Evangelicals Have Abandoned the Character Test. The Competence Test is Next.

"I know that for now I’ve lost the character argument. It’s well-established that a great number of white Evangelicals didn’t truly believe the words they wrote, endorsed, and argued in 1998 and for 18 years until the 2016 election. Oh sure, they thought they believed those words....We may think we possess an array of virtues and beliefs, but we don’t really know who we are or what we believe until those virtues and beliefs are put to the test." - The Dispatch

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Lacking a coherent ethical approach to backing leadership candidates, many evangelicals and fundamentalists look at maybe three issues and ignore everything else. .... but Mohler is too smart for that. That kind of reductionism from him is, frankly, bizarre.

From the article...

Many millions of Trump-supporting white Evangelicals no longer care about character (though a surprising number are still remarkably unaware of his flaws). That much is clear. But the story now grows darker still. As they’ve abandoned political character tests, they’re also rejecting any meaningful concern for presidential competence. 

Listen to Mohler’s announcement, and you’ll hear a narrow political philosophy—one that’s limited to evaluating a party platform on a few, discrete issues. It’s nothing more than a policy checklist. He speaks of religious freedom, LGBT issues, and abortion. 

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

John E.'s picture

How about combining a completely self-serving character with a thuggish incompetence? Doing so produces this:

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/hospitals-face-a-white-house-blo...

Donald Trump is not pro-life using any meaningful definition of the word life. Donald Trump is solely pro-Donald Trump, and that's the driving force behind whatever platform he cobbles together. Granted, his supporters' responses to what's happening is sadly allowing the world to see "we've always been at war with Eurasia" played out in real life. Our gods are comfort and human definitions of way of life and liberty.  

WallyMorris's picture

No one has abandoned the "character test". Good grief, you guys just won't let this go. You are expecting certain character qualities from people who do not know Christ. As our world moves further away from any resemblance of Biblical moral standards, of course we will see more poor character from everyone. I wouldn't expect anything else. The only way to obtain the character you want to see is to give people the gospel and they trust Christ as Savior. Without that, you will not see the character you want to see. Just HOW do you expect to accomplish your "character goals"? By posting on blogs and writing articles which the people you want to change will never see? The degree of self-righteousness displayed in some of these posts is incredible. I sympathize with your concerns/criticisms of today's politicians and political parties. But your "solution" is not a solution at all. Might make you feel better about yourself. But won't solve anything.

Sometimes Christians say that if enough of us protest the choices we are given, then we will get better choices. That's pie-in-the-sky, head-in-the-sand thinking. We have the choices we have in politics because fewer Christians and others of decent character refuse to get involved in messy, dirty politics. If you are so bothered by the poor character of your political choices, then run for office yourself. Writing articles that make you feel good about yourself won't solve anything.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

John E.'s picture

Wally, I am not expecting those with a heart of stone to act as if they've been adopted into God's family. I am expecting those in God's family to stop compromising themselves and their witness to a lost and dying world by aligning (via voting and vocally supporting) such obvious evil. 

I don't expect the government to make my life easier. I don't expect society to embrace my King's values and ethics. I expect persecution and I expect to be on the outside looking in. As Christians, we are exiles and our hope is not in any human government or nation. By God's grace, I will not compromise my position as an ambassador of Jesus by allowing pragmatism be a variable in my voting.

God and country is an ideology that has polluted Christ's Church in this nation.  

Paul Henebury's picture

John, those are strong words.  Please prove them!  Who did you vote for last and why? 

You say that Trump has not shown himself pro-life in any meaningful way, but pro-life activists disagree: https://www.lifenews.com/2019/02/18/in-president-donald-trump-the-pro-li...

When I heard Abby Johnson (whose story formed the basis for the movie 'Unplanned') speak some months ago she basically pleaded with her audience to vote for Trump.  What do you know that a former director for Planned Parenthood doesn't know?  

Is Trump obviously more "evil" than Obama or LBJ or Kennedy?  Do you think he has changed since his liberal days?  Do you expect your President to embrace your King's values?   I'm trying to understand your animosity here.  

Dr. Paul Henebury

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

Paul Henebury's picture

NY Magazine, of which the Intelligencer is part and parcel, is a liberal"far left" outlet according to this: https://www.allsides.com/news-source/new-york-magazine

The author of the Trump-bashing piece that John E refers us to is a Climate Alarmist who writes for The Guardian in Britain, which is about as left wing as mainline newspapers get over there. 

I am fine with John giving his opinion here, but I think his anti-Trump vehemence is easy to explain if this is what he is reading.  

Dr. Paul Henebury

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

David R. Brumbelow's picture

To me the choice remains simple.  I’ll vote for the presidential candidate who most closely aligns with my beliefs.  That choice was simple in 2016 and will be in 2020. 

Do I agree with everything about President Trump?  Of course not, but Lord willing, I’ll be gladly voting for him again. 

Some of my reasoning:

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2020/01/accomplishments-of-president...

