Trump Should Not Be Removed from Office: A Response to Mark Galli and Christianity Today

There are 22 Comments

RajeshG's picture

I appreciate your posting this link to Grudem's article. Grudem convincingly argues against what Galli has said in his article and shows that Galli's assertions are deeply flawed.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Haven’t had time to read the entire article.  But what I’ve read so far is outstanding.  I will definitely take the time to read all of it. 

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year. 

David R. Brumbelow

Bert Perry's picture

If we ought to remove Trump for his immoral acts prior to taking office, please explain to me why Democrats didn't reject Obama for the immoral behavior (smoking dope and crack, fornication) he describes at length in his autobiographies?  Or, for that matter, why Democrats wouldn't impose censure on Clinton for the immoral acts he committed while in office?

And, for that matter, isn't it interesting that there is a fair amount of evidence that both Clinton and Obama weaponized the IRS, BATFE, State Department, and other agencies against their political opponents, but as soon as someone proposes independent investigations of this, they cry bloody murder.  That doesn't stop them, of course, from also crying bloody murder when a Republican merely suggests (unsuccessfully) an investigation of a Democrat for some pretty obvious quid pro quo arrangements benefiting his son.

What we're missing in all this kerfuffle is that the only thing new here is that the media are not covering for Trump in the way they would cover for a Democrat, and if we don't clue in to this and start insisting that one standard be used for both sides of the aisle--"call the Democrats on their hypocrisy" and all that--it is tantamount to unilateral disarmament.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Dan Miller's picture

Thank you to Wayne Grudem for this article. 
It is a shame on SharperIron that the "Trump Derangement" article is on the front feed while this excellent article is buried in the forums. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

It's not buried; it was (and still is) prominently displayed as a filing on the right side of your screen beginning first thing this morning.

We cannot publish Grudem's piece as a front page article because, well ... we don't own the piece! The items we pubish as front-page articles are from original contributers or people who give permission to re-pubish their work. I doubt Townhall would be willing to give us that permission ...

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?

pvawter's picture

So, Grudem felt so strongly that Trump was disqualified after the release of the Access Hollywood video that he issued a public call for him to step down. When Mr. Trump declined, apparently Dr. Grudem shrugged and became a Trump defender. Is it any wonder that some of us younger folks question the consistency of these pragmatic boomers?

Larry's picture

Moderator

When Mr. Trump declined, apparently Dr. Grudem shrugged and became a Trump defender. Is it any wonder that some of us younger folks question the consistency of these pragmatic boomers?

Perhaps the wonder is why you didn't read the article. He plainly says, "in the end I thought he would make a far better president than Hillary Clinton."

This is why a great many evangelicals voted for Trump. They, like Grudem, preferred someone else when there was another option. But when Trump was the only option to Clinton, they voted for him. 

It's not hard to understand, is it?

pvawter's picture

Larry wrote:

When Mr. Trump declined, apparently Dr. Grudem shrugged and became a Trump defender. Is it any wonder that some of us younger folks question the consistency of these pragmatic boomers?

Perhaps the wonder is why you didn't read the article. He plainly says, "in the end I thought he would make a far better president than Hillary Clinton."

This is why a great many evangelicals voted for Trump. They, like Grudem, preferred someone else when there was another option. But when Trump was the only option to Clinton, they voted for him. 

It's not hard to understand, is it?

Larry,

I read the entire article before commenting. Dr. Grudem found Donald Trump to be so disqualified that he called him to voluntarily step down from running. What does Hillary have to do with that? Nothing. 

But that's not even the point, because in this article he argues specifically that President Trump's past behavior is irrelevant. He apologized. We shouldn't hold his past against him.

2019 Wayne Grudem is contradicting 2015 Wayne Grudem, not to mention 1998 Wayne Grudem who spoke very publicly concerning the importance of a leader's private character. 

But Hillary...

Dan Miller's picture

pvawter wrote:
Dr. Grudem found Donald Trump to be so disqualified that he called him to voluntarily step down from running. What does Hillary have to do with that? Nothing. 

Yes she does. It's like this:

Mom: We're going vote to choose supper in two choices. Choice #1: spaghetti or hot dogs 

Son: Oh, let's do spaghetti! I don't want hot dogs. 

Dad: I vote hot dogs 

Mom: I vote hot dogs also. Vote #2: hot dogs or a turd on a plate. 

Son: I will vote for hot dogs. 

He switch from voting against hot dogs to voting for them. Not because he started liking hot dogs better between the votes. Because he did not want to eat poop. 

Larry's picture

Moderator

What does Hillary have to do with that? 

She was the alternative (as he pointed out in the article. It was Trump or Hillary and Grudem judged Trump, with all his failures, to be the better option. 

