How, Then, Should Christians Vote? And do Evangelicals owe Bill Clinton an apology?

"What exactly do you suggest Christians do? Should they hold their nose and vote for Trump but endeavor to still see him clearly and hold him accountable for his misconduct? Should they vote for Democrats even when Democrats would protect abortion rights and restrict religious freedom? Or should they vote third party or write in a name?" - David French

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Paul Henebury's picture

One thing that is missing from all this banter is the fact that Trump was a liberal and lacked any solid character traits.  Now he is conservative and seems to have picked up a few.  Tyler says he's a thug and implies that he is unjust.  How is he a thug today?  And how is he unjust today?  

It is a blessing to get to vote for our leader.  That vote in Roman times may have kept Nero from being Emperor, or Diocletian.  It may therefore have spared Christians from horrendous treatment.  Today it could prevent many babies being killed, and suppress somewhat the propagandizing of the populace, and buoy the economy, and protect free speech and religious freedom.  Or it may not depending on what one decides to do with ones vote.  

That said, I support a believer's right to NOT vote.  I cannot support a Christian who votes Democrat.  Why?  Because they are voting for murder! 

Romans 12:18 urges us to live in peace with all men. It may be argued that our vote qualifies as an "as much as lies within you." 

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Ken S's picture

Paul Henebury wrote:

How is he a thug today?

Well, his Twitter page is pretty revealing.

Paul Henebury's picture

Or two!

 

Thanks

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Ken S's picture

Paul Henebury wrote:

Or two!

 

Thanks

How about this quote from five hours ago: "If I wasn't President, I'd be suing everyone all over the place.....BUT MAYBE I STILL WILL."

Really, I don't need to provide examples. His Twitter page is filled with name calling, taunting, threatening, etc.

Jim's picture

As flawed as Republicans are ... I am a Republican. I did not vote for Trump in '16 but will likely vote for him in '20

Republicans are generally for:

The Minnesota Republican primary will only have Trump's name on the ballot (will be skipping the primary)

Come November it will be Trump vs a Democrat. The only Democrat who is viable and could run the country is Bloomberg and he is too far left for me

G. N. Barkman's picture

You challenge those who disagree with you to debate the principles, not simply state disagreement.  Few of us disagree with your principles.  Application is the difficulty.  You say that without sound character, the Conservative movement is useless.  I think we all prefer Christian character in our candidates, but how do you decide who sufficiently possesses the required amount of character?   Since no one is flawless, what standards dictate that candidate A is not too flawed to meet your definition of character, but candidate B is over the line?  As far as I can tell, this is a subjective decision.  It boils down to the way you feel about candidate A or B.  Another Christian embracing the same principles may decide that candidate B, though flawed, is not sufficiently flawed to merit rejection.  That's what I mean about stating noble, lofty sounding principles, but failing to execute them consistently.  When it comes to application, the objective standards are far from clear, and subjective choices rule the day.

G. N. Barkman

Paul Henebury's picture

How about including the context?  This is about the Mueller investigation, which was clearly a put-up job.  Mueller claimed he knew nothing about Fusion GPS?  Really?  What was it all about then?  And why wasn't Hillary investigated for her links with Fusion GPS and the fake dossier?  

Trump is saying that as a private citizen he would sue these people.  Then he adds that perhaps he still will since it was a witch hunt.

There's no thuggish behavior here.  It is at best a shot across the bows.

I've never read Trump's twitter feed before, but I did so today and I can't see any thuggish tweets.  Help me out here.      

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Bert Perry's picture

Do you mean like "If they bring a knife to a fight, we bring a gun."?

Or "they can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back."?  (paging Rosa Parks)

Definitely thuggish.....by President Obama.  Sorry, again, part of this is simply a matter of "the media covered for Obama, but won't for Trump".

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

josh p's picture

Jim wrote:

As flawed as Republicans are ... I am a Republican. I did not vote for Trump in '16 but will likely vote for him in '20

Republicans are generally for:

The Minnesota Republican primary will only have Trump's name on the ballot (will be skipping the primary)

Come November it will be Trump vs a Democrat. The only Democrat who is viable and could run the country is Bloomberg and he is too far left for me

 

With all due respect brother, I will agree that Republicans claim to support those things but the only appreciable difference I can see is the second amendment and abortion. They expand the government and debt pretty much every administration, make the economy less free (Trump is a mixed bag here), and lower taxes for certain groups while raising them for others. Can't really think of an actual fiscal conservative since Coolidge although I'm probably overlooking some. 

RajeshG's picture

josh p wrote:

 

Jim wrote:

 

As flawed as Republicans are ... I am a Republican. I did not vote for Trump in '16 but will likely vote for him in '20

Republicans are generally for:

The Minnesota Republican primary will only have Trump's name on the ballot (will be skipping the primary)

Come November it will be Trump vs a Democrat. The only Democrat who is viable and could run the country is Bloomberg and he is too far left for me

 

 

 

With all due respect brother, I will agree that Republicans claim to support those things but the only appreciable difference I can see is the second amendment and abortion. They expand the government and debt pretty much every administration, make the economy less free (Trump is a mixed bag here), and lower taxes for certain groups while raising them for others. Can't really think of an actual fiscal conservative since Coolidge although I'm probably overlooking some. 

