An Evangelical Opinion on Why Evangelicals are Backing Trump

Donald Trump Republican Candidate

I know. It baffles me too. It’s like watching a tumor grow. Or listening helplessly every day as a really bad song climbs to the number one spot on pop radio. Like everyone else, I can only make guesses, especially since, as an evangelical, I still can’t find any evangelicals who support Trump. Even on Facebook. None. It’s all very weird and suspicious.

But I do know many evangelicals, and I am one. On the other hand, watching liberal media trying to analyze the phenomenon of evangelical Trump support is like reading restaurant reviews by a vegan. It’s an utter waste of time. Liberals so do not “get” evangelicals. All such analysis comes through the lens of conservative Christians being racist, anti-women, anti-gay, anti-poor, theocratic, uneducated, etc. Here are 3 results of a 2 minute Google search:

> Author Sarah Posner thinks it’s because Trump is “arguably the candidate most resembling a televangelist.” (Sigh…)

> Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, thinks “Trump’s appeal to bring back an America that many conservative white evangelicals feel is slipping away turned out to be a more powerful appeal than a checklist of issues.” (…because we’re racists and want a white candidate.)

> And finally…(as if you didn’t know this was coming)…the inevitable and predictable liberal mantra voiced by someone who goes by “Hunter,” at the Daily Kos. Obviously evangelicals are flocking to Trump because “Trump hates the same people they hate.” (It’s gotta be all about hate. Because what other explanation could there possibly be for people to disagree with someone like Hunter?)

‘Sorry for wasting your time there.

So, the deal is that Trump won 34% of the evangelical vote in the South Carolina caucuses. In Nevada, ABC News says he had his best showing yet among evangelical voters, winning four in 10 of their votes, vs. an average of three in 10 in earlier contests. Trump won overall in Nevada with 45% of the vote.

This is a surprise to everyone because Trump doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that evangelicals that would line up behind. Especially considering that several of the top runners are self-described, strong evangelicals who have actually been courting the evangelical vote. Whereas Trump says and does mean, weird, and/or stupid things and it’s anyone’s guess what he would actually do as President, other than “make America great again.”

So what’s going on?
First, why are conservative Christians not solidly lining up behind Cruz, Rubio, or Carson, the 3 overtly evangelical candidates? I see one shining reason, but you must defy the liberal stereotyping of evangelicals in order to see it.

It is this: Conservative Christians love the American founding documents and the U.S. Constitution. We believe they were founded on Biblical principles. Therefore we don’t need, or even necessarily want, an evangelical Christian in the White House. A President who is committed to restoring and upholding Constitutional government is enough.

Remember when evangelicals chose former Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan over “born-again Christian” Jimmy Carter? Remember when Newt “open marriage” Gingrich got widespread evangelical support?

After all, conservative Christians don’t place their hope in government – we believe that it is the people, not the system (or the President) that brings life and health to the nation. We do not believe in, nor are we attempting to establish, a Christian theocracy. In other words, we do not need a “Christian nation,” whatever that means. Freedom and Constitutional self-government allow everything we need to thrive in our faith as U.S. citizens.

By contrast, the Left seeks a president and a government that will create a system that takes care of everyone. While this is a seductive idea, such ideas not only don’t work, historically they entail a loss of freedom while promoting dependence. We believe the universal brokenness of the Human condition corrupts all that humans attempt to accomplish. We can’t afford to see this on a massive, irresistible scale. Since governmental authority always equals force, limited government is the best we can hope for as a free people.

And speaking of hate…
There may be another practical consideration that evangelicals have in mind. I’ll speak for myself and you can tell me how this resonates with you.

As a follower of Jesus, my faith is far more important to me than what country I live in or who the president is. In fact, presenting a clear picture of Jesus is too important to risk having a “Christian” president muddying up the picture. Half the country will hate the next president within a couple of years, no matter who he or she is. If that person strongly identifies as an evangelical Christian, people will inevitably associate his or her actions with his or her Christian beliefs.

Considering the issues facing our polarized nation, we are poised for a hate-fest unlike anything this country has ever seen. If Planned Parenthood loses it’s taxpayer funding (as it should,) a Christian president will be accused of hating women. If the definition of marriage is sent back to the states (as it should be,) a Christian president will be accused of hating LGBTQ people. If we go to war, (as we probably will,) many Muslims around the world will see it as a religious war because of our Christian president. If the president attempts to balance the budget, whoever is affected by the cuts will accuse the Christian president of hate. Immigration restrictions will be viewed as hateful. And so on. Hate, hate, hate. Anger, anger, anger.

However, if Donald Trump does these things, nobody for a minute thinks he’s a legitimate follower of Jesus. They’ll just think he’s a racist, sexist, ego-maniacal bully, which everyone already thinks anyway.

