The Evangelicals’ Election Dilemma

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Going by the appointments and policies in the almost four years of the present administration, one would think that every serious Evangelical Christian intends to vote for Donald J. Trump and another four years of the same. That is certainly not the case.

The President has faithfully kept his past promises to the Church to protect the right to life and the basic religious freedoms that Democrats now unashamedly vow to dismantle in due haste. Nevertheless, there is a significant number of those who consider themselves to be Evangelicals, even conservative Bible-believing ones, who now prefer perceived moral character over expected policy outcomes as the primary basis for their political choices.

To them, supporting Trump betrays their own Christian witness. How can they endorse this terribly flawed man without being judged by unbelievers as being hypocrites?

Many Christians do find serious flaws in our president that, in their mind, immediately disqualify him to hold high office. He does lack the deportment, dignity, and demeanor that in years past we have come to expect from those who represent our nation. Being a gentleman seems not something of deep concern to him.

Yes, Trump routinely offends a lot of folks, especially women, who expect something better from our chief executive than a crass Yankee businessman whose best quality seems to be the ability to make good deals for American interests, regardless of the resulting fallout.

Besides that, he doesn’t even speak much about his own personal faith, even though he does routinely present himself to religious leaders for prayer and enjoys support from many of them.

In fairness to the President, the same critics who would reject the judgment of others as the ultimate sin are all too quick to make rash judgments of him. The honest truth is that apart from the Blood of Jesus we are all lost. We all fail. When Christians decide who passes a character test and who does not, we ourselves become arrogant hypocrites of the first order.

I cannot pass the test, myself. Moses could not. King David could not. Peter and Paul could not. Where do we go with that? Nobody passes muster when it comes to righteous character, but Jesus Christ himself. That is basic Christianity.

The fact is that God uses seriously flawed humans to do his will on the earth; he always has. For instance, could any Evangelical Christian actually question whether or not it is God’s will that unborn babies should have the right to live, or that his people would defy the government of men to worship and obey him?

Unfortunately, many Evangelical leaders are now, actively or passively, giving moral cover to young followers to vote for those who espouse abortion on demand, assuring that it is only one of many issues for Christians to consider when they go to vote.

Yes, there are other important issues. But this is not just a political policy; it is a fundamental biblical principle that is at stake. I cannot vote for abortion or for anyone who would even think about it.

It is NOT merely one of many political issues to consider. Life is a sacred trust and to suggest that the Bible is unclear on the subject of abortion is simply dishonest. Referring to it as “women’s reproductive health” is, at best, misleading. It is a whole lot more than that.

The DNC has decided to go all-in in favor of abortion on demand as the law of the land and made it clear that they are no longer interested in appeasing the few remaining pro-life Democrats. Those are no longer welcome in the party’s policy conversation.

That leaves me no choice but to ignore any and every candidate who runs under that party’s affiliation. A person’s character really does matter. But what sort of character would approve of, much less advocate for, the taking of innocent lives to appease voters who are demanding it?

That alone makes me suspicious about their judgment on any other issue. The option of voting for “none of the above” may soothe one’s conscience but would be a virtual vote in favor of the practice.

I realize that there are other Christians who have a different perspective. I try hard to listen to their argument with understanding, but the Holy Spirit continues to affirm my decision.

The other aforementioned issues at stake in this election are certainly serious ones. Do we really want to experiment with socialism? Too many young people have, unfortunately, been indoctrinated in public school and various universities to believe that socialism would be a vast improvement over capitalism. They seem to be certain that it would provide a fairer and more equal system for everyone.

That is nonsense. A short visit to Cuba, Venezuela, or Nicaragua would put that notion to bed quickly. Radical socialism has always been antagonistic to a scriptural worldview and hostile to the free practice of religion.

Furthermore, it has predictably misled the naive masses into oppression and poverty. Today’s liberators inevitably become tomorrow’s dictators. Of course, America has its own character flaws which still need to be thoughtfully addressed. But that does not warrant trashing our Constitution to establish a far less perfect union.

Progressives in Congress seem to suggest that they would like to fundamentally change the way America is governed. That should give every citizen, Christian or not, serious pause.

America can recover from four more years of this present and less than perfect president. His policies are at least sane, predictable, and consistent with traditional Christian values, whether his character is or is not.

