A Christian Vote for Donald Trump in 2016

Daniel Howell

Daniel Howell
September 13, 2016

Trump falls short of my aspirations for a conservative candidate, but let’s keep things in perspective: Hillary Clinton is despotic.

Randall Curtis
September 13, 2016

I am all for hearing reasons on how a thoughtful Christian might vote for trump but am amazed that thinking Christian would post an article saying things like

"a villain like Hillary Clinton"

and then say at the beggining of their article "We ask that comments refrain from inflammatory language and personal attacks"

I suppose I was confused about the purpose of this site.

Doug Vande Griend
September 13, 2016

I will also vote for Trump, even if while pinching my nose, and even if he was the candidate among many others in the Republican primary that I least favored.

Why? Because this election isn't about the views or personalities of the candidates so much as the perspectives of their parties as to the proper role of government. I'm a political pluralist, which means I believe government should do what it should and not what it should not. The Founders were political pluralists to, as was Abraham Kuyper and as were Calvinists generally.

The Democratic party is no longer arguably pluralist in their political perspective. Their solution to all that they believe wrong in society is that the federal government regulate it, give it, take it, prohibit it, or allow it, and to fund their vision by assessing more taxes or borrowing it from others in the world.

The Democratic party has become the party that runs government by catering to various special interests in order to get re-elected and shape the entirety of society, from the top, as they determine appropriate.

Indeed, I'm enough concerned that Trump might not be a true pluralist at heart. But I KNOW Clinton certainly isn't. And I know the Republican party is still home to many who favor the pluralism the Founders wrote into the Constitution, while the Democrats want that Constitutional blueprint discarded because it interferes with their plans for "remaking America" in their image.

Gerald Pfister
September 13, 2016

The shift of the country away from Christian values has been initiated and supported by the left. Trump is I hope our Cyrus.

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
September 13, 2016

In Reply to Randall Curtis (comment #29099)
Fair enough, Randall. It can be difficult sometimes, both as editor and moderator, to make the judgment call on what is "inflammatory" or "personal." In retrospect, "villain" probably shouldn't have made the cut. I apologize.

Josh Larsen,
TC editor

September 13, 2016

Honestly, I think people need to vote their conviction and not be persuaded by the right or the left thats out there because they want a certain person to be in office. All the name calling and all the derogatory comments need to stop, this doesn't help. I understand that it's politics but it is way out of hand now. As an African-American yes I am definitely going to vote because people have died for African-Americans and minorities to get this opportunity to have the freedom to vote but this vitriol that continues to go on is absolutely unnecessary. The sad part about all of this is one of these two will be in office come November 8, 2016. I honestly struggle with what my grandkids have to look forward to. How do you answer a question from a seven-year-old, grandpa why are they talking about each other so much and so bad ? And all you can tell them is, that's how politics work son. And he tells you grandpa I don't want any parts of that .

Chris Scarboro
September 13, 2016

Calling Hillary Clinton "despotic" was also pretty vile. I think this article unintentionally underlines the inability for partisans to have an honest respectful debate about politics.

Scott Hoezee
September 13, 2016

It is difficult to read this as a serious piece of Christian writing. Every conspiracy innuendo about Clinton is trotted out here as though they are facts, which they simply are not. Violated the Espionage Act? The FBI, after an intensive investigation involving untold thousands of man hours, disagrees. The FBI Director said that it was not even a close call to indict her. No one has been more thoroughly investigated than Clinton. Millions of dollars were spent on special prosecutors, House Select investigation committees, and the like and the end result was forever the same: a goose egg. No proof. Not on the Rose Law Firm. Not on Whitewater. Not on Benghazi. Not on the email server (probably the single more overblown story in a century). The Heidelberg Catechism from my tradition says that a main meaning of the 9th commandment about not bearing false witness is that it is our Christian duty to "guard and advance my neighbor's good name." This article fails that on every level. Make a Christian case to vote from Trump if you want to but to build it on a series of lies and unproven charges, rumors and conspiracies is just sad.

Bonnie Zigterman
September 13, 2016

You should never have published this. This whole article is about inflammatory language and personal attacks. Much of it is unproved or disproved theories and attacks the right wing has been launching against Hillary for 30 years.
I completely agree with Randall Curtis. I, too, would like to hear a thoughtful Christian's reasoning for voting for Trump. This is not it.

September 13, 2016

This post, with all due respect, doesn't say one reason to vote FOR Donald Trump. It instead lists several reasons to vote AGAINST another, notably Hillary Clinton. Sorry - but I wanted to see a Christian reason to vote FOR Trump, as the other posts did for their respective candidates. Even if I didn't agree - I appreciate seeing that. I'm sorry to say, this one fell short.... And this was the one I was actually hoping for most. Not so much to sway my opinion - but to hear something refreshing, encouraging. I left this one actually discouraged, all the more, with the entire electoral process...

I do mean with all due respect. And I'll bet you actually DO have reasons you would vote FOR Donald Trump. I just wish you had taken more time to list them...

September 13, 2016

I don't see how any Christian can vote for Donald Trump. He is one of the most UNCHRISTIAN people I know. At least his actions do not portray a very Christian person. Unfortunately this November people are being asked to vote for the lesser of 2 evils. Sad.

Ken Boonstra
September 13, 2016

All that Scott Hoezee said! And please check out her slogan more accurately. It is "stronger together." I daresay you could check every speech by these candidates and I'm convinced you would discover the Donald Trump has greater confidence in his ability to accomplish than anyone else: previous presidents (Obama, Bush, Clinton), previous and current generals (the present ones are all rubble), and so forth. Further, his attitude and actions towards protesters at his rallies are the very definition of despotic: "rulers that rely on brute force (or the threat of it)" - Vocabulary.com

Sean Lavery
September 13, 2016

The contents of this article are shocking to me and beneath my expectations for Think Christian... I'm not sure where to even begin but the entire tone of this article seems completely out of place. Normally I try to keep an open mind about apposing points of view but the way this article is written makes that tough. I am not a Hillary supporter and a still undecided voter but the views expressed by the author are, to me, buried under the vitrol used to attack the opposite side.

Daniel D.
September 13, 2016

You rightly contend that Clinton "seeks to expand government while enriching herself, and is thus the epitome of political corruption." However, the Donald will do, and is proposing to do the same thing through his bombastically stated (non-conservative) political stances. He is just as dastardly as she is.
As you implied throughout the article, there is no conservative case for Trump, except that he is not Hilary Clinton...
Although, a vote for a lesser villain is still a vote for villainy.

September 13, 2016


I thought you made some good points. In a perfect world with plenty of good choices, I probably would not pick Donald however I think that he might be just the man for the job. I recently saw a mini documentary on Jimmy Carter, a Dem but also a value driven individual who endeavored to follow the Biblical directive of helping others and being a peacemaker. Yet domestically he really accomplished little and as a result he only served one term. He just didn't have the right personality do get done what needed to be in Washington. Now here is Donald, not mild-mannered like Carter but he certainly knows how to get things done and dose even though we may not like what he says in doing it. We need to remember we are not electing a Pastor and Chief. He is certainly not going to continue to take us down the Christian and American values dismantling path of Obama or Hillary who will follow the same vain.
One other major consideration is that there will be at least two Supreme Court appointments within the next 4 years, and more likely more over the next 8. A liberal based administration in charge at that time can cause a lot of damage for decades to come. I see no choice in the matter myself.
If we wait for the perfect candidate to come along we'll need to wait until Christ comes back. I would venture to say that if King David were to run for President today, many Christians would not vote for him because he would be more base in his behavior than would meet the sensibilities of today's easily offended, word sensitive culture.

Mark Aronstein
September 13, 2016

This is a decent editorial. Like the other candidate articles in thise series, this one seems to capture much of what I've heard and read from people who are conservatives and support Trump.

