On Tuesday, hundreds of evangelical leaders gathered in New York City to meet with Donald Trump. I was one of the four representatives from AFA who attended this event. Overall I was pleased with the questions that were asked and the answers that were given. My father, Tim Wildmon summed up the meeting in a recent article that I’d encourage you to read. The purpose of this piece is to address the ‘Never Trump’ crowd.
Many fellow Christians who are in the ‘Never Trump’ camp were quick to criticize the over 900 brothers and sisters who met with Mr. Trump. To be clear, while I respect each individual’s choice on who to vote for, I have a beef with how some in this camp have criticized the meeting.
One conservative writer by the name of Michael Farris labeled this meeting as “the end of the Christian Right” insinuating that because Christians met with Trump, our movement is ruined. I strongly disagree. Simply because evangelical leaders met with a candidate and asked him questions about his positions doesn’t equal the end of the conservative movement. This meeting only shows that there are hundreds of Christian leaders that care enough about our country to try and influence the potential leader of the free world.
Another brother and conservative by the name of Steve Deace sounded off on twitter after this meeting by saying that Governor Mike Huckabee was a “shameless pile of dung” for complimenting Donald Trump for his family values and for raising his children to be successful. Whether you think Mr. Trump has done a good job as a father or not, there is no need to call Gov. Huckabee such. Huckabee is a well-respected individual among the evangelical community and this was way over the top by Deace.
It is telling that the most negative comments about the meeting have come from those who were not even in attendance to gather facts. Honestly, I’m not against Trump nor am I a cheerleader for him. I’m an evangelical who is trying to decide where my vote should go in November.
Men of God such as Franklin Graham, Tim Wildmon and Gary Bauer were in attendance Tuesday. These are men who are highly trusted among evangelicals who have lived faithfully and continue to engage the culture with biblical values.
Nonetheless, Erick Erickson found it appropriate to question their integrity. Erickson sounded off on Twitter stating “Really remarkable how similar the statements from Gary Bauer, Franklin Graham, and Tim Wildmon are regarding the Trump meeting.” The insinuation, of course, is that the trio conspired to release similar statements in an attempt to mislead people. Not only is this incorrect, it is entirely inappropriate for a fellow Christian to take his brothers to task for simply seeking answers to questions. Maybe Erikson should consider the statements to be accurate if the three are similar.
The gaping hole in the ‘Never Trump’ movement is the complete lack of a plausible alternative if winning the November election is in the equation. No write-in or third party candidate has any chance of winning. Even if there was any hope for that kind of far-fetched win in November that would still not be just cause to denigrate those who choose to engage in dialogue with Trump.
Yet that is exactly what the conservative ‘Never Trump’ folks are doing. They are blasting and shaming anyone and everyone who disagrees with their view of the 2016 election. Along with the public bashing, these fellows are bringing into question the integrity of some of the most trusted evangelical leaders in our country. It is very telling that they have chosen to zero in on the sins of Donald Trump and impugn the integrity of fellow Christians who were simply seeking answers to their questions about what a possible Trump presidency might look like instead of the prolific and egregious sins of his presumptive Democratic opponent in the November election.
I’d like to call for a cease fire among my brethren. Let’s stop shooting arrows in our own house. It is entirely acceptable to have a civil discussion and debate on who we should vote for in November but let’s do so with respect. We may all come to different conclusions on what’s right and wrong but let’s stop the name-calling and insults.