I understand that the US presidential election is not really my issue. I have never lived in the United States of America; I cannot of course vote in their election.
But, when a US president is elected, the world is affected…. deeply and profoundly affected. We all have an interest in 8 November 2016 and, to some degree, we are all responsible to be alert to what is taking place in the US and, even as outsiders, to share our perceptions.
And, when the US presidential election touches on matters of faith, particularly Christian faith, then it is my issue. Faith knows no borders.
I am a Christian and, in a small way, a Christian leader. When someone speaks in a public arena as a Christian, that person purports to speak for me. If the voice I hear seems incongruous or out of touch with Christian faith as I perceive it, I have a responsibility to bear testimony to Christian faith as I understand it.
Wayne Grudem certainly speaks as a Christian. Wayne Grudem is Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona. He is a prominent evangelical, author and ethicist.
Wayne Grudem has recently endorsed Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States of America. On 28 July Mr. Grudem wrote,
Some of my Christian friends tell me they can’t in good conscience vote for Donald Trump because, when faced with a choice between “the lesser of two evils,” the morally right thing is to choose neither one. They recommend voting for a third-party or write-in candidate.
As a professor who has taught Christian ethics for 39 years, I think their analysis is incorrect. Now that Trump has won the GOP nomination, I think voting for Trump is a morally good choice.
Mr. Grudem feels it is “a morally good choice” to elect a man to hold the highest office in arguably the most powerful nation on earth even though Mr. Grudem describes this man as
egotistical, bombastic, and brash. He often lacks nuance in his statements. Sometimes he blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon. He insults people. He can be vindictive when people attack him. He has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters. He has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages.
He actually said all that about the man who, if he wins the election will hold the launch codes for nuclear weapons. Somehow Mr. Grudem feels it is a good thing to allow an “egotisitcal, bombastic, and brash” man who “lacks nuance” and sometimes “blurts out mistaken ideas” and is insulting, vindictive, and angry, to hold enormous power and influence on the world stage. How do you get to this position?
Well, Mr. Grudem argues,
there is nothing morally wrong with voting for a flawed candidate if you think he will do more good for the nation than his opponent. In fact, it is the morally right thing to do.
So flawed Trump should be president because “he will do more good for the nation than his opponent.”
You see, according to Grudem, the “opponent” in this case stands for
pro-abortion, pro-gender-confusion, anti-religious liberty, tax-and-spend, big government liberalism.
These things are all so inherently and self-evidently bad that Hilary Clinton must be defeated. So, voting for someone who is “egotisitcal, bombastic, and brash,” who “lacks nuance” and sometimes “blurts out mistaken ideas” and is insulting, vindictive, and angry is “a morally good choice” because it will defeat the Hilary agenda.
I wonder how Grudem’s deal fits with God’s instructions to Samuel when God sent the prophet to anoint a new king for Israel.
The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’ (I Samuel 16:7)
No doubt Donald Trump is a flawed human being, as is Hilary Clinton, and every person on this earth. But you have to wonder what the Lord sees in the heart of a man who is, Grudem claims, “egotisitcal, bombastic, and brash,” who “lacks nuance” and sometimes “blurts out mistaken ideas” and is insulting, vindictive, and angry.
Is Grudem really calling the Christian community to an ethical compromise? Or is he making a play for power in which he will overlook almost anything in order to promote his own political agenda?
for a detailed refutation of Mr. Grudem’s Trump endorsement see: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2016/08/01/an-answer-to-wayne-grudem-about-what-is-best-for-the-nation/
The quality of the outgoing president of the US, makes the “Christian” choice for Trump even more puzzling: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/15/opinion/with-obama-the-personal-is-presidential.html
No matter what you think of Obama the executive branch, it’s hard to argue that Obama the human being has been anything less than a model of class and dignity. If, as was often said about black pioneers in sports, you had to be twice as good to succeed, Obama’s personal behavior has set a standard few presidents have ever reached.
You see him singing happy birthday to his daughter Malia, on the day she turned 18 this past Fourth of July, or coaching his daughter Sasha at hoops, and you see his ambition, still, to be “the father I never had.”
It’s not fair to give him his due as a person, his high grade for character, for being scandal-free in his private life, just because a potential successor has no character, no class, and breaches a new wall of civility every time he opens his mouth. If Obama had bragged about infidelities and the size of his genitals, if Obama had talked about wanting to date his own daughter and reduced women to a number on a hotness scale, it would be about race. But when Donald Trump says such things, nobody ties it to his being white, nor should they. Trump is a singular kind of vulgarian.
And those who praise Obama as a model father or husband for the black family do him a disservice. He’s a model, without asterisk for race. It’s a hard thing to go nearly eight years as the most powerful man in the world without diminishing the office or alienating your family. He’s done that, and added a dash of style and humor and a pitch-perfect sense for being consoler in chief.