I was driving through Lynden, WA on my way to Vancouver, BC on Saturday, October, 29th. I was punching through the radio preset buttons (in Denise’s car), trying to keep listening to a program on NPR. As you approach Vancouver, those stations start to fade, being replaced by Canadian stations. However, one button that I pushed was a popular Christian radio station in that area. Lynden happens to be the most evangelical small town in Washington State. It was also, no coincidence, was the location of a huge Trump rally a couple of months ago.
When I crossed the station on the dial, there was a syndicated preacher giving a loud and sometimes, blusterous message about how a real Christian has only one choice in this election and that is to vote for Donald Trump. To do otherwise would be turning you back on God and his Church. I felt an uncomfortable chill go up my spine when I heard that, even though I hear such rhetoric from other sources daily.
I must first describe my personal political perspective. I do not claim any political party orientation or support. I am listed as an independent. I used to be a Republican because I was led to believe—like many others—that was the only party that a good Christian could belong to. It is not. God doesn’t have a party.
We live in a very partisan age in America. I honestly believe that we are at a point where the only thing that matters in politics anymore is seeing that their party wins. Winning at all cost and no holds barred is the political mantra. Doing what is best for the people in this democracy is second, at best. There is widespread corruption on both sides of the political aisle and one side does not have a monopoly on morality.
My personal view on this specific election is that, before now, Hillary was one of my least favorite politicians. While I think she is smart, (I heard her speak once in person once and was very impressed with her command of the topic), I do believe that the Clintons have an attitude of elitists. This has influenced some of their bad choices, such as having a server at her house. Elitists see themselves above the law, which is meant for the little people. The Republicans have grossly exaggerated the criminality and motive behind this server use because they want to demonize Hillary as much as they can so that their party can win the election. I do think that her being a woman has something to do with this hatred as well.
Then came Donald Trump
I certainly understand some of the passion for Donald Trump. As I just alluded to, the bicameral nature of our present system has left most of us in a state of frustration and disgust. Nothing gets done in Washington anymore because of blind ambition invites corruption on both sides. If the real concern was what is best for the country, they would compromise and get things done. But this—our side must-win—attitude means that both sides seek failure and the ability to pin that failure on the other side.
Donald represents an outsider who boasts that he can get things done and can fix all our problems. I could see myself getting excited about such a candidate being an outsider . . . if it were anyone but Donald Trump. I have never liked the man because I recognized years ago that he has a narcissistic personality disorder. This is my opinion as a medical provider, however, many share this view. These types of people are dangerous. While we have a bad system now, those with a narcissistic personality disorder (which is often paired with a paranoid thinking) see themselves winning (not the party, not the country, but themselves) as all that matters. Those types of people will burn down the whole world around them for the sake of personal acclamation.
When you see yourself as god-like, you have no choice but to see all others as inferior. The more different they are from you, female, darker skin, different heritage, and different sexual orientation, the more inferior they appear to you. This ties in with sexually groping a woman against her will because you see your desires and your gratification far greater than the wellbeing of others. Narcissists have an absence of empathy. I believe that this trait is the basis for Trump’s bigotry. People with personality disorders, a real mental illness, cannot be rehabbed. They will manipulate people to thinking they are kind and good, and out to help others, but that is just a pretense for attaining personal success.
Isn’t the Republican Party God’s Party?
The preacher on the Lynden radio program was explaining why Donald Trump was God’s candidate. It was because Donald and the Republican party were promoting “Biblical principles.” Those principles include; 1) stopping abortions, 2) strong military, 3) gun ownership, 4) Israel above all other middle eastern, countries, 5) anti-immigration, 6) anti-Muslim specifically, 7) pro-American symbols, 8) anti-homosexual agenda ( they use the code name, “Pro-family”), and 9) Pro-industry over environmental issues. For this same reason, several Evangelical personalities such as Ben Carson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Jr., and Franklin Graham have endorsed Trump. However, at this link (https://www.change.org/p/donald-trump-a-declaration-by-american-evangelicals-concerning-donald-trump ) you can find 75 evangelical leaders who oppose Trump.
How did the Republicans become part of the Evangelical movement? Believe it or not, prior to 1980, the Democratic Party was most closely aligned with Evangelicalism. Jimmy Carter (elected in 1976 and defeated in 1980), was the first self-declared “Born Again” candidate. He won the 1976 presidential election thanks to the help of the vote of the Evangelical bloc. That year in politics was called the “Year of the Evangelical” and that bloc grabbed the attention of both parties. The Republicans worked hard to steal the Evangelical vote over the subsequent four years because of their clout. They were successful and by 1980, the republicans used the Evangelical bloc to elect Ronald Regan.
How Did the Republicans Become the Party of Evangelicals?
