On January 24, 2016 I heard the political commentators on CNN talking about which of the candidates for the Republican nomination for President would win the “Evangelical Voting Bloc.” I started this blog post that night, but I have not been able to let go of it and move on.
It’s now September 5, 2016, and for 8 months my thinking has been consumed with the thought of what the current election is doing to the Evangelical church. I’ve rewritten that first post and am attaching what I hope is my final draft. I started Meanderings in 2009 as place to process my own “random thoughts” so now I would welcome yours!
I’m taking a risk with this one because I’ve been told that I should never talk about either religion or politics in public. This one does both. I feel like I need to publish it anyway because, as they say, “It’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.” I simply need to tell it – once and for all.
Whats an Evangelical Voting Bloc?
I submitted it to a blog on Patheos.com called Unfundamentalist Christians and it was published on September 26, the night of Trump’s first debate with Hillary Clinton.
10 Responses to What’s an Evangelical Voting Bloc? Comments (RSS)
I just noticed that I wrote this exactly ONE year ago today. The Evangelicals got their “Cyrus” elected. Right now I’m listening to the Congressional hearings on the Affordable Care Act. I’m waiting to hear Spicer’s second White House Press conference and then driving to Quartzsite again … where I was when I wrote this last year.
From now on I’m thinking of Donald as CYRUS Trump … and I plan to find out what the Evangelical Voting Bloc is going to do now … because I doubt that they are a part of the “Women’s Marchers” … who are very clear about what they are doing to hold our officials accountable to the real values of the “vast majority of the American oeople.” (Bernie Sanders) https://www.womensmarch.com/100
It’s all over now and Donald Trump is our President-elect. I decided that I would sit down answer Bill’s question about why a Christian would vote for such a man.
Bill Spady posted his question on September 12, 2016 at 8:04 pm:
“As a ‘conscious’ human being, I remain open to a reasoned argument as to why ANYONE who purports to be a Christian could or would vote for Donald Trump. By all appearances, statements, and behaviors, he appears to the be the absolute antithesis of what we know about Jesus and what Christians profess to believe in. What allows them to vote for such a shallow, crude, bigoted man?”
The answer Bill’s question has to do with the pagan king Cyrus. I had never heard of this Old Testament king until I asked my brother and sister-in-law that same question. They sent me a statement that Dr. James Dobson had published on the American Pastor’s Network.
Oddly enough I can no longer find it there, but I did keep a copy. If anyone wants to know why Evangelical Christians voted for Trump, this is it. What Dobson doesn’t rally make clear is that it is really all about a Supreme Court that they think will reverse Roe vs. Wade and as many gay rights as possible, but “Trump Christians” will seldom come out and say that.
A Christian Pastor’s Analysis of the U.S. Election Drama
By: Dr. James Dobson
IS TRUMP GOOD FOR AMERICA?
When I first heard that Trump (DT) was entering the race last year, I told my wife that perhaps it was a good thing for the party and America. I knew that he was not a “saint,” but I thought that he would be like a bull in a china shop. He is a disrupter and I believe America could use a fresh thinker especially in the political arena. I didn’t think he would get the nomination, but that he would shake up politics as usual. I was correct on the shaking up!
Lance Wallnau likens him to a biblical Cyrus. Someone who is dynamically used of God even though not perceived by many as a God follower. God has used many people in history that I would probably not like or agree with. I’m not sure I would have liked all the disciples, or David, or Moses. Somehow, God did not seem compelled to consult with me on His choices!
I have always admired Winston Churchill. He is seen as one of the greatest national leaders in the 20th century. Last year, I had the privilege of going through the War Museum in London. Winston is a key feature. His life is controversial. He was not always celebrated as a great leader. He was a bombastic, cigar smoking, at times crude, even misogynistic leader. It is alleged that he told off color stories to his children before bedtime! A woman once told him he was disgustingly drunk. His response was “My dear, you are disgustingly ugly, but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly!”
There are many websites that discuss the outlandish comments and activities of this great world leader. But, he had exactly what was needed to stop Hitler at the Channel, to rouse a nation to never give up and to partner with America to find final victory in Europe. You probably wouldn’t want him as your pastor, maybe not even your father, but he was the right leader for that moment in England’s history. Such a brazen man that would go up to the roof of his quarters in central London and smoke cigars as Hitler’s air force bombed all around him. I’m not sure I would have voted for him…. but he was the right man!
I think it would be awesome to have a righteous leader, one that understood the intricacies of the economy, health care, defense, immigration, with great sensitivity to religious institutions, a heart for the poor, a vision for the future. If that leader was a praying person, formidable in the word of God and loved the local church, I would rejoice! I do not think that is the choice we will have in November.
Instead….we will look for someone who is imperfect, yet will fit the times we are living in. Particularly, that ‘whoever’ we vote for, will be someone who might possibly have the opportunity to appoint up to three Supreme Court justices. That could radically shape our culture in America for the next 30 years. The America of our grandchildren could be very different….and that may not be good. We cannot stand on the sidelines. A non-vote is a passive vote for a direction we may very well regret.
So…is Donald Trump good for America? I honestly believe that he has been already. He has shaken the political system. Do his comments offend me? At times! Do I agree with all he says? Not at all! But could he be a “Cyrus” being raised up by God to preserve America? Nobody liked Gen. Patton, but he sure WAS an instrument of the United States for the right things.
This I know. I will vote for the best chance for America. I will pray for our leaders as I have already. In the end – God will continue to be my source and my hope. I do believe that God has had a hand in America’s history. I hope and pray that He will also have a saving hand in America’s future.