The other option fails on all counts. I’m not so sure that we can recover from what’s behind “door number two” represented by the seriously radical DNC platform that is intentionally anti-Christian, not to mention an information industry that seems to be more than willing to skew the “news” for what has become, in essence, left-wing anti-Trump propaganda.

I pray that personal distaste for the current president does not blind people to the probable tragedy that lies behind the other option. I have never prayed harder concerning an election in my entire long life. There are so many young Christians out there whom I dearly love who might inherit a future that is much darker and gloomy than they could ever imagine. In any case, may God’s will be done.

[LeRoy Curtis is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Asbury Theological Seminary. He served four years as a U.S. Naval Officer after which he became a pastor, Bible professor, educator, author, and missionary living in E. Africa for eight years where he and his wife developed a curriculum of biblical studies for untrained pastors in rural Kenya. His passion for training young church leaders takes him to various parts of the U.S., Latin America, and Africa. He and Judy are currently residing in Carrollton, Georgia.]

22 COMMENTS

  1. Henry I work in Philly and anything under 200k is not in a safe neighborhood with good schools. Just like here you can find a townhome in Riverdale or Morrow for way below 200k but forget about new..You can also find some old unrenovated single family homes on the North side of the county. There are also new mobile homes on the north side of the county for less than 100k. People work hard for their money and want to be in a safe neighborhood with great schools ..I bought my house and it was very small and terribly dated 20 years ago but I sacrificed for the location. I have spent a ton on remodeling and getting it comfortable. That is what you do to live in a top notch area.

    • I’m not super familiar with Philly, I just know that it has the most townhouses of any city in the US. If it’s anything like Cleveland, the school system isn’t half bad. The graduation rate has increased 26% to 85% over the past 10 years. The city has been recovering and it’s not longer the concentration of crime and poverty it was in the 70s and 80s. There still are lots of neighborhoods I wouldn’t want to raise a kid, but there are plenty of relatively inexpensive neighborhoods that are safe.

      I agree with your last point, people are willing to make trade offs to live somewhere nicer. If I had the choice between a small townhouse in PTC and a large house outside of it, I would choose the townhouse because I value being able to walk places more than having lots of sq ft. We should develop a variety of housing types so that people have the option to choose one or the other, instead of limiting the choice to single family home or apartment.

  2. Henry, thanks for the lesson in Socialism. If that is truly what it is, I have been misled and taught differently. And to your point, I agree. “people should get paid based on the value of their work, “. And just like you stated, I too find it difficult to understand how the average CEOs work is exceedingly more valuable than their employees, even given The understand that these CEO’s make the most important decisions that affect the whole company. VERY WELL SAID SIR….Lastly, though many of our fellow PTC neighbors find your many posts and opinions disagreeable, but Mark Twain said it best: “It were not best that we should all think a like.” Keep posting brother, there will be differences in opinions in just about every intelligence analysis you were to make.d

    • I don’t blame you for not knowing what socialism is, there has been a long history of making socialism look awful in the US. Especially during the cold war and even to this day as you see with many republicans. Thank you for kind words, I enjoy the mostly civil discourse on here.

  3. Henry, thanks for the lesson in Socialism. If that is truly what it is, I have been misled and taught differently. And to your point, I agree. “people should get paid based on the value of their work, so it’s hard for me to understand how the average CEOs work is 320 times more valuable than their employees. 50 or 75 times more, I understand that. The CEO has to make important decisions that affect the whole company and that importance should be reflected in their pay.” VERY WELL SAID SIR….

  4. Preaching to the Choir

    Rev. Curtis appears to be under the illusion that Evangelical Christians are regarded as principled by anyone outside of their insular orbit. Their shameful, open-armed, and uncritical embrace of the current president who defies every tenet of the historic Christian faith has irretrievably damaged their brand. Why would a potential convert consider a relationship with Jesus Christ when his disciples vocally support a politician who refuses to adhere to even the most rudimentary guidelines of honesty, decency, and comity practiced naturally by kindergarteners?

    Rev. Curtis, this ship has sailed. Evangelicals sold their considerable birthright for a very meager bowl of stew. Enjoy your Supreme Court justices; say good-bye to any meaningful attempts at evangelism for your faith. Who knew that you could be bought off so cheaply and without any demonic or outside influence, just your greed for power?

    Truth is stranger than fiction.

