Probably like most people, over the last week my Facebook page has been lit up with presidential politics. My page has been especially littered with comments by those who have been critical of my postings of articles and my comments of Trump being an illegitimate candidate for president. Now that Trump’s behavior toward women has been clearly confirmed, the discussions have only intensified and many have begun expressing their thoughts in regard to Trump as a viable candidate. The one consistent theme that has troubled me is how some Christians are attempting to defend the indefensible. It’s difficult to escape the notion that the accusation of unbelievers that Christians are hypocrites may somewhat be true.
I certainly understand why some Christians take the position they do concerning the Trump v. Hillary campaign. Some have been quite vocal–emotively speaking–in regard to my posts and others’ which reveal a lot of Trump’s failures and indefensible actions as well as political positions. Many of the comments have been quite rude, but that’s o.k. Really. I have thick skin and have been called much worse. But let’s consider a few things here for a moment. Let’s take a deep breath and think rationally. Let’s put aside our emotions and our apocalypticism for just a few minutes if we can.
I deal weekly and annually with hundreds of students as a professor at a large Christian university. One of the primary criticisms from unbelieving students (and even believers at times) is that Christians are hypocrites. My response includes (but not exclusively) that, Yes, we Christians ARE hypocrites. That’s why we need the grace of God–to cover our horrible sins, and we meet with the church not because we are perfect but because we are learning together how to be more perfect. Of course, I always rejoin, this does not give Christians a pass to act hypocritically. We ought to do our best to act consistently with our convictions and biblical teaching.
What does this have to do with politics? Exactly this: what does it say to those who criticize Christians as hypocrites when Christians now defend Trump for his immoral sinful behavior not only toward women, but so many? Back in the ’90s (when it was popular for Republicans to say “character matters” and “family values”–which evidently have been entirely abandoned) the popular evangelical theologian Wayne Grudem called for the impeachment of Bill Clinton for his adulteries. Grudem now defends Trump as a MORAL choice when Trump has done the exact type of things as Clinton. And it’s not only Grudem; it’s many Christians. This only supports the notion that Christians are hypocrites. Sadly, if I am to be completely honest, I have to agree. When Christians attempt to defend Trump for his egregious actions just because they are going to vote for him is hypocrisy. You can still vote for Trump, but at least be honest and say his attitude and actions toward women are horrible and condemn them.
I still have a small fraction of doubt as to whom I will vote for in this election (that’s very small, but still a little doubt). But if for some reason I decide to vote for Trump, I will not defend him. Some of my FB friends have been overly upset with me for pointing out how horrible of a candidate Trump is. Why is this? Why respond with “Hillary is worse?” Why not say, “You’re right. This man needs the Lord and to repent for his sinful actions?” This is the primary reason why I have posted so many articles against Trump and have been so critical of him: because it’s time for Christians to begin acting consistently with their worldview and quit trying to defend what is immoral just because “that’s my candidate.” Character does indeed matter. It’s time to put away hypocrisy so that those who accuse Christians, like my students, don’t have a leg to stand on (and just for the sake of the glory of God!). (As a side note, I think Hillary is also just as indefensible. I don’t post much concerning her because I don’t feel that I have to point out the obvious.)
Ultimately, we should have seen this train wreck of an election heading our way a long time ago. For too many elections we have had to put up with “holding our nose” and voting for the “lesser of two evils.” For too long some have compromised convictions for expediency and pragmatic concerns. Imagine if we had not compromised as much in the past?
May the Lord grant us grace and peace, and may each Christian love each other with constructive dialog rather than attacking each other and undermining each others’ intelligence. Let love prevail in disagreement. And let us act with consistency. Support your candidate with integrity, not hypocrisy.