That was the text of the post on the American Pastor’s Network. It was later reported that a woman named Paula White had “led Donald Trump to the Lord.”
Here’s Dobson follow-up statement on Trump’s alleged conversion:
“Only the Lord knows the condition of a person’s heart. I can only tell you what I’ve heard. First, Trump appears to be tender to things of the Spirit. I also hear that Paula White has known Trump for years and that she personally led him to Christ. (Paula White was at one of the rallies I attended and she explicitly told of Trump’s accepting the Lord as his personal Savior. Fred)
“Do I know that for sure? No. Do I know the details of that alleged conversion? I can’t say that I do.
“But there are many Christian leaders who are serving on a faith advisory committee for Trump in the future. I am among them. There are about 45 of us that includes Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress, Jack Graham, Ben Carson, James Robison, Jerry Johnson, and many others whom you would probably know.
“We’ve all agreed to serve. How will that play out if Trump becomes president? I don’t know. It is a good start, I would think.
“If anything, this man is a baby Christian who doesn’t have a clue about how believers think, talk and act. All I can tell you is that we have only two choices, Hillary or Donald. Hillary scares me to death.
“And, if Christians stay home because he isn’t a better candidate, Hillary will run the world for perhaps eight years. The very thought of that haunts my nights and days. One thing is sure: we need to be in prayer for our nation at this time of crisis.”
That, Bill, is why Christians voted for Trump.
So … before I leave this for the day I decided to look up the story of Cyrus. If you’re not already scared enough, just change the name of Cyrus to Donald and think about who his “Christian” advisors want him to be …
Isaiah 45:1-7 New International Version (NIV)
45 “This is what the Lord says to his anointed,
Cyrus,[Donald] whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
and to strip kings of their armor,
to open doors before him
so that gates will not be shut:
I will go before you
and will level the mountains[a];
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you hidden treasures,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
For the sake of Jacob my servant,
of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
and bestow on you a title of honor,
though you do not acknowledge me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the Lord, do all these things.
It’s 4 AM on Election Day 2016 and I couldn’t get back to sleep. It always helps me to get up and write … and this morning I feel like I need to go back and reconnect with what I wrote on January 24th.
When I first wrote this post I called it “My Journey” because it was about my dad and how I was raised. It was not intended to be about politics because I never really believed that the Evangelical church would sell its soul like it has done.
I have a little notebook I call my journal of “Positive Aspects.” When something really awful happens I write a short statement about what happened – then go on to write as much as I can about what the “positive aspects” might be when I can distance myself from the immediate pain.
Right now two short statements come to mind:
“Donald Trump has split the Evangelical Church.”
“Donald Trump has given an army of hateful people permission to hate.”
If I were to start writing about the positive aspects of the first one I could write quite a lot. Trump has opened a conversation that the church might never have been able to have without him. I know that’s true because for the past month or so I have participated in two such conversations:
So I think the the positive aspect is that Christians, Evangelicals in particular, may finally have to look at some of the antiquated doctrines that divide.
But I can’t imagine there being a positive aspect to the second situation. I hated to even write it but unfortunately I think it is true. Trump has stirred up anger and hatred that I couldn’t imagine existing in our country when I first wrote this post over 9 months ago. I don’t know much about the 2nd Amendment – and it’s never crossed my mind to own a gun – but there’s more to it than that. I understand that the 2nd Amendment has to do with arming a militia in order to protect citizens from a government that might take away their rights ….
And it scares me that might be what some people think is happening now.
As a ‘conscious’ human being, I remain open to a reasoned argument as to why ANYONE who purports to be a Christian could or would vote for Donald Trump. By all appearances, statements, and behaviors, he appears to the be the absolute antithesis of what we know about Jesus and what Christians profess to believe in. What allows them to vote for such a shallow, crude, bigoted man?
Thank you for wording this question so well, Bill. This was the question that prompted me to write during the Republican debates in January. Since then things have only gotten worse. I’m not sure where to go from here …
Did Trump REALLY say that if elected he would repeal the Johnson Amendment …. the one prohibiting non-profit organizations (ie. churches) from endorsing political candidates??? What’s next? Perhaps deducting a tithe from your paycheck before you can get into heaven …. or being excommunicated if you vote “wrong.”
Yep … it looks like he really said it: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/full-text-trump-values-voter-summit-remarks-227977
Not voting for Donald Trump means I voted for the Democratic “ticket.” That’s not what I want to do. My vote is a vote FOR a candidate. I cannot vote for Trump. I won’t. THAT is my statement.
Guilt was the motivator back in the day. A list of don’ts was inserted to our Bibles. It took 50 years to clean my “record book”, twenty years to form Christianity as God has intended.
I refuse to stand in line with the HATERS, nor the empty-headed groupies. Here I stand okay with standing by myself, but wondering where the others like me are.
Oh, who woulda thought, there’s a thinker living right next door…back in the day.
THANK YOU for this, Beth!
I’m having a conversation with another friend about WHY I feel so compelled to write about all of this. What occurs to me is that I’m not trying to convince anyone about anything. I’m just trying to wrap words around my own belief system. If I’m trying to explain anything to anyone,it’s to myself … and maybe even to my dad … (and “through him” … to God??)
In order to do that I have to be able to talk to people like you! I love that you say you’re OK standing by yourself – but that you’re wondering where the others like you are.” Well, you found me 🙂 !
I don’t define myself as “Left Wing” … and I know it’s useless to try discussing anything with the “Right Wing.” I’m just “leaning to the left” on the continuum … and I guess I’m hoping to be heard by other Christians who are “leaning to the right” ….