It is sad to see so many fellow evangelicals falling for Donald Trump’s presumptuous promises to make America great again. This was particularly evident by Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr’s glowing introduction (which later became and endorsement) of Trump at a recent event. That anyone should fall for Trump’s bombastic and simplistic rhetoric, regardless of their religious beliefs, is particularly sad. That some evangelical Christians are doing so is exceptionally sad and feeds into the secularist critique that evangelicals are uneducated bumpkins not worthy of a voice in the public square.
Donald Trump has made significant chunks of money through gambling. From the biblical example of Roman soldiers casting lots after the Lord’s crucifixion, Christian thought and doctrine has condemned proliferate and wasteful personal and governmental financial practices. This 2011 Baylor University study demonstrates that one additional pathological gambler costs society $9,393 per year. There are an untold number of individuals with this problem in the U.S., as well as internationally, and the trickle down effects of gambling on society include divorce, financial bankruptcy, family breakdown, and numerous other social costs. Trump’s Atlantic City casino also has featured strippers. Since when do Christians support the marketing of sexual immorality and candidates who support this perversion which degrades men and women?
Until the current election cycle, Trump supported abortion, including partial birth abortion, same sex marriage, single-payer health care, and has made campaign contributions to Democratic Party bigwigs as varied as Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton. While he has recently and laudably decried the persecution of Christians in Islamic countries, he has zero track record of financially and rhetorically supporting evangelical public policy positions in the past. Donald Trump is a publicity hungry demagogue who will seek to sucker any constituency of low information voters with bloviating promises but no intellectually or morally credible means of delivering on them within our constitutional government framework. Evangelicals who support Trump are hopeless idiotic and divorced from biblical standards of government.
Many of the Trump’s problems also apply to evangelicals supporting Ted Cruz. Cruz, for whatever personal reasons, has alienated his colleagues in the GOP by spouting infantile Alinskyite rhetoric against an amorphous establishment and a mythological “Washington cartel.” Having worked in Washington, DC before, I can tell you “Washington” is not organized or effective enough to be a cartel. I hope someone asks Cruz if he can name five Democratic and Republican Senators and Representatives he can call on to help him pass legislation. Cruz denounces Obama’s executive actions, but his political rhetoric indicates he would respond to Obama’s imperial overreach with his own imperial overreach given the Texas Senator’s inability to get along with his congressional colleagues. He is more concerned with attacking disgraced and soon to be retired Nevada Senator Harry Reid and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who is highly unlikely to be Speaker of the House again, instead of saying how he will work with Congress to enact conservative policies.
Evangelicals also need to get beyond expecting presidential candidates to recite Bible verses until they are blue in the face and have a compellingly emotional personal testimony. The Bible must be the foundation of our political policymaking objectives, but we must make those objectives attractive and intellectually appealing to voters who do not share our religious perspectives. It is understandable that some evangelicals are disappointed that our political priorities have not been implemented to the degree we would have liked or have not been achieved at all. I would remind my fellow evangelicals that God’s kingdom is not of this world and that we should not be so pathetically personally needy that we need emotional validation from political candidates. We should continue lobbying our evangelical political and policymaking leaders with intellectually credible arguments for implementing our policy objectives by documenting the positive benefits they will bring to our nation and world instead of petulantly retreating into infantile whining when things don’t go our way at the first try. As our faith is geared toward eternity, our political involvement and accomplishments must focus on long-term impact and endurance instead of making an immediate splash.
The next Republican President must be able to articulate evangelical and conservative values in a way that appeals to our best nature. Such an individual must have real expertise in policymaking, have a compelling personal life story, be winsome in their personal commitment to the Lord without coming across as a sanctimonious prick, and be able to appeal to Americans of all races, religions, and intellectual perspectives who are dismayed at the egregious damage done to our country by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and their like-minded compatriots. We need a President who believes in American exceptionalism, understands the frustrations of Americans from all walks of life during the past eight years, realistically understands the foreign policy and national security problems our country has gotten itself into during the Obama-Clinton Administration, and has the courage, wisdom, and vision to restore America to its leading role internationally. The only individual falling into this category is Marco Rubio whom many Democrats have said is the GOP candidate they fear the most. Our brains, next to personal salvation in Jesus, are the most important gifts we receive from God. Electability, while adhering to and living out our values, and having substantive knowledge and credible solutions to domestic and international problems MUST be the criteria evangelicals use in selecting the President. It’s time for evangelicals to use their brains, instead of petulant rhetoric and emotional victimization, reject Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and enthusiastically recognize that Marco Rubio is the best hope for evangelical Christians to achieve our political and social objectives for our country and the world.