August 02, 2016

Key Points on the "Christian Vote" in 2016

There is a tendency today for Christians to avoid discussing politics. But stakes are higher in this presidential election and I'm hoping that you'd like to be informed. I'll address common objections to politics by Christians and then move on to aspects of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Wayne Grudem, a Christian ethics teacher for 39 years, wisely encourages Christians to respectfully discuss and debate politics in the US. His article, "Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice" emphasized that: "...we need to keep talking with each other – because democracies function best when thoughtful citizens can calmly and patiently dialog about the reasons for their differences."

The discussion of ideas is a part of a normal democracy
Firstly, those involved directly in ministry work often feel that any talk of politics will jeopardize their non-profit tax status. And this shunning of political talk can reverberate through entire church congregations. This position, in my opinion, is not helpful to society regarding the Church's historical role as salt and light, and may even imply subservience to the state over the conscience. Secondly, an opinion is that political conversations might thwart evangelism. Amy Gannet considers evangelism the top priority of the Church and, therefore, directs others to avoid any political involvement, just to be safe. This may be her personal conviction, but she offers no reason why her generalization should apply to all Christians. Personally and prayerfully following the conscience, many find that reducing abortions, or other issues, may take precedence over evangelism in any given election. Thirdly, many Christians believe that talking politics is not appropriate, or it is less spiritual for Christian, because Jesus never talke aboutd politics. Again, like the previous point, this generalization does not reflect the biblical New Covenant tenet that the Holy Spirit guides all of us Christians of the universal Church today as individuals and by conscience. William Wilberforce, for example, had a very strong conviction to politically oppose slavery in England. Had he not done so, it is conceivable that slavery would have continued much longer. Fourthly, some contend that pointing out documented corruption in a political candidate is slanderous. But let's be clear, the definitions of "slander" and "libel" relate only to making false statements.

Not voting altogether

There are a number of people promoting the "purist" position that Christians should not vote at all, if candidates hold any positions that they do not agree with, or have serious character issues. If by prayer the Holy Spirit is personally guiding someone not to vote, I would agree with this purist position. But most of the reasoning I have heard to justify this position seems to be based solely on ill-founded logic. For example, Catholics and Orthodox I dialogue with oppose the, "lesser of the evils" approach and claim that this is in fact embracing a utilitarian philosophy that is not Christian. But this appears overly simplistic. On any given day, we perform numerous tasks based on the pragmatic or utilitarian approach to problem solving, to achieve the most happiness. Voting for the lesser of the evils in no way makes us official philosophical "utilitarians" than choosing to use both bleach and soap in the laundry washer makes us philosophical utilitarians. One could argue that Trump speaks with more sinful language and overtones but that Clinton acts with more evil intent, breaking more laws, therefore, Clinton is the lesser of the two evils. I would offer that these types of questions all come down to personal convictions. Romans 14.23 outlines that whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. So a key factor is to ask if we have peace and any inner convictions, after we prayerfully consider not voting altogether, or voting for a certain candidate. But we should not confuse this type of answer with excuses employing faulty logic. Philip Swicegood wrote a long article on Trump with this conclusion: "He (Trump) is not entitled to it (your vote), and you will not be helping Hillary Clinton if you choose not to." The second phrase is plainly false. If Trump and Clinton have a close election and many Christians choose not to vote simply out of apathy or frustration, clearly this could help Clinton to win.   

Voting based on one single principle.

Pastor Max Lucado has written that he is against Trump, but has not endorsed any other candidate. His article, "Decency for President" surmises that Christians should not vote for Trump because of his "decorum," above all other considerations: "Could concerns not be raised about other Christian candidates? Absolutely. But the concern of this article is not policy, but tone and decorum." Lucado does not feel that policy is as important, or corruption. And he encourages other people to not even consider the full spectrum of relevant issues before voting. Most other Christian leaders do not see it this way. It seems to me that Lucado probably watches mainstream news, which focuses mainly on what seem to be more social-exchange type "decorum" concerns, but ignores policy issues and the deep corruption that has been taking place under the Democratic Party, and the status-quo political system as a whole. Lucado's 'Never-Trumper' advice completely ignores abortion, for example, which many Christians, such as William Lane Craig, consider a top voting subject. The fact is, Hillary Clinton has Super PAC funding from Planned Parenthood and will likely follow whatever they want. Whereas Trump at his website holds a pro-life stance. Trump's website defines his stance on abortion as pro-life, with a conclusion: " like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions." Another issue for Christians may be the fact that Hillary is an anti-Israel advocate, with regard to her sentiment and policy direction, as revealed by Wikileaks email files.
Voting for the least damage to society.

Wayne Grudem seems to take a more practical approach than Lucado. He lists many reasons why voting for Trump would most likely be less damaging than allowing Hillary Clinton to win. A practical scripture is quoted: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7). And he offers a key question: "Which vote is most likely to bring the best results for the nation?" Gruden points out that many Supreme Court justices are very old and will be replaced soon, and depending on this election, either by a very liberal democrat or by a more conservative Republican. Additionally, these SCOTUS choices will last for decades beyond the terms of the president that appointed them.  James Dobson agrees with the basic approach of Grudem: “I am endorsing Donald J. Trump not only because of my apprehensions about Hillary Clinton and the damage she would inflict on this great country, I am also supporting Mr. Trump because I believe he is the most capable candidate to lead the United States of America in this complicated hour.”

