During the 2016 Republican primaries, I wrote an article titled “Donald Trump Is a Fool.” Four years later, I stand by everything I wrote in that article. I think Donald Trump fits the biblical description of a “fool.” I also think Donald Trump ended up being the least “foolish” candidate on the ballot in 2016 and 2020. Which means, I voted for him twice. Here’s my reasoning.
In the United States we only have two viable political parties, Republicans and Democrats. That doesn’t mean a person has to vote for either party or align with either party. However, it is the reality of our political situation. We only have two viable parties. Sometimes you find yourself voting for a person because of their party affiliation, which means there are times when you find yourself voting for a party in spite of the individual candidate.
I respect the conservative Christians who have argued that they cannot vote for Donald Trump the candidate on moral and ethical grounds (most recently, John Piper). I am not convinced by their arguments, but I respect their position and reasoning. Furthermore, I don’t buy into the argument that a vote for a third party is essentially a vote for the “bad guys.” A vote for a third party candidate is just that – a vote for a third party candidate.
Nevertheless, the fact that only two political parties are currently viable at the highest levels of government is a reality for the American voter. I chose to recognize this reality and vote for the politician and the party that most closely aligns with my worldview. Right now, that’s clearly the Republican Party even though I don’t like all of the policies of the GOP or all the politicians affiliated with the GOP. If you’re a pessimist you might call it settling for the lesser of two evils. If you’re an optimist you might call it picking the better of two options. If you’re a realist you might call it voting for the politician and the party that is closest to my worldview.
The Democrat Party.
My position here is closely tied to my previous comments about two political parties in the United States. While I respect conservative Christians who refuse to vote for Donald Trump for moral or ethical reasons and chose to vote for a third party candidate, I do not respect the Christian voices who have tried to argue that the Democrat party is a viable option for a conscientious Christian voter. From my perspective, it’s not a viable option.
Some of these voices have tried to argue that the Democrat Party actually reflects Christian values as much as or more than the Republican Party. Tim Keller has boiled American politics down to a few major issues and seems to score the contest between Republicans and Democrats as a tie. The suggestion that the Democrat party is at least a partial reflection of Christian values seems to be the result of confusion, wishful thinking, or deceit. The official platform of the Democrat Party is increasingly anti-God, anti-Christian, and anti-Bible.
In a recent debate with President Trump, Joe Biden claimed that he “was” the Democrat party. I take Joe at his word. I expect that he would lead the Democrat party, and I assume his views align with the Democrat party. A few weeks later in a town hall event, Joe Biden openly supported the idea that 8 year old children ought to be able to transition from one gender to another – with no discrimination! This is nothing less than child abuse in the name of sexual liberty, and it is an anti-Christian position. Joe Biden stands squarely on a platform that celebrates the entirety of the LGBTQ agenda, not to mention the Democrat Party’s support of unfettered access to abortion. This party and this platform is anti-Christian. That doesn’t mean the GOP is entirely Christian – it’s not! But the Democrat party is increasingly hostile to traditional Christian morality.
The Supreme Court.
Four years ago there were a number of conservative Christian voices who threw their support behind Donald Trump in the hopes that he would be able to nominate one or two justices to the Supreme Court of the United States (people like Wayne Grudem). Four years later, Donald Trump has nominated one-third of the sitting Supreme Court. The degree to which these new justices will rule from a conservative perspective is yet to be determined. Nevertheless, President Trump has nominated conservative judges at all levels, including the Supreme Court.
Odds are, the next President of the United States will not have the opportunity to replace one-third of the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, the Democrats still have “big” plans for the Supreme Court. It is widely recognized that should the Democrats take control of the White House and the Senate, they would like to proceed with an aggressive plan of “court packing” or justice rotation. Essentially, they would undo Trump’s influence on the court by increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court or by eliminating the lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. These plans to pack the court or rotate justices would only accelerate the radical agenda of the political left, allowing them to bypass the normal legislative process. This plan to pack the court would also be a serious threat to religious liberty in the United States.
As a conservative Christian and a Baptist pastor, the issue of religious liberty has become one of the most important issues in my consideration of political candidates and political parties. Most recently, the COVID crisis has revealed how quickly the government can intervene in an attempt to control the activity of churches. In the immediacy of the COVID crisis, most churches were willing to go along with shut-downs and move to livestream services. However, months later there have been clear examples of discrimination against churches in places like California, Nevada, Kentucky, and Washington DC. The most draconian shut down orders have come from states and localities with Democrat leaders.
Even more concerning is the tension between religious liberty and the LGBTQ agenda. The Democrat party has taken a side on this divide, and they have sided with the LGBTQ movement at the expense of religious liberty. During the primary debates between Democrat candidates, none of the people on stage strongly opposed the idea that churches should lose their tax exempt status if they refuse to affirm the validity of gay marriage. This is a serious threat to the freedom of religion in the United States of America and the First Amendment.
The First Amendment is first for a reason – the founding fathers knew how important it was to protect the free expression of religious belief from the overreach of big government. Ironically, established and organized churches are now being threatened by a big government that claims to be defending the rights of LGBTQ people. Let’s be clear – the LGBTQ movement is driven by a worldview. That worldview may not be organized under a clear, religious banner, but the movement is driven by a worldview. In favoring the LGBTQ movement at the expense of religious liberty, the Democrat Party is ignoring the First Amendment. They may not want to establish an organized denomination as a state church, but they are seeking to establish a secular worldview as a state worldview. The impact will be the loss of religious liberty.
I don’t think the United States is a perfect nation. I understand the sins and scars that stain our national history. I know we have often failed to live up to our ideals and failed to treat all people with the dignity they deserve as image bearers. I recognize the fact that our involvement in the world has caused many problems and exacerbated others. Nevertheless, I am both thankful and proud to be an American. I don’t want to live any place but in the United States.
Furthermore, I trust that the sovereignty of God ruled over the fact that I was born in Amarillo, Texas in the United States of America. God determined where and when I would live, and it seems that I ought to in turn embrace his plan and seek the prosperity of my country. Just like the Jewish exiles were called to seek the good of the nations in which they lived, Christians ought to seek the good of the nation in which they live.
I want the United States to prosper. To that end, I was to see America built up, not torn down. Yes, we need to recognize our sins and our mistakes, but that doesn’t mean tearing down all of our national history and national identity. It certainly doesn’t mean scrapping the American “experiment” of freedom and democracy to replace it with something closer to socialism.
I think we ought to teach and learn from all of our history. I think we ought to support the people who make America safe (military, police, first responders). I want to punish those who seek to create chaos, violence, and fear. I want to stand for the National Anthem. I don’t want to make an idol out of the United States, and I don’t want my national or political identity to come before my identity in Christ. Nevertheless, I want to celebrate the ideals of United States and see my country prosper. These desires seem to align with the stance of the Republican Party more than the Democrat Party.
So, for these reasons, I have found myself voting for a fool … twice.