  5. “Too many young people have, unfortunately, been indoctrinated in public school and various universities to believe that socialism would be a vast improvement over capitalism. They seem to be certain that it would provide a fairer and more equal system for everyone.”

    What’s so unfortunate about that? Socialism doesn’t seem that bad to me. I don’t know if socialism would be a vast improvement over our current system, but it’s hard to imagine it being worse. I believe people should get paid based on the value of their work, so it’s hard for me to understand how the average CEOs work is 320 times more valuable than their employees. 50 or 75 times more, I understand that. The CEO has to make important decisions that affect the whole company and that importance should be reflected in their pay.

    Socialism isn’t Communism, people still get paid and have personal property. However, it says that companies should be owned by the employees and people get paid the amount of value they produce. Instead of profits getting sent off to share owners, that money is paid to the workers. Workers also get to decide if they want to shut down a factory instead of the higher ups deciding that manufacturing in Mexico is cheaper and they can get bigger bonuses of they do that. The employees would probably decide that as long as the factory is profitable they want to keep it open.

    I’m not certain that socialism is better, but when I read about it outside of the “socialism is bad,” that I was taught in high school history. I see it’s merits and flaws, modern US socialists are religiously tolerant and I think it follows the teachings of Christ more than capitalism.

    Matthew 25:35-40

    35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

    • That’s a good point – “companies should be owned by the employees and people get paid the amount of value they produce” -I’m certainly onboard with that. A deeper look at that would also tell us that people that don’t work do not get paid at all (because their non-work has no value) and they certainly don’t get ownership or the right to vote on company decisions. Pure logic.

      I really like that! However, that is not socialism.

      And high marks for creativity. One seldom sees an advocate for socialism quoting scripture – especially a verse that features a benevolent King. But I guess that is the price we pay in a world where everyone has one – a keyboard, that is.

      • Mr Morgan: Most companies were started by investments of hard earned money by the individuals who started the company, and worked 70-80 hours a week to get the business up and running. When the Soviet began it was supposed to be a workers dream, yet it was a nightmare. The workers then became the slave of the bureaucrats that were members of the political class. Most members of the Politburo had homes and food and did not wait in 5 hours lines for toilet paper. The world works that way, the progressive side of the political parties don’t realize in their ignorance what happens when you make things “even”

      • It kind of is the fundamental pillar of Socialism. What you think Marx meant when he said “seize the means of production.” He meant workers controlling the factories. Owners take the difference in value produced by their workers and the wage they pay them as profit for themselves. How many people own companies are own by people who don’t actually work and just collect income from them? Same thing with landlords, how many slumlords don’t do anything and just collect rent?

        You might have heard this other quote by Marx “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” Everyone who can work is expected to and everyone is given what they need. Now, the question is how do you actually achieve this in reality? IDK, it sounds nice but as the USSR shows its easy to mess up. The way the USSR was run isn’t the only way to run a socialist nation. People having been working on the problem for the hundred years since the USSR was founded and have come up with some good ideas.

        • I think you have this almost figured out, young Henry. You shared -“Everyone who can work is expected to and everyone is given what they need”

          Makes perfect sense to me. But how do we decide what each person needs and also who among us is smart enough to oversee that? If I can’t work tomorrow because I don’t feel well, do I still get my ration of vodka and caviar that I need? Sounds complicated.

          I think I’ll sign up for the job of overseer. I’d be good at that. Better than being a serf.

          • Those are all reasonable questions to ask, and I don’t have the answers to all of them. You would still get what you need, you don’t stop needing to eat when you’re sick. The neat part of socialism is that you can sign up to be a manager, if you like that kind of work. How many people work in an office because it pays well, not because they enjoy it? Just anecdotally I know some people who would be perfectly happy waiting tables or being a barista, but those jobs don’t pay enough to raise a family or buy a house. In an ideal socialist system they could do what they find rewarding and make a decent living from it.

            How do we determine what each person needs? There’s lots of ways to do this. One solution is Market Socialism where the government provides necessities like food, housing, and healthcare. Leaving worker run companies to make the luxury goods, allowing them to respond to demand for certain goods. Companies that make a good product that sells well, can pay their workers more.

            Again I’m not an expert there are flaws with this system like how do you get the government to build the kind of housing people want to live in. I don’t know, but is the government currently allowing the kind of housing people want to live in get built? I would argue no. The vast majority of people don’t like living in tall apartment towers, but the only two kinds of housing in the US are pretty much that or single family homes. So how much worse could a socialist system be?

