Apologetics,  Culture,  Ethics

Trump, Biden, and the Christian Vote

I had intended to stay out of the foray of political postings. However, I have been compelled to write on the issue because I have seen some very poor reasoning among my Christian friends, and I have been asked by a few people to share my thoughts. So, even though it is an area where bitter disagreement is prone to exist, I have become convinced that it is very necessary to think through these issues as an exercise in Christian discernment.

photo of vote going into ballot box

Two Reasons Not to Vote for Trump

Trump is not a Christian. Some people might disagree on that, but if vulgar and pompous speech is an indication of character, it seems unlikely to me that Trump has submitted to the Lord. As such, it should come as no surprise that Trump does not act like a Christian. Further, he does not prize certain character traits which Christians prize.

Does Trump’s Character Disqualify Him?

This has been argued most recently by John Piper, who argued that Trump’s pride and arrogance was equivalent to the slaughter of millions under socialism or the murder of countless children. I have addressed Piper’s article in detail in a podcast, so I would point you to that for a full discussion on the issues involved.

However, I would summarize by saying that Trump’s character is not (and has never been) excused by any Christian. Christians ought to acknowledge sin as it is. However, in a choice between two parties (and more importantly two worldviews) you must take the packages holistically. Further, character and worldview are intrinsically related (more on this later).

Has Trump’s Character Brought About Conflict and Racial Tension?

This argument can follow a variety of lines. The idea is that Trump’s character has led to an increase in racism and violence. However, looking at the polls shows that a degradation of race relations was already in progress by mid-2015, well before the primaries of the following election year (in fact the poll was already in progress while Trump announced his bid for presidency). Additionally, I would point out that it has been largely those on the Left who have been the ones who have been calling for violence, not Trump.

Instead of laying blame at the feet of Trump for the rise in violence and conflict, I would propose that the rise in violence and racial tension is traceable to secularism and to Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory in particular has been part of the go-to indoctrination at the university level for generations now. At its core, Critical Race Theory leads to perpetuated conflict between races that cannot be stopped (see #8 especially). This is unrelated to Trump (except for the fact that Trump has tried to get rid of Critical Race Theory).

The Worldview Issues at Stake in the Election

Character is certainly a consideration, but character cannot be divorced from worldview. For example, even if we accept the common sense argument that a humble, gracious man is a better leader than a proud, pompous individual—would we still come to the same conclusion if the humble, gracious man was a mass murderer every Friday? Surely the actions and policies carried out by individuals relate to their character! Hitler was viewed by Chamberlain as an honorable man who was a man of his word, but we know how that turned out—Hitler was consistent with his worldview. It frankly doesn’t matter whether he was friendly or pleasant while he followed his worldview.

Therefore, I would say that the worldview of individuals is the primary consideration for Christians. If we love our neighbors and want them to flourish, this has to be a major part of the equation. Thus, we need to consider the following aspects of worldview carefully.

Abortion

I would argue this is the primary issue for Christians. Abortion is murder, and it is especially egregious in that it is the murder of the innocent. Genesis 9:6 points out the despicable nature of murder, stating that the taking of human life is a violation of the image of God. As some of the Rabbis stated, murder is killing God in effigy.

The Republican platform is anti-abortion, while the Democratic platform is unashamedly supportive of abortion without any restriction whatsoever! For illustration purposes, both of my children were born at least 3 weeks early, so according to the Democratic position my children could have been killed for 3 more weeks simply because they were in the womb. Those 3 weeks I held my children, kissed them, and heard them cry would still be within the season of lawful death for Democrats. That is an evil position, and if there is any alternative to that, Christians must stand for that!

Biden and the Democratic platform are also for the reversal of the Hyde Amendment, which would mean that tax payer dollars would be used to fund abortion. That means that every Christian would then be directly contributing to the funding of the slaughter of babies. That should be very concerning to the Christian.

A common counter argument to this point is that Republicans are not actually antiabortion, they just say that to get votes. Well, I would point out that Republicans actually have not really had any opportunities to pass legislation again abortion or defund planned parenthood. The Senate did try to do this, but the problem is that there are Republicans who are not consistent with the Republican platform, and therefore they are for abortion. Those individuals should be voted out in primaries. They are “affectionately” referred to as RINOS. But, there have been Republicans that have been consistent and passed antiabortion legislation. And Christians should consider that a blessing!

Regardless, when it comes to supporting a worldview. Democrats do not even have a place for those who are against abortion in their ranks. It is an integral part of their worldview. As Christians, whenever we have an option to deviate from such a Satanic worldview, we should seize that opportunity.

Religious Freedom and the Equality Act

The Republican party, and President Trump in particular, is very supportive of religious liberty. Trump has signed religious freedom executive orders demonstrating this. However, on the other end of the aisle, the Left thinks religious liberty is outdated and a hindrance to progress. As soon as Democrats took the House in 2018, they made the Equality Act their priority.

