People are voting for Donald Trump. It’s happening. From caucus voters to primary goers, real people are dark circling the millionaire businessman as their choice for the next president of the United States of America. Taken in isolation this shouldn’t surprise many people. Trump is outspoken, angsty and interesting; the kind of person who would pique our interest. However what concerns me is the undefined, yet often named, “conservative evangelicals” who are apparently voting in droves for Trump.
Whether or not this demographic typifies what is actually meant by “evangelical Christian” the point still stands that people who self-identify as such are supporting the Donald. While I have still (social-media included) only met two “conservative evangelicals” who are fully supportive of Trump, I’m beginning to see more and more people say why they might vote for Trump in a general election. I just want to quickly address some of the fallacies of thought which might make Trump out to be an appropriate selection for your vote. Here are three false assumptions which you must wrestle with in conscience before voting this November.
Trump is a Republican candidate therefore he represents the conservative vote.
Historically conservatives have identified with two broad areas of thought: conservative government spending, and conservative moral principles. The two often go hand in hand: a moral populace needs less government intervention, therefore less government spending.
One of the main reasons people find Trump attractive is that he is a successful business man. People seem to ignore and wipe away the deposition that Trump himself is under (though he loves to flaunt Hillary’s in her face), and his number of failed business and bankruptcies, by appealing to his bottom line: he still has lots of money and lots of businesses. But a successful business career does not qualify one to be a successful free market capitalist or a fiscal conservative. Look for instance at Mark Zuckerberg or any big named CEO who is boycotting any state who thinks gender is a thing. I’m not saying Trump can’t have good economic plans, I’m just saying his track record isn’t a legitimate reason to assume he will.
In regards to conservative moral stances…Trump is in trouble. Let’s ignore right now the personal inconsistencies Trump has shown (see below), and instead let’s just focus on what we know about Trump. He has been on record as pro-life, pro-choice, pro-gun, anti-gun, pro-torture, anti-torture, for killing the wives and children of terrorists, and against killing the wives and children of terrorists. Donald Trump has been relatively consistent in his stance in favor of traditional marriage, though he himself is a poor example of what marriage should look like.
Voting issues aside we have seen Trump show a consistent pattern of ill-willed and degrading remarks towards women. And just recently Trump tweeted this: “Russell Moore is truly a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for. A nasty guy with no heart!” For those of you who may not know Russell Moore, he is the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Convention, a ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is a warrior on social justice, religious liberty, adoption rights, pro-life legislation, and provides countless resources to churches and small businesses who are being sued for taking a position which lines up with their religious consciences. For Trump to place himself at odds with Russell Moore is to also put himself at odds with religious figures such as Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, and Francis Schaeffer.
If there is anyone who identifies as Christian, or morally conservative, Trump just ousted you. A vote against Moore and the ERLC is a vote against Religious Liberty, the unborn, social justice and the gospel (If you don’t believe me watch this). One reason I have heard people pledge support to Trump is due to the pending Supreme Court nominees this president will have. If you think Trump can condemn what he just condemned and still nominate a justice who thinks and acts conservatively, you are foolish. He has no track record of conservative values and therefore should not be considered as such.
Donald Trump is self-funded and therefore not driven by dirty lawmakers or donors.
The factual part of this statement is true. A recent report shows that Trump has self-funded nearly 75% of his own campaign. But it would be a fallacy to assume that this means Trump is an advocate for unclouded policy. In fact it could be a statement for the opposite. Trump’s policies are clouded by his own ego.
Trump doesn’t need your thoughts, views, money or support to make his campaign go. Government officials are supposed to be representative of their constituents. The fact that Trump’s moral and policy records are so out of line show that he is not driven by any consistent sort of idea, but instead is tossed to and fro by the waves of his own fickle agenda.
