Now that the 2020 election is over, it’s time to give some insight into what I think about how Christians voted in this major election (presidential). This new series at The Essential Church, titled “Faith And Politics,” is designed to help Christians think about the connection or relationship between faith (their spiritual convictions) and politics.
There’s a lot that I can say regarding the interplay of faith and politics, but it’s likely the case that you want to get to the issue at hand: that is, the title.
Pro-life and pro-trump: christian hypocrisy in the 2020 election
As I said in my sermon, “The Gospel Agenda,” some Christians committed a great inconsistency. What was that great inconsistency? They voted Republican because they’re pro-life, yet they voted pro-Trump. Now some may not be so quick to see the problem here, but hear me out (or rather, read my understanding before you disagree).
Those who voted for Republicans (Christians, that is) did so because in many ways, they have become traditional, single-issue voters in that they vote for the political party that emphasizes they are pro-life and anti-abortion. Republicans, in truth, are really more anti-surgical procedure than they are anti-abortion in its truest sense, but that’s another subject for another post. They believe their Christian conviction drives them to vote for the party that is opposed to murdering innocent life (as many evangelicals put it). So to them, it’s obvious: no matter what the other issues are on the ballot, “vote Republican because Republicans will protect babies.”
And yet, Republicans, in their zeal to fight for the unborn, also voted for someone who really doesn’t fit Christian conviction at all. This is true for a few reasons, chief among them being the fact that he says he’s never asked God for forgiveness.
trump isn’t christian
This is going to break a few hearts, but it deserves mentioning: Trump isn’t a Christian President. This has been said by some of the most conservative preachers such as Donnie Swaggart, Pastor of Family Worship Center and a part of the SonLife Broadcasting Network (SBN) team. He’s not the only one, but he’s one of many who have analyzed President Trump’s actions and concluded that Trump is not Christian.
But not only do we have the assessment of a pro-Trump conservative Pastor; we also have Trump’s own statement. President Trump was asked at the Family Leadership Summit in 2015, “Have you ever asked God for forgiveness,” and he responded with the words,
“That’s a tough question. I’m not sure I have. I just go and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so. I think if I do something wrong, I think I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t. Now when I take — when we go in church and when I drink my little wine, which is about the only wine I drink, and have my little cracker, I guess that’s a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed, OK? But, you know, to me that’s important. I do that. But, in terms of officially, see, I could say absolutely — and everybody, I don’t think in terms of that. I think in terms of ‘let’s go on and let’s make it right.'”
The following year, in a CNN interview, Trump said, “I have a great relationship with God. I have great relationship with the Evangelicals. I like to be good. I don’t like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don’t do a lot of things that are bad. I try to do nothing that is bad.”
“I’m not sure I have,” he says. “I don’t bring God into that picture,” he says when discussing asking God for forgiveness. “I am good,” and “I don’t do a lot of things that are bad,” Trump says. But clearly, in these answers, it’s clear that Trump doesn’t know what it means to be a sinner who has done wrong, that his sin put Jesus on the Cross, and that no matter how good he tries to be, he will sin. From the quotes above (read them yourself), Trump doesn’t understand that just aiming to be good and that being sufficient is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Christian message. No one is saved by “just trying to go on from there and do a good job.” No amount of good works can save us. As Paul says in Ephesians 2, we are saved by grace, and that it is not of ourselves and “not of works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8).
So if Trump says, “I’m not sure I have,” then he hasn’t. He says he has a great relationship with God, that he’s Christian, Protestant, and Presbyterian, but anyone who can say that should understand what it means to be a sinner and what it means to receive God’s forgiveness. If Trump cannot articulate that, then he isn’t Christian and he isn’t saved, according to Scripture.
Christians, check these words of Trump’s against Scripture. He tries to smooth things out with scripted responses, but the answers don’t add up.
Here’s the problem: if President Trump isn’t a Christian, then how can Christians vote for him? I ask this because this argument has been used against Democratic candidates in years’ past: “So-and-so isn’t Christian and so I, in good conscience, cannot vote for him,” I’ve been told by Republican friends and colleagues. But now that the shoe is on the other foot, why is it that those same Republican friends and colleagues (Christian, mind you) can’t see the hypocrisy?
How can Christians vote for Republicans “because they’re pro-life,” yet vote for Trump despite the fact that he’s “non-Christian”? If you’re going to vote Christian conviction in one area, you should be committed to voting your Christian conviction in all areas.
This 2020 election was something to see unfold, but I was particularly saddened by the fact that over 70 million people voted for this non-Christian President. Now, I’m aware that some of the vote comes from those of other faiths (Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, pagan, atheist, etc.), but a huge portion of Christians voted for Trump again, just as they did in 2016. And my question is not to those of other faiths, but to those of the Christian faith: how can you, clinging to Christian conviction, vote pro-life and anti-abortion procedures yet still vote for a secular President?
The inconsistency is clear: Some Republican Christians voted against their Christian conviction. And so, if they can vote against their Christian conviction, how can they condemn their Christian brother and sister who voted for the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden? How can these same Republican Christians, voting inconsistently on the ballot, condemn Christians who vote for a world in which everyone gets a right to choose how to live their lives, despite their own personal convictions against abortion? How can Republican Christians, choosing to vote for an un-Christian President, condemn Christians who vote to give women rights over their own bodies? Does not God say that we all will give an account for the deeds we have done in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10)? How is it un-Christian to vote for someone else to have the right to choose, when accountability lies with the person who chooses to abort their baby and not the person, party, or President that leaves room for the choice?
President Trump isn’t Christian and has never asked God for forgiveness in his life (he says). Yet, he poses for a photo-op with a Bible outside a church he rarely frequents and Christians just love him for it. He did it simply because he wanted the visual. In fact, he has only attended the church twice publicly. According to St. John’s Episcopal Church Bishop Mariann Budde regarding Trump’s attendance at the church behind the Bible photo-op, “The only time that President Trump has been at St. John’s church as president was on the morning of his inauguration.”
In contrast, there’s Joe Biden, who is Roman Catholic (and Christian). On Election Day, Biden attended Catholic Mass, without posing for a Bible photo-op. Biden has said that his faith and the Catholic social doctrine are what keep him grounded. He believes that his faith should be modeled in how he treats everyone, no matter their religious or secular beliefs.
So, Christians, how could some of us vote for someone that opposes our strongest Christian convictions instead of a candidate who meets them? And how then, do we justify such an inconsistent, hypocritical vote as “Christian”?