David R. Brumbelow

Darrell Post's picture

From Dictionary.com

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

ENDORSE: "to approve, support, or sustain"

I think I have posted this distinction a few times before. But its still true, by common usage and common understanding of the terms, to endorse a candidate is not the same as to vote for a candidate. In fact, I nearly voted in the Democratic Party primary for President. The law allows me to do so, and I wanted to exercise the right to have a say in which Democrat would be the nominee, even though I would never endorse any of them. 

In the general election, I can vote for Trump without endorsing him in any way. I will simply show up, and express my will, or choice in the matter of which of the two options I would rather be president. It really is not more complicated than that. 

In 2016, character, integrity, etc., was not an option on the ballot if you wished to have any say in the outcome. One of the two promised conservative judges on the courts, and given the long-term effect they have on the country, I was able to express my will, or choice in the matter of which set of judges I would prefer to have. 

All of this gets way over-thought through when one decides that voting is the same as endorsing. It is not.

dmyers's picture

Can we please dispense with any postings from The Dispatch and David French?  We all know it now and we don't need to be hammered over the head with it on a regular basis:  French hates Trump viscerally and will never pass up an opportunity to bash him and anyone who votes for him.  Aaron shares French's mindset.  If we ever want to know what French or Aaron think about Trump, generally or specifically, we can go read the Dispatch and waste our time there.  We don't need to also waste it here.

Aaron, you're abusing your position at SI.  Please cut it out.

Paul Henebury's picture

Thanks for your common sense

Dr. Paul Henebury

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

Andrew K's picture

Religious liberty is, as should be obvious, a subcategory of liberty.

There are no great choices in US politics right now. I think most of us can agree with that.

Can we also agree that the Progressive Left is the current, primary vehicle for creeping tyranny? I think it's pretty obvious.

Trump, despite early rhetoric (and terrible character) is clearly not an authoritarian. Neither is Biden (or Clinton). But the Prog Left is. They're not even liberal anymore; they're illiberal. Trump has also kept his promises to a surprising degree.

I may not agree with the choice many Evangelicals have made to support Trump. But I can at least sympathize with why they might feel it's necessary.

Andrew K's picture

To conclude my thoughts above, maybe some of us are past character and competence. 

Maybe some of us will settle for a ruler who will just leave us alone.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Maybe some of us will settle for a ruler who will just leave us alone.

It is interesting how many would apparently prefer a ruler than will not leave us alone. One of the commanded prayers in Scripture is for those in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life. It seems odd that we should pray for something but not vote in accordance with that prayer. 

It reminds me of the story of the guy in a flood who fled to the top of his house. A boat came by and offered him a ride to safety and he said "No. God will deliver me." A helicopter flew overhead and offered him a ride to safety and he said, 'No, God will deliver me." And the flood waters rose a bit more and he drowned. When he got to heaven, he said, "God, I was trusting you to deliver me. Why didn't you?" And God said, "I sent a boat and a helicopter for you and you refused." 

Obviously the story is not theological, but it makes a point about the providence of God. It will be interesting to see those who refuse ot vote for a candidate that will work to allow Christians to live peaceably and quietly pray for the opportunity to leave peaceably and quietly. Might it be that God would say something along the lines of, "I sent someone to enable you to do that and you refused to vote for him"? 

DLCreed's picture

dmyers wrote:

Can we please dispense with any postings from The Dispatch and David French?  We all know it now and we don't need to be hammered over the head with it on a regular basis:  French hates Trump viscerally and will never pass up an opportunity to bash him and anyone who votes for him.  Aaron shares French's mindset.  If we ever want to know what French or Aaron think about Trump, generally or specifically, we can go read the Dispatch and waste our time there.  We don't need to also waste it here.

Aaron, you're abusing your position at SI.  Please cut it out.

By all means!  I mean, why would we ever want to be invited to read someone who doesn't confirm our own biases?  We might actually be convinced by someone who doesn't think exactly like us and we can't have that!  We should never want to understand how other smart people might reach a conclusion different than ours!  In fact, let's just burn their books and ban them while we are it.  {exit sarcasm mode}

Aaron....you aren't abusing anything.   People are free to scroll right by anything they fear might offend their sensitive opinions. You're the owner/operator/editor and if you don't tick people off from time to time, you aren't doing your job.  Count me as someone who appreciates hearing from varying points of view and appreciates vigorous debate among those who are thoughtful enough to articulate disagreeing points of view.  Keep up the great work!

 

Paul Henebury's picture

Though I don't come from the same camp, I agree with DL Creed, although NOT with his tone.

Dr. Paul Henebury

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

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Half or less of French's posts get any attention here, and only a subset of those are about the great evangelical sell out. I can't think of any good reason to reduce the number further... Certainly the fact it's an unpopular minority view isn't a good reason.

French is not simply saying the same thing over and over. He keeps getting better at saying it and better at proving it, though seeing that would require reading on a regular basis. ... which too few are willing to do.

