THE THEOLOGICAL ENGINEER
Reasons for Trump, Trumped by Reason
Christians and the 2016 Vote
By Jeff Laird
Continued from Page One
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3) ...worry about the Supreme Court. Admittedly, this is the only argument for Trump I find even remotely sensible, because I get how Game Theory can apply to the situation. There's no doubt that every single Clinton / Sanders appointee will be a poor fit for Christian principles. On the other hand, we really don't know how Trump's will fare. When the options are "bad" vs "unknown," the better bet is on "unknown." Here, again, this comes in various proportions with reasons #1 and #2.
Once again, though, this not only assumes license to do "small evil," it ignores the real foundations of a legal system. In truth, every single law is based on moral principles. Courts, by and large, only do what their parent culture allows them to do. Rather than scheming to get our hands on one President — and five Justices — what Christians should be worried about is our influence in the culture which controls those politicians!
SCOTUS decisions have been overturned. Justices come and go. Public perception shifts. If we, as Christians, dissolve our moral integrity trying to finagle who wears the black robes, we lose our ability to influence the ethos which ultimately controls how the court makes its decisions.
The more historically, spiritually, scripturally, and practically viable strategy for change is through culture, not the courts. This point can't be over-emphasized, especially if we want to make meaningful strides on issues like abortion. To really stop abortion, it has to become so morally abhorrent, so practically unnecessary, and so socially unacceptable that "legality" becomes an afterthought.
As someone, somewhere once said, "Let me write the songs of a nation, and I won't care who writes its laws."
Voting crooks and liars into office, just because they swear — "no, really, trust me, I'll, uhh...fight" — to make laws more ethically correct is as backwards a strategy as exists. We should strive for laws which are moral and upright, and judges who uphold them. But that has to happen from the individual up, not from the bench on down. Else, innocents will always be at the mercy of the next election cycle.
Our ability to effect real social change benefits more from intact social integrity than throwing the dice on a temporarily more cooperative SCOTUS.
4) ...realize that no candidate is perfect. That's all well and good, but what if your home church offered the congregation a binary choice: Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as senior Pastor? Hey, no pastoral candidate is perfect, right? Would you stand in front of the congregation and pledge support to one of them, justified by the fact that "nobody's perfect?"
Or, would you have the spiritual strength and common sense to say, "neither of these are valid choices for this particular office, so I'm not giving my approval to either." Most likely, you'd advocate a third choice, or simply leave that church.
In that scenario, there are actually other, more moral options than those being offered by the major players. Provided you don't leave entirely, your gravitas in fixing an (obviously) broken situation would be tied to holding your moral ground, without compromising. In this election, the exact same reasoning works, for exactly the same reason.
5) ...claim that God sometimes uses evil people for His purposes. Some pro-Trump voices have referenced Acts 5:33–39 to justify voting for such a morally bankrupt candidate. There, Gamaliel's advice was "...keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" Trump's rise to the nomination, despite harsh opposition, is cited as evidence that God might be responsible for his ascension.
Of course, that argument could just as well apply to Clinton. She's been dogged by scandal, immorality, corruption and opposition her entire career, yet here she is. Maybe she's the divinely chosen one, and those who vote Trump to stop her are the ones opposing God!
Also, remember that Gamaliel wasn't speaking about a sect he nominally agreed with, or speaking of blocking some greater evil. In his mind, those he spoke of were heretics, blasphemers, false teachers, and so forth. He wasn't suggesting Peter be given a place on the Sanhedrin; he was simply saying not to cross certain boundaries in opposing them.
In other words, this argument is actually one of the best reasons not to compromise our moral values in a desperate bid to scheme Clinton out of the White House!
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