A Message to American Christians on Donald Trump
Many Christians have expressed their horror of Donald Trump as some sort of incarnation of Beelzebub, as a wanton fornicator, as an adulterer, as a man without religious principle, as a pro-abortionist, as an exploiter of the poor—the list of his faults, transgressions and vices seems encyclopedic. I would ask the legion of anti-Trump Christians, including many commenters to my recent PJM article written in favor of Trump, to forgive me if I suggest that they have gone over the top in the intensity and scope of their animadversions. And I would ask them to consider three salient facts:
- Jesus advised his followers in Matthew 22:21 to Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. The ballot within the framework of a secular democracy is a thing that belongs to Caesar, not to God. The two should not be confused.
- The American Constitution provides for the separation of Church and State. The ballot in this case is a function of the State, not the Church. The two should not be confused.
- If one believes one has a civic duty to vote—and to vote responsibly—in a national election, it becomes crucial to make a distinction between candidates, their character and their policies, and to consider the likely impact of these factors on the conduct and political nature of an incoming administration. One must also remember that a non-vote, or a protest vote for a splinter candidate —an Evan McMullin or a Jill Stein or a Gary Johnson—will generally translate as a vote for whoever is leading in the polls or appears to enjoy an Electoral College advantage, which seems to be Hillary. Such naivety is nothing but an injurious distraction. The race is between Hillary and Donald and no one else. The two should not be confused.
With respect to this third factor and certainly in the current electoral context, it behooves the believer to weigh carefully the moral, intellectual and political qualities of the major candidates vying for the presidency; and if he or she is dissatisfied in either case, there is no alternative but to vote for the lesser evil, despite the naïve urgings of the overly zealous, earnestly gesturing young man representing the organization "Faith Not Fear" not to do so. This young man is dangerously wrong in assuming that voting for a peripheral candidate will have a “statistically significant impact in this election and the major political parties will take note.” The major parties shrug and continue on their way. Remember Ross Perot?