Sure... there are days when I feel like any effort to persuade anybody of anything is futile. But I'm not likely to give up. I'm kind of hard wired that way.

And I think sometimes that the irrational-rant reactions (as opposed to the reasoned ones, which do also happen, thankfully) kind of make my point for me... maybe better than I could make it. What happens here is nothing like the bile people dump on French on Twitter and Facebook. I've only seen a little of it, and that was enough! I don't know how he deals with that as patiently as he does.

Which maybe also makes my point for me better than I could.

No, by all means, those who's minds are completely closed should simply pretend these posts don't exist. Those who, like me, are in the minority view find French's clarity comforting, though it's not happy truth... and those wrestling with it all (I think there are a few new ones waking up now and then) can be helped. I can't pass up the potential to help them.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Mark_Smith's picture

and a little levity

I appreciate your convictions. I just think you are 100% misguided and miss the point of a representative republic even in a Christian context.

 

Darrell Post's picture

The very premise of an evangelical sell out is also wrong. I have posted the data before, but will do so again. The vast majority of evangelicals in the 2016 GOP primary did NOT support Donald Trump. Most were opposed to him. Yes, there were a few loud voices (like Falwell) who backed Trump, but it was not the majority of evangelicals. This keeps getting repeated as though frequent repetitions will make it true, so it can then be used as a club to clobber evangelicals as though they have sold out Christian principles. Going back to 2016 and the GOP primary, below is the inconvenient data, showing that Trump only got the nomination due to the splintered field of candidates, plus Democrats crossing over to vote for him because he was considered the easiest out in the general election:

Feb 1: IOWA

Trump received 24.3% of the vote. This means 75.7% of Republican voters preferred one of the other 11 candidates. 

Feb 9: NEW HAMPSHIRE

This state isn't exactly an evangelical stronghold, but Trump got 35.2% of the vote, while 64.8% of the voters preferred one of the other 9 candidates still running.

Feb 20: SOUTH CAROLINA

The first Bible-belt contest found Trump getting only 32.5% of the vote, despite the momentum he should have gotten having won NH. 67.5% of voters preferred one of the other 5 candidates still running.

Feb 23: NEVADA

This state is not exactly stuffed with evangelicals, and Trump received 45.7% of the vote. Still short of 50%, as 54.3% of the voters preferred one of the other 4 candidates still running.

**During any normal primary process, a candidate winning three early states in a row, splintered field or otherwise, would tend to bring an end to the process, but not so, because the remaining candidates were fighting for the unified support of the MAJORITY of voters who found Trump unacceptable.**

March 1: SUPER TUESDAY (5 candidates still running)

AL: Trump 43.4% - 56.6% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

AK: Trump 33.6% - 66.4% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

AR: Trump 32.8% - 67.2% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

GA: Trump 39% - 61% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

MA: Trump 49% - 51% of voters preferred one of the 4 others. (Note, MA not exactly evangelical stronghold)

MN: Trump 21% - 79% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

OK: Trump 28% - 72% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

TN: Trump 39% - 61% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

TX: Trump 27% - 73% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

VT: Trump 33% - 67% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

VA: Trump 35% - 65% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

March 5-12:

KS: Trump 23% - 77% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

KY: Trump 36% - 64% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

LA: Trump 41% - 59% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

ME: Trump 33% - 67% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

PR: Trump 13% - 87% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

HI: Trump 43% - 57% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

ID: Trump 28% - 72% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

MI: Trump 37% - 63% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

MS: Trump 47% - 53% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

DC: Trump 14% - 86% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

WY: Trump 7.2% - 92.8% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

**Up through Super Tuesday Trump  collected the vast majority of delegates because he was running in a lane all to himself, while Rubio, Cruz and Kasich were all canceling each other out in their attempt to be the lone survivor who then could defeat Trump. But please note that at this point, the field of candidates has defeated Trump in EVERY race thus far. At the time, many believed that Trump's delegate lead would prompt voters to abandon the others and join him--but this was not the case. The race kept going because Republican voters, including evangelicals were not content to settle for Trump.**

March 15

FL: Trump 46% - 54% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

IL: Trump 39% - 61% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

MO: Trump 40.8% - 59.2% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

NC: Trump 40% - 60% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

**At this point Rubio dropped out, but still with only Kasich and Cruz left, Trump still struggled to get 50% against the field.**

March 22 - April 19

AZ: Trump 46% - 54% preferred one of the others.

UT: Trump 14% - 86% preferred one of the others.

WI: Trump 35% - 65% preferred one of the others.

NY: Trump 59% - 41% preferred one of the others. Finally, after 3/5ths of all the states voted, and the race was over due to delegate count, Trump finally gets over 50%, in New York, his home state, which is hardly an evangelical stronghold. 