Are those two things really "the only appreciable difference" that you can see? What about the leftist assaults on marriage and family? What about their forcing religious employers to fund things that clearly violate the employers' beliefs?

josh p's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

josh p wrote:

 

 

Jim wrote:

 

As flawed as Republicans are ... I am a Republican. I did not vote for Trump in '16 but will likely vote for him in '20

Republicans are generally for:

The Minnesota Republican primary will only have Trump's name on the ballot (will be skipping the primary)

Come November it will be Trump vs a Democrat. The only Democrat who is viable and could run the country is Bloomberg and he is too far left for me

 

 

 

With all due respect brother, I will agree that Republicans claim to support those things but the only appreciable difference I can see is the second amendment and abortion. They expand the government and debt pretty much every administration, make the economy less free (Trump is a mixed bag here), and lower taxes for certain groups while raising them for others. Can't really think of an actual fiscal conservative since Coolidge although I'm probably overlooking some. 

 

 

Are those two things really "the only appreciable difference" that you can see? What about the leftist assaults on marriage and family? What about their forcing religious employers to fund things that clearly violate the employers' beliefs?

I was responding to Jim's list. Of his list those are the only appreciable differences I can see. 

RajeshG's picture

josh p wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

josh p wrote:

 

 

Jim wrote:

 

As flawed as Republicans are ... I am a Republican. I did not vote for Trump in '16 but will likely vote for him in '20

Republicans are generally for:

The Minnesota Republican primary will only have Trump's name on the ballot (will be skipping the primary)

Come November it will be Trump vs a Democrat. The only Democrat who is viable and could run the country is Bloomberg and he is too far left for me

 

 

 

With all due respect brother, I will agree that Republicans claim to support those things but the only appreciable difference I can see is the second amendment and abortion. They expand the government and debt pretty much every administration, make the economy less free (Trump is a mixed bag here), and lower taxes for certain groups while raising them for others. Can't really think of an actual fiscal conservative since Coolidge although I'm probably overlooking some. 

 

 

Are those two things really "the only appreciable difference" that you can see? What about the leftist assaults on marriage and family? What about their forcing religious employers to fund things that clearly violate the employers' beliefs?

 

 

I was responding to Jim's list. Of his list those are the only appreciable differences I can see. 

I wondered if that might have been the case. In terms of destroying our society and country, the left's assaults on marriage and family and on freedom of religion are among the most harmful things that they are doing.

TylerR's picture

Editor

As some on this thread continue to concoct a strawman wherein every registered Democrat is an evil Leftist who dreams of killing babies, it's worth considering how much damage the Christian Right has done to the cause of Christ by nurturing and promoting a civil religion of WASP-ish Christian Americana with Reagan in his Oscar-winning role as secular Savior, and Falwell, Dobson (et al) playing the apostles.

I suspect there is an age divide among convictional, conservative Protestants about supporting President Trump. I suspect those who cut their teeth in the heydays of the Religious Right from the 1980s onward are more likely to support President Trump. I also suspect those who are children of the 1980s - 1990s are much less likely.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Paul Henebury's picture

Went to see Abby Johnson the other day.  She was the person about whom the film 'Unplanned' was made.  After telling us about the attitudes of the doctors and nurses in PP (some of which were sick), she called upon the audience to use their vote to help extinguish this evil... and it is certainly evil.  

It's not for nothing Planned Parenthood donated $30+ million to the DNC.  I am not aware of any Democrat who is pro-life.  I know that the DNC is pro-choice.  I know Sanders has said explicitly that there is no room in the Democratic Party for pro-lifers. 

I am not an American citizen and I do not look back upon the Reagan years with nostalgia (nor Thatcher for that matter).  My personal political concerns are with abortion, LGBT, globalism, socialism, free speech, the Constitution, education, family and marriage, worldview, and the future of this country for my kids. I shall (DV) hold my Christian convictions against the anti-God agenda in writing and speaking.  But if I could use my vote I would use it in the most profitable direction against the stances advocated by the Democrats.  Not because they are Democrats, but because that party stands proudly for what is hateful to God and ruinous to the nation.

Still, being for freedom of conscience, I think a Christian whose conscience cannot bring them to vote for Trump should not vote.  If the Democrats gain power a person who voted Republican can say they did something against the Democrat's ungodly practices.  One who did not vote could say nothing.  

         

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Darrell Post's picture

from Dictionary.com

ENDORSE: to approve, support, or sustain

VOTE: to express or signify will or choice in a matter, as by casting a ballot

 

I may well vote in the Democratic Party Primary on Super Tuesday to express or signify my will or choice in the matter of which candidate I want to run against Trump in the general election, but I certainly do NOT approve, support or sustain any of the Democratic Party candidates. 