Trump stands for Trump. If you don’t believe this, look at his Twitter page. Trump isn’t interested in swaying, winning, or dialoging with anyone who opposes him. He isn’t interested in a winsome dialogue in order to help people gain clarity of thought for the common good. He stands for something and if you disagree with it he will hurl “-ly” laden adverbial insults all over your Twitter handle.
This fallacy rests on the false premise that the worst thing a politician can do is take funds from groups with vested interests. That’s not the worst thing. It’s not necessarily a good thing. But it certainly isn’t the worst. What’s worse is when a morally bankrupt, socially unstable, and historically inconsistent egomaniac makes policy based only off what he is feeling.
Now you might say, “But hey, people are resonating with what he is saying!” He is appealing to the masses. I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say something bold: he’s doing it by accident. Trump isn’t concerned with representing you. He is concerned about voicing his will, and leveraging his position, and just by accident it naturally falls in line with some people’s political thoughts. In the same way we shouldn’t consider a home burglar an outstanding citizen because he remembered to shut the door behind him after he hog-tied the owners and ransacked their belongings, we shouldn’t be silly enough to think that Trump’s policy is lead by high caliber morality or policy.
I have heard many reports about Trump randomly helping out some less fortunate member of the bourgeois. However Jesus himself warns us about people like Trump: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits…So every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit…Thus you will recognize them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:15-20). Jesus makes it clear, even people with nice messages and optimistic policy, should be avoided if they produce bad fruit. When it comes to fruit, we needn’t look long at Trump.
Trump’s sporadic generosity and zealous candor do not make up for the slew of slimy, sketchy, womanizing, offensive, and downright arrogant actions he has committed in his life. To cut you off at the pass, I don’t need to cite shoddy, hack-job, mediums like the National Enquirer (though Trump finds this to be the equivalent to the WSJ) to find the blemishes on Trump’s public corpus. Look at Trump’s own books, Twitter account and Facebook page. Trump has been on record, from his own mouth, not out of context saying things like: I’d date my daughter if she wasn’t my daughter, a later deleted Tweet of his said, “If Hillary can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?” Not to mention his constant bragging about the women whom he has slept with, his failed affair-laden marriages, and his comments to female reporters that the only have jobs because they are pretty. Trump is more bankrupt than our national debt. No amount of policy can justify a vote for this man.
A vote against Trump is a vote for Hillary.
Except it’s not. I shouldn’t have to explain this, but I will. If you enter into a ballot box and vote for Hillary, you have voted for Hillary. If you enter into a ballot box and vote for anyone else, you have failed to vote for Hillary.
False dichotomy aside, this argument fails to take into account the issue of personal accountability. To vote for Trump is to place your name, your stamp, your approval on that side of history. If I vote for a third party candidate, or chose to write someone in, and Hillary wins the election, I can sleep well at night. If I vote for Trump, then I am morally and socially responsible for what none of us could say we didn’t see coming. Some things are bigger than simply winning an election. Some things you do because you are a sensible human being, not because you side with any sort of political party.
This fallacy also goes against the old adage, “The enemy I know is better than the enemy I don’t.” We know who Hillary is. We have no idea who Trump is. But we know he’s not a conservative in anything other than name. Trump may not be the lesser of the two evils, and even if he is, as the now widely circulating Charles Spurgeon quote goes, “When choosing between the lesser of two evils, don’t.”
Dear “conservative evangelicals,” please don’t justify voting for this man. The German church once made the mistake of backing Adolf Hitler, we need to make sure we don’t make a similar mistake. Don’t mistake his pandering for sincerity. Don’t assume that a man who has never had to ask God for forgiveness is a man who should get your vote.
I urge you to trust God in places where you can only trust God, and seek to act in a biblically informed way in places where you are immediately responsible. Our goal is not to try and control what we can’t through means we shouldn’t justify. Instead we ought to faithfully seek to obey God, love others and glorify Christ in our actions, our remarks and our ballots. When the day ends, that’s the side of history I want to be on.