Once the nomination was secure, then evangelicals who opposed Trump in the primary had a choice. They could continue fighting the GOP primary even though it ended, or they could decide to get what they could in the general election. Many never-Trumpers decided to continue to fight the 2016 GOP primary, and they continue to fight that primary to this day. But it is long over. It's done. God in His providence over all the circumstances and choices made throughout the GOP process decided to setup Trump as the nominee. At the time I could not understand it. But rather than deciding that God got it wrong--that He shouldn't have allowed it, most evangelicals decided that Trump's promise to nominate conservative judges provided a worthwhile distinction between Trump and Clinton, and so they voted for him. Not because they threw out the importance of character, honesty, and integrity, but because these virtues ARE CRITICALLY important, especially so among the powerful judges who sit on the supreme court as well as the circuit courts. 

Neither Clinton nor Trump personally possessed character, honesty or integrity. That was NOT an option on the presidential line of the ballot. But those virtues as represented by the forthcoming judicial appointments WERE on the ballot, not to mention the powerful positions of vice-president, secretery of state, and all the cabinet members. This last point is extremely important and often overlooked by never-Trumpers. The president doesn't rule alone. The federal government, for better or worse has become huge, with numerous departments and offices. These deparements often wield tremendous power over how we live. They can declare, at their will, binding policy that we must follow, without any say from the elected congressional representatives. Trump cannot and does not have the power to put himself in all these positions. So he appoints people to these positions--people who do have character, honesty, and integrity. The life-long pattern of the Clinton family has been to appoint cronies to such positions. 

In short, the 2016 GOP primary was a different election from the 2016 general election. The vast majority of evangelicals OPPOSED Donald Trump in the primary election, precisely for the reasons touted by the Never Trumpers--everything about his behavior suggested he lacked the character, integrity and honesty we would like to see in a President. 

But in the General Election, evangelicals voted to get the most integrity, honesty and character possible, and so they voted for Trump, so that all the government officials, vice-president, and judges would be people who would be more apt to align with Christian ideals. Never Trumpers have never been able to see the forest because they are stuck six inches away from one tree that they will never allow themselves to look beyond. 

I still don't like Trump and I find him personally repulsive. But the election is bigger than one person. A vote for president is a vote for powerful federal judges, vice-president (who breaks ties in the senate), and a host of cabinet positions and departments, as well as the direction and usage of our armed forces. I will vote to get all the integrity, character, and honesty in leaders that is possible to get. This means I will vote for Trump, even though he personally does not square with these critical virtues. It is time to put the 2016 GOP primary to rest. It is time to get what we can, given the options that God has provided us through His providence. 

 

 

 

 

 

RajeshG's picture

Darrell Post wrote:

The very premise of an evangelical sell out is also wrong. I have posted the data before, but will do so again. The vast majority of evangelicals in the 2016 GOP primary did NOT support Donald Trump. Most were opposed to him. Yes, there were a few loud voices (like Falwell) who backed Trump, but it was not the majority of evangelicals. This keeps getting repeated as though frequent repetitions will make it true, so it can then be used as a club to clobber evangelicals as though they have sold out Christian principles. Going back to 2016 and the GOP primary, below is the inconvenient data, showing that Trump only got the nomination due to the splintered field of candidates, plus Democrats crossing over to vote for him because he was considered the easiest out in the general election:

Feb 1: IOWA

Trump received 24.3% of the vote. This means 75.7% of Republican voters preferred one of the other 11 candidates. 

Feb 9: NEW HAMPSHIRE

This state isn't exactly an evangelical stronghold, but Trump got 35.2% of the vote, while 64.8% of the voters preferred one of the other 9 candidates still running.

Feb 20: SOUTH CAROLINA

The first Bible-belt contest found Trump getting only 32.5% of the vote, despite the momentum he should have gotten having won NH. 67.5% of voters preferred one of the other 5 candidates still running.

Feb 23: NEVADA

This state is not exactly stuffed with evangelicals, and Trump received 45.7% of the vote. Still short of 50%, as 54.3% of the voters preferred one of the other 4 candidates still running.

**During any normal primary process, a candidate winning three early states in a row, splintered field or otherwise, would tend to bring an end to the process, but not so, because the remaining candidates were fighting for the unified support of the MAJORITY of voters who found Trump unacceptable.**

March 1: SUPER TUESDAY (5 candidates still running)

AL: Trump 43.4% - 56.6% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

AK: Trump 33.6% - 66.4% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

AR: Trump 32.8% - 67.2% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

GA: Trump 39% - 61% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

MA: Trump 49% - 51% of voters preferred one of the 4 others. (Note, MA not exactly evangelical stronghold)

MN: Trump 21% - 79% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

OK: Trump 28% - 72% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

TN: Trump 39% - 61% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

TX: Trump 27% - 73% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

VT: Trump 33% - 67% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

VA: Trump 35% - 65% of voters preferred one of the 4 others.

