Tuesday, October 11, 2016


I did not want to chime in to the rumblings of the 2016 Presidential race.  For one thing, I have some very well defined convictions about politics and Presidents in general that would most certainly irk people on both sides of the political spectrum. For another thing, this contest in particular is so explosive that I feel like anything I say will provoke the ire of the devoted of both parties. And finally, I make it personal mission to avoid irritating people, even if I profoundly disagree with them. I would prefer to engage in intelligent dialogue with someone who disagrees with me and depart as friends than have someone call me names, then stomp off.

So there you have it: irksomeness, ire, and irritation. You've been warned. I think this will take a few posts, since I don't want to overwhelm you with everything at once.  And now is probably a good time to remind you that the opinions are mine alone and do not always reflect the views of my church, its leadership, its staff, my friends, family, the dog, my daughter's cats (who live with us and about whom I am tempted to fire off a blog or two), or any political party. I'd also like to remind you that your comments are welcome, but rudeness, crudeness, foul language, name calling, etc. might get you deleted. My blog, my rules.

And now that we have the disclaimers out of the way. . .

I've been asked how a "good Christian" could possibly support Donald Trump. The question has been asked by liberals, conservatives, non-Christians, and atheists. It's a frequent subject on social media, with some writers going so far as to indict the whole of evangelicalism and even Christianity as a whole. The outrage over the so-called "religious right's" backing of Mr. Trump was happening long before the revelation this week of a crude recording, but it certainly intensified with the tape. "How can you, a 'good Christian,' possibly vote for this man?" the pundits cried.

In an upcoming blog, I will address the recording and what it says about our society, but for now, let me establish that I have not thrown my support to Mr. Trump. People ask me who I'm voting for and I just shrug and say, "I honestly don't know." I think framing the debate in terms of what a "good Christian" should do or think is misleading. Saying someone should reject Donald Trump because a "good Christian" would reject him carries about as much weight as saying a "good Christian" should reject Hillary Clinton. I've heard both. And, to be blunt, it's just so much noise.

Donald Trump speaks to many issues with which I agree. Secretary Clinton speaks to many issues with which I disagree. Oh that the choice would be that simple. Mr. Trump verbally expresses his support for my faith, while Mrs. Clinton has verbally denigrated the things in which I believe. I wish the decision rested solely between the candidate who says, "I'm for you, Bible-believing Christian," and the candidate who says, "I'm against you." Simple. Easy peasy.

Except, from what I've observed, Mr. Trump is the kind of person my dad warned me about. My dad and I did not see eye to eye on Christianity and he was pretty sure that this young teenager was turning into a wild-eyed fanatic. And he would warn me about how I'd be walking in a strange area and somebody would come up to me and start talking about the Bible or Jesus and, like a man in a trance, I would follow him, whereupon I would be robbed, beaten up, or worse. My dad's opinion of my naivety notwithstanding, I got the point. People will say or do almost anything to ingratiate themselves. I've seen candidates for local offices suddenly become active church members, only to vanish after the election. I've been invited to pray at secular gatherings, just because the host wanted "the Big Guy upstairs" to smile down on the proceedings (which often involved alcohol).

The tipping point to me was the speech at Liberty University, when Mr. Trump referred to "Two Corinthians." Yeah, it's a minor point. And yes, I've heard some preachers use that terminology. It's not like the original Greek designates the correct usage of the name of a book. It's not really that big a deal. Except, well, it was a large, evangelical student body. Most Bible-believing Christians would use the designation, "Second Corinthians." Unless they were not that familiar with the Book they were quoting or the audience to whom they were speaking. At that moment, I felt like Mr. Trump had asked someone on his staff to find a Bible verse he could use for his speech. But contrary to my dad's assessment of my ability to spot a con artist, I felt like he was trying to win me over. It didn't work. And adding that to the rest that was said and the rest that would be said, I have to say I cannot whole-heartedly support Donald Trump.

But that doesn't mean I'm voting for Hillary Clinton either. I don't have time to list everything, but her social/political stands alone often run contrary to my own beliefs. Nor is she attempting to spin those positions to assuage my concerns. With Mrs. Clinton, I feel as though I am a non-entity, a throw back to the dark ages. Bible-believing Christians will be tolerated, unless they get in the way. I have a problem throwing my hat in the ring with someone who, to put it simply, is against most of my convictions.

So what's a "good Christian" supposed to do? I don't know if "good Christian" always applies to me, or even if it should apply to me at all. While I am not ambivalent about the Bible and the Christian faith. I'm not as certain on the instersection of faith and politics. Yeah, if they violate the Scripture, it's easy, but if both go against it, then what? Hopefully, I'll be addressing some of these questions in future posts.

And one final word: no matter what happens in November, Jesus is still King of Kings and Lord of Lords.


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