I think evangelical Republicans don’t want to throw Ben Carson under the bus because he’s a nice guy. Plus he’s black. Same with Cruz and Rubio, the two Hispanic guys who may still have a shot at the nomination. Whereas Donald Trump is practically running out in front of the bus, calling it names and bragging that it can’t hurt him. Well…okay then…

But still…why Trump?
I realize that, even if I’m right, this still doesn’t answer the question of why evangelical voters are backing Trump. For me the best choice would’ve been Rand Paul, the most articulate defender of the Constitution in the race. He ran his campaign as “the only fiscal conservative on the stage,” and vowed to make the hard choices based on Constitutional principle, as opposed to his personal religious beliefs. For me he was the best candidate because his stated devotion to Constitutional government landed him on the right side of every issue, without the religious “baggage.”

But even though he placed better than most candidates, he dropped out after the first caucus, too early in my opinion. Apparently he wasn’t enough of a circus act for America.

All I’m left with then is that people, evangelicals included, think that Trump can win. Cruz and Rubio may be seen as too “religious right” to win broad support.

A freaking weird election year
On the Democrat side we have a former U. S. president’s wife, and a self-described socialist arguing over who is the most “progressive.” Incredible. On the (“racist and anti-woman”) Republican side, we have a woman, two Hispanic children of Cuban immigrants, and potentially, America’s first black president. And Donald Trump.

Before Trump joined the race, I had always said I’d vote for Humpty Dumpty or Minnie Mouse before I’d vote for Hillary. Now that a cartoon character is actually running, I can’t bring myself to vote for him. Not that I’m voting for Hillary or Bernie. I secretly suspect that Hillary is somehow blackmailing Trump to run against her so that she has some chance of winning. It makes more sense than anything else. But I don’t have any evidence for that, so I’m left with my thoughts above.

What are your thoughts? How is this even possible?

 

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29 comments on “An Evangelical Opinion on Why Evangelicals are Backing Trump

  1. Mark James says:

    I guess I can be counted as the first evangelical that you know that supports Donald Trump! Allow me to state a couple things that, I believe, are common to folks like me: First, after the election of 2012, and having my Congressional district joined with Boulder, I concluded that nobody represents my interests and views in government. Secondly, I have felt betrayed by the Republicans that I have voted for in the past. Despite Republican presidents and majorities in the House and Senate over the decades, the needle has not moved in my direction. We still have abortion. Planned Parenthood is still subsidized. We now have gay marriage. Obama Care is still in place. Third, I generally see Republican politicians as cowards. When Obama and company wanted to restrict our Second Amendment rights, the Republicans mostly deferred to the NRA to lead the fight and spend their money. Too often, Republicans ‘stand down’ in the face of opposition and utterly fail to represent those that put them in office.

    With all of the above in mind, I switched my party affiliation to ‘unaffiliated’ in the weeks following the 2012 election. I was mostly resigned to another pathetic Republican run for the White House this time around. In fact, I had already determined that if it was going to be another Republican ‘suit’ vs. Hillary, I’d just sit it out. I know, I know, if you don’t vote for your guy, then you get the worse alternative. However, in my calculus, I don’t get what I want anyway (see the first paragraph) In the case of a Republican suit that is supported by the likes of Karl Rove or Dick Morris, I won’t see any advance on the issues and causes that concern me. Nor will Hillary do anything for me. It will be business as usual, as it has been for decades, so what’s the point?

    Then, along comes Trump, who I have always liked as a businessman and tough negotiator. Finally, I have someone in my corner that will fight and not back down. While his actual position on things is a bit extreme in some cases, Trump none-the-less forces the issue. For example, on building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico; chances are it will never happen. However, he forces the issue and, even more significantly, he is forcing Mexico to decide whether to be a good neighbor and join us in the cause of a lawful, organized system of immigration. Further, by forcing Mexico to the table, we get to discuss other issues that no other Republican or Dem will touch, such as human trafficking, sex trafficking, and drug cartels right on our border. We hear all this lip service about ‘love’ and compassion for the illegals, but no one wants to talk about the thousands of lives that are lost by human smugglers (coyotes) that abandon people in the desert, drug crime, and the sex trade – all coming from Mexico.

    Donald Trump is far from perfect but he seems like the guy that might bust up the wonderful little Political club in Washington, DC. When Trump says that he doesn’t have to cotton to special interests because he is self-funded, it makes sense to me. Who else has the balls to tell the pope to get lost and go back to the safety of his walled compound in Vatican City?! When Ted Cruz or Rubio trot out the usual “grow jobs and strengthen the economy” party line, I don’t believe them. For one thing, neither Cruz or Rubio have ever really run a business or made a payroll or hired somebody. Trump has. And so it goes. The status quo is garbage and I’m tired of hearing it.

