“As a follower of Jesus I believe a vote must be based on character, representation, and principles.”
This is not a hit piece detailing every scandal and every mistake Trump has ever made. As a Christian. I decided about two months ago that I could not vote Donald J. Trump to be President no matter the consequences.
Even if Hillary Clinton wins, and Biblical social values are thrown out of society forever. Today, I am even more concrete in my decision.
Here are three specific reasons I do not believe Christians should vote for Trump and why I will not.
Firstly, character matters.
“No one is perfect” is a cliché we toss around often when we want to excuse or justify imperfection. However, those we choose to be leaders for us should be judged on their character.
This means that we look not only at actions and words but at the usual attitude and overall behavior of the person. A candidate might think otherwise, but I believe even his or her past should be part of the national discussion when choosing a President.
The character of Donald J. Trump is obvious. Up until this year, Trump’s tweeting history has been full of horribly mean-spirited and indefensible bullying. Trump has degraded women that he disagrees with including Rosie O’Donnell, Carly Fiorina, and Megyn Kelly. Trump was degrading to his opponents in the Republican primary instead of behaving with mutual respect and dignity.
If you listen to people who have worked closely with Trump in the past, excluding immediate family members, you will hear that Trump would often cheat people, harass them, and break promise after promise.
And it is well-documented that Trump would often do ‘whatever was possible’ to get the job done and come out of it on top when building his luxurious buildings, even if it meant going into bankruptcy or bribing city officials.
With the newly released tape of Trump boasting about grabbing girls by their genitals and getting away with it because he’s famous, Trump’s character has finally come into question to a larger audience.
Yes, the tape is from 2005, and we all said things that year I am sure we regret. But did we joke that sexual assault toward a married woman is acceptable and are we running for President of the United States?
Even still, let’s say his video of apology is sincere and contrite and not a political move, have we had enough time to test and prove that Trump’s character has matured since then and that he is fit to be Commander-in-Chief?
Even in his apology, Trump shifts attention to the character of former President Bill Clinton, as if to say, “Look he’s worse! I may have been offensive, but he is more offensive.”
Secondly, representation matters.
When we vote for a city council member or even U.S. Representative it is evident that we are trying to choose someone who represents us including our values, ideologies, and even our experiences. The same is true when voting for a President, or should be.
Even if you do not like any of the three choices running who are on all 50 state ballots (Trump, Johnson, Clinton) the choice before you is to choose someone who might best represent YOU.
Do you believe Donald Trump represents you?
I’ve heard some say ‘yes’ because they believe he tells it like it is. “He speaks for the common man,” they say, and “He’s one of us.” Read his own thoughts on matters of faith and see if you believe as he believes.
“Why do I have to repent or ask for forgiveness if I am not making mistakes?”
“When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it. I always get even.”
“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
“Part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”
In June of 2016, a reporter explained that part of the requirement for salvation is to seek forgiveness. Trump responded with rhetoric about having the overwhelming support of Evangelical leaders. Trump continually seems to find his value in his popularity. For instance, if he wins big with Christians then he must be a real Christian. If he has the endorsements of Evangelical pastors, Trump must be an Evangelical.
Since Trump has such large crowds at his campaign stops, then he must be the right answer for America. That kind of thinking represents an extraordinarily immature — even dangerous — character and does not represent people of the Christian faith. I am not questioning his sincerity of faith, which I think I could do justifiably. I simply believe a Christian that believes in the Bible and follows Jesus’ example as best he or she can should not cast their vote — a sign of agreement and endorsement — for someone who does not represent him or her.
In fact, a vote for Trump could easily be interpreted by non-Christians as a rejection of Christian morality. Harsh, but true.
Lastly, principles matter.
It is not sufficient to vote for someone as a protest against another option. Voting for Trump to stop Hillary is not a Christian principle; it’s choosing the lesser of two evils. Show me where that is taught to be a virtue in the Bible.
And if you believe in such a behavior where do you draw the line? It is also not good enough to vote for someone based on a promise of doing something you agree with when they have zero history of believing in it themselves. If he doesn’t share your principles, then you cannot expect him to fight for them.
Do you expect someone who brags about not praying, though he believes in God, to keep his promise of protecting your right to pray on public property when push comes to shove? It wouldn’t be his priority at least. Is it wise to place your faith and endorsement in someone because they promise to protect the tax-exempt status of your church or charity when his charity is under investigation for fraud?
Is it principled to trust Trump to have your back when the federal government impedes on your rights though Trump openly brags about donating to politicians so he can control them? By the way, he has donated to liberal politicians who don’t share our Christian values including Senator Hillary Clinton just as much as he has donated to conservative politicians who do. Principles matter. Unfortunately, we don’t know what Trump believes in other than himself, which might be the whole point.
We don’t know what Trump’s principles are. He could become the kind of politician who will do whatever is most popular or most agreeable for his own prospects, which is how he has conducted his business.
Consider these few scripture verses and think about your principles, Trump’s character, and if he represents you:
“Leave them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:14
“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.” Titus 3:10
“Do nothing from selfishness or out of conceit and vanity, but with humility regard others as better than yourself.” Philippians 2:3
A few folks have told me to consider VP candidate Mike Pence and some of the inner circle members of Trump’s team. I have. Unfortunately, choosing Christian people to join your team during an election and hanging with Christian pastors during an election doesn’t mean you’ve earned my vote as a Christian in this election.
Had there been a history of Trump seeking counsel from these pastors before choosing to run for President there would be cause to reconsider, but there isn’t. Hear me here; I’m not saying I believe only Christians should be President. That isn’t necessarily true. But as a Christian my vote is sacred, and I must consider if Trump or Hillary actually deserve it and if I trust either of them.
Just so you know, I am a non-denominational, Protestant Pastor in Oklahoma. I am 34, married with kids. I am a conservative and registered Republican. I have a lot at stake in this election. I cannot, will not, must not vote for Donald J. Trump to be President even though I fear what a Hillary presidency would do to our Republic.
Also, I was not a Cruz supporter, and he plays no factor in my decision. Still, everyone must vote according to their own conscience. I hope I have laid out my opinion well enough to show that I do not believe Christians should vote for Trump, but that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t, and it doesn’t mean I will judge you if you do.
Comment your opinions and share this article on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit so we can have a strong, respectful discussion, in particular among the Christian community. Also, my views are my own and do not represent that of my ministry or organizations.