However, like many of my friends, this author spends far more time and column space berating the Democratic opponent than trumpeting what it is about their candidate that really inspires them. I get it; many people despise Clinton and the curren Democratic Party, and for well-defined reasons. And they are inclined to vote for the candidate who will most likely be able to prevent the Democrats from keeping the Presidency. But for me, voting for one party because "we're not them" is no longer enough. And it doesn't seem to be enough this time around for many other voters.

Understand, I do not support Hillary Clinton. But recently I've simply challenged my conservative friends to give me three or four substantive policy positions of Trump's that they support, WITHOUT mentioning the other party... and most of them seem hard-pressed to do that. This author mentions that Trump "vows to restore law and order at every level," and that "he wants pastors involved in the political process." That's great, but those are the only two policies of Trump's mentioned here that he supports. Is that it? Is that enough for you? That's not enough or me, especially with all the other downsides to Trump himself that this author is quick to admit.

I love this country, and I long for the day when an intelligent political "outsider" comes along who will truly seek to represent the needs and concerns of the majority of Americans, and will "shake up" the vast political structures that are currently in place and that are committed to marginalizing anyone outside the two major parties. I just don't think this candidate fits that description.

If you feel you simply must vote out of fear of the "other" party, and not because you truly understand and support your own party's policies, you've been give the right to do so. Just understand that you'll be part of maintaining the status quo if you do.

September 13, 2016

I agree with several of the other comments. Out of the whole series, this one was the most disappointing. It was not a case FOR Trump, but one against Hillary. I understand that that can be a valid reason, but it's a very weak reason especially considering how many people view Trump on both sides view Trump as just as bad, if not worse than Hillary.

I was expecting to see arguments regarding the Supreme Court, pro-life ideals, or any policy position. The fact that all of this is lacking, as well as any positive reason to vote Trump, actually suggests a striking indictment against Trump. Even in an article intended to be Pro-Trump, there are no positive reasons to support him. I realize that this is a difficult task since there is truly no basis to evaluate his potential policies (he hasn't given us any details if they even exist).

For full disclosure, I'm voting third party. I still respect those Christians who struggle with the decision, analyzing it through a biblical lens, and land on Trump. The problem with this article is that it lacked that analysis.

Daniel Howell
September 13, 2016

The polemic nature of this article is mine. Think Christian was gracious enough to leave much of my wording unedited. Words like "villain" and "despotic" are indeed strong but, in my opinion, accurate. The larger point of the article is that Trump, with all his problems, has reached out to Christians whereas Clinton has not, and many of her Party's positions are antithetical to Christianity. And her personal behavior over the years has been at least as bad as Trump's. We aren't faced with great options this election cycle!

Bill Jones
September 13, 2016

Randall Curtis has stolen my thunder - made the exact point I had planned to make, but I'm going to make it anyway. It is hypocritical of Think Christian to ask commenters to "refrain from inflammatory language and personal attacks," yet not require the same of the articles it publishes. Seriously, do you not see the irony?

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
September 13, 2016

See my note above, Bill, in response to Randall.

James Puglisi
September 13, 2016

Wow, having read this I am at a loss where to begin, and therefore I won't waste too much time. There is a remarkable sense of denial on the Christian fundamentalist right about Trump. There is certainly very litte "Christianity" that comes from him, and from the Republican leadership for that matter. I have been a Christian since I was 10 years, brought to my awareness of Christ through VBS, Christian Service Brigade, Young Life, and the Christian Mission Alliance. Fortunately, I was introduced to the Christ of the Scriptures through my awareness of the world and Catholic Social Teaching. I have many friends who remain "Republican" and disagree with me. I have to fight the urge to proclaim that I find it hard to be a Christian and ever to consider voting Republican these days. I guess that was a left-handed way of saying it anyway. Trump is a con man. While I know that members of the Republican leadership as individuals love, have families, try to live lives that uphold their beliefs, but when they come together, the Gospel goes out the door for the most part. Their religion is America, not the Gospel.

September 13, 2016

Well... this has been said already, but I'll say it too: this isn't a piece about voting for Trump. It's a piece about voting against Hillary. It doesn't even mention putting conservative (read: pro-life) justices on the Supreme Court, which is, frankly, the *only* case I can come up with for a Christian's supporting Donald Trump. This article doesn't show us how to vote faithfully - it shows us how to vote out of fear. And I hear the same fears echoing here that I've heard about the current president for almost 8 years now. Well, I'm a pastor... and I'm not in prison for it yet. (Yes, Kim Davis was jailed last year, and I don't think she ought to have been. But that had nothing to do with the person sitting in the Oval Office.)

September 13, 2016

Did anyone else notice that this is the only of the four articles that doesn't make any kind of appeal to biblical teaching? And that Jesus is not mentioned once? (Jesus is not mentioned in the Jill Stein piece either, but is in the other two.)

Daniel Howell
September 13, 2016

Ann Coulter said it best: the essay portion of the test is over, it's now a multiple choice. We had the opportunity to nominate a true conservative, a Christ follower who has publicly shared his testimony many times. That man was not nominated. Other great candidates were not nominated. I readily admit that my vote for Trump is driven partly by a vote against Clinton. The President of the United States does set the tone for law enforcement all the way down to local municipalities, as evidenced I think by the Kim Davis prosecution and (as other commenters have pointed out) by judicial nominations.

Our multiple choice looks something like this:

A) Certain advancement of a liberal agenda antithetical to religious liberty
B) Results may vary

I feel compelled to select B.

September 13, 2016

Sorry, but no. If to 'advance some Christian causes' comes at the cost of harming others or other good causes, then we're not advancing the Christian cause. Complicity in any harm in order to gain more power, more resources, more political favor (whatever the self-gain is) is to reject Christian principles.

September 13, 2016

In reply to Daniel Howell (comment #29124)

Your multiple choice analogy is helpful, and I agree with how you've framed it. But that "results may vary" is pretty scary, too. I'm no Clinton advocate by any means, but I've heard many articulate a reverse fear of Trump, despite his alignment with a more conservative agenda, on account of his "loutish" personality. If "results may vary" entails the possibility of accelerated global destabilization as a result of Trump provoking a Middle Eastern nation, eroding confidence in American diplomacy, or a leadership crisis that leaves us vulnerable to domestic attack, then the alternative to "business as usual" becomes a lot riskier.

Jadi Mwendo
September 13, 2016

I have to agree with a few of the earlier commenters. I don't see the connection to Christianity at all.

To Fox News? Sure. But Christianity...

I sign up for this for a Christian perspective on everyday life, not to be beat over the head with the partisan politics I'm trying to avoid in my everyday life.

Teresa Collins
September 13, 2016

How anyone in USA can believe that either Trump or Clinton would make a good and just PresidentI cannot imagine. Trump seems to me to be the most unchristian person with his intolerance and hatred of strangers.

Doug Vande Griend
September 13, 2016

Yikes, such vitriol -- from all sides (and I'm not talking about any of the presidential candidates).

When this series began, I suggested in a comment that it was bad idea. I said that because I didn't think the thinkChristian community in general had what would be required to discuss some (or much) of what is involved in the presidential race constructively. I still think that is the case.

But we are discussing it so I want to leave my final two cents.

The author of this piece gets beat up pretty badly by some many posters, and although in some ways it is justified (I'd lay off the emotion laden words like "villain" and "despotic," even if they were denotatively accurate) but in other ways not justified (e.g., charged with being a violator of the 9th commandment and not speaking as a Christian).

It seems to me that many commenters presume -- whether they will admit it or not -- that a presidential candidate must be "more Christian" to receive our vote, or that there are always one or more "good choices" for our vote. Neither is the case, and my explanation for that would require far more than the length TC would allow for this post. Nor is it the case, as some seem to demand, that an article must explicitly reference Scripture to be nominated as even possibly "Christian."