    Finally, when I consider Trump vs. Hillary in November; will I vote for Trump? You bet. Hillary is so damaged, so criminal, so leftist, so self-serving, there is no way I would dare cast a vote for her. If I sit it out, as I stated above, I’m effectively voting for Hillary. Donald Trump is my best chance to get someone in who will bust a few heads and maybe move that needle marginally in my direction. If he doesn’t, then so what? As I said, over the course of my entire adult life, with the exception of Ronald Reagan, the Republicans have done nothing to win the day for my side. We still have a $21trillion national debt, perpetual warfare in foreign lands, painfully high tax rates, an oppressive federal government, unrestricted immigration, and Obama Care, not to mention a declining social/cultural state. I have to believe that given a choice between Trump and Hillary, evangelicals, conservatives, Libertarians, and everyone who ever felt disenfranchised by Republicans and Dems alike, will vote for Trump.

    Count me has a Bible believing, God fearing evangelical that is solidly behind Trump.

    • Mark,
      Thanks for sharing your reasoning! It’s actually somewhat of relief that there is a real person that I know backing Trump. It makes the conspiracy theories (somewhat) less tempting to believe.

      Having said that, I still don’t get it. I don’t see how you can possibly know that he is in your corner. He doesn’t seem to stand on principle, or even conscience. He wasn’t in your corner a few years ago. Several of his enormously expensive business ventures have been at odds with the concerns you listed. You’ve probably heard about the “off the record” New York Times interview that Rubio & Cruz have asked Trump to release; it allegedly has Trump saying he has no intention of doing what he says he will do on immigration – he’s just playing the American public.

      I question how great a negotiator he is because what I see with my eyes is that he’s a combative butthead when he’s interacting with people he disagrees with. I don’t see negotiating skills, like wisdom, empathy, respect, being well informed, and having a grasp of the concept of reciprocation. I don’t think the leopard can change his spots just because he sits down at a negotiating table. If he becomes President he will have to play by someone else’s rules, (those of the Constitution, international treaties and laws, and the Congress,) and I don’t think he’ll be very good at playing with his hands tied. I think he’s good at being a loose cannon. That’s not a compliment.

      As for seeking common ground with you, please critique my proposal:
      I think there is a solution to all the things that irk you (and me.) I contend that everything you’ve listed can be settled by a return to a gov that operates in fidelity to the U.S. Constitution. Liberals & “progressives” see the Constitution as a “living document,” and this is almost the entire problem. You list abortion, taxpayer funding of PP, the SCOTUS on gay marriage, the SCOTUS on Obamacare, attack on 2nd amendment rights, national debt, perpetual foreign war, high taxes, unrestricted immigration, oppressive federal government, and social/cultural decline. Virtually all of these things are unconstitutional!

      Is Trump the right person to call the nation back to Constitutional government? He’s already demonstrated he’s not, because he’s already advocated subverting the law to get things done. That’s exactly what Obama has been doing – rolling over people and the law to further his agenda. Assuming Trump is even a conservative, his election would just be another pendulum/wrecking ball swing back in the other direction. More politics of power.

      So my question to you is, what about Rand Paul? He’s a bulldog for the Constitution, he’s fearless, he knows his crap, and he’s already proven that he’ll do what he says because he’s doing it in Congress. And he worked for a living before becoming a politician. America was designed to be a country “governed by laws, not men.” (Or “women.”) Why can’t we shoot for getting back to that?

      • Mark James says:

        Scott – I have to say that you provided an excellent topic and forum. And the illustration of Trump is wonderfully done!

        I’ll try to be brief. I don’t think Trump is as bad as the media, the Republican party, and everyone else says he is. I base that opinion on having read four of his books and hearing him speak years ago at a conference in Denver. Trump is indeed a tough and smart negotiator. When you read about the deals he has made, you can’t come to any other conclusion. Deal-making comes from a position of strength, understanding your adversary, knowing your bottom line, knowledge, and being clever. On this score, Trump is exactly right; we have been out maneuvered at every turn. I don’t think anyone associates Vladimir Putin with empathy or respect or reciprocation. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Putin has played Obama for a fool and has gained an important position in the Middle East. We need someone who understands a guy like Putin in the White House.

        Politically, I am mostly a Libertarian. I like Rand Paul and I like his dad, Ron Paul, even more. Yes, the Constitution is, and should be, the law of the land and I would like to see our elected leaders adhere to the precepts of the Constitution. And, yes, we have gotten in this mess, in part, on account of breaking the Constitution. However, more significantly, we have gotten to this place through cowardice, and I blame the Republicans for not going to the mat to enforce the Constitution in the face of liberal opposition. In the last eight years, Obama is guilty of terrible executive overreach. Have the Republicans in congress sued him? Have they served him with papers? Have they suggested arresting Obama for violating the law and his oath? Have they threatened to bring the issue to a Constitutional crisis? No. Not even close. Trump is finding success from disenfranchised Republicans and independents who are tired of the cowardice.

        Polls have been asking Republicans if they feel betrayed by their party. Almost 60% said ‘yes’. A recent town hall meeting of Republicans were asked to show hands if they believe that the party has failed them. It was unanimous. Patricia and I switched to ‘unaffiliated’ because we felt totally betrayed by the party.