Voting specifically against the egregious corruption of Hillary Clinton

Based on what I've seen, a lot of people are not familiar with the egregious corruption of the Clintons and the Democrat Party. The mainstream media is generally run by liberal democrats that favor the Clintons. I will point out some examples of corruption with the hopes that others will agree that avoiding more of this type of societal decay is probably helpful for the US.

1. The recent Loretta Lynch acquittal of Hillary Clinton regarding the felony of unsecured transmitted emails underscores how Democrat leaders rig the system. First, Bill Clinton met privately with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in violation of judicial ethics. According to the most basic tenets of the US Judicial Canon, all implications of bias should be avoided. A week after this, FBI Director James Comey let Hillary off the hook for a law that she had clearly broken. Wikileaks posted an email in which Hillary asked her staff to alter a classified document and "send nonsecure." This email shows that Mrs. Clinton was aware that the document was sensitive and, nevertheless, there was a desire to send it out of the required and secure legal protocol. After Comey's decision, Lynch simply deferred to Comey to let Mrs. Clinton off the hook.

2. Hillary Clinton and Obama's cabinet provided Al-Quida terrorists with arms, breaking a UN law, then allowed the officials in the local consulate to be killed by gross negligence at best, and then lied about what happened. This is one of many examples in which Democrats display a flagrant disregard for law and then lied, or possibly worse, to try ad cover up illegal activities. This Washington Times article sums up the first point: "Clinton State Department approved U.S. weapons shipment to Libya despite ban" Not only were arms illegally traded, emails later revealed that Hillary and Obama allowed key US witnesses of these arms sales to die with an apparent stand-down order. "All evidence now points to a specific stand-down order issued by Secretary Clinton, since the Libyan facilities came under her direct authority." Despite giving arms to terrorists illegally, President Obama refused to give such to Ukrainian solders in desperate need, that were simply defending their land.

3. Another subject unto itself is the Clinton Foundation. Prior to its promotion, Hillary said, "we came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt," The documentary "Clinton Cash" then goes on to document how the Clintons became multimillionaires based on the exploitation of their "non-profit" Clinton Foundation. Account after account demonstrates that poor countries and disaster victims were exploited so that the Clintons and their close elite business associates could reap huge profits. Often, the money that was donated did not ever end up where it was needed but was funneled to special insider investment interests.

There are other aspects of Clinton corruption that could be outlined. Hillary underscored her lack of ethics when she immediately hired DNC Chairperson Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, after Wikileaks had demonstrated DNC vote rigging against Bernie Sanders. Whitewater and Travelgate also stand out. And a new book by Secret Service agent Gary Byrne outlines the violence and dictatorial nature of Hillary Clinton when she is off camera. The book is titled: “Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate.” Another recent book, "Hillary the Other Woman: A Political Memoir" was written by a long-term adulterous lover of Bill Clinton, Dolly Kyle also outlines the very corrupt nature of Hillary Clinton. Here is a more recent example. The sum total of corruption issues would take a number of books to document. Donald Trump does have "decorum" issues, controversies and questionable business practices, but the depth and breadth of the Clinton corruption seem to far outweigh anything that Trump has been accused of.

Additionally, legal and political attacks against Christians have been escalating in the US. It was discovered that Obama's Department of Justice and the FBI actually knew about the IRS targeted political tax persecution of conservatives for a full two years prior to the 2012 presidential election and did nothing the entire time. Dinesh D’Souza spent eight months in federal confinement for violating a campaign finance law after his film, 2016: "Obama’s America" and now says of his new documentary about Hillary Clinton: "If that film got me eight months in the slammer, this new movie is going to earn me life in prison. It’s time to take the gloves off." Hillary Clinton recently claimed that "...religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed." - in order to comply with whatever late-term abortion-on demand laws she may insist upon. As Christians, our ethics do not count for much to Mrs. Clinton. Planned Parenthood, a group she supports wholeheartedly, sells baby parts on the market for cash: "At the New York Times, Northwestern University professor Laurie Zoloth described it as “terribly disturbing because the physician seems to be engaged in a transaction in which the goal is to extract tissue to meet the needs of a company, rather than being focused on the core purpose of her clinic, which is to provide a safe medical procedure.”

My opinion is that any Christian should try to pray for wisdom and guidance from God while researching the issues and facts. Ultimately, I believe that a personal conviction about who to vote for counts for a lot. Romans 14.23 B states, "For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." God can steer our conscience and mind towards supporting a certain candidate. For this reason, I believe it is incorrect to make generalizations such as, "You have a moral responsibility not to vote for any candidate that shows signs of being immoral." Personally, I am sensing that I should pray for Donald Trump and support him as the most likely candidate in defeating Hillary Clinton, which I believe would offer the worst outcome. But I do not believe that my personal conviction should apply to all Christians. I believe that each of us should seek God's will in this and pray, "Thy will be done" as the ultimate appeal to God.

For further reading on this subject and why this vote is important, I'd recommend this post: "Holy war: Government tries to control church sermons" and this one: "Stunning claim: U.S. at point where 'elections don't matter'" and perhaps: The Morality of Voting for Trump by Laura Ingraham

(Revised 08-13-16)

Tags: Christian vote 2016, what are issues of 2016 vote, Christian leaders on Trump and Clinton, Wayne Grudem for Trump, Max Lucado reason not to vote, Dobson for Trump, examples of Clinton corruption, Amy Gannet on Trump - How Evangelicals are Losing an Entire Generation, voting lesser of two evils, voting by conscience and conviction, Max Lucado Never Trumper

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