In defense of this article's author, he quite clearly indicates he dislikes both candidates, but he does have a sense (even if his sense) for what "good government" is and isn't, and whether he says it or not, I'm quite confident that his sense for "good government" is biblically rooted, even if he doesn't include a dot-to-dot map to demonstrate that. He compares and contrasts the two candidates and says we have a choice, but not about the two people, or the ethics of the two people, or the bad or good done by the two people (we probably all agree these are the worst two candidates of our lifetime), but between the kind of federal government we will move toward or away from if one or the other is elected. To repeat my earlier post, deciding to vote for one or the other is elected. This is not, for the author, and I agree, about supporting either candidate "personally" (or as a person), but about figuring out which general direction each of us as voters will, by our vote, encourage the federal government to move. That's a far more dispassionate question of course (although passionate enough), but the passion unconstructively overflows when we mix our discussion about good government (which is unfortunately largely absent in this comment thread, although covered by the author of the article) with a presidential political race like this one happening in real-time.

It would be better in my mind to have TC have some articles about narrow questions that are elements of a biblically rooted theory of government (and there will be enough disagreement there), but not during active political campaigns. For now, given that we are here, need to all try to refrain from bashing and being destructive even if both candidates can't.

Steve Grundmeier
September 13, 2016

What is discouraging to me is the subtle vitriolic tone of the writer. Villain and despot? Not sure if Jesus would have used this kind of disparaging and disrespectful language to describe those who opposed Him and His teachings. I am tired of this campaign, I am tired of both candidates, I am tired of the accusations, I am tired of the maligning. I propose that we vote today and get this over with. Our country is divided enough. We can't afford 2 more months of this ugly political behavior.

Jake Raabe
September 13, 2016

Hi Daniel,

First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to write. As the writer of the Stein endorsement, I know that writing an article of this sort is both time-consuming and difficult, as it puts you and your thoughts in an especially vulnerable scenario. So, while I disagree with your viewpoint, I thank you for being brave enough to write what will likely be the most controversial post in this series.

I was hoping you could expand a bit more on why your specifically Christian convictions led you to this decision. You discussed your conviction as an American (that Clinton is a threat to national ideals) and as a pragmatist (that you disagree with aspects of Trump, but think that realism needs to be a driving factor in political decision making), but less as a Christian. You do mention Trump meeting with pastors, but the meeting you refer to was not organized by Trump (he just accepted an invitation) and the group did not invite Clinton. As such, could you expand on how your Christian convictions lead you to Trump? What points of overlap do Trump's policy suggestions have with Christian theology?

Please read my comment not as an attack (though I do disagree and wanted to correct a specific point), but as an opportunity to expand on a subject that you have clearly thought deeply about. Where does Trump overlap with specifically Christian ethical convictions?

Evonne De Loney
September 13, 2016

Hello Daniel,

As a Christian, how can you pick who has the greater sin, with Trump or Clinton. There is no measure of sin according to the word of God. Abortion is no difference then hatred in God's eyes. Being a liar is no different then being a murderer. You have not clearly given any biblical reason to vote for Donald Trump. I'm not sure if you are a pastor; however if you are you should not be trying to influence your congregation or Christians to vote for anybody. God knows who is going to be president and God is in control. It seems as if (and I hope I'm not being offensive) that you don't have faith to trust God to turn the heart of the King. Proverbs 21:1. The bible clearly states to pray for our leaders this is where the church has failed. As an American, not here by
Choice but by Salvery, I will participate in voting in November due to all the people that died for me to have the right to vote. Furthermore as the people who were not included in the Declaration of Independence signed by Christians who cried because they knew they were leaving out African-Americans; explain to me the difference. Voting for Trumps because Hillary is a liberal. We all will give an account for what we do and when we stand before the Lord we standalone no man stands with us.

Daniel Howell
September 13, 2016


“It seems to have been reserved to the people of this country… to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government by reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.” ~ Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #1

The American experiment is unique because our nation was founded through “reflection and choice” rather the whims of accident or force. Embedded deeply in that reflection is the Judeo-Christian worldview. From within this worldview springs self-evident truths, the concepts of natural rights, individual sovereignty, and true liberty; the recognition that every man is created equal because we are created in the image of God; that just governments (in contrast to unjust governments) are instituted among men by the consent of the governed to protect their natural, i.e., God-given, rights. All of these pillars of our current form of government derive from the Judeo-Christian worldview. They originate from various texts of the Old and New Testaments and are found in the great themes that connect them together.

As I said in a comment above, Donald Trump is an uncertain variable (“results may vary”), but Hillary Clinton is not. She has a long track record in politics that gives us great insight into how she will conduct herself in office and in what direction she will steer this nation. That direction is opposite the direction our founders charted for us. Hillary seeks to advance the “fundamental transformation” begun by Barack Obama (actually begun by progressives before him). Her actions demonstrate that she does not hold to the Judeo-Christian worldview that undergirds true liberty, individual dignity and sovereignty, personal property rights, self-defense, etc. Rather, she believes in wealth redistribution in various forms (from an excessive welfare apparatus to socialized healthcare). She confesses that unborn babies are persons, but claims they are persons with no rights. She seeks to advance an ever-expanding, tyrannical federal government that will dictate every facet of life - housing, marriage, parenting, education, healthcare, policing, business practices, etc. In all of these matters, Hillary is fundamentally opposed to a limited federal government with enumerated powers designed to protect, not destroy, individual liberty.

Space does not permit me to continue, but juxtaposed to Hillary Clinton is Donald Trump. By my estimation, he has a severely limited understanding of our founding principles and the Christian roots from which they grow, but he seems to be merely uneducated in these matters, a deficit which can be corrected. He does not appear to be inherently opposed to them the way I believe Obama and Clinton are.

Patricia Brandt
September 13, 2016

Anyone who would quote Ann Coulter has lost me entirely. Why would you quote someone who spews nothing but hatred.

John Vance
September 13, 2016

I agree that the main reason to vote FOR Trump is to try and regain the religious liberties we've lost in recent years. The reality is that Christians are scared because of the pressure from liberal secularists - they are losing jobs and businesses.
Friend, if this is news to you, get informed.
I believe that Trump will help by appointing judges who are committed to the Constitution, not secular activism. Overall, his list of judicial nominees was commendable.
I heard Adrian Rogers say multiple times that he would go to an atheist doctor if that doctor was the best person to treat an ailment. I don't agree with Trump on several issues, but he is the best doctor of choice that we have.

Val Nicosia
September 13, 2016

Dr.Howells article though not depthy(as an article not a substantive research paper), provides a good synopsis of His reasons, as a Christian, that He has utilized to make the 'best choice' availed to him in the upcoming election.
He has presented his reasoning in a way that I believe, simply put, illustrates how many Christians identify with the choices in November.- There ISN'T a clear choice- that nicely lays w/in the 'Christian ideals'...therefore we are as Christians, hard pressed to find-but still we try (as many opinions above OF Dr.Howells opinion state,i.e. that they'expected' or were 'looking for' etc.).
There is only 1 option that a Christian Has in an election-that is, to vote.
Dr. Howell intelligently presented his
'Reasoning' for why Christians, himself included, should vote FOR Trump-that's it. He plainly states there IS no Candidate left reflecting Christian principles that are easy to see.
I find it interesting that those chastising his method use there own version of Christian Analysis(Judgement) to reach their own opinion(s) of why or why not Dr.Howells method is lacking-really?
Perhaps, as I suggested above, there IS no 'right', correct or Christian answer (as we as American Christians have gotten used to being able to easily identify ourselves under and give support to).
This election truly MAKES us all think 'outside the-Christian- box'.
Rather than taking Dr.Howells reasoning apart, perhaps we all should realize He, Nor Trump, has THE answer(s).
In the Big picture(-which includes but also transcends 'our'election), known only by THE creator and planned only for All our good-He has USED many a non-Christian characters to work His will, either through Judgement or silence, again FOR our own good.
Maybe THE reason Dr.Howell doesn't have All 'the right answers' to satisfy all of the so called Christian opinionates that so eloquently say what Should have been done, is the same reason Jesus didn't either whilst facing the synagogues elitest. He's not saying what -you- 'want'to hear.
An opinion of an opinion is Just that; none of which above states 'better reasons' only different perspectives stated based of infinite information captured by finite minds.
Better said 'ask the wrong question, get the wrong answer'- Dr.Howell when faced with an insurmountable question, identifies 'A way' through the mire. You Analysts seem to know 'the way', and analyze as if you do.
Btway, to the publisher. To ask a respected author to write an article and not support His opinion to represent as He sees it-that you've obviously respected ( as reason to write said article) and then stand with the 'stone throwers', is manipulative and unethical as a publisher. ALSO,betrayal at the least and perhaps cowardice that stands you along side of
Those that Jesus condemned.
As an American, we all have a right, for now, to speak our mind. For the publisher to 'take a side' after having asked FOR said article I believe you owe Dr.Howell, as A Christian and as a publisher, a public apology.