        • Henry..oh yes Marxism has worked really well ..ask the folks who survived Mao and Stalin..oh yes and all the people currently in “re-education” camps in North Korea and China, the people who lost their families under Pol Pot in Cambodia, the people in Cuban prisons. We are already at a place where the Bureaucrats are the masters, the more we let government control our lives the richer they become replacing the evil capitalist. The idea is nice but the outcome is bad because humans are humans. Also most folks are employed by small companies where the owners have worked and poured their money into the business not a corporations. I worked for corporations in the past and let me tell you most CEOs work their butts off. I worked for a company recently and the President was available 24-7 and we developed a good relationship, he was often stressed but was always available to discuss issues. Did he live in a big house and drive a nice car? yes..but that comes at a price. Too many folks think that Corporations are run by guys sitting on their yachts, no most are run by people who work 70-80 hours a week.

          • Henry People live in apartment blocks generally out of necessity in the cities there is only so much real estate, in the suburbs it is generally because of cost or an older person who needs low maintenance. Most folks want a single family home and even if we build the “work play live” it will only be high end because of building costs. If you look at semi socialist nations like Sweden and Norway folks live in tiny apartments in Oslo and Stockholm just like NYC. Housing in those countries is very expensive and what we consider a middle class single family home is very small

          • There’s a lot that goes into the size of houses that are built. An average townhouse in the US is about 1,500 sq ft, not very small. There are ways to bring building prices down, cross laminated timber construction is replacing concrete in buildings between 5-10 stories tall.

            You say most folks want a single family home, but there’s not much choice in the housing market. How many people prefer a single family home over a townhouse in a walkable area? How many people live in the suburbs because that’s what parents are expected to do?

            The cost of living in Sweden and Norway is higher overall compared to the US, so it’s no surprise that housing is expensive. That doesn’t have much to do with their economic system and more to do with the fact that they have to import food and have a lot more people per square mile than the US.

    • Geez Henry…you know I’m a simple man and I think you really buy into most of the stuff you say…but Gawd’ A’mighty … do you really mean, ” Socialism doesn’t seem that bad to me. I don’t know if socialism would be a vast improvement over our current system, but it’s hard to imagine it being worse”. ???

      Is the whole world so full of “skulls full of mush” that it’s become useless to even try to help the lost and misguided…I even like you Henry….but maybe you should re-think that opinion.

        • Henry You talked about 1500 sf townhomes, I lived in one with two kids and went nuts..most folks want 2000 sf with a decent master and large kitchen and some place to stash the kids. My sis has 3 kids in a townhome now and she can’t wait to move. When you have kids you will understand. It is also not about size but design ..My parents had a 1800 sf villa in florida 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths..it was perfect but not if you had a house full of kids.

          • Oh I forgot, looked at building a smaller home and the cost just for building was over 200k..Townhomes have HOA fees so you are talking 250-350k plus 300-500 a month HOA.

          • Townhouses don’t necessarily have an HOA, just like any other house or neighborhood. There’s the price to build a townhouse and there’s the price that it’ll sell for. From what I’ve read it’s slightly cheaper to build townhouses per sf than a “traditional” two story single family home, because they’re basically a few identical houses attached to each other. As a result the builder can do things a bit more efficiently resulting in lower construction costs. Townhouses do tend to be in areas with higher land value, but the lot size is smaller.

            The other side of this is how much are people willing to pay to live in a townhouse. Empty nesters looking to downsize are a major part of the demand and they have a lot more money spend on a house than a young couple. Also, the number of townhouses on the market is very small when compared to the number of single family homes. All of these factors drive up the price. When you look at a city like Philadelphia that has a large supply of townhouses, you can find some that are ~1700 sf selling for around 200k. They normally have 3 or 4 bedrooms, but only 1 or 1 1/2 baths. While the bathroom situation isn’t the best, families in the past managed to survive so it’s not the end of the world.

            I think that there’s a bit of a trend towards smaller houses, the tiny home movement is an example of this. Obviously the vast majority of people will never live in a tiny home, but it’s moving people in the direction of smaller houses. A decent number of people look at big house, how much they cost to heat and cool, how much maintenance is required, etc. Then decide that a smaller house is a better choice.