Comments, Life’s Realities, Opinion, Politics and Stories
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Should Christians Vote for Trump?
Trump’s behavior is odious, but Clinton has a deplorable basketful of
deal breakers, byERIC METAXAS.
This question should hardly require an essay, but
let’s face it: We’re living in strange times. America is in trouble.
Over this past year many of Donald Trump’s
comments have made me almost literally hopping mad. The hot-mic comments from
2005 are especially horrifying. Can there be any question we should denounce
them with flailing arms and screeching volume? I must not hang out in the right
locker rooms, because if anyone I know said such things I might assault him
physically (and repent later). So yes, many see these comments as a deal
But we have a very knotty and larger problem. What
if the other candidate also has deal breakers? Even a whole deplorable
basketful? Suddenly things become horribly awkward. Would God want me simply
not to vote? Is that a serious option?
What if not pulling the lever for Mr. Trump
effectively means electing someone who has actively enabled sexual predation in
her husband before—and while—he was president? Won’t God hold me responsible
for that? What if she defended a man who raped a 12-year-old and in recalling
the case laughed about getting away with it? Will I be excused from letting
this person become president? What if she used her position as secretary of
state to funnel hundreds of millions into her own foundation, much of it from
nations that treat women and gay people worse than dogs? Since these things are
true, can I escape responsibility for them by simply not voting?
Many say they won’t vote because choosing the
lesser of two evils is still choosing evil. But this is sophistry. Neither
candidate is pure evil. They are human beings. We cannot escape the
uncomfortable obligation to soberly choose between them. Not voting—or voting
for a third candidate who cannot win—is a rationalization designed more than
anything to assuage our consciences. Yet people in America and abroad depend on
voters to make this very difficult choice.
Children in the Middle East are forced to watch
their fathers drowned in cages by ISIS. Kids in inner-city America are
condemned to lives of poverty, hopelessness and increasing violence. Shall we
sit on our hands and simply trust “the least of these” to God, as though that
were our only option? Don’t we have an obligation to them?
Two heroes about whom I’ve written faced similar
difficulties. William Wilberforce, who ended the slave trade in the
British Empire, often worked with other parliamentarians he knew to be vile and
immoral in their personal lives.
Why did he? First, because as a sincere Christian
he knew he must extend grace and forgiveness to others, since he desperately
needed them himself. Second, because he knew the main issue was not his moral
purity, nor the moral impurity of his colleagues, but rather the injustices and
horrors suffered by the African slaves whose cause he championed. He knew that
before God his first obligation was to them, and he must do what he could to
The anti-Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer also
did things most Christians of his day were disgusted by. He most infamously
joined a plot to kill the head of his government. He was horrified by it, but
he did it nonetheless because he knew that to stay “morally pure” would allow
the murder of millions to continue. Doing nothing or merely “praying” was not
an option. He understood that God was merciful, and that even if his actions
were wrong, God saw his heart and could forgive him. But he knew he must act.
Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer knew it was an audience
of One to whom they would ultimately answer. And He asks, “What did you do to
the least of these?”
It’s a fact that if Hillary Clinton is elected, the country’s
chance to have a Supreme Court that values the Constitution—and the genuine
liberty and self-government for which millions have died—is gone. Not for four
years, or eight, but forever. Many say Mr. Trump can’t be trusted to deliver on
this score, but Mrs. Clinton certainly can be trusted in the opposite
direction. For our kids and grandkids, are we not obliged to take our best shot
at this? Shall we sit on our hands and refuse to choose?
If imperiously flouting the rules by having a
private server endangered American lives and secrets and may lead to more
deaths, if she cynically deleted thousands of emails, and if her foreign-policy
judgment led to the rise of Islamic State, won’t refusing to vote make me
responsible for those suffering as a result of these things? How do I squirm
out of this horrific conundrum? It’s unavoidable: We who can vote must answer
to God for these people, whom He loves. We are indeed our brothers’ and
We would be responsible for passively electing
someone who champions the abomination of partial-birth abortion, someone who is
celebrated by an organization that sells baby parts. We already live in a
country where judges force bakers, florists and photographers to violate their
consciences and faith—and Mrs. Clinton has zealously ratified this. If we
believe this ends with bakers and photographers, we are horribly mistaken. No
matter your faith or lack of faith, this statist view of America will
dramatically affect you and your children.
For many of us, this is very painful, pulling the
lever for someone many think odious. But please consider this: A vote for
Donald Trump is not necessarily a vote for Donald Trump himself. It is a vote
for those who will be affected by the results of this election. Not to vote is
to vote. God will not hold us guiltless.
Metaxas, host of the nationally syndicated “Eric Metaxas Show,” is the author
of “If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty” (Viking,