The Equality Act is a preview of things to come from the Democrats should they have control, where sexual liberty will be used as a bulldozer to abolish religious liberty. The Democratic platform is unsupportive of freedom at the expense of their moral vision for the United States. See Dr. Gagnon’s commentary on the Equality Act if you think I’m joking.

 Judges who Judge, Not Legislate

From a worldview perspective, it is imperative to have judges that are righteous and function within their designed role. For many years the Left has turned the courts into an activist branch of government where laws are struck down on the basis of what is right in the eyes of the judge and not in accordance with liberty or the Constitution. Obviously that sets up disaster for a nation when the will of the nation is brought under control of the unelected few.

But over the last four years Trump has appointed Originalists to the courts. This is actually a surprise to many (like myself) who did not know if Trump was actually going to follow through on that promise in 2016! But, with a proven track record now, the Christian understands if Trump is elected, he will likely appoint those who interpret laws within their context instead of their own political preference. That is a basic (and extremely important) foundation for the flourishing of our country! On the other hand, Biden judges would be judges who have been trained in the progressive mold of interpreting laws and cases in accordance with their own view of morality. Although this may not be the most important consideration to many, Christians should not neglect the importance of this point. It makes generational differences.

Critical Theory and Critical Race Theory

Some might be surprised that this makes the list of worldview issues, but if you know anything about Critical Theory and Critical Race Theory, you will not be surprised.

I may be in the minority opinion here, but I believe this worldview issue is actually the most immediate and pressing danger. Critical Theories have been taught at the University level for years, and now we are seeing full blown and disastrous consequences. The political correctness culture is a direct result of the culture embracing a Critical Theory foundation for their worldview.

I have already linked to the reasons Critical Race Theory are disastrous, but it should be stated that this is the worldview of the Left! Trump has made a stand against Critical Race Theory, banning in from governmental circles, but the Left has made clear they are in favor of it.

It should be noted that even atheists have recognized the dangers of Critical Theory. So much so, in fact, that notable atheist and philosopher, James Lindsay came out and said he is holding his nose and voting republican and encouraging everyone he knows to do the same—simply because the Left has embraced Critical Race Theory and its intersectional insanity!

It is not Donald Trump who has caused racial division, but rather the presence of Critical Theory and its penchant to seeing racism everywhere. Putting the Left in positions of power to teach these disastrous views will bring about more conflict, not less.

Israel

This last point will differ for everyone, but I think it is important to consider. For the longest time Israel has been the only democracy in the Middle East, and has been in short supply of allies. Thanks to President Trump’s efforts, there have been historic peace deals between Israel and some of the surrounding Islamic nations. But, Israel is a very important ally, and many on the Left are not interested in maintaining such a close tie.

On a theological level, and I know I differ from my covenantal brethren here, but I personally continue to see the Abrahamic covenant as active. Thus, Genesis 12:3 remains in play. Those who mistreat Israel will be cursed, and those who bless Israel will receive God’s blessing. I think that Scriptural principle remains in play even when Israel is sinfully rebellious (as they are today). Admittedly, not everyone would agree with my theological assessment here, but I wanted to be thorough in presenting the various worldview issues at play.

The Christian Testimony to Unbelievers

Some Christians argue at length that believers are throwing away their testimony by voting for Trump. Because of Trump’s character flaws it is assumed that Christians will be viewed as hypocrites by their neighbors. However, I’m not sure that should be the driving factor. Faithfulness to God’s standard should be the primary goal, along with love for one’s neighbor. Thus, I should vote in a way which results in less sin and harmful consequences for me and my neighbor.

Further, I’m not sure unbelievers are so simplistic that they would think Christians are hypocrites. I have found tremendous opportunities in explaining to unbelievers why many Christians will be voting for Trump. I explain to them that while Christians do not condone the character of Trump (and hold their nose in that regard), they value the life of the unborn, they value true biblical justice, and they value the freedom which leads to flourishing of the culture. Non-Christians are more intelligent than some would apparently assume. Being made in the image of God, unbelievers are capable of understanding nuance and priority.

What is a Vote?

Part of the whole discussion on how a Christian should vote centers on what a vote is. Nobody (and I mean nobody) has ever argued that a vote is a complete endorsement of every aspect of an individual or their position. I will be honest, I am not even sure I’ve ever found anyone I completely agree with on (that includes my fellow seminary professors)! So, obviously voting for an individual is not necessarily saying you agree with them on every issue.

Merriam-Webster defines a vote as, “a usually formal expression of opinion or will in response to a proposed decision.” This is a helpful definition because it targets the fact that a vote relates to one’s opinion regarding a decision.

Therefore, a vote does not necessitate agreement. But, given the present decision, everyone is allowed to have a preference between the alternatives. That is the whole point when someone says they are voting for the “lesser of two evils.” In fact, when it comes to politics and the sinfulness of man, “the lesser of two evils” is the only option.

So, when you are voting you are not voting for candidates per se (although that is part of the decision making process), but you are voting for worldviews and policies. A Christian, in my opinion, can always vote because there is always an opinion to be had—a lesser of two evils.