March 5-12:

KS: Trump 23% - 77% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

KY: Trump 36% - 64% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

LA: Trump 41% - 59% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

ME: Trump 33% - 67% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

PR: Trump 13% - 87% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

HI: Trump 43% - 57% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

ID: Trump 28% - 72% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

MI: Trump 37% - 63% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

MS: Trump 47% - 53% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

DC: Trump 14% - 86% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

WY: Trump 7.2% - 92.8% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

**Up through Super Tuesday Trump  collected the vast majority of delegates because he was running in a lane all to himself, while Rubio, Cruz and Kasich were all canceling each other out in their attempt to be the lone survivor who then could defeat Trump. But please note that at this point, the field of candidates has defeated Trump in EVERY race thus far. At the time, many believed that Trump's delegate lead would prompt voters to abandon the others and join him--but this was not the case. The race kept going because Republican voters, including evangelicals were not content to settle for Trump.**

March 15

FL: Trump 46% - 54% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

IL: Trump 39% - 61% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

MO: Trump 40.8% - 59.2% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

NC: Trump 40% - 60% of voters preferred one of the 3 others.

**At this point Rubio dropped out, but still with only Kasich and Cruz left, Trump still struggled to get 50% against the field.**

March 22 - April 19

AZ: Trump 46% - 54% preferred one of the others.

UT: Trump 14% - 86% preferred one of the others.

WI: Trump 35% - 65% preferred one of the others.

NY: Trump 59% - 41% preferred one of the others. Finally, after 3/5ths of all the states voted, and the race was over due to delegate count, Trump finally gets over 50%, in New York, his home state, which is hardly an evangelical stronghold. 

Once the nomination was secure, then evangelicals who opposed Trump in the primary had a choice. They could continue fighting the GOP primary even though it ended, or they could decide to get what they could in the general election. Many never-Trumpers decided to continue to fight the 2016 GOP primary, and they continue to fight that primary to this day. But it is long over. It's done. God in His providence over all the circumstances and choices made throughout the GOP process decided to setup Trump as the nominee. At the time I could not understand it. But rather than deciding that God got it wrong--that He shouldn't have allowed it, most evangelicals decided that Trump's promise to nominate conservative judges provided a worthwhile distinction between Trump and Clinton, and so they voted for him. Not because they threw out the importance of character, honesty, and integrity, but because these virtues ARE CRITICALLY important, especially so among the powerful judges who sit on the supreme court as well as the circuit courts. 

Neither Clinton nor Trump personally possessed character, honesty or integrity. That was NOT an option on the presidential line of the ballot. But those virtues as represented by the forthcoming judicial appointments WERE on the ballot, not to mention the powerful positions of vice-president, secretery of state, and all the cabinet members. This last point is extremely important and often overlooked by never-Trumpers. The president doesn't rule alone. The federal government, for better or worse has become huge, with numerous departments and offices. These deparements often wield tremendous power over how we live. They can declare, at their will, binding policy that we must follow, without any say from the elected congressional representatives. Trump cannot and does not have the power to put himself in all these positions. So he appoints people to these positions--people who do have character, honesty, and integrity. The life-long pattern of the Clinton family has been to appoint cronies to such positions. 

In short, the 2016 GOP primary was a different election from the 2016 general election. The vast majority of evangelicals OPPOSED Donald Trump in the primary election, precisely for the reasons touted by the Never Trumpers--everything about his behavior suggested he lacked the character, integrity and honesty we would like to see in a President. 

But in the General Election, evangelicals voted to get the most integrity, honesty and character possible, and so they voted for Trump, so that all the government officials, vice-president, and judges would be people who would be more apt to align with Christian ideals. Never Trumpers have never been able to see the forest because they are stuck six inches away from one tree that they will never allow themselves to look beyond. 

I still don't like Trump and I find him personally repulsive. But the election is bigger than one person. A vote for president is a vote for powerful federal judges, vice-president (who breaks ties in the senate), and a host of cabinet positions and departments, as well as the direction and usage of our armed forces. I will vote to get all the integrity, character, and honesty in leaders that is possible to get. This means I will vote for Trump, even though he personally does not square with these critical virtues. It is time to put the 2016 GOP primary to rest. It is time to get what we can, given the options that God has provided us through His providence. 

Thanks for laying out this information in detail.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Every interested American should read Fear by Bob Woodward.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mike Harding's picture