September 13, 2016

Scott Hozzee just dropped the mike and walked away. Nothing else needs to be said.

Daniel Howell
September 14, 2016


I get your point that all sin is equally egregious to God, but we are told in the Scriptures that we can know a tree by its fruit (Matt 7:16), and to judge rightly (John 7:24).

As Americans, God has given us a tremendous gift: Liberty. It is our responsibility to hold on to that gift and pass it on to our children and grandchildren. When the progressive Left in America finally criminalizes the Scriptures because it contains hate speech violent to homosexuality, and we let it happen without a fight, do you think God will say to us, "Well done"? When every mention of God is scrubbed completely from public discourse, will God be pleased if we did nothing to prevent it? If we lose liberty we are worse than the man who buried his talent; at least he returned the one talent unscathed.

Our options for president this election cycle are not ideal, but that simply means we have more work to do explaining to Americans how and why conservatism works and its roots in the Judeo-Christian worldview. In the meantime, we work with what we've got.

Finally, since slavery is illegal in America, you are not here by slavery. I assume you were born here, as I was, and are an American by birth. The circumstances that brought your ancestors here were no more under your control than the circumstances that brought mine here, so in that since we are both here not by choice. Thankfully we do have in this country the freedom to choose whether or not we remain here. And although the founders were unable to end slavery in their day, we can be thankful they paved the way for their children to do so. It is no accident that the Declaration proclaims that "all men are created equal" and makes no references to race. Liberty arrived more slowly for slaves and still is denied to the unborn, but we press on until there is Liberty for All.

September 14, 2016

Wow...as a conservative #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary there so many areas of disagreement.

1. "DESPOTIC" - Trump is "only I can fix it". He has also stated he would like to expand the libel laws which would have a chilling affect on free speech, would order US soldiers to break rules of the Geneva Convention. Trump is constantly praising the "control" of true despots and despotic regimes around the world, i.e. Putin, China, Hussein. He called for a "ideological certification" for immigrants. Would that mean they couldn't be Muslim? Can we trust Trump when he vacillates from day to day?

2. "PLAY-TO-PLAY" - No doubt HRC has been on the receiving end of the pay-to-play carousel but Trump has been on the "paying" end. With the Pam Bondi situation in FL it's certainly arguable he has illegally payed to have her look the other way in a case of Trump University.

3. "RULES DON'T APPLY..." - Just as HRC acts as the rules do not apply to her on a number of things so does Trump. On most things the civil laws allow him to do what he does but the moral law is prohibitive. He has had four bankruptcies (I have heard six but I'm not aware of the other two) when he DID have the money to pay the "little people" that got screwed over, even if it came out of his pocket. As a Christian, that is what we would/should expect. He claims his Christianity. He tried to use eminent domain laws to push an old lady off her property to build a parking lot. That is not a conservative principle.

4. "FREEDOM OF RELIGION" - it's all on the perspective of religion I guess. He has singled out all Muslims emigrating to this country at least until "we figure it out". Some may say, "well that's legit because they could be terrorists and we have to have "super vetting" (some would also say it appeals to the fear of many and the hatred and prejudice of some) but he has also been very critical of Mormons for the sin of "not liking him". And if God can change the heart of Trump to be a better person why can't he also change the heart of HRC?

5. "ADVANCES EVERYTHING UNHOLY" - True, the Democrats are for many things conservatives are against. But so is Trump. Let's not forget he has made a lot of money off gambling and has built strip clubs in his casinos. He has given tacit approval of those fighting to allow transsexuals to go in bathrooms of choice in NC. He has not taken a stand against gay marriage that I am aware of. He has offered praise of some of Planned Parenthood's agenda. And then there is his personal life which I'm sure I don't need to go into.

6. "BANKRUPTING FUTURE GENERATIONS" - In a most likely cynical move to attract middle class women, Trump has now proposed free maternity leave and multiple tax credits for childcare. This will further "bankrupt" the country. I managed to raise two wonderful daughters without government assistance and I'm certainly not rich. Trump also says he will "eliminate the debt in 8 years" but hasn't given a single plan as to how it will be done, especially without touching entitlements as he has said.

7. "TRUMP WANTS PASTORS INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS" - This is a silly statement. It ignores the fact that so does HRC. She just wants liberal ones and he wants conservative ones. I think it's quite fair to question the sincerity of both Trump and HRC in this manner. Where has Trump been in conservative religious issues before he ran for president?

Lastly, i believe both Trump and HRC love America. I think most liberals love America but are akin to many parents who love their children but make bad decisions.

No, I will not vote for either. Their complete lack of character, despite their "policy", will not be rewarded with my vote. I will not twist myself into knots, ala Hannity or Ingraham, To justify Trump. Truth is, if he had a D behind his name most of his supporters would be screaming in dissent.

September 14, 2016

Now that most everything that could be said has been said in response to this article, it's worthwhile comparing it to the commentary by Dr. Ted Williams in arguing for Hillary Clinton, if only for how a thoughtful, principled case can be made based on Christian conviction and Kingdom themes and values. Thanks, Think Christian, for courageously offering this series of reflections. Your mission to promote the development of a Christian mind? Accomplished.

September 14, 2016

In reply to Daniel Howell (comment #29142)

"As Americans, God has given us a tremendous gift: Liberty. It is our responsibility to hold on to that gift and pass it on to our children and grandchildren. ... If we lose liberty we are worse than the man who buried his talent; at least he returned the one talent unscathed."

This is now the second time I've heard a TC contributor use the parable of the talents in connection with the upcoming election. (Jordan Ghiglia says, in his post favoring candidate Gary Johnson, "The parable of the talents teaches us that doing nothing is not an option.") I initially had a knee-jerk exegetical objection to that easy application of the parable to civil participation in government...but upon further reflection, I think you guys may be on to something important.

Now I realize you and Ghiglia aren't quite applying the parable the same way, but both of you are essentially arguing that a Christian's stewardship of his or her civil vote entails an expectation, if not necessarily an obligation, to honor the Lord by casting it in such a way that godly principles are in some measure advanced (or at least impeded as little as possible), based upon the voter's best understanding of the potential consequences of that vote for the nation (or based upon the voter's best understanding of the overall character of the candidate receiving the vote). To do otherwise would be to risk the Lord's displeasure at his return, because we know the will of the One who has sovereignly entrusted this privilege to us and given us the light of the Spirit by which to judge rightly according to Jesus' own standards. Thus, to the extent that we are still "in the world" while not being "of the world," participating in civil government by responsibly and prayerfully casting our vote in good conscience (however that is worked out between the voter and the Lord in private) is, indeed, an act of Christian stewardship and a proclamation of the inbreaking Kingdom.