What about voting third party or not voting? As I have stated in a recent podcast concerning John Piper’s article, I think it is within a Christian’s right to vote third party or not vote. However, I think it is a rather silly endeavor. Further, I don’t think it is very wise.

There may come a time in history where a third party has a chance at winning, but at the moment it is a decision between two worldviews as exemplified between the Democratic party and the Republican party. If you decide not to choose between those two, you have indeed made a choice, and in my opinion might not get another.  

Concluding thoughts

We are often told that each election is the most important election of our lifetime, so it sometimes feels like the boy who cried wolf. But, as one Christian said recently, in this case, there is no denying the wolf is at the door. And based on the Christian reasoning I have seen, I am afraid Jesus’s words are more true than ever, “the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light” (Luke 16:8).   

Peter serves at Shepherd's Theological Seminary in Cary, NC as the professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages. He loves studying the Bible and helping others understand it. He also runs the Bible Sojourner podcast.

12 Comments

  • Theresa Stanton

    I discovered your website, and subsequently, this page, while searching for information about King Ahasuerus for my Sophomore Theology students. I found your comments on Trump to be insightful. I voted for him as the better of two evils, but, as you point out, his record proves the opposite. Thank you for enlightening me.

  • Charlotte Michie

    I agree with your assessment. Well written and thoughtful. I think John Piper is way off the mark on many things so it does not surprise me about his views on voting. Unfortunately, there are influential men like Al Molher who are implementing reparations through His seminary for black students. This was written in Reformation Charlotte . Article here: https://reformationcharlotte.org/2020/10/13/southern-baptist-seminary-implements-program-to-pay-reparations-to-black-students/
    My question is since Mr. Mohler was the keynote speaker last week at the 360 conference at Shepherd’s Theological Seminary does this mean that Colonial Baptist Church and STS support this view of Mr. Mohler?
    Critical Race Theory is very dangerous and leads to actions like social justice and reparations. It is racist and the Bible makes it clear:
    Galatians 3:28, NASB: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    • Peter Goeman

      I personally see a significant difference between reparations and scholarships. I think someone would be hard pressed to argue they are the same.

      Regardless, just because someone speaks at a conference does not mean the organizer of the conference agrees with the speaker on everything. That is actually not even possible.

    • Peter Goeman

      COVID can definitely factor into the discussion, but I would not rank it as a top level issue comparatively. Many democrats have said Trump responded as well as could be expected to COVID, but Biden hypothetically could do the same thing so I don’t think its a partisan issue. However, in comparing the Red and Blue states, most statistics show the Red states have responded better to the COVID crisis, so that would be an argument for Trump–but I don’t think it is as important.

      • Clint

        Red states have not responded better, what? They are on the rise while blue states rise less at this time. At the onset, Covid entered via Blue states because, surprise surprise, the most people pass through those avenues and this virus spreads by close contact. Further to that point, Kushner was already found out having restricted PPE from being delivered to Blue states during the early days of the pandemic in a plan to highlight how the Blue states were being hit harder by Covid. The political optics on Covid are absolutely a consideration for why leadership of one direction is superior to the other.

  • Sean Haney

    Thank you – I agree.
    Trump has mentioned more of the sovereignty of God in four years than all the Popes combined in my lifetime, and that’s a long time.

  • Michael Roe

    Peter, excellent article brother. My thoughts are the same. I would only add, that while President Trump has demonstrated some significant character flaws, I would argue he has demonstrated far greater virtue than Biden, the Democrats, and many Republicans. I think this is missing in a big way from the evaluations of people like John Piper, David French, and other evangelical Never Trumpers. It must be considered.

    For example, in many instances he has done what he said he would do. He actually has kept many of the campaign promises he made. I wish most Republicans were half as truthful as that. Not only that, but he honors our country (a biblical position I would argue). He has appointed good people and he has helped pass just legislation. These actions speak louder than his words to me.

    I think a big part of the problem is that the church today wants genteel instead of gentle, soft men instead of men who will fight. The ironic thing is that when you watch Trump interact with people and when you listen to the direct testimony of people that have worked closely with him he shows himself in many instances to be gentle and kind. Even in the recent 60 Minutes interview where his interviewer was very adversarial, watch how he did it. He confronted her and called her out. But his tone of voice was gentle and restrained. I would say that he also has demonstrated humility recently. Think about the response after Vice-President Pence’s debate. He was lauded. How did Trump respond? Certainly not in vainglory like Saul (1 Samuel 18:8). Instead, he praised Pence.

    In sum, is he perfect, certainly not. Should we lionize him, put him on a pedestal, or put our hope in him. Clearly no. But I do think credit is owed where it is due. He has gained my respect and I will certainly vote for him come November 3. Thank you for the well written article. I look forward to sharing it.

    • Peter Goeman

      That’s a good point, Michael. I agree, that Trump is not the most evil person that he is often portrayed to be. However, I think that is also the power of the argumentation–even if he was the worst of how they portray him, the results still are better for humanity and the country, and the Christian worldview than the alternative.

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