Pay very close attention to the words I write for if you read them casually you will misunderstand what I am saying. You can still vote for Donald Trump and be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, but you simply cannot use the gospel to excuse the words and lifestyle of your preferred candidate. The two are ingloriously incongruous and in defense of one you besmirch the other. Now for many of you, Trump’s embrace of Judeo-Christian values or lack thereof is irrelevant to you and I can understand that logic. Where I am in need of brain surgery, I’m not sure it would matter to me if the top brain surgeon in the world had bestiality-laden orgies at night so long as his hands were steady and hopefully washed in the morning. And for many, that’s how they view the Presidency but my message is not to them. You simply don’t have to weigh religion or morality if you don’t want to. Nor is it to repudiate Donald Trump for his chosen lifestyle. Rather, this is an open letter to my fellow followers of Christ that you have run out of any evangelical room to support Donald Trump as a matter of faith. For once again, in support of one you besmirch the other and its time to choose your voice in the public forum.
It’s Not About Women
While Trump’s recently exposed comments about women from 10 years ago might have prompted this article, it is not the sole basis for my position. The truth be told, many men growing up will struggle with the objectification of women and it’s not like that’s a conversation we have not heard or participated in before. And I will fully confess that when I see a beautiful woman I oft times feel funny things in my special place. However, growing up, maturing in faith, marrying a beautiful woman, and having daughters myself have taught me that the burden for self-control rests with me and me alone.
But Donald Trump is 70-years-old people and that means he was still 60 when those comments were made. And as much as I hope my special place still feels things at age 60, I equally pray that I will become a man to whom my daughters would look up. Trump calls it a locker room conversation, but even that conveys the image of young immature adolescent men speaking their age. Marines in the field if you will. But at Trump’s age, he comes across as less a horny teenager and more Billy Bob Thorton’s character from Bad Santa. Now that’s not an entirely a bad association as Thorton’s character showed some compassion by befriending a retarded fat kid and it would appear Trump has done the same.
But the point is this, my friends, Trump has been in the public eye for decades and he has given us a great deal of fruit to determine exactly what kind of tree is he. Luke 6:43-45 tells us, “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” So let us talk about the heart from which Trump speaks and whether evangelicals can honestly defend it. Again, you can vote for it, but defend you cannot.
Pick Your Poison People
You could very much use this same argument against Hillary Clinton as she too has given us much fruit from which to judge the tree. I’m not a fan of either and I’ve written plenty of lamentations on how America got to this point of picking between these two particular poisons. And you could even make a case that no candidate has an evangelical case to be President except for the fact that Christian leaders keep jumping into the fray to support Trump using the very name of their faith as justification. I’d of rather Franklin Graham said, “Trump bears little of the image of Christ, but I am confident he is the one to end all this starving bull, the dust storms, and resupply our stash of French fries and burrito coverings.”
However, my problem with both candidates is that bad fruit often begets more bad fruit. You can excuse Donald Trump’s words and actions towards women if you want, but ask yourself if you would send your 21-year-old daughter to be a White House intern for him? In fact, thanks to her hubby Bill who is certain to wheel around the White House like an old folks home pinching girls in the butt, I think we need to declare the White House a “no go” zone for young attractive women for the next 4 years no matter who wins. Trump went on to say that women, “let” him do it because he is a star. Mr. Trump, I will not have you “let” my daughter do anything due to your wealth, status, and potential power as President of the United States.
Convicted pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein often hosted girls on his planes where Bill Clinton was a “frequent flyer.” But guess who else was on those planes? Donald Trump and yes, he is being accused and sued for doing the same things we are all too quick to believe Bill Clinton himself did. Based on words and actions, do you really see that big of a moral difference between Trump and Slick Willy? We cannot look at a lifetime of apples and expect the tree to produce oranges once they get into the White House. Unfortunately, bad fruit often only begets bad fruit save this one exception.
The Gospel Transforms the Hardest of Hearts
I’ll stop short of saying anyone is not a Christian other than to say the fruit we all produce in our own lives at various times perplexes me. The Bible goes on to tell us that while we were yet sinners, “enemies of God”, he manifested his love for us by not even sparing his own son. Too many times, people confuse the God of Old Testament as some angry God and then Jesus came along, took the punishment and God was happy again. Rather, as any football crowd will tell you, John 3:16 “For GOD so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” And yes, that means Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton too.
When one comes to faith in Christ the scales are instantly and forever balanced. The God of the Universe then looks upon you with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. I didn’t earn my salvation, you didn’t earn your salvation, Billy Graham didn’t earn his, and if Trump has it as well he didn’t earn it. It is the free gift of God bestowed out of love that we who were once sinners are now reconciled to our creator for all time. But again, a tree is known by its fruit and at some point, the good fruit will inevitably come in us all because the God who began that work in us is faithful to complete it and that could be true of Trump as well. This guys says it better than me for sure.
It’s not even about women with Trump, for Jesus spoke more about the dangers of wealth and love of money than he did sexual immorality. In fact, when the religious authorities brought a prostitute before Jesus to be stoned he said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” God is patient with us all, loving, and slow to anger. But Jesus also said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Fellow evangelicals, we need to choose carefully with whom we associate the words of our faith and what we do with them to defend blatantly bad fruit. You can be a Christian, and you can vote for Trump because you like his French fry and burrito covering policies. That’s reasonable. But you cannot equate the two any longer for fear you make the world think any more good of bad fruit, than it already does. Written by a self-admitted chief among sinners, and explicitly thankful for the unmerited and unwarranted grace offered to us all. You can love Trump my friends, but please don’t confuse the world about his actions any longer just to defend the man. There is a case to vote for him, but no evangelical excuse for him.
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