In November, between Trump and his Democratic challenger, I will express or signify my will or choice in the matter of who I would prefer be president the next four years. I can do so without endorsing a candidate. 

dmyers's picture

What's going on here, Aaron?  I've submitted at least one and possibly two articles on this subject recently (i.e., since the last go round here on SI), written by thoughtful Christian conservatives who defend Christians' voting for Trump. My submission(s) didn't get posted. Assuming the reason was that this topic has been plowed pretty well on SI, I was fine with that. But then you post the latest screed from rabidly irrational Trump-hater David French (yes, hypocritically, French clearly hates Trump).  (Really, Aaron, you should just establish a permanent link to French's blog on SI's front page and be done with it.). I'm hoping there's an objective reason for the imbalance, but the appearance is disturbing.  

In the meantime, for a point by point rebuttal of French's holier-than-thou post, see this:  https://twitter.com/calfreiburger/status/1226623165767593984?s=21.

And for today's defense of Trump voters at The Federalist, see:  https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/18/i-didnt-vote-for-trump-in-2016-here...

Mark_Smith's picture

TylerR wrote:

As some on this thread continue to concoct a strawman wherein every registered Democrat is an evil Leftist who dreams of killing babies, it's worth considering how much damage the Christian Right has done to the cause of Christ by nurturing and promoting a civil religion of WASP-ish Christian Americana with Reagan in his Oscar-winning role as secular Savior, and Falwell, Dobson (et al) playing the apostles.

I suspect there is an age divide among convictional, conservative Protestants about supporting President Trump. I suspect those who cut their teeth in the heydays of the Religious Right from the 1980s onward are more likely to support President Trump. I also suspect those who are children of the 1980s - 1990s are much less likely.

Tyler, sometimes I think you need to get out more.

Have you listened to a Democrat candidate lately? Its hard to caricature them because they are as extreme as you can imagine.

Is every Democrat evil? No

If every Republican good? No

I appreciate Dobson. I've learned a lot from him.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Yes, the candidates are all insane on these issues. I'm less convinced the candidates are representative of where their constituents are. Pro-life Democrats do exist.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Steve Newman's picture

This discussion makes me ask, why don't people of character (assuming there are still some around) run for positions of leadership? In Judges 9, Jotham gives the hypothetical story of the king of the trees in v. 7-15. The most respected trees (olive, fig, and vine) refuse to take the leadership, while the bramble (least respected) will. The others will not leave their abundance, sweetness and cheer to lead. Don't you find this to be part of the problem? What are Christians doing about this? It does cause us to think that politics is a messy business and it is hard to keep abundant life, sweetness and cheering effect to be in it. 

Mark_Smith's picture

TylerR wrote:

Pro-life Democrats do exist.

And what power do they have to influence ANY legislation the party promotes or passes.

For example, Sen Mansion from WV. What power does he have? None!

All voting for a pro-life Democrat does is give power to the anti-life ones.

Bert Perry's picture

I think there are good leaders out there--Ted Cruz comes to mind--but we've got something of an issue where Americans, and even American Christians (read "megachurch") are impressed with the next big thing and we don't give the good politicians the time of day.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

First, apologies... I can't really follow the discussion/debate in detail...

But I have noticed that the back and forth seems to reflect some pretty different ideas about what "good character" means. I'm not claiming to authoritatively define it, just explain what I mean by good character in the context of leaders in general and US Presidents in particular.

So, when I look at the character of a candidate for public office the list of important character traits is a lot like what we all would probably like to our bosses to have. This is a brain dump, so there is overlap... it's messy.

  • Responsible: A strong sense of duty to the organization and to people in general vs. himself or herself, regard for the history and traditions and institutions he's part of
  • Essentially honest (exceptions somewhat expected... humans, after all)
  • Trustworthy: Consistently makes agreements in good faith
  • Honor... behaves honorably. This is hard to define, but a major component is that he/she shows a strong desire to take what he/she sees as the high road ethically and relationally. (It's the opposite of "I can do whatever I want.")
  • Respects others, avoiding public shaming of subordinates, colleagues, etc.
  • Fair in criticism: goes with that respect, I guess.
  • Solution driven: Uses criticism and other tools as a way to move toward solutions, not as a way to self-aggrandize. This ties in with responsibility probably.
  • Maturity: generally reacts to criticism, adversity, disappointment, etc., with restraint, thoughtfulness. Not ruled by emotions or baser instincts or immediate impulses.
  • Knowledgeable/competent/intelligent: Is well informed on the relevant subject matter and a high level of skill in what the role requires
  • Respectable: people are drawn to the personal qualities he/she demonstrates and want to follow their lead for that reason. May need to intimidate outsiders but doesn't need to bully his own staff.
  • Good judgment: generally has a good sense of priorities, generally a good sense of what's probable and what's extremely unlikely.... Is not petty and vindictive.

This is very incomplete and chaotic... but might illustrate. I'm not saying a leader has to score 100% on these all the time. Nobody does. These should be evident qualities in his or her life. Patterns of how they go about their work and relationships.

We all know what kind of people we tend to respect, even if we disagree with their agenda. They're basically folks who, consciously or otherwise, have a basic commitment to golden rule and habits that reflect that commitment. Everything else is pretty much special knowledge and skills to fit the role.

(And yes, there have been many presidents that fit this bullet list!)

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