My personal Christian hero is the late theologian Francis Schaeffer. He was the one voice crying in the wilderness in the 1960s-1970s that in our post-Christian cultures, we Christians should push against the loss of human dignity. He pointed out that the most vulnerable in our societies, the poor, the unborn, the old, the disabled, and the minorities would be the first to lose their humanity in the post-modern world. He made this point very clear in his films, Whatever Happened to the Human Race and How Shall We Then Live. In the first film, he used a very graphic illustration of hundreds of dolls laying in the salt on the Dead Sea to illustrate the horrors that the unborn face in saline infusion abortions. He put this issue on the map for Christians and quickly Evangelicals and Catholics alike responded with a healthy concern.
In his book, Crazy for God, Frank Schaeffer (son of Francis) describes how he and his father came to the U.S. from Switzerland to promote the films in the late 1970s. Both he and his father were appalled when they were quickly used as pawns in the secular politics of America. The republicans saw abortion as the key issue they had been looking for to bait and lure in the Evangelical voting bloc into their side. This is not a conspiracy theory but is an accepted part of the political history of the U.S.
Over time, the republicans reeled in these voters and started to blend conservative political ideas (see the 9 principles above) with rightful Christian concerns about the dignity of human life. The democrats do the same with their special interest groups and voting blocs.
Only a couple of these principles have any Biblical connection whatsoever. You can argue, as Schaeffer did, that in defense of the dignity of humanity, we must stand on pro-life principles. However, having read all of Schaeffer’s books (some many times), listened to hundreds of hours of his lectures, worked with his organization including his friends and family, I am convinced that he defined “Pro-life” in a much broader range than just the Republican narrow label of abortion. Along with protecting the unborn, if Schaeffer were here today, he would confirm that the Biblical perspective also advocates for loving people of all genders, races, religions and sexual orientation. Against criticism of the Presbyterian Church in the 1960s, he invited gays to come and stay at LAbri in Switzerland. His son will testify, that he showed them great respect. He was also very concerned about how we treated the earth and if he was here today, I am confident that he would be concerned about global warming and fighting against corporate misuse of the planet. The Republican-Christians-American National view is the opposite. The same is true for his view of immigrants. It is a contradiction to love the unborn but to hate the born who are immigrants or who are Arabs or Moslems.
I don’t believe this pro-Israel view is one of the true Biblical-Republican principles. The pro-Israel idea was not part of the Church for its first 1800 years. This notion was introduced by a shady lawyer named Cyrus I. Scofield, in the late-1800s. He persuaded Americans that Israel was still part of God’s unique plan (and sold a lot of Bibles with that in it). Evangelicals adopted that new viewpoint. By seeing humans in their dignity, the real Biblical concept is to treat all humans with respect, Arab and Jew.
In the real Bible, Colossians says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” When the Evangelicals absorbed the other non-Biblical principles into their theology, it was a huge mistake. Now, people like this preacher on the radio, can no longer find the line of demarcation between simple Biblical concepts and Republican-Christians-American National ideals.
I am not saying the Democrats are any better in this process but I just wanted to debunk the manipulative language by the Republican Party and some Christian leaders that you must vote for Trump because he is the Christian candidate. The DNC cannot be trusted any more than the GOP as exhibited by them favoring Hillary (rather than Sanders) during their primary.
How Can You Vote for Hillary as Christian?
The first thing that Evangelical friends say to me, “How can you vote for Hillary when she wants to kill babies and Trump wants to save them?” The answer is simple. I try to live in reality as a comprehensively pro-life supporter (meaning that I support all lives and all of creation because they are made by God). If you look at saving the unborn, then a vote for Hillary makes sense. If you look at statistics (real statistics by the CDC and not political-motivated-statistics on either side) you will see a downward trend in abortions (figure 1). This downward trend started during the presidency of Bill Clinton with a bump-up during the Republican George H. Bush term in 1990 and a second bump up during the Republican George W. Bush term in 2005.
If you are talking about saving the lives of the unborn, the trend has been more downward under Democratic presidents. How can this be true if they are Pro-choice? The reason is that in reality, the 15-year-old Evangelical pastor’s daughter is having sex with her boyfriend whether the pastor likes it or not (and would probably be the last to know). If she has a harder time getting access to birth control, then there is a higher likelihood for her getting pregnant. Knowing that her pregnancy would make her parents look bad to their church, it is more likely she will get a quiet abortion. I have met girls with these stories many times in my medical practice.
Trump and the Republicans want to defund Planned Parenthood because of the abortion issue. This would cause the rate of abortions to go up and I’m pro-life and do not want that. Of course, you can dream about a world where the under-aged and the unmarried are not having sex, but unless you can create that world, sex, pregnancy, and abortions will happen. You cannot create this idealistic world by legislation. It must be created in the hearts of people who see fidelity as a better way of living. Christians have lost the hearts of mainstream America. It did not come about due to some clandestine devil working behind the scenes but due Evangelical hypocrisy. For example, fighting to block gender-neutral bathrooms claiming that someone would get molested, yet making a man who boasts about molesting women, their political hero, and role model.