        I don’t know that Trump, or anybody for that matter, can get our nation back on a proper Constitutional footing. I can tell you with certainty that Hillary or Sanders will drift even further away from the Constitution than Obama. These folks are to the left of Obama if that’s even possible. Rand Paul dropped out of the race months ago, so he is off the table for this election. What Christians, and everyone else that has contributed to this forum have to consider is whether you really think you will be better off with Hillary vs. Trump. Do you truly believe that you’ll see the cause of Christianity and a Constitutional America advance under Hillary? Of course not. Nor will any issue or any thing you hold dear in this world find favor with Hillary. And if you simply write in a vote, you will get Hillary. What good does that do you? At least on the margin, Trump will move the needle in our direction. Pick your issue – illegal aliens, foreign wars, the economy, the debt, Obama Care, etc. and listen to what Trump is saying. I don’t disagree with him! Yes, let’s do something about Mexico. Yes, let’s get better trade agreements. Yes, let’s stop fighting expensive, endless wars. Yes, let’s get rid of Obama Care. With Cruz and Rubio, it’s just talk; the same old tired slogans and promises.

        So, all of us evangelical Christians have to decide who will act the most in our interest. In my calculus, Trump is my best shot. He’s not perfect, he’s coarse, and maybe not all that Christian. But he’s no coward and he just might change the narrative, which is long overdue. Trump raises the bar. The rest lower it. Christians are their own worst enemy. Cowardice within the church and abdication of influence has done great harm in this country. If you want evidence of Christian abdication, just look at our culture and the arts. I rest my case.

        • Well bro, in terms of being informed on who Trump is you’re way ahead of me if you’ve read 4 of his books. I’m going only on the things he’s said and done, much of which I find appalling. But I’m not here to change your mind, and I appreciate your perspective better now.

          Aside from Trump, sometime I’d like to pursue your comments further on “the church’s abdication of influence in culture and the arts.” I don’t think you’ve made your case just yet. I think the general culture has moved away from the church due to a faulty, self-serving worldview. I think the church has been guilty more of arrogance when it had power, and of making some serious strategic errors, than being cowardly or abdicating its position. But that’s a discussion for another day.

          Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts!

  2. Chase Swift says:

    Like you, I’m baffled as to the reason(s) Donald Trump is leading and that we can also have a proclaimed socialist and a professional liar running for president. And like you, I know Jesus is more important than whoever is president, but it is bewildering how the majority of people do not recognize the problems we are facing and the candidates we’re choosing are not going to address those issues. At all!

    I think it must be complete selfishness, our worst human trait, that is behind all this because we’re voting for what’s best for “ME” rather than what is best for the country. We each need a serious kick in the butt from JFK reminding us, “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” No one wants to ask that question, nor even do anything for anyone else.

    God help us, but we’re about to really get what we’re asking for…

    • I’m afraid so. If Trump gets the nomination there will be no good choice other than a write-in campaign. If there were ever a time for a third party to make a showing, this would be it.

  3. Eden says:

    “A President who is committed to restoring and upholding Constitutional government is enough.” The problem is, I am not sure Trump is even capable of upholding the constitution. I think the only thing Trump wants to elevate is Trump.

  4. Eden says:

    Love your artwork of Trump by the way! It conveys a lot of truth!

  5. Welp… I’ve got a few ideas on how some of this is coming about.

    Firstly, so far as the democratic party circus goes, I’m thinking if Hillary actually gets the bid for the primary candidate, she’s going to be indicted by Obama. Once that occurs, the democratic party can put whom ever they desire into the position, which would likely be Biden. If Sander’s wins… well… that’ll be interesting. I’m fairly certain he won’t though.

    Secondly, I have to agree that I don’t personally know many staunch Trump supporters but the ones I have had the opportunity to interact with on facebook are interesting people. Mostly, they seem to be angry people with short term memories. Trump is the most amazing flip-flopper of ideals and values I have ever seen. And he gives no excuse for his flippant personality. I see the appeal though. When I’m angry, I want other people to be angry with me. Trump is that for his supporters. He’s angry with them. And he’s angry about everything, whether he agrees with himself or not; or his supporters, really.

    Thirdly, I’m having a really hard time not seeing this election as the joke it is. And the whole things stinks to high heaven. Too many weird things are happening very conveniently in this election, like Judge Scalia’s death. The DOW is unpredictable and having similar, yet even worse conditions than even before the great depression, currencies around the world are struggling worse than ever before, media outlets are propagating everything they can to derail our attention to the things that actually matter… and Trump is good entertainment. His explosive and unpredictable personality makes a pretty great smoke screen. Trump is so out there… he makes Obama look sane. In fact, all the candidates at this point make Obama look like a freaking moderate saint.

    That being said… I’m having a real hard time believing that (fourth) this election will really happen.

    If it does… I’m writing in Rand Paul. I don’t care if that seems wasteful. I can’t, in good conscience, vote for anyone else.

