There is a longstanding debate in the Evangelical Christian community as to whether supporting President Trump is morally acceptable. The source of this debate stems back to 2015, when candidate Donald J. Trump started to emerge as a serious contender in the Republican Party.
This discussion has reemerged in the last few days. Christianity Today, a Christian magazine and online publication, published an article yesterday titled “Trump Should Be Removed from Office.” Mark Galli, who authored the article, lays out the reasons he believes President Trump should be removed from the office of the Presidency.
He begins the article by saying Christianity Today usually refrains from commenting on political topics:
“The typical CT [Christianity Today] approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible.”
Galli concedes that the Democrats have “had it out for him from day one,” though this does not justify as a reasonable defense for the President. He goes on to accuse the President using the same, partisan argument the Democrats have used in the House of Representatives:
“But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”
Galli goes on to state any Evangelicals who support Trump should “remember who you are and whom you serve.” He says a Christian who shows support for President Trump will ruin their credibility on the subjects of “justice” and “righteousness.” Galli says toward the end:
“Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?”
To say Evangelical supporters of the President haven’t properly weighed their standing is dishonest. Every Christian I know who supports the President (including myself) is not unaware of the President’s mistakes. Donald Trump has been married three separate times, has admitted to adulterous behavior in the past and is a lapsed Presbyterian. He often uses crude, simple language in person and on Twitter. He will call his opponents names.
Evangelicals know these facts. Leading up to the 2016 election, I struggled with the fact of Donald Trump being the Republican nominee. Many in our community were trying to figure out what to do. We certainly didn’t want Hillary Clinton as our president, but also had many concerns about Trump.
My election day decision was driven by the sage words of my grandpa: “even if there is a small chance Donald Trump could put Constitutionalist justices onto the court to rule in favor of unborn babies . . . the risk is worth it.” This moral clarity from someone who had seen his share of unideal and imperfect life situations helped me pull the lever for Trump.
In hindsight, voting for Trump was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made.
The math is different today. The 2020 election will not be the same as the 2016 election. President Trump has a track record of governance that can be scrutinized on its face value. As we speed toward an election year, we also are beginning to have a foretaste of what a Democratic presidency would look like.
I want to lay out three primary reasons why calling for the removal of Donald J. Trump is a shallow attempt at Christian morality:
1. Christianity Today’s argument is based on partisan Democratic talking points
Galli states in his piece, ” . . .the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents.”
This argument is completely partisan in nature, as ZERO Republicans in the House have voted to impeach the President on these grounds (joined by two Democrats). We do not believe Donald Trump abused his power, and when Democrats say he “obstructed Congress” . . . well, this is exactly the role of co-equal branches of government. The Executive Branch can and should tell Congress “no.” The only way he could obstruct the process is if he was issued an actual court subpoena (which he was not).
The fact Galli uses this assumption as the keystone of his argument means he is explicitly using a Democratic talking point in order to remove President Trump from office. He has not considered the entire impeachment debacle from a conservative point of view. This is not acting in honesty toward the majority of Evangelical Christians who consider themselves conservative.
Put another way: do Evangelicals Christians want to stand in lock-step with the 2019 Democratic Party and remove a sitting president based solely on Democrats’ arguments?
2. President Trump has done more good for US & global Christians than any modern president
President Trump has appointed two solid Supreme Court justices who will uphold the Constitution and the rights of the unborn. Trump has appointed over 120 originalist judges to district courts and 50 judges to appellate courts (accounting for nearly a quarter of all active appellate judges). These judges will uphold the Constitution our founders crafted and retain the freedom of liberty of those born and unborn.
President Trump has lead the charge in protecting the religious freedom of Christians and combatting Christian persecution all over the world. He has appointed over $25 million to protect religious freedom and sites all over the world. He has directed the United States to provide humanitarian aid to help Christians and Yazidis who suffered at the hands of ISIS and has assisted those who were fleeing religious persecution.
President Trump has ensured Americans and Christian organizations are not forced to violate their moral convictions by complying with Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate. In 2017, he signed an executive order to advance religious freedom to restore founding ideals. He has backed a push to provide optional Bible literacy classes in public schools.
3. No, crude language is not the same as third trimester abortion
In the article, Galli equates third trimester abortion to Donald Trump’s occasional rude comment or non-establishment political behavior. I find this to be utterly lacking in perspective. You really would prefer a fully developed, unborn child, made in the image of God to be willfully slaughtered in the womb . . . all because you don’t like how the president uses Twitter? Really? This is very shallow thinking and only exists in a philosophical light where optics are valued over tangible policy.
President Donald J. Trump is imperfect. This has been said so many times, it’s cliché. I don’t excuse his behavior in any way, nor do I endorse everything he does.
I do believe he is better than any Democrat alternative right now. He has done fantastic things for our economy, national defense and for the future of the American people. Getting sidelined with small issues, when much larger issues are at play is, in my estimation, ignorant.
As a Christian, I believe God wants me to engage in politics with discernment. A big part of discernment is playing the game on the board, rather than the game we prefer to play. Politics has real-life consequences for people. Choosing to abstain from the political process or back down to an increasingly Left wing party who hates God, family, traditional marriage and unborn children . . . is akin to placing your head in the sand.
Never sacrifice the present Good in pursuit of an unattainable Perfect.