2019 Wayne Grudem is contradicting 2015 Wayne Grudem, not to mention 1998 Wayne Grudem who spoke very publicly concerning the importance of a leader's private character. 

Perhaps, but why is this a problem? Are people not allowed to change their mind based on further evidence or evaluation? Perhaps he was wrong then and right now. Perhaps he was wrong in all three cases. Perhaps he was right in all three cases because of different circumstances,

Again, remember, most evangelicals voted against Trump until he was the only option other than Clinton. You know why? Because they agree with you and Aaron and me and Grudem that Trump should

But Hillary...

Yes. And?

Do you think the state of our nation would be better or worse with Clinton as president?

Mark_Smith's picture

Your church needs a new Lead Pastor. You form a committee and announce the opening. 6 months later, 3 or 4 people caught your eye. You do a full interview, maybe bring in 1 or 2... and after all that your committee decides they don't like them. So you start all over again, using an interim pastor in the meantime.

Not so with the president. Your choices are the choices who paid to get on the ballot. Period.

So, in 2016 the Republicans started out with 19+ candidates. Many Christians picked a series of candidates to favor. Over time the choices dwindled until it was Trump, or it was Hillary. That is not pragmatic compromise, that is reality.

Now 2020, it is Trump, or it is a Democrat the likes of Biden (Mr. Cornpop himself with the Palmolive in his hair...), Sanders (I'm a proud socialist who owns three mansions), Warren (I just want 2 cents...), or Buttigeig (Jesus was a Democrat and pro-abortion). The worse part is I can reasonably see a scenario where there is a contested convention and Bloomberg (Mr. no  32 oz cokes allowed) comes out on top.

And you're telling me Trump is some totally unethical, impossible to accept choice?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Mom: We're going vote to choose supper in two choices. Choice #1: spaghetti or hot dogs 

 

Not so with the president. Your choices are the choices who paid to get on the ballot. Period.

"I had no choice" is not a Christian ethical principle. We always have a choice. It's just that sometimes, none of the options are appealing... and sometimes they're all horrible (as in cases of persecution, for example). In the case of elections, we have more than two choices for our actions, regardless of how many people are actually on the ballot.

If we approach an election with the assumption in place that "I have to help one candidate or the other," we'll eventually end up helping someone we ought not to be helping. It's naive to think that our two parties are always going to provide Christians with a good option to vote for. Given our cultural decline, it's ineviable that eventually both parties will fail to produce a candidate of adequate character. Many don't believe that was the case in 2016. I believe it was.

But it should be beyond dispute that this can and likely will happen.

"Have to back one or the other" is a myth.

And no, when someone else (or a bunch of someone else's) foists an ethical dilemma on you, you are not responsible for the indirect results of rejecting both options. The blame for that falls on the persons who created the situation.

Other options that do in fact exist in an election:

  • Reject both major candidates by not voting
  • Reject both major candidates by writing in someone
  • Reject both major candidates by voting for an independent
Mark_Smith's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

 

"I had no choice" is not a Christian ethical principle. We always have a choice. It's just that sometimes, none of the options are appealing... and sometimes they're all horrible (as in cases of persecution, for example). In the case of elections, we have more than two choices for our actions, regardless of how many people are actually on the ballot.

If we approach an election with the assumption in place that "I have to help one candidate or the other," we'll eventually end up helping someone we ought not to be helping. It's naive to think that our two parties are always going to provide Christians with a good option to vote for. Given our cultural decline, it's ineviable that eventually both parties will fail to produce a candidate of adequate character. Many don't believe that was the case in 2016. I believe it was.

But it should be beyond dispute that this can and likely will happen.

"Have to back one or the other" is a myth.

And no, when someone else (or a bunch of someone else's) foists an ethical dilemma on you, you are not responsible for the indirect results of rejecting both options. The blame for that falls on the persons who created the situation.

Other options that do in fact exist in an election:

  • Reject both major candidates by not voting
  • Reject both major candidates by writing in someone
  • Reject both major candidates by voting for an independent

True, you can not vote. And I am fine if you do that. But do not judge my vote. That is what amazes me.

For the record, in my state a write-in candidate has to be registered as a write-in with each county's Election office or the vote doesn't count. So a write-in is a no vote. I'll bet if you look into it that is the case in yours too.

Mark_Smith's picture

 

 

Aaron Blumer wrote:

 

 

"I had no choice" is not a Christian ethical principle. We always have a choice. It's just that sometimes, none of the options are appealing... and sometimes they're all horrible (as in cases of persecution, for example). In the case of elections, we have more than two choices for our actions, regardless of how many people are actually on the ballot.

