An interesting blog post appeared over at Mere Orthodoxy regarding what I am referring to as The Great Evangelical Capitulation during the recent presidential election. It prompted me to respond here via my own blog.
Blogger Jake Meador outlined several key points, but his main message was that Christians need to take decidedly Christian actions following the election, not the least of which is to pray for President-elect Trump. Make no mistake, he’s no Trump supporter, but he recognizes the biblical mandate.
One of Mr. Meador’s reader commented that evangelicals simply were making a choice from what was presented to them and believe they did what was best – “the most good that could be done.” I suggest there was no “what was best” in this election.
For those who have not seen the film Sophie’s Choice starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Peter MacNicol, my headline analogy will be a puzzle. Simply stated, Nazi officers forced Sophie, a Polish prisoner heading to a concentration camp, to choose which one of her two children will live and be taken to a training camp for children and which one will be murdered in a crematorium at Auschwitz. Under threat that the Nazis will murder both children, she relents and chooses life for her son and death for her daughter.
With due respect to the comment following Mr. Meador’s blog post, the choices were far from best, far from even good. The choices were, not to put too fine a point on it, immoral. According to my reading of the Scriptures and my understanding of what an American citizen’s vote means, neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Trump were worthy of a Christian’s vote. That’s not to say that millions of self-proclaimed Christians didn’t put aside worth and weighed the balance between infanticide and the totality of other immoralities. This is how I see what happened.
In the days following the election I have seen and heard believers gloating in the results of the election. Frankly, I’m stunned by this. When I reported this to a friend I trust, he indicated that they must be immature Christians or that they have failed to understand Christ’s message.
Yes, millions of Christians did vote for Mr. Trump. I acknowledge that. How they could come to the conclusion that he should win their vote, however, is beyond me. I don’t accept that Mrs. Clinton’s policies forced them to vote for Mr. Trump for fear of her victory. That defense for Mr. Trump is a capitulation that sin is relative and we now judge it by man’s standards, not God’s. But, there is someone to blame, since it seems that our culture always needs someone to blame. More on that later.
Instead of celebrating or gloating – even privately – believers should be mourning for their choice of Mr. Trump. Mourning for the fact that they aligned themselves with someone Mr. Meador describes as “a self-described sexual predator who has a history of mistreating racial minorities.”
I deeply believe that keeping Mrs. Clinton out of office as the motivation to accept Mr. Trump will be a tragic event in the Christian legacy in the United States of America. I agree with Mr. Meador that one terrible result is that now the leadership of the Republican Party knows that Christians will compromise their beliefs and can be bought. But, more importantly, Christians have lost our witness as a church in the eyes of billions of people in our own country and around the world. Billions of people will turn their faces away from us due to our actions in this most recent election. How will that affect our obedience to the Bible? Well, we weren’t all that obedient anyway.
But the nation’s legacy won’t mean one jot or tittle when we individually stand before the Lord. Maybe some will have in their minds, “well, at least I didn’t vote for a baby murderer.” When, in truth, many evangelicals stood for something equally reprehensible in God’s eyes. And, it is His standard by which humans are judged, not our own.
Who is to blame for the choice we had? Who is to blame for the loss of Christian credibility? We all better take a good long look in the mirror and accept the fact that each one of us is to blame. Our apathy to living the life the Bible outlines for us is a significant contributor to current political and public ideologies which form platforms and campaigns. Our weakness to face the post-modern world with boldness and assurance that we do know the Truth has contributed to a culture that mocks us and no longer sees us as a viable group of people with whom to consider.
I voted, but I did not vote for either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump. Did we have a Sophie’s choice? It may seem like an unfair comparison, but I see what Christians had before them and they believed they had a reprehensible choice to make and picked what they thought would be the best option. But, the result of this choice will reverberate and honest, self-reflecting Christians will realize they capitulated with a man who will, as my friend put it, “turn out to be a judgement on both the American church and the nation.”
Do I need to write that we must repent? Do I need to quote a host of biblical passages to support revival? We know these things in our hearts, you don’t need me to tell you. We do need to do some serious personal and quiet business with our God.
We Christians do have hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our ultimate outcome is eternity with Him, no matter our Earthly circumstances.
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