    What I see right now terrifies me. I’ve seen many people liking this situation to Nazi Germany in WWII, but people really don’t know much about world history (or their own history for that matter). If you are one of the ones aware, the trends are too remarkable to ignore.

    We are either headed toward civil war or global war. Either way, America is headed for collapse.The disease is already within and spreading like cancer.

    • Wow Amy. That’s pretty dire. You might not be wrong. We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.

      I can see some other possibilities though. If the Dems win, after 8 years of Obama, it may become very apparent to most people that liberalism/progressivism literally sucks; sucks away freedom, prosperity, tolerance, order, virtue, civility, independence, etc. Sometimes getting your way is the worse thing that can happen if your ideas suck. But then, the disintegration of marriage and the nuclear family will continue to produce so much societal pathology that it will be incredibly difficult to overcome. I don’t know what else it’s going to take for people to make this connection.

      At some point liberals and conservatives are going to have to learn to sit down and understand each other. Both sides have legit concerns, and there are important things that we can and need to come together on. I’m hoping that if Rubio or Cruz gets the nomination they will have enough integrity to reach out and seek consensus wherever possible, but in this climate that would be seen as weakness.

      If Trump gets it, I’ll be writing in Rand Paul also (I think.) This could be the year that the two-party system gets shaken up. I think a lot of conservatives simply won’t vote for Trump. At any rate things probably won’t be the same after 2016.

  6. Liz H says:

    I have been so ridiculously intrigued (yet horrified) at this election season. After scratching my head at why the Republican party has such an odious individual as the strongest runner, my conclusions are:
    1) The nation as a whole is basically mad as hell at “the establishment” – the corruption and special interest and futility at the cost of the people is so blatant and so deep rooted that even the most patriotic of us is completely disillusioned with the idea of America being this amazing utopia of governmental perfection. That is why Bernie is doing so well, and that is why Trump is doing so well. People just want things to change, and they’re getting desperate.
    2) People are scared and discontent. They want someone with big words, big muscles, and a big gun to fight for their “interests”. Trump has the most bravado out of all of them. This is how dictators have come into power in the past. (I apologize in advance for dragging Hitler into this). Were the Germans all horrible, stupid, hateful people in the 1930s? No, they were mad, scared, and desperate. They were looking for a hero, and they picked the one with the most seductive dream. Trump is selling the prettiest (albeit most vague) dream. This is of course a lesser version, and I trust that Trump couldn’t possibly take us so far down a road of chaos, but it’s a shadow of what formerly happened nonetheless.

    The only person I’d count as friend who is actively supporting Trump is my brother, who is far from a Christian. But he’s mad, he wants change, and in his mind, as he said “being motivated by a self serving ego isn’t necessarily a bad thing”. He believes big words and bravado will get “his side” to win.

    I don’t want “my side” to win. I want a healthy country that lets both “sides” thrive to the best of their ability.

    • “I don’t want “my side” to win. I want a healthy country that lets both “sides” thrive to the best of their ability.”

      Exactly! Except I think Bernie’s dream is both prettier and more dangerous than Trump’s. Bernie is like a totalitarian Santa Claus, offering a $15 an hour minimum wage and free college tuition for everyone. I’m saddened that young people are apparently looking at the field and going, “well, that sounds good!” not realizing the price in terms of a loss of freedom that would come with Bernie’s Socialist ideas. Trump is more entertaining, but being entertaining is the very last thing a President needs to be concerned about.

      I agree that striving for freedom and pluralism should be the goal, where even competing “sides” can respectfully co-exist. Then we can all see what truly works in a free marketplace of ideas.

  7. Scott, I think your most profound insight is this, “Half the country will hate the next president within a couple of years, no matter who he or she is. If that person strongly identifies as an evangelical Christian, people will inevitably associate his or her actions with his or her Christian beliefs.” This is true.

    But I don’t think this means to give up. I am aghast that with the abundance of good, solid qualified Republicans in the field (I could vote for Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Walker, Jindal, Huckabee, Fiorina, Santorum, Kasich, or Carson) it appears that Trump is going to win. I am bewildered by this and even sad.

    If Trump gets the nomination and if Clinton can avoid prosecution for her crimes, it would be an entertaining debate this Fall.

    But back to what I consider your best thought – the hatred and anger that is coming. It is coming – big time! This is a chance for the Church to shine. This is a chance for us to be the servants of all and to show the values of the Kingdom of God.

    • Agreed Jonathan! I’d love to hear your thoughts as to how the Church can best do that.

      For the record, in a presidential debate I think Hillary will mop the floor with Donald Trump’s hair. She’s no dummy. (She just wrong about pretty much everything.)

  8. First, this was a great op ed you’ve written. I think it was very insightful. Two things:

    1. “I agree that striving for freedom and pluralism should be the goal”

    Pluralism is what got us in this mess. No country can survive without a united language, united values, and an overall united culture. Pluralism breeds strife, which is exactly what we have. So while we don’t want a system that forces everyone to think the same way, there’s nothing wrong with actually wanting people to hold to the same values where it affects public policy. The fact is, public policies have to reflect someone’s worldview, and since pluralism is plagued with conflicting world views, laws will inevitably support one person’s world view while opposing another’s. Someone will not be a happy camper.