I'm sure there's room for disagreement over what's best for the nation, whose character is most godly, whose policies and agendas best align with Kingdom ones, etc., etc. I'm not trying to argue in favor of any particular candidate here, and I may not be articulating that premise in a way either of you would agree with.

But I do think it's important. It's something that I'm finding really helpful for taking much more seriously both the privilege and the responsibility that comes from being an American Christian. Christian first. But still an American. This election may be a circus, but we do well to remember that in the parable of the talents the master is angry with the final servant not for failing to earn him more money, per se, but for failing to act for fear of losing what he already had--"For you KNEW that I reap where I do not sow," the master says.

Neither candidate is godly. But God can reap where He hasn't sown.

Doug Vande Griend
September 14, 2016

In reply to JKana (comment #29145)
Bingo JKana! You make a critical point very well. Voting for the United States President, especially but not only in this cycle, simply has nothing to do with lining up the characteristics of the candidates to see which one has those that most align with your own version of what is means to be a Christian. Beyond that, it also does not mean checking to see which one would most be like your church. While you and your church might do well to "turn the other cheek," that doesn't mean Godly government should. Government has its own task, its own responsibilities to God to do its job, which is quite different than the job of an individual person, a church, a business, etc.

It is then CHRISTIAN, as a voter (which is an "office" having responsibilities), to figure out (1) how God would have this particular POLITICAL society governed, who would best advance that POLITICAL perspective, and then vote for that person.

What is difficult about doing this of course is that figuring out what "Godly government" is requires having given a goodly amount of thought. In democracies, voters tend to assume they innately know what good government is merely because they have a license to vote. In forums like this, folks tend to think that a "good person" makes a good government official. And I too would prefer a "good person" as a government official, just as I prefer a "good person" to be my surgeon or my contractor (or many other things), but the surgery will be botched, the building will fall down, and the government will be unjust if the people doing those tasks have little -- or the wrong -- notion as to how the task (of GOVERNMENT) should be done.

Dan Edwards
September 14, 2016

Well "despotic" and "villain" were extremist irresponsible language but were at least within the cinceivable sphere of political rhetoric. "Depraved" definitely took this post into the realm of hateful speech rejected by the Episcopal House of Bishops at our last meeting as sub-Christian. I have heard worse in this campaign, but I am truly amazed and disappointed to see this in Think Christian. This seriously compromised any credibility I can give this resource in the future.

Scott Hoezee
September 14, 2016

Many commentators noted the lack of biblical substance to the arguments here. And that applies to the single biggest theme in this comment thread on "religious liberty." Where in the New Testament is THAT held up as a vital Christian theme? The Roman government was officially hostile to the Christian faith and yet Paul in places like Romans 13 and 1 Timothy 2 nevertheless urges believers to GIVE THANKS for the governing authorities, pray for the stability of their regimes, and be obedient. It was in quiet and polite witness (pace 1 Peter 2 and 3)that the Gospel was best embodied in the ancient world. And given Trump's lack of hospitality for anyone whose "religious liberty" would include Muslim practices. Mormon practices, etc, I don't see how he's a hero of that cause in any event (except that, of course, Christians could get their way above all, which also strikes me as an arrogant, non-Christian stance). We have for so long confused the alleged "Christian nation" of America with Christianity that we have conflated American values with Christian ones and we don't even notice it anymore. We wrap the cross in the flag and no one has the guts to call it out for the rank heresy it is.

Cornelia Cree
September 14, 2016

The Bible says a tree is known by the fruits. The state of America is deplorable after 8 years of high taxes, low employment and stifling regulations which Hillary promises to continue Those are fruits and America is strangled. Even a non-Christian should consider that a disaster.

Doug Vande Griend
September 14, 2016

In reply to Scott Hoezee (comment #29148)
I'm confused Scott. You seem to be suggesting that government allowing for "religious liberty" is not supported by scripture. Frankly, I don't think Paul telling believers to give thanks for governing authorities make the point you claim for it.

Indeed, I would suggest that the Roman government did allow for a measure of religious liberty. And whether it did or not, allowing religious liberty is a fundamental characteristic of good (biblical) government that has been advocated by those who are Calvinists for a goodly number of centuries now.

I would also suggest that allowing for "religious liberty" is a foundational right, without which any political society will increasingly become destructively autocratic and generally intolerant. Some (like Rushdooney styled reconstructionists) might like that, but even then only if they are the ones who happen to hold the reigns of political power.

Frankly, I see a lack of biblical, not to mention political, substance in your view, at least as your commented represents your view. And then when you derisively accuse others of "wrapp[ing] the cross in the flag" in a way that is "heresy," you malign in a way that you earlier condemned as to statements made about Hillary Clinton. Beyond that, you mischaracterize Trump's positions/statement as well (note, I am very much NOT a fan of Trump), after having chastised other of misrepresentation re Hillary Clinton.

Scott Hoezee
September 14, 2016

In reply to Cornelia: We're all entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts. In 2012 when Mitt Romney ran for office, he promised he could have the unemployment rate down to 6% by 2016. It is now 4.9% (having been 8% when Obama took office, rising to 10% in October 2009). Middle income taxes are at their lowest rates since 1967 and most all taxes are lower now than under Ronald Reagan. A report out yesterday also indicated that in 2015 median household incomes were on the rise. And stifling regulations? Name some. Or travel to a place like Kampala, Uganda, and spend 10 minutes breathing the foul air created by thousands of open fires and cars belching toxic black smoke. In 10 minutes you'd be thanking the Lord above for the EPA and things like emissions standards!

Scott Hoezee
September 14, 2016

Soon I need to get back to work here but . . . in answer to Doug: You've never attended a Christian worship service that was clogged with patriotic hymns? Never received brochures in the mail for some Christian rally in your town where the cross is literally draped with the American flag? You've never heard the whole silly "shining city on a hill" idea that says God is for America in a way he's not for other nations (and all the American exceptionalism that goes with that)? American civil religion has been a fact of life for a very long time in this country and it is heretical--I won't apologize for that. The flag can be an idol as much as anything else. On religious liberty: you are the first I know who said the Roman Empire exercised this. The Caesar's image and the words "Deus et Dominus" were inscribed on every Roman coin, and until Constantine, Christians were murdered for their profession of Jesus as Lord. I am all for freedom of religion in this country and although I still think you'd be hard pressed to claim such freedom in a civic society ever assumes a very high profile in the New Testament, I am willing to applaud it in general as a foundational freedom Christians should support. But I am not aware of anyone in politics today or running for office trying to roll back freedom of religion or the free exercise clause in the Constitution. Where the flashpoints have come have involved Christians who serve in public, political roles--or Christians who own businesses that depend on making money from non-Christian customers--who then want to say their liberty is infringed in case a gay couple wants to eat in their restaurant or apply for a marriage license as the law of the land allows. I would fully support a Christian who quits her job or closes his shop if he just cannot deal with such things. But to want to be in a public position or operate a for-profit public business AND insist that society kow-tow to your religious beliefs is trying to have it both ways. That version of religious liberty may not be so commendable. The old Kuyperian tradition of sphere sovereignty suggests that HOW you are a Christian and HOW your faith is expressed/lived out varies from sphere to sphere in life. Today we see some trying to flatten that all out and when in the sphere of public life it is suggested it can't work that way, people cry foul and claim they no longer have any religious liberty. But that lack of nuance and thoughtfulness won't help.

September 14, 2016

In replay to Scott Hoezee (comment #29152)

Scott...well said. In about 95% of what you say, I fully agree, and in deference to your time I'll spare any elaboration on my points of disagreement. But I would comment that much of what you're premising your argument on here is based on an understanding of the "public sphere" that, as Branson Parlor so eloquently explained in an earlier post on TC this past week, is itself subject to a largely unexamined (if not entirely unacknowledged) religious worldview that is antithetical to the Christian worldview. Why one should be subject to the other is a thorny question. And when the two are wholly incompatible, the word "public" means we have to ask the question, "Who gets to decide the rules of fair engagement?"