John,

Based on your life history I could make a similar argument about you regarding your current position.  Now, I wouldn't do that to you, because it would be very unfair and unkind.  I recognize that God has changed you through unconditional regeneration as He has all true believers, and I do think you should serve the Lord in the position you are in and that you are well-qualified to do so.  With Trump, I don't see any evidence of unconditional regeneration, and that is not a condition for his position.  He has a very superficial understanding of Christianity and at times an obnoxious personality. Nevertheless, I also see evidence of common grace in his life over the last few years, but not saving grace.  But for the common grace I am thankful.  Many of his positions on pro-life, 200 conservative judges, helping people out of poverty through good employment, supporting police, guarding borders, etc. are all sensible positions.  I don't know his motives for being President as you infallibly do, but nevertheless, I give him credit for the good policies, and fully recognize that he lived most of his life as a NY playboy, some of which he has expressed remorse over. Neither do I know all the motives of those believers who voted for him as apparently you infallibly do, but I assure you that my motives were for love of country and preserving our Constitutional Republic, though I greatly desired Ted Cruz to be the nominee.  As Trump often says, you don't always get what you want.  A little humility here would go a long way.  As for Joe Biden, I think he has some recent character issues as meticulously documented in Peter Schweizer's new book Profiles in Corruption:  Abuse of Power by America's Progressive Elite.  Peter has 70 pages documenting the "Biden Five" corruption during his eight years as VP.  Also, Joe Biden, whose personality I generally like, is becoming a radical progressive and turning away from the conservative positions he held for many years.  With Joe we get bad character, bad policies, and glaring incompetence via declining health.  I don't care for whom you vote or if you vote at all.  A sense of fair play, however, would be appreciated.

 

Pastor Mike Harding

Joeb's picture

All in all Wally wins on this thread in my book and Wally I'm guilty in not doing enough in that direction.  I'm willing to bet all of us in varying degrees are guilty of what Wally said should be our priority.  That said I'm firmly in Aaron's camp concerning Trump.  
 

The article I thought was a very good accounting concerning Trump.  However I'll take Trump for another four years if we can lick this Covid 19.   Although if enough bodies pile up in Trumpland while Trump's Fox Mouthpieces continue to lie and down play Covid 19 then Trump may not get re-elected.  Enough dead bodies can convince most diehard evangelical Trumpeteer not to vote for Trump.   I pray that this is not the case and the Lord will take compassion on us sinners and see us through this pandemic and if Donald gets re-elected who cares.   

Now as far as Mohler and the Southern Baptist Church and the Republican Christian Right  they have pretty much flopped on truly trying to resolve the Church To Issue along with the other conservative evangelicals.  To me why bother even saying your prolife when one is totally corrupt in not guarding the health and welfare of the children and young women in your  churches and institutions.   Male Christian Leadership Egos and putting politics ahead of Christ has made their stand for the gospel hollow.   When you have big SBC Donors in Texas, who I assume are very active in the Christian Republican Right  saying they will use Republican State Authorities to get Paige Patterson reinstated its time to write them off.  
 

In my mind what has initially perceived  as an Fundmentalist Baptist problem has now shown more to be  Conservative Evangelical problem.  Hence Wally's statement directly applies where do our priorities lie.  At least the Fundmentalists like Bob Jones University and others have made a definitive effort to get back on track and Leaders in the Conservative Evangelical Community  allow Presidents of two Major Christian Universities to stay in place who were  directly alleged major wrong doers and you got the Significant SBC politically active crowd calling for Paige Patterson to be reinstated.  As far as the SBC and Evangelical Conservative Republicans are concerned it's no wonder they love Trump since they seem to have the same attitude toward women that Trump does.    Bottom line in my book if you can' do the basics In your own house and stay with the priority Wally pointed out you should not even be saying booh about abortion and gays.  Your just a hypocrite if you do with the prime shining example being Josh Duggar the former Republican  Christian Right Poster boy.     
 

Just another point that supports my position.   Who did John McArthur run to with his arse in the woodshed to help save Masters University.  Presidents Petitt's right hand man.  That speaks volumes in my book.  
 

Bert please do weigh in I always find your view of things being very positive.  Even though your a bit of a Trumpeteer.  

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I appreciate your convictions. I just think you are 100% misguided and miss the point of a representative republic even in a Christian context.

By all means tell me what the point of a representative republic is.  ... maybe after that explain what that has to do with saying character is vital in 1998 (vs. Clinton) then saying it doesn't really matter anymore in 2020. I'm all ears.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Mark_Smith's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

I appreciate your convictions. I just think you are 100% misguided and miss the point of a representative republic even in a Christian context.

By all means tell me what the point of a representative republic is.  ... maybe after that explain what that has to do with saying character is vital in 1998 (vs. Clinton) then saying it doesn't really matter anymore in 2020. I'm all ears.

Aaron, first of all, you did not know me in 1998. You have no idea what I said or didn't say. Why are you constantly asking me to answer for other people?

Second, Clinton had sex with an intern in the oval office. What has Trump done that compares to that?

Third, my point was something along the line of in a representative republic we pick leaders to do things for us. Or, if really desperate, to do the least harm to us. We vote to find servants of our interests, not mentors or examples of piety.

Fourth, as I have stated repeatedly, I contend if people stopped being so contentious with Trump, he would be more cooperative and amenable. Instead, he feels trapped in a corner and is fighting anyone who gets near him.

 

 

 

Mark_Smith's picture

I have no idea what he was talking about with ingesting disinfectants and exposing ourselves to high levels of UV. That is purely dangerous. Weird.

But, politicians can be a little ignorant about such things. One famously asked an admiral if there were too many military personal stationed on Guam. The island might tip over. They were serious and not joking by the way.