    2. Regarding the benefit of a candidate without the “religious baggage”: while I understand that seems like a wise strategy for winning, I don’t know if, as a Christian, I want to marginalize Christianity, as if it has no legitimate place in government. I had a friend who used to always tell me, “Do the right thing and let the consequences follow”. I think that’s still good advice.

  9. Frank – GREAT points. Allow me to clarify:

    1) I struggle to keep my posts short, so I didn’t define which type of “pluralism.” I don’t mean “all viewpoints are equally valid.” I mean “the peaceful coexistence of competing viewpoints in the free marketplace of ideas.” Having said that, I agree with your point about “holding the same values where it affects public policy. The values and governing principles for this nation were set in the founding documents. I believe they were rooted in a biblical worldview. As such they provide the best foundation for the maximum amount of freedom and self-government for anyone who wants to embrace our American values and principles. So, for example, if a Muslim wants to use American pluralism to implement Sharia law, he’s in the wrong place. If he would like to embrace American values as his own, I say welcome. (Ben Carson said something like this in the campaign.)

    2) I thought I might get called out for that. I don’t think it’s (necessarily) baggage, but I think that the average non-Christian person, and certainly liberals view it that way. My point was that several of the candidates have been overtly campaigning on their identity as evangelical Christians. Rand Paul, however, campaigned on his dedication to the Constitution, while he keeping his faith more incidental, which I think is fitting since he’s running for President, not Pope. My thought was that this would’ve made him more electable to undecided and moderate voters, who hopefully aren’t as afraid of the Constitution as they are of Christians. In no way did I intend this to mean that Christianity has no place in the public square or in government. I think it brilliantly shaped our government.

    • 1. I guess i just want to make the point that there’s a difference between wanting people to have the liberty to hold differing beliefs and actually wanting them to hold differing beliefs. Freedom to have differing beliefs is desirable. I just don’t think it’s the proper goal of government to intentionally seek a pluralistic citizenry where we legislate policy to encourage or foment divisions, since a citizenry full of opposing world views is a recipe for the trouble we’re in right now. In other words, it’s sufficient that we stand for liberty. If pluralism is a byproduct of allowing people to be free, so be it.

      2. So it’s not that you don’t want a Christian candidate, but would rather have someone who focuses on constitutionalism, and I totally agree. I guess my concern is that, while I don’t need someone who promotes their Christian credentials (which admittedly leads to pandering by persons whose claim to faith is dubious at best), I also don’t want someone who goes out of their way to distance themselves from their faith.

  10. Clay Peck says:

    Well written and good thoughts Scott!

  11. 1) Agreed. This country is quite large and diverse now, and we have pluralism now, whether anyone wants it or not. The question is whether we can maintain liberty at the same time. I am extremely concerned that the Left, (which earlier in my lifetime used high-minded “tolerance” as a political tool,) has openly abandoned any pretense of tolerance now that they feel they have sufficient momentum to engineer the culture. I think that the best anyone on either side can hope for in this age is now pluralism and liberty in America, and it must cut both ways. I don’t think the problem is differences. The problem is people arrogantly seeking to use the force of government to impose their ideology onto others, which this administration and the Left are now attempting to do in spades. (Latest examples include the redefining of marriage, sex and gender, science, and human life.)

    2) Exactly. But I would even say I’d rather have a Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist president who fully embraced and was fully committed to the American Constitution, and who would appoint conservative originalist judges, than a Christian (like Obama???) who believes the Constitution is a freaking “living document.”

    • 1. But how can we even hope for liberty if the ideology of the Left is essentially totalitarian (were it to fully blossom into its logical end)?

      2. I don’t think a Muslim committed to the true nature of Islam could ever support liberty, because that’s not a tenet of Mohammedanism.

  12. 1) If you’re asking my opinion, I’ll say: example, education, and involvement. I think we have to engage people in respectful communication. The ideology of the left is beginning to hopelessly implode around sex and gender issues. I don’t know if people can be brought to their senses on a large scale, but as long as we still have free speech, a free press, a free internet, and a wisely drafted Constitution it seems worth trying. The Obama administration and the Left have continued to suffer some pretty big losses in court, after all.

    This is a huge reason why I think Trump is a national disaster. He appeals to the basest desires of people: arrogance, bullying, name-calling, insulting, tearing opponents down, grandstanding, etc. He’ll breed more resentment. I think our country needs an informed, rational, articulate conservative communicator now. Or perhaps several million of them.

    2) Well, I’m assuming there are nominal, liberal Muslims. Kind of like there are nominal, liberal Christians who don’t care about the core tenets of their religion. Like Obama.