Just muddying the waters. I really do appreciate where you're coming from.

Doug Vande Griend
September 14, 2016

In reply to Scott Hoezee (comment #29152)
You say, Scott, that you are "not aware of anyone in politics today or running for office trying to roll back freedom of religion or the free exercise clause in the Constitution." I am, having been a lawyer for 32 years and having spent decades involved in cases where government (politicians in legislatures and government agents in the executive branch) has tried to do exactly what you say you are unaware of. Indeed, just in Oregon, we had a win-loss ratio of about 5-0 in cases (evidencing of course that our claims were not outrageous), all involving religious liberty (first amendment, freedom of speech, religious exercise and establishment clause cases), all where the ACLU was on the other side. In every one of those cases, Christians were denied the right to speak in places where other speech was allowed, were denied the right to use facilities that others were permitted, were denied the right to invite their employee to church (and fined for doing so), or were denied some kind of right to use public forums available to others because they were Christians intending to speak about matters that would include some kind of expression of their faith.

Just recently, California politicians attempted to effectively ban faith based colleges from benefiting from their students receiving public funding if the college had a moral code that ran afoul of the official government view about sexual matters. Thankfully, that effort (one of those you say you are unaware of) has been abandoned, but I'll guarantee it will come back. This is just one example of a most recent attempt (literally in the past months).

I have been involved in these issues the better part of my occupational life. They exist and are increasing. One is happening right now to friend of mine who is a county judge. His "civil sin" (opposite of civil religion I guess) is to decide he will not use his authority to solemnize any marriages, gay or straight, a task that is clearly not within his job description. The Oregon judicial committee wants him removed from office. The matter is now pending in the Oregon Sup Ct. It's OK if you are unaware of any of these, but you shouldn't confuse that with knowing none exist, nor should you assume that religious liberty (along with other liberties) cannot be a critically important issue at this point in time in our nation's history.

To answer your questions, no, I have not ever attended a service clogged with patriotic hymns, nor have every been at a rally or any other event where the cross was draped in the American flag. And I hung out with the people you would probably say must do these things. Yes, I've heard of the "city on a hill" but who hasn't (everyone who has read a high school history book has).

I would respectfully suggest your experience, if in fact you have experienced these, is either statistically rare or your "experience" is simply hearing about these things and deciding they must be true since they fit your pre-existing narrative about rabid "civil religion" people that you somewhat enjoy pronouncing to be heretics.

John Vance
September 14, 2016

To Scott Hoezee:
You say, "I would fully support a Christian who quits her job or closes his shop if he just cannot deal with such things. But to want to be in a public position or operate a for-profit public business AND insist that society kow-tow to your religious beliefs is trying to have it both ways."
Scott, you need to better consider your terms. You have fallen into the trap of the liberals redefining the word "public" in this context. Businesses conduct PRIVATE transactions with PRIVATE individuals and businesses with the exception of doing business with a governmental body. Regardless, the transactions happen with the consent of both parties. Historically, doing business with the public always meant this. It was only very recently that statists have twisted "doing business with the public" to mean "doing business with a person/entity identified as a citizen of the government who thereby can mandate how you do business with them lest you violate their governmental rights and therefore be in violation with the government."
If the latter meaning is true, Scott, be ready to have the government make greater demands of you (public citizen) and your property (I mean, public property).
You'll support someone quitting their job or closing their business because they don't want to conduct themselves in a manner contrary to their Christian beliefs? How big of you! You obviously have downsized your life, moved your family, taken loans, and invested countless hours of your life in building a business you own and operate according to your own values just so that someone can come into your business and demand by his public right that you do something contrary to your beliefs. And you decide just to lay off your employees, leave all your customers, sell your equipment and inventory at a loss, close shop, scrap to feed and house your family, spend years trying to repay your debt and give up on your lifelong dream of business ownership. I don't know what kind of business owner you are, Scott, but I recommend you reconsider the veracity of your thinking.

John Vance
September 14, 2016

To Doug Vande Griend:
Thanks so much for the work you do to help protect our abilities to live, speak, and worship freely.

September 14, 2016

Doug, I wanted to echo John Vance: it sounds like you're doing some very important work - thank you, and keep it up.

Based on your comments about "civil religion" directed at Scott Hoezee, it also sounds like you don't live in the south. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it would be a startling point of view from a Southerner in the church. I've spent almost all of my life in Louisiana and Mississippi, in multiple cities, and the patriotic songs and American flags on the altar table (I've never personally seen a cross draped in a flag, but I have seen this) are not at all a statistical rarity. Come Fourth of July or Veterans' Day, they are quite common.

September 14, 2016

I would be interested in hearing what rights Daniel is referring to that were "endowed to us by our Creator."

Kimberly Davis
September 14, 2016

I find it utterly fascinating but not surprising that there is no mention in this column of the blatant racism and racial opportunism that is ever present in the Trump campaign.

Trump and Pence court the alt right-those who would see our country further divided based on race and ethnicity, religion, sexual identity and gender. One side has the aid and support of the KKK and white supremacist groups. And neither the candidate nor his running mate has said a mumbling word.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, this is not reconciliation gospel.

Scott Hoezee
September 15, 2016

For Doug and others: Honestly, this is my last post on this chain because I neither want to get consumed by this nor offend good people. But Doug, I will yield to your greater experience with court cases that seem to disenfranchise Christians or religious liberty in various settings. You know more on this than do I. I also sometimes think that there is a kind of backlash afoot in the land following huge swaths of American history in which Christian privilege was assumed on account of the "Christian nation" belief. Now Christians are running into the walls of pluralism in a way they didn't have to when most places resembled Mayberry RFD and it's bracing and new. That doesn't account for everything,though. And so, Doug, I yield to your greater judicial experience but kindly ask you yield to my and others' greater experience (see also the comment here by Nance) on civil religion and the actually very common toxic brew of flag and cross, country and Jesus. These ARE things I have personally witnessed as have many of my colleagues who work the guest preaching circuit. I'm sure it never happens in Oregon or New York but outside of those places . . . You'd be taken aback. Fin.

Doug Vande Griend
September 15, 2016

I think that for some of us, our perception that government in the United States is becoming quite different from what it has been, and not for the better, is why we would vote for Trump, even if with our noses pinched tightly. I'm included in that group, as I believe is Daniel Howell.

And yes, we believe the often-called "first freedom" (religious liberty) is (among other freedoms) being badly eroded and that such erosion is a harbinger of more negative change to come. It's not because we are "civil religion" people (even if they exist, whatever symbols such folks use), but because we believe we accurately see that change that has been and is continuing to happen, even quite a bit more rapidly now than 10 years ago (the Obergefell case is somewhat a watershed point in terms of marking recent acceleration).

The US Commission on Civil Rights just put out a report that's worth reading for anyone who wants to drill down on this (see at: http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/Peaceful-Coexistence-09-07-16.PDF). In short, some folks in very high places are quite ready to eliminate religious freedom rights because they believe those rights to be mere "code words" for evil discrimination. Others, thankfully (see dissenting opinions in the report), believe "religious freedom" claims are real and that it is important -- ala Abraham Kuyper's 'not one square inch' perspective -- that that we are allowed to live out what we believe, rather than believe but not live out our beliefs. The one side might agree with Clinton that roughly half of Trump's supporters are in the "basket of deplorables." The other side thinks Clinton's perception of reality in that regard is simply inaccurate, not to mention outrageous. And she reinforces their conviction that she will take further steps to try to erode religious freedom (as well as others). After all, the Obama/Clinton perspective emphasizes that the federal government should set rules, and lots of them, to prescribe the details of our lives.

