For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed. (Isaiah 9:16)
I don’t often focus on politics on this blog; politics is not my main objective, but sometimes I just need to get things off my chest. I have no national platform from which to speak. I’ve written no books, or starred on stage or film. I never held public office of any kind or even campaigned for anyone. I am not a well-known preacher of national renown, and the FOX News Channel has never asked me for my two cents worth. But I do have an opinion on the upcoming presidential race for anyone who cares to listen.
To begin, I will not waste time in addressing the godless, socialist Democrat party. Robbing the rich to give to the poor makes a good bedtime story, but it does not work in real life. As Margaret Thatcher famously said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” If one is observant, one will note how those pleading the cause of the poor tend to keep their own money to themselves, and their will for the masses does not apply to themselves. As the barnyard animals of Animal Farm said of the pigs in charge, “Some animals are more equal than others.” Democrats also fail to see that killing a baby in the womb is murder, not a woman’s right to choose. So, for this discussion, forget the Democrats!
Republicans fare slightly better in that their rhetoric sounds conservative, but their actions fall woefully short of their talk. For example, they claim to be “Pro-Life” but continue to fund Planned Parenthood.
It is 2016 and once again the time has come to elect a new President of the United States (POTUS). The Republican field of candidates includes a long list of POTUS wannabes, any one of which would be an enormous improvement over the man currently holding the office. But rather than discussing each candidate, I want to focus my attention on the front runners and particularly the front runner, Donald Trump. I also want to approach this from an “evangelical” perspective.
The first appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, once said, “Providence [i.e. God] has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers” (emphasis mine). While the Constitution of the United States guarantees that “no religious test” shall be given for holding a public office, it does not and cannot require individual citizens from applying such a test. Therefore, in accordance with Justice John Jay’s opinion, it becomes incumbent on Christians, evangelicals, to prefer Christians for public office, especially for the office of POTUS. Critics of this perspective will note that we are not electing a pastor, but a president, yet many of the same qualifications should apply. Consider the qualifications for pastor (bishop) given in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 listed here in brief:
- Blameless, i.e. “not arrested” or “inculpable”
- Husband of one wife – if a man cannot be faithful to his marital vows, how can we expect him to be faithful to his oath of office?
- vigilant – circumspect, that is, “watchful, discreet; cautious; prudent”
- sober – of sound mind; self-controlled
- Of good behavior – orderly; decorous (characterized by dignified propriety in conduct, manners, appearance, character, etc.)
- Hospitable – fond of guests. Presidents must entertain foreign dignitaries and constituents
- apt to teach – this has a broad range of applications
- not given to wine – not a substance abuser
- no “striker” – quarrelsome; belligerent; combative
- not greedy of filthy lucre – the kind of person that can be bought
- not covetous – seeking personal gain
- not a novice – no experience
- must have a good report – i.e. a good reputation
Surely the list above is fitting for anyone aspiring for any position of leadership. Considering the list above, apply that to the top three candidates, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and (arguably) Marco Rubio.
Several high-profile evangelical leaders have come out in support of Donald Trump, and it makes me wonder how closely they have evaluated this candidate. Superficially, he seems an unlikely contender for the post. First of all, besides being an immensely successful businessman, he is primarily an entertainer. As an entertainer, he knows how to put on “a show.” As a good entertainer, he knows his audience, he knows what his audience wants to see and hear, and he plays it out for them. As a businessman, he boasts in his ability to “make deals,” and how he is able to get what he wants. In other words, he is a great manipulator; we already have one of those in the Oval Office. Do we really want another with the only exception being that this one comes stamped with an “R” instead of a “D”? Personally, I don’t trust this man, but in all fairness, his record should be scrutinized.
From CNN Politics, “3 questions evangelicals should ask about Donald Trump:” (1) What is known about Trump’s personal life and morality? (2) Where does Trump stand on moral and social policy issues of concern to Christians and to which the Bible speaks to clearly? (3) Are the love of money and pride legitimate issues to weigh when considering support for a presidential candidate? Read the article for the details, but in essence, Trump is not the man evangelicals should aspire to put in the White House.
Consider the first question. Trump has been married three different times to three different women and his divorces were “unbiblical.” His speech betrays questionable moral standards (Matthew 12:34; 15:11, 18). Trump does not feel the need to ask God’s forgiveness (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:10; 2:4), which should immediately raise a red flag with evangelicals. Considering the second question, Trump claimed to be “pro-choice” at one time. He also favors “gay rights” and same-sex marriage. On the third question, his love of money is obvious as is his pride. One positive aspect of his money lies in his ability to fund his own campaign which presumably frees him from special interests. However, one special interest that supersedes all others is his own. Note how he boasts of the free airtime the media gives him and the personal offence he takes when not “treated nice.” Carefully examining Donald Trump’s history exposes a man who does what is expedient to achieve his goals. He is “A double minded man [that] is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8).
Marco Rubio seems conservative enough, and in many ways makes for a fine conservative candidate that evangelicals should like. He seems to have very strong moral principles. He has expressed a personal relationship with Christ – an evangelical concept – even though he is a committed Roman Catholic. I have heard (but not confirmed) that he has been attending Southern Baptist services, so it is difficult to discern if his proclamation is genuine or simply meant to gain evangelical favor. (Please forgive my skepticism.) Rubio’s major “chink” is his association with the “Gang of Eight” and their legislation in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens. Rubio consistently affirms that he rejects amnesty of illegal aliens, and his defenders attribute his questionable association with inexperience and being “steamrolled” by the “old bulls” of the Republican Party. I can see that happening, but it also shows inconsistency.
So, unless proven wrong, I wholeheartedly support Ted Cruz in his bid for the presidency. Cruz is the “real deal.” Ted Cruz, although he may not make an issue of it, is a genuine, born-again, Christian. He accepted Christ as his personal Savior at the age of eight and has lived his life in accordance with his commitment to Christ. Cruz has been a staunch defender of the Constitution throughout his career. Trump accuses Cruz of being “mean and nasty,” and that no one likes him. Trump’s exaggeration aside, the establishment Republicans dislike Senator Cruz because he does not make deals, and he fights against his own party to uphold conservative principles going so far as calling Mitch McConnell a liar from the Senate floor for lying about a deal cut on TPA. Truth can sometimes be a nasty thing, and voicing truth to some can seem “mean” and offensive, but Ted Cruz stands for truth even when it costs him popularity. Ted Cruz is involved in politics, but he is not a politian; he is a true statesman. Is that not what we want in a POTUS?
Earlier in this post I listed the requirements for bishop from First Timothy. Review these again and see if Ted Cruz does not fill the bill. Only one perfect man ever walked this earth, and Ted Cruz will tell you that man was Jesus Christ. Ted Cruz is far from perfect, but if you will examine his life, his character and his record, I believe you will find that he is probably the best choice to be our next POTUS. I have provided some resource links in the endnotes below. Please take time to examine them before making your final judgment.
Even if Donald Trump becomes our next Republican Presidential Nominee (heaven forbid), I will vote for him before letting another Democrat take the White House. It is vitally important that evangelical Christians be fully engaged in the democratic process. As John Jay said, “it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Donald Trump says he is a Presbyterian. I don’t know what that means other than he identifies with one particular denomination. Ted Cruz does not say he is Southern Baptist, but his life and character reflect that he is a committed Christian. We need a true Christian POTUS. Whatever you decide, don’t decide to stay home because you don’t like the choices. We get the government we deserve.