    • “…as long as we still have free speech, a free press, a free internet…”

      Sure, I totally agree with that. But the actual issue is, will we have those things if the Left acquire the power they seek? If history is any indication, liberty, once lost, is extremely difficult if not impossible to regain.

      • “…AND a wisely drafted Constitution.”

        We still have those things. If every branch of government ends up being controlled by the Left, then I agree that the American experiment may be over. But we’re not there yet. I believe that a majority of people will eventually recognize that Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms are being subverted by the Left, IF we continue to have the liberty to point it out. We have to keep communicating. Many are pointing out the loss of free speech on (ironically) university campuses. Look at the Apple/iPhone issue – the country is split. I don’t get why people are so short-sighted as to voluntarily give up their freedoms. But I think many are educable and persuadable.

        But not by the likes of buttheads like Trump.

        I think it’s crucial that we make our case from the standpoint of compassion. We have to refuse to be portrayed as haters (because we aren’t.) Truth, logic and history are on our side, but we won’t bring anyone else over without compassion. Compassion is actually also on our side but, the Left continues to define itself as the compassionate ideology. This can be shown to be false, even though it looks that way on the surface, because they use the language of non-discrimination and civil rights (as they discriminate and subvert civil rights.) Both the Left and the Right have legit concerns, and we have to start respectfully talking to each other, at least.

        But I absolutely agree, once liberty is lost it’s near impossible to get it back. Even dislodging Obamacare is going to be bloody difficult, and it’s only been here a few years.

        • Mark James says:

          I just fail to see where Trump is a butthead. Yes, he is combative and succumbs to a fair bit of name-calling. So does the rest of the pack, including those on the left, as you might have noticed.

          The time for compassion is past. Our side has virtually lost this war, and the nation, on all fronts. To take it back will be long and bloody. The lesson we learn in the Bible is the that the ‘Scarlet Thread’ of redemption is a bloody and deadly business, culminating in the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross.

          It has often been observed that to win a war requires a willingness to go to the level, and beyond, that of the enemy. The Civil War was ultimately brought to an end following General Sherman’s march to the sea through Atlanta and forming a scorched earth blade across the South as it turned toward Richmond. The carnage was terrible. Likewise, Germany had to be leveled and every citizen that supported the Hitler regime had to suffer the loss of everything they held dear. And Japan had to suffer the annihilation of two cities with nuclear bombs before they finally capitulated.

          The real compassion in such wars is bringing them to a close sooner than later. Prior to Sherman, the Civil War had racked up over 500,000 deaths. While we may disagree with the means and prosecution of such wars, the fact remains that reconciliation and redemption require a lot of blood getting spilled. It will be no different in America in our effort to return to the Constitution and drive out the leftist ideology that supports abortion, pluralism, and a totalitarian Federal government.

          What Christians and conservatives don’t fully understand is that we are indeed in a war and our side has seen terrible losses over the course of almost four decades. The time for playing nice coupled with a false sense of decorum is past. If we side with the GOP suits, as we have in election after election, nothing will change.

          Trump may be appalling to some and a butthead to others, but he has the courage to fight for America. He has many flaws, but I’m willing to try something different. At this point, I’m not looking for a candidate that wants to shake hands or rise above it all. No, I want a Sherman, warts and all. Look at Mitt Romney. What a loser, and he lost badly an election that should have been a slam dunk. On account of his pathetic effort and subsequent loss, I renounced my affiliation with the Republican Party. But he was a nice guy.

          I should add that as Sherman swept through Savannah, thousands of liberated slaves followed behind “dancing and singing” with joy while feasting on the plunder of their tormentors. Oh well, you asked if there was a Christian out there that supported Trump… 🙂

          • Mark,
            Holy crap. You’re playing right into the strategy of the Left. The time for compassion is never past. At least not for followers of Jesus. I think you’re wrong on just about every point here, and I strenuously disagree with most of what you’ve said. I hope to God that when you use phraseology like “long and bloody,” “scorched earth,” and “I want a Sherman” that you’re speaking metaphorically.

            Why? Because liberals and progressive people are not our enemies. They’re our neighbors! We are NOT in a “war” as you describe it! Holy Moses, Bro. We are in a war of ideas. A war of WORLDVIEWS. This is elementary for followers of Jesus (2 Cor 10:3-5; Eph 6:12.)

            To address just a couple of your points:

            1) You wrote, “…the fact remains that reconciliation and redemption require a lot of blood getting spilled. It will be no different in America in our effort to return to the Constitution and drive out the leftist ideology that supports abortion, pluralism, and a totalitarian Federal government.”

            Are you talking literal blood in the sense of being the aggressor!!! Utterly ridiculous.
            I’ve reconciled with all kinds of people without spilling any blood. Pluralism (as defined above, March 2@4:34) and liberty for everyone within the constraints of the Constitution is the most either side can hope for now. Conservative totalitarianism is no better than liberal totalitarianism, yet this sounds like what you’re advocating. If I’ve misunderstood, please correct me. Conservative bigotry and Liberal bigotry are equally evil and counterproductive.

