Berean Fundamentals
6/28/16 at 08:20 AM 0 Comments

Lesser of Two Evils: Trump and the Evangelical Delusion

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Evangelicals supporting Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy recently sought to justify their decision by saying that he represents the lesser of two evils. When evangelicals stand as a representative body and give their endorsement, they place their entire faith on the line. The theological reasoning undergirding that decision is frightening. It is frightening because this allows for the acceptance of the impermissible as a Christian duty. It is frightening because this excuses really bad behavior ostensibly for the greater good.

The Theology of Political Expediency

The theology of political expediency is the same as spiritual and moral compromise. It is no secret that more than any other Christian group, evangelicals are emotionally, ideologically, socially and theologically invested in partisan politics. To be a true Christian means an evangelical must be a political, social and religious conservative.

Since the major political parties are conservative and liberal respectively, it behooves evangelicals to vote for whoever the conservative candidate may be regardless of that person’s morals, faith, or character. One may argue that it is the same for the other side, but that is missing an important point. Evangelicals are Christians held to a very high standard of morals, faith and character. The other side is recognized, on the evangelical worldview, to be of a lower and more abased morality, lack of faith, and questionable character. So on this matter there is no equivalency, and therefore no room for saying “they do it too.”

It must be said that we are talking about American Evangelicals as opposed to Evangelicals in the rest of the world, and for which there are considerable differences. And even among American Evangelicals, we must make a distinction between regional evangelicals among whom we find varying degree when it comes to the aforementioned beliefs. In this case, the evangelicals supporting Trump are primarily white evangelicals in the southern region of the USA, and, particularly, those of the Southern Baptist tradition is the major subgroup. Though, overall, evangelicals altogether tend to be sympathetic to the political ideology, and so must bear some responsibility.

The lesser of two evils?

After meeting with Trump one of the most influential evangelical leaders, and a leader of the Southern Baptists, Richard Land, explained why he joined Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board. According to the latest Christianity Today edition, Land said “If we don't help the lesser evil prevail over the greater evil, we become responsible morally for helping the greater evil to prevail.”

You read that correctly! Mr. Land wants to help promote evil, and encourages other believers to do the same. It is delusional to think that we can defeat evil with evil. He seems to be saying that it is acceptable to employ evil to further the work of God. The only thing that will do is cause evil to become more acceptable, especially to the weak believer. Sadly, this theology will lead the truly carnal believer further away from a path of holiness. Scripture teaches that believers will overcome evil with good.

Paul instructed the Thessalonians to “reject every kind of evil” 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (NIV). James 1:13 warns that God is never associated with evil. Where then is the biblical warrant for choosing the lesser of two evils? It is of first principles that all evil come from the same source, and it is therefore never acceptable to for Christians to practice, promote, or participate in it. There is no such thing as a lesser evil. Faithful, bible-believing Christians ought to know this.

What does it mean that evangelicals choose the “lesser of two evils” in the context of this presidential election? It means that morals, faith and character do not really matter. It means that their Christian profession is feckless and is nothing more than a name they go by. It means there is something more important to them than their faithfulness to God. It means they love this world and its worldly lusts and desires more than they do God and righteousness. It means politics over piety.

The Theology of Contempt

The theology of contempt is a disregard for basic Christian principles as they pertain to the “Greatest” commandment.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt. 22:36-40, NIV).

Contempt for Truth

No matter how hard we may try, there is no denying that Trump lies with the greatest of ease and comfort. And he does this often. Hardly a pronouncement from him is free of mendacious speech. By now no Christian should be saying that they are attracted to him because he speaks the truth and tells it like it is, as his supporters a wont to say.

After a year of campaigning, there is no doubt that he is a confirmed liar, if not a pathological liar. Does this matter to his evangelical supporters? Every objective fact checker has concluded that he has no peer for this dubious achievement. So how is he the lesser of two evils? How does that make him more acceptable? It is only because he says he is Republican. Evangelicals are disregarding truth telling as an important character trait simply because he says he will support religious freedom and their other social issues. But isn’t that what a liar would say?

Pilate stood before the Truth and asked “What is truth?” Evangelicals stand before Trump and say we do not care about the truth. Jesus says “I am… the Truth.”

Contempt for People

Trump speaks about other people with much disdain and disrespect. That is also undeniable. He offends entire ethnic groups and paint with a very broad demeaning brush, anyone that is not like him. His racist rants are no longer concealed behind closed doors in private conversations. He is embolden by the overt support he has gotten from too many, including evangelicals of whom he boast are strong supporters. When a group that claims moral superiority stands behind a person who is unafraid to slander a person because of that person’s race, what must we say about that group?