I would expect that a President Clinton, even if not until her second term possibly, may well side with those California politicians that said students can't get federal grant monies if they are going to use those funds to pay tuition or costs for a college that discriminates in any way against gay people (and one way would be to teach that only heterosexual marriages are biblical). (And that wouldn't be just restricted to the gay issue either. After all, the Bible teaches a lot of stuff that government would not agree with).

I think Scott Hoezee and I genuinely disagree that religious freedoms are in fact at risk, and about the impact their elimination (or reduction) would have. More than that, I think we'd disagree about how important it is, for example, that gays persons out to be able to get their wedding cake from any bakery in existence, regardless of the perspective of the bakery owners. Its OK that we disagree about that. But I would say it not OK for either of us, or any of us, to caricature the views of the other, to hyperbolize others' positions, or to take unwarranted personal pokes in our discussion. To be clear, that goes for me, Scott, and anyone else.

As for me, I will vote for Trump for essentially the same reason Daniel Howell says he will. And yes, that reason that has more to do with Clinton than with Trump. The lesser-of-two-evils reason is a good reason. I know the kind government Clinton wants to have, the now-dominant wing of the Democratic party wants to have, and that Obama has been pushing (quite effectively) for the federal government to be. However bad Trump may be, the chances of getting another Scalia-type justice on the Sup Ct bench is undoubtedly better with Trump as president and the chances of getting another Ginsburg-type justice on the Sup Ct bench is undoubtedly better with Clinton as president. That, all by itself, is in my mind a sufficient (and a good) reason for wanting Trump to be president and wanting Clinton not to be. That's not the only reason, but frankly, that/those justice nomination(s) will be more important in the long run than who the president is.

And no, I'm not from the South. Grew up in Iowa and have lived my adult life in Oregon. :-) But I have gotten around.

September 16, 2016

As a long time registered republican for 25 years, I had to take a very hard look at what it really meant to connect my faith in Christ and the Bible to a particular party. I had to come to the realization the Republican Party doesn't really fight for those things that I believe deeply in. They say they do, but actions don't support their rhetoric. That doesn't mean I support the Democratic Party, I have since reregistered as an independent. The issue is tying Christianity to a party, that is a bad turn that we made long ago.

In light of what we learn from the 1st century church, their chief concern was the gospel, period! I am encouraged to return to that perspective and if I am persecuted for that, so be it. No one can ensure us that Trump will be better or worse than Clinton, he is a complete wild card and based on his activity leading up to this election, no one should be fooled if he gets in and wreaks tremendous havoc. I would also caution those that presume God's will for this country, specifically that Trump can be our "Cyrus". Maybe God has plans to continue to turn this country on it's head vs returning to the "glory days" - whenever those were supposed to be.

September 19, 2016

I was genuinely looking forward to this article, hoping for a reasoned articulation of the issues and why Trump could deserve our votes. Yet this article resorts to the simplistic, divisive rhetoric that was not a part of the other articles in this series, nor is it a part of any article I've ever read on this site for the better part of the last 3-4 years since I found it.

I think there may be some valid reasons out there for a Christian to vote for Trump, namely the supreme court. I disagree, but was at least open to reading those arguments.

You can and should do better, Think Christian, please try a 'redo' on this topic and find a better voice to articulate it.

Doug Vande Griend
September 19, 2016

Joshmuir: I disagree with your rather condemning criticism of this author and his article. He may not have written a "vote for Trump" article in the style you might have wanted to see (or that I might have) but it seems to me your criticism stems more from your dislike of Trump than this author's article.

The author dislikes Trump as the R candidate, would not have picked him in the R primaries, and is -- in this article -- highly critical of him. I suspect you agree with all of that. What you disagree with is this author's criticism of Clinton. In that, you assume that a vote for Trump article (or perspective) must focus or be based on the the merits of Trump. Wrong assumption.

I will vote for Trump, even though I think he is the worst candidate the Rs could have had come out of their primaries. The reason I will is because the difference these days between R and D is so great, and the candidates will be so beholden to their party if elected, that my and anyone else's vote ends up being more for a party (and its political perspective) than a candidate (the nominations of Sup Ct justices is but one of many great differentials that will result from who is elected).

And even if you did compare the faults of both candidates, I would argue along with this author that those of Clinton are in fact greater.

The bottom line is that both of these candidates are really bad, at which point it only makes sense for a Christian (like it or not, our God-ordained form of government gives Christians this power to wield) to vote essentially for a better party perspective because the party whose candidate wins will be more able to "transform US government" if it's candidate wins.

This author is honest about his view of both candidates, even if you think the typical political pitch must say "my candidate is good." You hold that honesty against him.

Tom Godfrey
September 20, 2016

This is my first comment as a TC newcomer, so bear with me, please. First, I thank the TC editors for allowing Daniel Howell to post his article about voting for Trump. His thoughts on this topic reflect my own very nicely. He could and maybe should have said more or worded some things differently, but let’s cut him some slack. The Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12) applies. The Supreme Court issue is one omission I noticed immediately, but several others have already made the point. I also agree wholeheartedly with the recent comments by John Vance and especially Doug Vande Griend, so thanks for allowing them to appear along with everyone else’s, whether I agree with them or not.

It seems remarkable to me that so many objected to language in the lead article considered inflammatory or a personal attack. I wonder whether Matt. 23 would meet the stated standard. This is where Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and teachers of the law, calling them snakes, blind fools, and hypocrites. He even asked them how they would escape being condemned to hell. How inflammatory is that? I am not suggesting that Daniel should describe Hillary the same way Jesus described the Pharisees, but I saw nothing really over the top in his article. We ought to be mature enough to deal with comments of that nature, even about people we like, without calling for it to be censored.

Besides that, I saw several comments objecting to negative remarks about Hillary, but Daniel called Trump “loutish” and recommended accepting him “with all his warts” too. Were these remarks about Trump not considered inflammatory? Would the negative remarks about Hillary have become acceptable in an article endorsing her? I think those who complained may have been less concerned with being fair and balanced than Daniel was. The same tendency is also reflected in calls to specify positive reasons to vote for Trump, not just Hillary’s negatives as a reason to vote against her, without also stating overlooked positive reasons to vote for Hillary. I think a wise, informed voter should honestly consider four lists—Hillary’s strengths, her weaknesses, Trump’s strengths, and his weaknesses. One or more of these lists may be practically empty, and people may disagree about what belongs in a given list. Did anyone mention Hillary’s health issues or her campaign’s attempts to downplay them?

On the criticism that the lead article did not cite Bible verses, it is important to realize that the Bible was not written in any culture where national leaders were elected by popular vote, so we have to apply general Christian principles, such as the Golden Rule, when we make our decision and exercise our right to vote. May God help us do this well, remembering that we are actually citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20), dwelling here for a time as salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16), regardless of who wins elections.

September 22, 2016

Doug: It seems you misread my intended target for the comments. My comment is primarily focused on the publishers, Think Christian, and not the author.

The publishers have established this series and each article followed a similar pattern until this one. My point is the other articles in this series did not focus so heavily on the flaws of other candidates, so any assumptions about what to expect in this article are derived from that pattern set out already by Think Christian, not my own assumptions.

The article is fine, and I've read many, many similar ones. If that is the only or best reason the author can come up with to vote for Trump, more power to him. I'm disappointed the publishers couldn't have found a voice to better articulate those other reasons, so as to offer a fresh perspective on the situation, rather than rehashing what I keep reading in so many other places.

If the best reason to vote for him is because "R" follows his name, let's have an article on the republican platform and why that is the best choice for Christians. Maybe you could submit such an article to the publishers, I'd be happy to read that.

Any frustration I feel about this article is because it is on this site, which to this point has been a reasonable place to look for a reasoned Christian perspective. I could and have read this article in many other venues, I come to this site for a different one, and that is the failing.