Trump implies that he will overturn Roe Vs Wade. I’m sorry that cannot happen and he says it like he says a lot of things, to get votes. There is just no way to revert to the pre-Roe Vs Wade world. If several Republican terms of presidents, and Republicans controlling both houses couldn’t do it over 33 years then Trump can’t do it. He would not pick judges like a dictator. Likewise, it is impossible for Hillary to take away everyone’s guns. Such stories about that being her intentions are very dishonest. She cannot change the constitution.
Under the presidency of Donald Trump, I see the loss of more innocent lives than just the unborn. I suspect that he would be far more likely to get us in wars due to his paranoid fear of looking weak (especially since all of his chest-beating during the election). Since he devalues the lives of other people he would be more prone to use violence against them (drones, bombs) indiscriminately. Therefore, there will be more terrorism under Trump. You cannot control terrorism with bombs. You can create terrorism with bombs, especially when you are bombing the innocent. He is also unenlightened when it comes to foreign policy. His sound bites are appealing to us who hate terrorism. However, everyone who has spent time in the Middle East, as I have, or knows the history will tell you that the dumbest thing anyone could say is that we want the Arab oil and should take it. This is what the imams at the radical mosques have been saying for years and is one of the chief motivations for terrorism against the west. It is a reckless thing to say and would be impossible to do anyhow due to logistics.
Politics and the Loss of Truth
The last issue I want to talk about is truth. I define truth as that which is. In other words reality. Truth is not a particular teaching of a particular church or political party. So, if God is there, and I believe that he is, he dwells in reality. The more detached we become from reality the more obscure God becomes. I will say clearly that both the Democrats and the Republicans are liars at times. That, unfortunately, is part of the nasty business of politics where you must win at all cost.
It is not just my opinion, but the opinion of everyone who does unbiased fact checking that Hillary has lied at times (like no classified information being on her server) but the Trump people have lied much, much more. Most of what Donald Trump says is factually wrong.
There has been a constant spewing of hateful videos to demonize Hillary Clinton. I am perplexed how much hatred there is for Hillary from so-called Christian sources. You cannot hate Hillary whom you see and love God whom you cannot see. These videos are such horrible quality, showing Hillary with poop stains on her pants, of turds coming out of her mouth, of her personally selling arms to terrorists, of rigged voting machines. There has been conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory. This is shameful behavior and in this case, the Democrats have been far godlier than the Republicans in their behavior. I don’t hear Democrats shouting “Lock Donald up!” or “punch him in the face” or “grab her by the pussy” or if they lose the election “it’s rigged.”
So, what about Hillary’s flaws? How could you vote for someone who has done such horrible things? What are the horrible things without the propagandistic twist? I have mentioned the server at home. This was for convenience and not to sell secrets to the Russians (a criminal act). This was in poor judgment. What else has she been hated for? Benghazi?
Imagine at worse, Hillary was responsible for Benghazi (and the hearings did not prove that) then her error of judgment cost the lives of four outstanding heroes. That is shameful and one of the reasons that I wish there was another candidate running for which I could vote. I respect those who can’t vote at all for this reason.
However, let’s remove the Hillary hate from the Republican agenda. Look at the facts. Most experts, and most Republicans (including Trump), now say the invasion of Iraq was a mistake by George W. Bush. The consequences of his mistake resulted in; 4,486 decent, heroic American soldiers’ deaths, 32,226 soldiers’ wounded (and many wounds are not counted such at PTSD), more than 500,000 Iraqi civilians died, over two million civilians wounded, and America will spend close to 5 trillion dollars paying for that war. Also during Bush’s administration, there were ten embassies attacked and sixty embassy personnel killed. So the republicans say that Hillary should be locked up for Benghazi and they show videos of her with turds coming out of her mouth for making a mistake that cost the lives of 4 great people. George W. Bush caused the lives of a million people, yet somehow he is loved and adored? This war also created the void, which gave birth ti Isis. Obama didn’t create the group. I don’t think George W. Bush is the devil. He meant well but was just not very smart. But this is hypocrisy at the greatest level.
So the republicans say that Hillary should be locked up for Benghazi and they show videos of her with turds coming out of her mouth for making a mistake that cost the lives of 4 great people. George W. Bush caused the lives of over a million people, yet somehow he is loved and adored? This war also created the void, which gave birth to Isis. Obama didn’t create the group. I don’t think George W. Bush is the devil. He meant well but was just not very smart nor had good judgment. But this is hypocrisy at the greatest level.
So I rest my case in how a good Christian, in good conscience, can vote for Hillary Clinton. Next time, in four years, we must make sure we have better choices than we do now. There is not a correct candidate to vote, especially this year and no one should be ashamed for making the best choice they can. Vote for Trump if you want. Vote for Hillary. Vote for Johnson and live in peace with that decision. We must all honor who is elected and this hate, especially the hate and misinformation, which is coming from Christians, must stop.