I remember Don Lemon asking during the Malaysian Air Flight 370 incident if a black hole could have opened up and swallowed the plane. Reminded me of this cool 80s movie, Millennium. And, no, it has nothing to do with the end times.

Joeb's picture

Mark have some sympathy for Billy Boy.  After all he was married to Hillary.  Plus he has stayed in  the marriage no matter what and my guess he is not the the one who wears the pants in that marriage.  The only good thing he has in his life left now is his daughter son-in-law and three grandchildren.  I could see Billy Boy coming to his knees before our Lord before Donald Trump.  Trump has the BIGGEST EGO of any man I have ever known.  Let's pray they both come to know the Lord.  
 

In true Networth Trump probably is not even a billionaire.  If it wasn't for Duetch Bank controlled by Putin Trump would be flat broke.  Trump is the greatest salesman and conman that has ever existed.  Plus he is not even a self made man.  He would be no where and a nobody without his father but I will say he is the greatest  salesman of all. 

Also Trump makes Bill Clinton's flings look like a joke.  Aaron's assessment of Trump is spot on and the Evangelical Republican Christian Right could care less about character   In my mind the Evangelical Republican Right's battle plan regarding abortion and gay marriage is the ends justifies the means   It does not matter who you associate with or who you support as long as the goal is met even if you have to sin along the way to accomplish it   

Now I will say Donald Trump's picks of Kavanaugh and Gorsuch for the Supreme Court were excellent picks.  No one can deny that and only on the abortion issue will they swing the Christian Right's  way to some degree.  The gay marriage issue is not going to be overturned.  Goursuch is a clone of Kennedy and Kavanaugh won't overturn it either.  
 

As a side note:  One area these two guys may put the wood to the Republican Agra Business and big land owners is in Native American Cases.  After we get through this Covid 19 thing there is a  case in the Supreme Court now that will essentially give the control of half the state of Oklahoma back to one or more Indian tribes.  These Republican AGR Business owners and big landowners and Republican Farmers better pray Ginsberg does not die because she is the biggest thorn in the side for Native American cases.  Goursuch has already ruled in favor of the Native Americans repeatedly BIG TIME including  in the Oklahoma case in the lower court and even though he can't vote he is stumping the other Judges for the Native American cause.  Plus 15000 Acres out in the Hamptons that the State of NY stole from the Federally  recognized tribe still holding a 800 plus acre reservation out on Long Island is up for grabs.  Of course they will never possess the land but the Native Americans will get $$$$!$! and a lot of it.  Boy would not it be great to see the Constitution upheld for these Native Americans considering back in the old days the fathers of our country and their children violated the hades out of the constitution to stiff the Native Americans.  Including Trumps favorite Former President Old Hickory in the trail  of tears.  Old Hickory disobeyed a direct finding  by the US Supreme Court that his actions against the Cherokees violated the constitution.  So all you Constitutional Purists might not want to bring up the founding fathers to much because they violated the constitution as they pleased if it put money in their pockets or suited them at the time.  Especially in screwing the native Americans right up into the 1940s.  They tried to get land cheap by dissolving the tribe and getting at the land in Wisconsin which held one of the last big stands of of old growth Forest in the Midwest. Our country was in a huge building boom after the war.   Business as usual.
 

 It takes an act of Congress to shrink an Indian Reservation per the Constitution and each tribe is dealt with separately as a Sovereign Nation.  In Long Island matter in the early 1800s the State of NY acted on their own and downsized the reservation against the tribes wishes and paid them a paltry sum.   Ooooops.  I'd love to see the Redman stick it to the Whiteman.  Especially if their Republican Christian Right Businessmen because they're  the first ones to jump up and down for the constitution to be enforced and bring up the founding fathers to defend their causes. They won't like the Native American Causes.  Funny how Christian Righties  can quickly forget about enforcing the constitution or righting a wrong when it goes against them or their interests.  As I said HYPOCRITES disgracing the name of Jesus Christ not interested in furthering the Kingdom of God that Wally pointed out and just interested in the here and now.  
 

 

 

Darrell Post's picture

It is because I care about character that I will vote for Trump. This is because the election for president is not simply a vote to decide which old guy will sit behind the big desk. It is voting for a package deal--a large collection of leaders. President, vice-president, a couple of seats on the Supreme Court, numerous lower court seats, along with other critical positions like Secretary of State, and all the department heads like commerce, education, etc., along with the direction and usage of our armed forces. When I look at the overall package deal, I believe I can get more leaders with character in all those positions by voting Republican for president. If you believe you can get more leaders with character in all those positions by voting for Joe Biden, then by all means vote for him, and we will just be in disagreement. 

Joeb's picture

Darrell first of all Trump is going to be President again.  In my mind there is no doubt about it.  I left the Republican Party due to the corrupt influence and corrupt people in the Christian Right who run the Republican Party.  
 