He incites violence against others and pledges to pay the legal fees of supporters who inflict violence on those protesting him. He speaks openly of his desire to personally do violence to others, and mocks those with physical disabilities.

Evangelicals who still support Trump knowing that he is indeed racist must explain how that squares with their biblical principles. Where is the compassion for others, the concern for the hurt that is caused, or empathy for the hardship they endure? Is it acceptable to degrade them and strip away their dignity? Yet that is exactly what Trump does with abandon and impunity.

Contempt for Decency

His treatment of Megyn Kelly and what he said about her, his misogynistic remarks of Carly Fiorina’s appearance, as well as his disgusting, deplorable comment about Hillary Clinton’s bathroom break smacks of such indecency in public discourse, that on this alone he should be disqualified in the eyes of every Christian believer. Where is the dignity and respect that should be found in the character of the one who would lead this great nation? How do evangelicals look pass this? How is this a lesser evil?

Is this how evangelicals want their mothers, wives and daughters to be treated and talked about? Will evangelical parents say to their daughters, “This is the kind of man I want you to look up to and admire, maybe marry someday.” Will they say to their sons, “This is the kind of man I want you to be like when you grow up.”

The Theology of Situational Morality

The theology of situational morality excuses the glaring moral shortcomings of a conservative candidate while remaining trenchant about those of a liberal candidate. Evangelical supporters of Trump like to point out the moral deficit of his opponent as one of the reason she is not qualified to be president. They have been severe in their criticism of the morality of President Obama. Yet here is a man in Trump, who until recently shared the views of the President, but unquestionably with more debased morals. Trump is brazenly immoral. He boasts about his sexual conquests and the size of his manhood, while deliberately emasculating through crass speech, his more noble opponents.

Evangelicals are willing to wink at this and support him. Is this acceptable because he claims to be conservative? There are immoral conservatives who do not deserve the support of any Christian. Trump’s narcissism, crassness and demonstrable hatred of others are antithetical to Christian principles, morals, virtue and godliness.

It has become embarrassingly comical, a travesty really, to see some erstwhile evangelical leaders falling over themselves to now say that Trump has accepted Christ as his Savior. Where is the wise one among them to discern the convenient conversion? With unconcealed hypocrisy they denounce the object of their ire, and embrace a man many of them just recently denounced as morally unfit to become president. They demonstrate the kind of mercurial morality that allows the rise of someone like Trump, but in no way resembles biblical moral standards.

Evangelical Delusion

There is nothing wrong with political involvement, except when the political road leads away from godliness. Evangelicals are deluded if they think Trump can ever be their champion. The lesser of two evils rationale supposes that he will be favorable to their concerns over Supreme Court nominations, sanctity of life issues, homosexuality and religious freedom. That is grasping at straws.

It must be evident to evangelicals by now that Trump’s moral moorings are tenuous at best, and he cannot be pinned down to any singular conviction except the glorifying of self. He regards neither man nor God, and as such has disqualified himself from being a standard bearer of any sort for Christians.

How far will they go? Well, in their meeting with him, the most prominent of the more than 900 present said they verified the authenticity of his faith. A man who publicly stated that he is not in need of forgiveness from God; a man who demonstrates no relationship with the written word of God; a man who at that very meeting encouraged them to defy biblical mandate and not pray for some political leaders; a man who lies with virtually every breath. What strong delusion are his evangelical supporters under that they so easily believe the lie?

Evangelicals cannot separate the person from his character to justify supporting him. They cannot pretend that their endorsement is not the approval of what he stands for. That is self-delusion. In the eyes of the world their support for him signals an agreement with his policies and practices. Every lie, every utterance of hate, and every act of vulgarity and irreverence will be received with the stamp of evangelical approval.

The further damage being done to the evangelical brand, not to mention the possible blasphemy of God’s name that this ill-advised evangelical support of Trump may cause, will not only undermine future social efforts, but more importantly, set up roadblocks for those who would come to a personal relationship with God.

What is so puzzling - to the point of annoying - is that Trump’s evangelical supporters acknowledge that he is one of two evils! Evil! And knowing the scripture that they should have nothing to do with evil, 1 Thess. 5:22, they nevertheless throw their support behind him and encourage others to do so.

Does God have to make a dumb animal speak once again to stop evangelicals from persisting in the madness?

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