Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
First of all, as I have made clear on this blog and on Facebook, I will not be voting for Hillary Clinton or for Donald Trump. Neither candidate is even minimally qualified to be President of the United States of America, a country I love and pray for in spite of our collective descent into gross indecency and rationalization of sin.
I will not vote for a woman who advocates for abortion under any circumstances and up until the baby is full term. I cannot vote for someone who has committed crimes by playing fast and loose with classified information that might have endangered American lives and interests. She believes that she is above the law, and voters act recklessly by placing her in a position of power. Nonetheless, I also will not vote for a man who disrespects, degrades, and dishonors women, Muslims, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and yes, even Christians, all citizens of the very country he is supposed to represent and serve. I know about his negative opinions in regard to all of these groups of people. What is his position on doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God? He has no understanding of any of these basic Christian virtues.
People ask me how I will vote since I cannot bring myself to vote for either of the two major party candidates: I will vote for a third party or write-in candidate. I’m not sure which one, but it doesn’t really matter much. I am sure that my candidate will not win, and I am almost sure that Hillary Clinton will be the next president of this nation, even though she is a person of abhorrent personal and public morals and policy positions.
I understand that many of you have come to a different conclusion. You believe that you have only two choices and that you must vote for Donald Trump no matter what he says or does or has done in the past (because Hillary). I do not agree, but I can respect that decision. Many of you are voting for Mr. Trump privately and with grief in your hearts, and like me, you are waiting and hoping for this election to be done with and for us as a nation to return, if not to status quo or to normal, at least to a more decent and gracious public dialogue.
However, I am writing now to those of you who are Christian brothers and sisters of mine and who have been vocal supporters of Donald Trump. If your family and friends and those that you influence know that you are planning to vote for Donald Trump and if these most recent revelations about his actions and his character have not dissuaded you from that decision to vote for him, then I believe you owe an explanation, not to me, but to all of those people who look to you for guidance or encouragement. Your daughters and sons, your wives, your students, maybe even your parents are looking at you and perhaps asking themselves, “Why is this person, whom I love and respect, planning to vote for a man who said that he has attempted to assault women, attempted to coerce a married woman into committing adultery, and used his powerful status as a wealthy man to commit sex crimes?” If they are not asking that question, they should be. I am sorry that you have to address these issues, especially with your children and with young people who look up to you, but please, please, know that you do.
You may know that voting for Donald Trump does not mean that you endorse or agree with his words and his actions. But your children and other young people don’t necessarily understand that distinction. Please have the conversation with them. Please tell them that grabbing a girl’s or a woman’s private parts is not acceptable behavior, that talking about women as sexual objects is not okay, that adultery and sex outside of marriage are not right and are dishonoring to God and to the persons who are participants in that act. It may be awkward and embarrassing to talk about these things with your sons and other young men, and it may be even more uncomfortable for you to have to tell your daughters that you support and love them and would never allow anyone to denigrate and insult them the way Donald Trump did a woman in those infamous tapes. Do it anyway.
You need to tell them. You look them in the eyes and you explain to them why you are voting for Mr. Trump, but also tell them why his behavior is, at best, arrogant, boastful, and lewd and at worst, criminal and wicked. Tell your daughters especially that if anyone ever behaves to them in the way that Mr. Trump says he acted toward numerous women, to be precise if anyone ever touches them inappropriately or refuses to leave them alone physically and sexually or tries to seduce them, they need to tell you or someone else who can help them. Assure them that you will believe them and protect them and stand your ground in defending them. Clarify to the young women you know and love that it’s not just “locker room talk” and that they don’t have to put up with obscene, abusive words or acts. Tell them they should never listen to anyone who counsels them to just look the other way or to pretend it didn’t happen.
Tell your sons the same. Not all men talk the way Mr. Trump talks on those tapes. Christian men do not speak about or act toward women in the ways that Mr. Trump advocates and boasts about. If Donald Trump was just “talking big” and if he did not grab women and seduce women, then he bragged about doing something evil and vile. If he did do the things he talks about on that tape, he committed sexual assault, which is both a sinful act and a crime. Either way his talk and his actions were hurtful and harmful to the woman involved and to other women he may have assaulted. If he were a redeemed Christian man, he should be placed in no position of leadership either within or outside the church. He needs all of the time he has left on this earth to repent and to learn to walk in a way that honors Christ and honors other people, people that he has grievously harmed.
Beyond the election in November, beyond Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton, this disaster of a campaign season will have an effect on the moral perceptions and the worldview of a generation of young people. If we do not instruct them explicitly and clearly in the truth, they will draw their own conclusions. Maybe they will decide that the Bible and its instructions are just “church talk”, that real men, even those who call themselves Christians, expect and accept lecherous talk and contemptuous treatment of women, as long as you can get away with it. Maybe they will decide that Jesus was just speaking empty words when he said that impure thoughts lead to impure words which lead to violent and impure actions. (See Matthew 5:21-30) And no one really cares, anyway, certainly not a holy God. It’s just “locker room talk.”
That’s what Donald Trump says. That’s what his supporters will be understood to be saying. If you are voting for the man, and if you don’t believe sexual assault is okay, you need to say so. Loudly, clearly, and repeatedly.
A Concerned Evangelical Christian