Christians: Don’t Justify Trump’s Behavior

In a recent PBS documentary on the musical Hamilton, Daveed Diggs said of the character he plays, Thomas Jefferson (a slaveholder who had children with one of his slaves…who was also a brilliant writer, politician and leader): “You don’t have to separate these things with Jefferson. He can have written several incredible documents with things that we all believe in, and he sucks.”

Daveed and Jefferson. Can't you see the resemblance?

Daveed and Jefferson. Can’t you see the resemblance?

He makes a good point, relevant to this election as well. Our Founding Fathers, who we sometimes see as perfect, weren’t. They were also gifted leaders who had to make difficult choices in a new nation.

Many people will make the comparison to Trump. (I could also write about Hillary, but I have more followers/friends who are Republicans than Democrats, so I’m going to be ignoring her for a bit here.)

Personally, I would disagree and say that Trump is not Jefferson or Washington—in my view, he has more of the failures and less of the skills/qualities needed for the job—but I realize some people feel caught between two less-than-ideal options and are picking the one they think is least damaging.

(Quick sidenote before I keep going: remember that I love and care about my friends who disagree with me politically. The things I say next may not apply to you. Even if they do, please do not read anything I say as a personal attack. We can’t do much good from a posture of defense, and besides, this is just a reminder because it’s something I’m concerned about, not a lecture.)

So, if you think Trump is the leader we need in America (or his policies are), vote for him. But, please, don’t minimize his moral failures. Don’t justify what he’s said and done. Especially if you are a Christian posting on social media, I think that confuses what people believe about our faith. I think it already has.

It’s totally fine to be vocal about politics (in a gracious way). But I’m uncomfortable with people saying Trump isn’t that bad, or someone else is worse, or those words aren’t who he really is. He is bad, comparison to others is never the point, and “out of the outflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Whether or not you think his apology for his sexual assault comments was genuinely repentant, you  can’t really say the same about his general egotism and mean-spiritedness, or the many lies he’s told and continues to tell.

A typical politician? Cynical, but maybe. I’ll grant you that. I just don’t want to see Christians justifying the actions of a typical politician. And I’ve seen a lot of them doing so, and a lot of unbelievers asking, confused, “Wait, so this is what you believe about treatment of women? About the poor, immigrants, or people who disagree with you? About pride and humility?”

Can you see the danger? Right or wrong, people are coming to conclusions about what Christianity is based on what their Christian friends say.

Again, I am not writing this to talk you out of voting for Trump. I understand why so many feel it’s their only option (although I already wrote about why I’m comfortable voting third party). I’m not even writing this to tell you to stop telling people, in person or on Facebook, that you’re voting for Trump.

But here’s a challenge for you: have the courage to hold Trump’s moral failures and your vote for him in tension. Please. Say, “You don’t have to separate these things with Trump. He is only acceptable choice I see for this nation, and he sucks,” to put it in Daveed’s words.

Let’s make political statements, not moral justifications…which is another way of saying we are representatives of God first, not a political party. Let’s say true things about our faith in how we talk about politics.

7 comments

  1. #Preach!

    And for all those saying “third party vote is a wasted vote,” Utah just might prove all y’all wrong. Also, I hate when I see people saying that. No, a vote is not wasted vote. But since you already wrote a whole piece about it, I’ll stop 🙂

  2. Sorry folks, but this is truly just another election.

    We can pretend it’s “different”, a “game-changer”, that so much more is “at stake” etc, but we are kidding yourselves. This sort of hyperventilated talk is uttered every 4 years and it becomes less compelling with each election cycle. There is nothing new under the sun.

    Even less compelling are the Christian supporters of Hillary who seem to take on several forms: a few are bravely unapologetic and outspoken in her defense, others are a bit more secretive but are privately cheering her on even if they are afraid to admit it in public, understandably so.

    The rest of the Christian #Imwithher fan boys like to spend their time guilt tripping other Christians from voting for Trump. Such lofty rhetoric too, these prophetic allusions over “pride and humility” as the author alluded to. As if Trump is the first politician to struggle with pride and humility.

    Of course, this sudden fascination over Biblical principals and politics comes from many of the same Christians who wept for joy upon Barak “I won” Obama’s election and who have reminded silent as the grave in the face of his administration’s power grabs, partisan divisiveness and unparalleled support for abortion. And no, he didn’t “help the poor” unless you consider massive hikes in health insurance to be particularly beneficial to those struggling to make ends meet.

    So please don’t waste your breath trying to guilt me out of support for Trump, loud-mouthed, vain man that he is. Trump is Obama’s legacy, a logical reaction to 8 years of big government and leftist excesses. So, for all you Christians out there who were giddy supporters for Obama knowing full well what he stood for…this Trump’s for you.

    1. Hi Mike,

      I appreciate and respect your voicing of your views, but as I read your comment, it seemed a little…angry in response to what I actually said in the post. I’m sorry if it wasn’t clear, but I wasn’t trying to talk anyone out of supporting Trump. I’m voting third party, but many people I know have good reasons for voting for him. (Those same people though, are not, in my experience, the ones who voted for Obama…and neither are many who are voting third-party, so I’m not sure who that criticism was aimed at.)

      I’ve always been fascinated with biblical principles and politics. This year, I’m focusing on what that means when Christians talk about their views. If anything, what’s “new under the sun” this election is the sheer number of Christians I’m seeing being angry, rude, and mean on social media, and that concerns me.

      I agree that this isn’t the first election where we are faced between two dishonest less-than-upstanding choices, and Trump may well be a response to Obama’s America. What I’m arguing for is civility and respect in dialogue between Christians and each other and the rest of the world. That’s all.

    2. Mike, did you even read the post? Your response seems like you did not. It comes across as a bitter anti-Hilary/Obama reply to nothing that Amy even SAID. Literally, did you bother reading the post, or just see the title and rush to the comment section?

      This seems exactly what Amy is asking people NOT to do… Yikes.

  3. Thank you for this post. I also intend to vote third-party in this election, but the bottom line is that whomever we vote for, we should be clear-eyed about that candidate’s flaws–and how our attitude toward that candidate will be perceived.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s