If we approach an election with the assumption in place that "I have to help one candidate or the other," we'll eventually end up helping someone we ought not to be helping. It's naive to think that our two parties are always going to provide Christians with a good option to vote for. Given our cultural decline, it's ineviable that eventually both parties will fail to produce a candidate of adequate character. Many don't believe that was the case in 2016. I believe it was.

But it should be beyond dispute that this can and likely will happen.

"Have to back one or the other" is a myth.

And no, when someone else (or a bunch of someone else's) foists an ethical dilemma on you, you are not responsible for the indirect results of rejecting both options. The blame for that falls on the persons who created the situation.

Other options that do in fact exist in an election:

  • Reject both major candidates by not voting
  • Reject both major candidates by writing in someone
  • Reject both major candidates by voting for an independent

 

 

True, you can not vote. And I am fine if you do that. But do not judge my vote. That is what amazes me.

For the record, in my state a write-in candidate has to be registered as a write-in with each county's Election office or the vote doesn't count. So a write-in is a no vote. I'll bet if you look into it that is the case in yours too.

Also,  in my state, and I'll bet in yours, there is a huge fee to get on the ballot in that state. In mine it is $50,000. Most "third party" candidates don't even bother. Thus they are not real choices.

 

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I appreciate a lot of things about Grudem's work, but he's out of touch on this topic. From his TownHall article:

Galli claims that evangelicals “brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior.” But I know of no evangelical leader who “brushed off” Trump’s words and behavior, for they were roundly condemned. 

Earlier...

“Oh, but the situation is different because Biden is a political opponent and President Trump was asking the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden for the sake of personal political benefit,” some critics have objected.

My response is that I see nothing wrong with the president doing things that will bring him personal, political benefit. In fact, I expect that every president in the history of the United States has...

Also...

When I understand that background, it seems to me reasonable for officials of the U.S. government to investigate ...

There are proper ways to do this. It's not the work of presidents and their personal laywers.

On whole, though Galli does have some weak arguments, Grudem's rebuttal isn't well informed and lumps dissimilar things together in places while making nonexistent distinctions in other places.

There is really no mystery as to what kind of man Donald Trump is, and the high number of crooks on staff, the highly questionable leveraging of foreign leaders to go after political opponents, etc., are just consistent with what we already knew. The impeachment process hasn't been well executed, to be sure. In a court of law where you have the presumption of innocence, creating "reasonable doubt" is a good defense. In Trump's case, there may be reasonable doubt by that standard, but doubting his over all lack of character is not reasonable.

I'm not sure I can say the Senate should remove Trump. I believe the country would be better off if they did. But there are legal precedents and good order to consider. We've thrived these couple of centuries as a nation because we're a nation of laws, and if the House makes a weak case, it may not be appropriate for the Senate to convict or, if they convict, sentence with removal. Then again, impeachment is an inherently political process... but one with law framing and limiting it.

Because he's on record saying he can do anything he wants, it will just be a matter of time before Trump does something worse than try to get foreign leaders to help him win elections, though that's not a trivial offense (I don't believe for a minute that he was trying to prevent corruption in Ukraine... there's lots of corruption in lots of places (Russia!) and he's never shown any concern about that at all). I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he already has, but the acts haven't come out yet.

Fortunately for all of us, there are checks and balances built into our system, and good people in roles that help mitigate the damage a president can do.

pvawter's picture

Dan Miller wrote:

 

pvawter wrote:
Dr. Grudem found Donald Trump to be so disqualified that he called him to voluntarily step down from running. What does Hillary have to do with that? Nothing. 

 

Yes she does. It's like this:

Mom: We're going vote to choose supper in two choices. Choice #1: spaghetti or hot dogs 

Son: Oh, let's do spaghetti! I don't want hot dogs. 

Dad: I vote hot dogs 

Mom: I vote hot dogs also. Vote #2: hot dogs or a turd on a plate. 

Son: I will vote for hot dogs. 

He switch from voting against hot dogs to voting for them. Not because he started liking hot dogs better between the votes. Because he did not want to eat poop. 

Your illustration fails because the turf on a plate was an option all along, and the 4th option is go hungry. There's always another choice that doesn't involve holding your nose and eating a turd.

Dan Miller's picture

pvawter wrote:

Dan Miller wrote:

...He switch from voting against hot dogs to voting for them. Not because he started liking hot dogs better between the votes. Because he did not want to eat poop. 

Your illustration fails because the turf on a plate was an option all along, and the 4th option is go hungry. There's always another choice that doesn't involve holding your nose and eating a turd.

You're trying to Kobiashi-Maru my turd. 

pvawter's picture

Larry wrote:

What does Hillary have to do with that? 