            2) You say, “Our side has virtually lost this war, and the nation, on all fronts.”
            This is wrong. Abortion on demand is one example. True, it’s taken 40 years, but a majority of people are now opposed to abortion in most cases. Because of rational persuasion, not force. Science and technology are our friends in this debate. Planned Parenthood is on the ropes as it continues to promote a sick culture of death. New limitations have legislatively been place on abortion clinics and many have closed. But then every time some loose canon decides to engage in vigilanteism, it garners support and sympathy for the abortion industry, and makes the “war on women” crap sound believable. Not to mention that it’s morally wrong.

            The SCOTUS decisions on abortion, Obamacare, and gay “marriage” all subverted the will of the people, but they’re all tenuous decisions. They should be repealed, but it would be foolish to repeal them “scorched earth” style. Force is a terrible motivator, no matter which side it comes from. It always creates a backlash. It won’t work for the Left either.

            Finally, I will unapologetically point out that, broadly speaking, liberals and conservatives want the same things. However, the very principle that makes conservatism superior to liberalism/progressivism is that we do NOT advocate the use of government force to compel the citizenry to “do good” as the government defines it (beyond the Constitution.) What you’re advocating destroys that difference.

            • Mark James says:

              Well, yes, I have been misunderstood.

              I am not advocating physically killing and assaulting those that I disagree with. This is an ideological war, but it is a war with real blood being shed. Unborn babies still die by the thousands, millions of women that had abortions live with shame, guilt, and regret; drug cartels across the border ruin countless lives, as do those engaged in human and sex trafficking; our schools have become factories for producing new generations of progressives, God Himself has been ripped from every public school and institution, and groups like ISIS are on the march beheading and burning people alive in cages. The list goes on and on. So, while the Republican suits quietly and slowly fight our ideological war, real people are indeed bleeding and dying. In my view, yes, the time for compassion for the leftist ideologue is past. It is time to meet them head on with equal passion, determination, and force in the war of ideas.

              One need look no further than Jesus. There came a point where Jesus brought the whole thing to a head. Jesus Himself, with His own hands, fashioned a whip and went into the heart of the Temple. The tables were overturned, sheep and oxen were driven out, and the coins were scattered. Was this civility and compassion on display? The very core of our faith is the shed blood of Christ that we may all be reconciled to God. Real blood.

              Allow me to return to your original premise, to wit, is there any evangelical Christians that support Trump? Yes, there is, and I am one of them. I am not alone. There are millions of people across the nation that share my perspective that the time for civility and misplaced compassion for progressive ideologues is past. Metaphorically, it’s time to overturn some tables and break up the Washington clique. Trump is the best guy to do that, in part, because he is self-funded and not beholden to special interests. And he has courage, the same courage and conviction that Jesus had to bust up the temple racket.

              I should add that Christians like Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, and David Jeremiah, to name a few, prayed and laid hands on Donald Trump. ( http://www.teaparty.org/donald-prays-religious-leaders-trump-tower-122206/#.VtrvncQ6MQk.email ) Trump stated at the meeting that “religious liberty and Christianity is under attack in America and that there is a lot of religious intolerance for Christianity in today’s society.” This doesn’t sound like the words of a “butthead” or bully. It sounds totally appropriate.

              I’m thinking about people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Dietrich Bonhoffer, our founding fathers, as well as the many heroes of the American Revolution that stood up to the prevailing political system. What they had that is in short supply these days is courage and a willingness to go to the mat for their convictions even if it meant prison or execution.

              I realize that I won’t change your mind, and that’s not what I’m trying to do here. I was just stepping up to be counted among the evangelical Christians that support Trump. I will say this: If you follow the same Republican do-nothing suits that have come to define the establishment party, you will not see any change from past administrations. It’s merely wishful thinking to expect a career politician to actually act on his promises. All the issues that you care about will become a memory as the left wins battle after battle. Cruz and Rubio won’t change anything. And a write-in campaign for Rand Paul will assure a Clinton victory. We need a Lion in these dark days, not a house cat.

  13. Thanks Mark,
    I’m happy that I misunderstood, and that you’re not a psycho. There’s a big difference between saying that “real people are indeed bleeding and dying,” and making it sound like conservatives need to make some bleeding and dying happen in order to win.

    For the record, I’m an independent voter who would vote for a conservative Democrat over a liberal Republican, if one existed. I have not been advocating voting for “the Republican suits.” However, Just because Trump is not a politician doesn’t mean he’s fit to be president. I’d love to vote for Carson because of who he is, but he doesn’t inspire the confidence that Trump does.

    This country is very seriously divided now, and I see zero evidence that Trump is the guy to bring healing. America is not going to be “great again” unless America can come together somehow. I don’t see anyone left on either side who can win and then bring the country together. I think it’s truly sad – this is one of those situations in life when there is simply no good solution, imho.

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