Doug Vande Griend
September 22, 2016

joshmuir: Sorry if I misread. I may be that I agree with you in some respects, which was cause for my saying in a response to the first post about the presidential election, that ThinkChristian should not have decided to have the presidential election series. Still, I don't think it was this article (about Trump) that departed from the ThinkChristian pattern; rather, all of them have, because of the subject matter and timing.

Because presidential elections force a binary choice (even if not strictly binary because there are minor candidates), because this is an election time, and because the subject matter of "politics" is far more complicated than everyone thinks (my saying is that we all think we're subject matter experts because we have the right to vote), it is difficult at best to have a constructive/profitable conversation about the presidential race -- and especially this year because there is exponentially more complication.

So perhaps we agree, except that I disagree that the Trump article was different from the other political pitch articles in any meaningful respect. Indeed, it may be that the Trump article did a better job (in some ways) of looking past the persons of the candidates themselves to broader, more politically meaningful considerations.

Dave Hamilton
September 23, 2016

Daniel, thanks for taking the time to write. I appreciate that you have likely thought about your decision quite a bit and I admire you taking the time to discuss them here. I think many of the comments under this blog are asking the same question, "Can you please admit you made key assumptions?". For example, you assume, that Trump won't simply default back to his very liberal position on abortion. You also assume, that Trumps proposal of "stop and frisk", is a conservative policy - whereas many would say his proposal of renewed government force is actually quite liberal. As all of us tend to do when making an argument, we count our supporting facts as a given, and assume others as negligent. I think this piece is helpful as it does certainly tell us what Christian's are doing when supporting Trump: they are assuming he will not be as liberal as he has been in the past. I just think TC's readership would have benefited from you acknowledging and then refuting key assumptions that you have simply left out. Using language like "trampling our rights by our Creator" and then refusing to acknowledge policies Trump has proposed that do just that seems a bit negligent. All the best! - David

Dave Rodgers
September 26, 2016

Take the personalities of the two candidates out of it. Vote the party platform that is best for the future of this Republic.

You want more of the past 8 years, vote for Hillary. If you don't, then vote for Trump.

Vote because not to vote is spitting on the graves of all who died to make this Republic the best this earth has seen. To vote for someone other than Trump is a vote for Hillary.

God bless and preserve this Republic which Your influence on our founders created a great constitution for a nation that today had turned its back on You. May Your candidate win in November.

September 27, 2016

Not that another voice is needed, but to open "Christian Vote for Donald Trump" and read words like "more depraved" with reference to another Image Bearer is disappointing. I agree with others that it seems daft to warn us against using such hurtful language in the comments when the article the editor signed off on uses that very language. This election has given people the impression that even we Christians are allowed to go around seething and spewing venom about people God created. It's hard to take a publication called Think Christian seriously when the editor is this careless. It's not that the author supports Trump, it's that the author belittles another Image Bearer and you let that stand as a Christian point of view. Time to write up a better response than "See Previous Comment"

Chuck Norman
September 28, 2016

I don't understand the argument that one needs to vote FOR Trump, not against Hillary. My belief is that citizens should vote for the the most electable candidate who's values and stances line up most closely with their own. So, although my and Trump's ideals don't perfectly match, they do much more closely than my and Hillary's do. Therefore, if my only two choices were Hillary and Bashar al-Assad, my vote would be for Hillary.

A couple comments about this article state that the author fails to mention anything favorable about Trump. Look at the third from the last paragraph and you will find several good things that Trump has recently done.

October 3, 2016

I'm curious if the events of last week have shifted anyone's thinking? There is so much being forgiven the candidates this season than I can remember. Growing up, my family stressed to me the importance of a Christian in the White House. Not simply a God fearing person, but a Christ following person.

That's out the window this time around, and even though both candidates claim to be Christians, those who oppose them would tend to argue they aren't. That's fine. People do that. It isn't necessarily right, but it happens.

But with all our attention on sexuality and sexual sin, particularly in the RCA and CRCNA, is there anything from last week's focus on sex--Trump talking about a sex tape, Trump appearing in a pornographic movie, Trump pressuring one of his wives to pose in a pornographic magazine, Guilliani saying that everyone has sexual scandals, and now the attempted humiliation of a woman whose husband was unfaithful.

It doesn't seem to matter this time around, so I'm curious as to why. And if it does, are any supporters of Trump pausing to re-consider.

I hope that came off friendly. I was trying to be direct so you'd know what I'm getting at. No hostility intended (or desired).

Stephen Hale
October 3, 2016

In Reply to Bonnie Zigterman (comment #29106)

I agree. I expected more from Think Christian. "A defense of Christians voting for Donald Trump on Think Christian? Well, that might be the sort of challenge to my own views I need."

It was not. It avoided the most salient points for those who vote in keeping with Evangelical voting priorities of the last 40 years (the man is not a Christian, doesn't love his neighbor, and oozes a lack of ethics).

Further, the claims made in the article don't stand up to reason, as Bonnie highlighted.

Stan Roam
November 2, 2016

Because people are sinners and fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23), picking a President is always a matter choosing the best, imperfect choice available for any position: pastor, teacher, spouse, employee, employeer, friendship, or other association. This is no different! Yes, we Christians need to pick the best Biblical choice ailable, one who bears Christ's name in word, but most in action. I could go into great detail, many of your posts have done this already, and I need to get to work. So let just say, ALL the choices we have for President unfortunately are far from true Biblical values. Trump regarding personal flaws and some policy ones, Hillary for personal flaws and policy reasons, so for that reason I am voting for Trump. Some reasons: limited government (we will see), prolife (although he changed after experience of friend's child), Fedreal and Supreme Court nominees (his list is very good), his cabinet is very Christian), school choice (vouchers and vocational training), revise Welfare (get people off, hand up not out), and religious, Christian freedom. We answer to God not to man! Government is not the answer! God is! These are some of my reasons for my vote. May God work on, in and through whoever becomes our government leader.

Ray Easter
November 4, 2016

Did anyone try again to write this view? There is less than a week to go. Just saying "See, now the truth is coming out about Ms. Clinton" is insufficient persuasion. He emphasizes using American products and labor. Mr. Trump voices growing frustration and disillusionment with tyrannical abuse of power and position, promising to hold people accountable. He puts forth solutions people can understand. Closing borders with a wall? It has been used with some success throughout history, and protecting your own is a Christian, God ordered position. May seem silly to sophisticates, but Trump is the candidate of the masses, not the elites. His business sense will allow him to work with everyone to get things done, tough negotiations will benefit the country. Both are God endorsed approaches. Biblical principles of taking care of the poor, the widow and the orphan will get more than lip service.
Mr. Trump will change politics for the better.
That is a Christian reason to vote for Donald Trump.

Alan Toth
December 29, 2016

So "the Donald" loves America and Christians. I am wondering where in the bible nation trumps (pardon the pun) biblical norms? Israel, God's own representative, suffered judgment and exile because it accommodated pagan culture and did as it pleased. So, biblically speaking, nation is not the starting point for truth. Does he "love" Christians? I think its more that some Christians love him because he flipped on abortion, said he supports school choice and promises to pack the supreme court with anti-abortion judges. Great if you believe that Christians are not responsible for making their means (Trump) consistent with their ends which are not issues but perspective.

America is not God's chosen nation and Trump's behavior does not display a record of someone struggling to work out a Christian approach to life and politics).

Perspective is not raw pragmatism (whatever works to win is good).

Perspective is first of all principled making honorable speech, honorable behavior and appeals to justice for all people and their social/physical environs normative for Christians.
Shame on anyone who thinks otherwise. Too many Christians sold their souls for a trumped up piece of pottage and now they get their reward. Embracing unprincipled means for good ends is never biblical and, as some evangelicals are now trying to do, cannot be cleaned up by witnessing to Trump....witnessing to what, certainly not to a prophetic, biblically fructified outlook.

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