She was the alternative (as he pointed out in the article. It was Trump or Hillary and Grudem judged Trump, with all his failures, to be the better option. 

2019 Wayne Grudem is contradicting 2015 Wayne Grudem, not to mention 1998 Wayne Grudem who spoke very publicly concerning the importance of a leader's private character. 

Perhaps, but why is this a problem? Are people not allowed to change their mind based on further evidence or evaluation? Perhaps he was wrong then and right now. Perhaps he was wrong in all three cases. Perhaps he was right in all three cases because of different circumstances,

Again, remember, most evangelicals voted against Trump until he was the only option other than Clinton. You know why? Because they agree with you and Aaron and me and Grudem that Trump should

But Hillary...

Yes. And?

Do you think the state of our nation would be better or worse with Clinton as president?

Let's be clear that Grudem cited his words from 2015, not to demonstrate that he's changed his mind about Trump, but as proof that he still believes in basic moral standards for the Presidency, something that many even here on SI seem to reject. But apparently what was disqualifying in 2015 is no longer disqualifying in 2019. Somehow Presidential ethics have changed.

For years I was taught to reject situational ethics. Then along comes an esteemed professor of ethics who argues, based on his many decades of experience in the field, that situational ethics are not merely acceptable but necessary in 21st century politics, because...Hillary. Pardon me if I am not impressed.

pvawter's picture

You're trying to Kobiashi-Maru my turd. 

 

You know, the more I think about it, the more I like the turd analogy. But to me, it's more accurate to say that in 2016 I was offered a plate of cow manure by one party and horse manure by the other major party. I declined them both. Smile

Dan Miller's picture

Let's be clear that Grudem cited his words from 2015, not to demonstrate that he's changed his mind about Trump, but as proof that he still believes in basic moral standards for the Presidency, something that many even here on SI seem to reject. But apparently what was disqualifying in 2015 is no longer disqualifying in 2019. Somehow Presidential ethics have changed.
 

This really isn't fair to what Grudem was saying. 

 He was saying that in the 2016 election primaries, he wanted Trump to step down. But once he was the republican choice, he saw it at a binary choice between Trump and Hillary. Between them, he chose Trump. 

He goes on to say that many of the things that made him want Trump to step down in 2016 have not been the case since, which he lays out a pretty good case for that.

The problem is that Grudem does not see the choice like you and Aaron do. You guys see it as, "Is Trump satisfactorily qualified for my endorsement?" Grudem sees it like Larry and I do: "Is Trump better than the alternative?" Since that is his underlying question, it is not self-contradictory to prefer XYZ to Trump in 2016 primaries and then prefer Trump to Hillary in 2016 general election.

Dan Miller's picture

You know, the more I think about it, the more I like the turd analogy. But to me, it's more accurate to say that in 2016 I was offered a plate of cow manure by one party and horse manure by the other major party. I declined them both.

I'm okay with this logically. It's valid. BUT I don't see how you can say that they are that close to one another. 

True, you can not vote. And I am fine if you do that. But do not judge my vote.

This, I think, is the point.

Aaron, if you feel that Trump is so bad that you feel convicted to spend your vote on a 3rd party, follow your conviction. 

I believed in 2016 that Trump was a huge question mark. He wasn't my choice in the Primaries. But he was far better than H, so I voted Trump. At this point, most of my questions have been answered by him and I'll vote for him more happily.

---===---

The result:
 
You see Trump as bad enough that you would feel guilty about voting for him regardless of the alternatives or consequences. 

And I see Trump as enough better than the other electable candidates that I would feel guilty about not voting for him. 

That's it.

You can go over the reasons he's bad enough all day.

- It won't matter because you don't think he's pure evil. And I already agree that Trump isn't perfect.

You can go over the reasons why a candidate must be considered endorsable or not on his own merits all day.

- It won't matter because I see voting as a choice between two. Not voting (or 3rd party) means giving half your support to each. I don't see that as an indirect result. That is what it is.

And I can go over the reasons he's better than all day. 

- It won't matter because you already agree that he's better than. You just don't see the guiding principle as a comparison between two choices. 

And I can go over why it's a comparison all day.

- It won't matter because you just don't see it that way. And I agree that there could be a case where both candidates were so bad that the comparison doesn't matter and you could vote for neither. (This would be like P's choice of manure and a turd.) 

---===---

Aaron,

As I said, you and I are at a point where you would feel guilty if you voted for Trump and I would feel guilty if I didn't. As such, I believe that we are called by Scripture not to despise one another. I will confess to you that I did that in my response to you in the other thread (Sat, 12/28/2019 - 7:38pm). I'm sorry for that. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Well, on that note, hopefully this thread will now die and we can stop talking about politics.

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?