been hearing about America’s impending doom since Hillary’s husband was elected.  The chant got worse under Obama and is now a scream.  But let’s assume they are right.  Why shouldn’t the faithful few feel both protected by God and vindicated as His prophets if this happens?

It almost sounds like they are afraid that, on the morning after Hillary’s election, the sun might come up, the clocks might keep ticking and the country just moves on.  What if nothing worse happens than we become a despised and (earthly) powerless minority as Christians have been for most of time and still are in many countries?  What if we have to give up being a powerful political voice in favor of being lights shining in the darkness?

The fading evangelical attraction to Trump is a fear-based, almost despairing, bet.  We are like hopeless gamblers down to our last few dollars placing them all on a risky long shot.  We probably won’t win but we have to try anyway.  It is interesting that Trump, with his many casinos and Trump University, has been taking advantage of such suckers his whole adult life.  Why should we join that group?

Don’t want to vote for Hillary?  Fine, I get that.  Don’t want to see her as President?  Me neither.  But I can’t see why fear of losing our privileged political place – something that is happening anyway – should make us wring our hands.

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From → Christianity

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