- - Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Can Bible-believing Christians of good conscience vote for Donald Trump in November?

That’s a question at the heart of plenty of debate and consternation as it becomes increasingly clear the former president — a boisterous, thrice-married businessman-turned-politician who is the first former president to face criminal charges — is likely to be the 2024 Republican nominee.

Much furor has surrounded Mr. Trump‘s popularity and support among Christians and, in particular, “White evangelicals,” a group often obsessively referenced in the media. While it’s true the majority of evangelicals have supported Mr. Trump, they’re hardly his only backers.

In fact, he’s been picking up increased support among other cohorts, including Black and Hispanic Americans — and even young voters. More broadly, Mr. Trump has been consistently beating President Biden in the RealClear Politics polling averages, sending a clear message that Americans simply aren’t feeling the nation’s direction under Mr. Biden.

But let’s get back to the broader sticking point: Can Christians really get behind Mr. Trump‘s candidacy, especially in light of his often blistering rhetoric, penchant for bending the truth and perpetual legal baggage?

Many progressives love to shout a resounding no, with secularists suddenly breaking rank on their biblical aversions to herald Jesus’ teachings, quote Scripture and vociferously condemn Christians who consider showing Mr. Trump any semblance of support.

It’s remarkable to watch some of the very people who generally demean Christian values act as though they’ve suddenly become scriptural gurus, holding Christians to a litmus test these secularists simply don’t comprehend and for which they have no real framework.

For decades, many on the American left incessantly lectured Christians about the need to separate their faith from electoral decisions. But “keep your religion to yourself” suddenly went out of style when Mr. Trump came on the scene, with the faithful being told they had to essentially cast theocratic votes against the Republican contender.

If we’re honest, secularists have long groaned over Christians’ quests to elect believers to higher office, yet they turned to lamentations once Christians said: “You know what? Maybe we should give Trump a chance.”

Many of these individuals have acted as though Mr. Trump‘s rhetoric and antics are the reason he resonates. While this might be true among some voters, there’s a much more excruciating explanation that requires a self-reflective ability many progressives eschew.

The Democratic Party’s platform and policy initiatives have become increasingly extreme on issues surrounding gender, abortion, the economy and the border, among other issues. And while it’s true Mr. Trump offers many reasons for pause when it comes to his personal and public proclamations and behavior, most competent voters choose candidates based on policies and the perceived impact such positions will have on their lives.

It’s no secret that Mr. Trump in 2016 promised to deliver pro-life Supreme Court nominees, to champion certain social conservative causes, to cut taxes, and to protect the border. He was also openly friendly to faith. And, sure, critics will say Mr. Trump didn’t really believe in any of this and was only pandering to Christians. But from a voter’s perspective, does Mr. Trump‘s personal devotion really matter if he’s delivering on his promises?

Shane Idleman, founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California, recently explained how key issues are central to understanding why it’s entirely possible for Christians to choose Mr. Trump in November.

“If Mr. Trump‘s going to appoint … people in positions of leadership who love the Lord … I don’t know why a Christian couldn’t, because, remember, he’s not pastor in chief; he’s commander in chief,” Mr. Idleman said on the Higher Ground podcast. “When you weigh everything on the balances, I have a hard time understanding why anybody could not support … his policies.”

In the end, despite all of Mr. Trump‘s massive baggage — and the load is certainly heavy — he delivered on much of what he pledged, with justices he nominated helping yield the toppling of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court abortion ruling no one realistically thought would ever be overturned.

The reality is that Christians have a choice between a candidate who won’t post mean tweets but will actively pursue policies that fly in the face of biblical morals and ethics or a rude and crude man with loose ethics who will presumably advocate the values they herald.

“You look at [LGBTQ issues], China, Russia, Iran laughing at us, the borders, our enemies coming in … the fentanyl crisis, men having babies, energy, economy — leadership matters,” Mr. Idleman continued. “[Does] character count? Absolutely. But when you start to weigh on the scale … all these huge issues … have enormous ramifications.”

When you examine the situation from that perspective, the question instantly morphs from “Can a Christian vote for Mr. Trump?” to “Why wouldn’t some Christians enthusiastically choose him at the polls?” Beyond that, electric bills have soared, food prices are absurd, and gasoline prices remain high — all issues that have become financial strains for Americans under Mr. Biden.

Please understand: This isn’t an endorsement of Mr. Trump, nor is it a claim Christians should vote for him. It is perfectly legitimate to take issue with Mr. Trump‘s statements and actions — and to ponder why other qualified candidates on the Republican side without such issues haven’t resonated. Furthermore, if Christians feel convicted to sit this election out, that’s between them and God.

Regardless, this column serves as an explanation as to why so many are willing to choose Mr. Trump over the Democratic alternative in November. It’s not rocket science — elections have consequences, and voters are quickly realizing they might have to make a different choice this year if they want to see more morally reflective policies.

Billy Hallowell is a digital TV host and interviewer for Faithwire and CBN News and the co-host of CBN’s “Quick Start Podcast.” He is the author of four books.

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