Seeking a middle ground about President Trump
With all of this back and forth in evangelical circles in relation to the impeachment of President Trump, I have felt conflicted. For context, in case there are those of you who aren’t ‘in the know,’ Christianity Today editor Mark Galli (who I know personally and have always really liked) wrote an editorial entitled, ‘Trump Should Be Removed from Office.’ In his editorial, Mark mentions the immoral actions of the President and that evangelical Christian support of President Trump has hurt the name of Jesus worldwide and how evangelicals should remember who they are and who they ultimately serve. In response to the Christianity Today editorial, a group of 177 evangelical leaders have written a response, where they’ve written among other things that the CT editorial “offensively questioned the spiritual integrity and Christian witness of tens-of-millions of believers who take seriously their civic and moral obligations.” There are two camps emerging and I tend to be uncomfortable in both of them.
As to my thoughts about all of this back and forth, many of you who are friends and followers of mine on social media know that I didn’t vote for Donald Trump in 2016 because of concerns I had about his moral character and his treatment of women. If he ever talked to or about my two daughters or my wife in the way he talked about other women, I would feel an obligation to defend them and tell him that it’s not okay to talk about them in that way. You just can’t treat women in the way he has treated women in the past and I felt at the time that he showed a lot about his poor moral character. For the first time since I’ve been able to vote, I didn’t vote for the Republican candidate, despite the strong calls to fight again Hillary Clinton becoming President, which I was against as well. The call at the time was ‘I vote for anyone else than Trump is a vote for Hillary,’ which isn’t completely true and it seemed that God would honor voting with my conscience. I voted for Darrell Castle, the Constitution Party candidate, more as an ‘I just can’t vote for Trump’ vote more than anything I liked about Mr. Castle. As I’ve seen the responses to the Christianity Today editorial, it has seemed to serve as a voice for the many Christians, like myself, who are concerned about how readily many evangelical Christians have extended their full support to the President without mentioning his many moral faults.
In the time since the election, I’ve had conflicting feelings about whether I made the right decision, especially since it seemed like once Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States, there were certain parts of the job that he was well suited for. I think that he has done a really nice job with bringing back manufacturing to the U.S and with the economy in general, as well as his handling of relations with China (of which I watch closely) and with his handling of our relationship with North Korea. In relation to China and North Korea, he seems to have good people advising him, together with his brash style, has seemed to help him. Before this current debate started in evangelical circles about President Trump, I firmly landed in a ‘I don’t like a lot about the President (can someone just take away his Twitter account please?), but I like the job he has done in a number of areas’ and I’m thankful for the Trump administration’s judicial appointments and its advocacy of life, family, and religious liberty.
In this debate, I hope more well-meaning evangelical Christians can take a ‘middle-ground,’ to say, no it’s not okay for the President to continue with his divisiveness and race-baiting; his hostility to immigrants and refugees (of which we know Jesus loves) and his mocking the disabled, while still praising the areas where he clearly has done well in office. How about this for a game plan: Pray for the President, that God would move and transform Trump in areas where he needs it (and we all have these areas), feel free to speak of areas where we’re uncomfortable with his morality while holding him to a high standard as the leader of our nation. And in all of this, it’s OK to state where we think he’s done a good job. Who’s with me?