WHY TRUMP'S NOMINATION MAY BE A GOOD THING FOR CHRISTIANS
It appears that Donald Trump will be the Republican Party presidential nominee. A multitude of opinion pieces, blogs, and articles are out today discussing the death of the Republican Party, about Evangelical Christians getting behind Trump, about Evangelicals never voting for Trump, and a whole host of other angst-ridden topics.
Although I am personally appalled by Trump’s personality and character, by most of his policies (when he is willing to try and explain them), and by his almost certain nomination, there may be some good news in all this for Christians who have traditionally been of the Republican persuasion (full disclosure – I am a registered Republican, I will probably register as an Independent after this election fiasco, and Ted Cruz was not in my top half-dozen choices):
1. As others far wiser than I have noted, Trump’s nomination, Cruz’s strong run, and Bernie Sanders’ popularity all indicate that many people are fed up with politics as usual. This means the Republicans will have to somehow re-invent themselves or be irrelevant. Although the Democrats will nominate an establishment candidate in Clinton, Sanders gave them enough of a scare that they, too, will have to re-think a lot of things. This re-invention of both parties will more than likely not take into account the so-called “Evangelical voting-block.” For some this sound as if it should be bad news. However . . .
2. Evangelicals can now fully divorce themselves from their marriage to the Republican Party. Now, if you want to stay a Republican, vote Republican, and even run for office as a Republican, more power to you. As Evangelicals, however, we need to expand our prophetic voice to address all candidates and all political parties. Too often Evangelical leaders have assumed the Republican Party and its candidates were either Evangelicals or Evangelical friendly. At times, they were. But, so what? We need to be able to speak prophetically against the Democratic abortion platform (among other issues) AND the Republican unwillingness to seriously consider some kind of health care reform, immigration reform, and social justice issues. As Evangelicals we need to hold both parties accountable. Therefore . . .
3. We may grieve over the candidate choices now given us. We can rejoice, however, in a rediscovery and a renewal of Kingdom politics, in having a prophetic voice from the political margins, and the opportunity to rediscover what the church (and every local church) is supposed to do as a community transformation agent. (Yes, all of this demands a whole bunch of developing, detailing, and debating). Therefore . . .
4. We can only hope that a new, third party will arise which incorporates the best of both the Republican and Democratic Parties. Perhaps a Party fueled by millennial outrage toward political corruption. Perhaps a Party that incorporates a holistic pro-life approach, including abortion, end-of-life dignity, poverty, racism, and other social issues. Perhaps a Party that goes beyond the caricatures of Left and Right. Would this be a “Christian” Party? Let’s hope not! Why? Because, once again, we cannot marry any party, or we lose our prophetic voice. Could it be influenced or directed or guided by biblical principles? One can only hope so. It would not in any case do so perfectly. Am I being too naïve? Probably.
So, how to vote this November? There seems to be three options for people like me: One, stay home and pray. Probably not (well, the prayer part, yes). Two, vote for the lesser of two evils. No, I am not saying that Clinton and Trump are literally evil, it is just a way to express an ethical conundrum. But, if I were to vote for either, I would have to hold my nose. You can decide for yourself which one is the lesser of “two evils.” Three, vote for or write in a third party candidate. Depends on who is available.
Bottom line, I have a lot of praying and thinking to do before Election Day!