Just another corrupt act  popped up in the last few days which clearly makes me say how can these HYPOCRITES dare to bother being "PROLIFE" or "ANTIGAY".  Another incident at a so-called Godly Christian University directly tied to Paige Patterson who to my understanding was heavily involved with "BANNON" creating Right Wing institutions.  The Godly President of Cedarville who appears to be Paige Patterson's Buddy was caught taking care of a closet gay SBC Pastor.   This Pastor was fired from the Village Church for getting naked videos of the Youth Pastor showering he had the hots for.  The issue is not in question.  There is a Police Report but the youth Pastor didn't want to press charges.  Yeah sure probably with the added threat you'll be fired if you do knowing that Paige Patterson had his fingers in this.  

The President of Cedarville said he was told it was only two videos versus five and that's why he hired the dude under a five year gay restoration plan.  Of course the Cedarville board approved the hiring with Paige Patterson on it.  Even before Paige Patterson was fully exposed his reputation in the SBC amongst normal believers was tainted.   So now the President of Cedarville is dancing around two times or five times when clearly this dude should of never been hired.  Gilyard Syndrome again thanks to Paige Patterson.  My question is why is this guy still President of Cedarville.  
 

I rest my case concerning the corruption of the Christian Republican Right and their affiliates churches and institutions.  That makes three major Christian Universities with Presidents that should have been removed for corruption.  None mind you from Fundamental Baptist Movement.  BJU is the looking better each day with these clowns repeatedly being corrupt.  Wally consider yourself blessed not to be working for or associated with these losers.  Id say the GARBC'S assessment of the SBC back in 2006 over Cedarville's association with the SBC now rings true.  
 

The Gals who unearthed this will unearth more.  These dudes do not get away with anything ie Jules Roy Rachel DeHollander and Beth Moore etc.  Now with this added in how dare these SBC Pastors protest the women Pastor singing at the National Conference.  Same old same old.  

Darrell Post's picture

...right now I would put Trump's chances at about 50/50. Much depends on how long the Covid-19 crisis lasts and who is nominated in the Democratic Party. I am not at all sure it will be Biden, who is right now battling a sexual assault allegation, along with the fact that he keeps struggling to express his thoughts with coherence. The election more or less comes down to PA, WI, and MI in that order. AZ is also in play, and if Trump loses that state, then he has to win PA and one of the other two. 

If Trump does pull it out, then the door is open for the possibility of a 6-3 conservative SCOTUS for the next decade or more. 

Joeb's picture

Darrell I'm no Trumpeteer and agree with Aaron 100% about Trump.   However I'm a realist. Biden does not have a snowballs chance in hades of beating Donald Trump even with the Covid 19 crisis going on.  Trump will trounce Biden.  
 

I live in PA which is a must win state for Trump and believe me he still has his support.  I live north of Philadelphia and the suburbs of Philadelphia are the Bible Belt of PA compared to suburbs in Central and North Jersey and NYC.  Even in Philadelphia in the African American community their is TONS of Baptist Churches and you'd be surprised how many go for Trump. Not all but a lot more than you'd think.  There is even GARB church on North Broad St that is mixed racially whose Pastor is a former Philadelphia Eagles.  Even up by me there is 4 Bob Jones affiliated churches and lots of Mennonite and Brethern Churches and Southern Baptist Churches.  When you go to rural areas the numbers only climb. Trump won every county in the PA Coal Country  except Lackawanna County because Hillary's father was from there.  I expect the same because BIDEN is from there but maybe not.  The  FBI just cleaned out all the Scranton City Democrat Politicians right up to the Mayor for stealing taxpayer money.  The Democrat School Board officials did did the same and mismanagement.  The State Auditor said the mismanagement and thievery was worse then the Philadelphia School District.  Throw in that a lot of the Democrats in the blue collar areas are mostly Catholic and prolife they will go for Trump at the national level.   
 

 I heard the Democrat Luet Gov of PA speak on NPR regarding the energy industry and environmental issues the dude sounded like a Republican.  He criticized Obama for trying to crush the coal industry in Pa after he said the two big size coal power plants each served by a bituminous coal mine on its own invested 100s of Millions of dollars on pollution controls to meet all EPA requirements and then Obama pulled out the rug from under them. 
 

Then this guy criticized the Tree Huggers for trying to shut a coke plant down in the town he was previously Mayor of ie Bradford PA.   It's the largest manufacturing  facility in PA.   Now US Steel plant was a known polluter but US Steel is going to invest a billion dollars to upgrade it.   The Luet Gov told the Tree Huggers that's 1500 high paying Union jobs you want to get rid of.  The Tree Huggers  response well your a privileged well off white guy you don't have to live by it.  The Luet Gov's response to the Tree Huggers was I live right across the street from the plant and so do my wife and kids.  It was like a breath of fresh air.   Im a big supporter of the Energy industry.  In the last ten years without fracking and drillers we would still be sucking up to Saudi Arabia.  I think even Bert would have liked this dude.   
 

Bottom line Trump will carry PA and If he carry's PA he will definitely win.  Trump just won't get my vote.  

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