The “outrage” by many in Christian America over evangelical support of President Trump is, shall we say, convenient, to say the least.
When I became a digital media editor I found out very quickly that everyone has very different ideas about what constitutes proper sentence structure, length, and grammar. When I looked to the academicians for some hard and fast rules I found very few actually exist which are universally accepted. Whether it has to do with which words get italicized, how to use an ellipsis, or capitalization (especially with regard to governmental agencies and titles), different styles have different requirements. However, it is generally accepted across the board that consistency is preferred no matter which style you go with. If you do it once, do it always.
As a Bible teacher, theologian, and pastor for more than three decades, I have found that the key to traversing this life in a way that is pleasing to God and beneficial to me is very similar to my struggles as an editor. It is easy to get lost and confused in varying translations, nuanced interpretations, and sometimes capricious applications amid the plethora of Bible versions, traditions, and denominations. How are we to do this with any manner of credibility and confidence? Ephesians 4:1 probably says it best: “I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” The obvious implication is that no matter what we are doing, we are to do it consistently and steadfastly in a manner that reveals our faith, hope, and love for Jesus Christ.
So when I read and hear all the angst coming from fellow Christians about how evangelicals have sold our souls to get on the Trump train, I’m looking for consistency. (Though I could easily supply hyperlinks to demonstrate who I’m talking about here, I choose not to publicly identify fellow believers who rail against evangelicals. It’s not hard to find examples of what I’m talking about on Google.)
So, one of the keys to whether or not I give any credence to what they say about us lost evangelicals is whether or not they have been consistent in their outrage of supporters of presidents (particularly on the liberal side of the aisle since President Trump and his policies are for the most part conservative) whose behavior was revealed to be less than presidential. Were these people calling out the supporters of President Clinton in the midst of the Lewinsky scandal as they claimed that his sexual appetite and proclivities had no bearing on his job as America’s president? Did they call out America’s black church for its overwhelming support of Barack Obama whose policies were the most overtly hostile to religious freedom this nation has ever seen? Did they thunder against the supporters of Hillary Clinton in the last election when she declared that anyone who didn’t support her as the next president was part of a “basket of deplorables”?
Not to my recollection. And without consistency, there is no credibility. There is nothing wrong with criticism as long as you are consistent in expressing it. President Trump has had multiple marriages and divorces. It’s fine to point that out as being branded in Scripture as sinful behavior and that those who have gotten divorces and/or committed adultery are unworthy of the church’s favor and support, as long as you hold everyone to that standard. Otherwise, you’re just a political partisan hack and a religious Pharisee.
It makes me wonder if these religious liberals who condemn Trump supporters realize who else would be unfit to be national leaders. Take, for instance, Hebrews chapter 11 which is commonly known as the believer’s Hall of Fame of faith. Noah’s faith is commended because he believed God about judgment and the flood and built an ark. That’s right, Noah. The drunk. The guy who got so hammered he took all his clothes off and passed out in his tent with the tent flap open. We couldn’t support someone like that, could we?
Then there’s Abraham. Known as the “father of faith” (Romans 4:16). This guy had a gorgeous wife (Genesis 12:11; 14). But she couldn’t get pregnant. So she encouraged her husband (Abraham) to have sexual relations with another woman (Hagar) until that woman got pregnant. How seedy was that? Unfit to lead and be supported by believers right?
Some other names that get mentioned in Hebrews 11 are Samson, Rahab the prostitute, and David. Samson had a sexual appetite for foreign women. Rahab the harlot…is an explanation needed? And good ole king David. He loved pretty women. He got one pregnant and had her husband murdered. Then he married her. And then he married again. And again. And again. And again…
I guess none of those would have been fit by the standards of those today who accuse evangelicals of selling out their faith and principles to support Donald Trump. And what about Moses the murderer? Or Peter who denied knowing Jesus (3 times). Or brothers James and John who asked Jesus if it was ok for them to pray for a heavenly flamethrower to burn to cinders an entire town (Luke 9:54)? Then there’s Saul of Tarsus. Ole Saul was known for crushing skulls and spirits if he found out you were a Christian. He ended up getting saved and writing two-thirds of the New Testament but with that history…I’m sure anyone who supported Paul for a leadership position by today’s religious liberals would be called a traitor and a sell-out.
I can take the jabs and accusations from unbelievers who have no concept of redemption or forgiveness. But to be told by fellow Christians that because Donald Trump has been divorced multiple times, womanized, and curses, to support him means I have compromised my faith in God is patently absurd. I shouldn’t support a president who supports the rights of the unborn? I shouldn’t support a president who wants to restore religious freedom in America? I’ve sold my soul to the devil because I support a president who is proud of our national motto (“In God We Trust”) and anthem?
All I can say is “so be it” (aka Amen).
Am I to understand or infer that all would be well with my liberal Christian brothers and sisters if I had voted for Hillary Clinton? As president, Donald Trump has been faithful to his wife and mindful of his campaign promises. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton turned her back on Americans in Benghazi, illegally funneled money into the Clinton Foundation, surrendered a fifth of America’s uranium to Russia, broke laws concerning her handling of classified material, and paid for a fake dossier in an attempt to secure the office of the presidency.
I don’t support Donald Trump’s sins any more than I support David’s affair with Bathsheba and murdering her husband or Peter’s denials of Christ or Paul’s approval of Stephen’s murder and subsequent persecution of the early church. Is the president a paragon of Christian faith and living? No. I really wish he would stop putting adjectives in front of the names of people he Tweets about. I am embarrassed by his purported profanity. Nevertheless, I am an evangelical Christian who supports President Trump to lead the nation. Check back with me when he is caught cheating on his wife while in office and we’ll see if I still support him. I wonder how many of our Christian progressives would have withdrawn their support of JFK or did withdraw their support of Bill Clinton who both cheated on their wives as president?