2016_30_martin_luther

“Here I stand. I can do no other.”

Now that Donald Trump has clinched the Republican nomination, most of my Christian friends – even those who opposed him in the primary – are supporting him. My continued opposition to Trump has, sadly, placed me at odds with many of these friends. Now, of course, I draw a huge distinction between those who supported Mr. Trump in the primary and those who are merely doing so now because they feel that they must. And while I have said some very hard things about Trump’s primary supporters, I have limited my more recent efforts to illuminating his utter lack of character or acceptability for the position he is seeking. These views have been laid forth very ably by my fellow contributors and it is not my purpose to repeat them here. Yes, I have vociferously proclaimed my objections to Trump and my conscientious and practical reasons for opposing him, but I have not maligned the motives of those who disagree with me on this point. I have not reproached anyone for their support of Donald Trump in the general election, though I have urged them to reconsider.

The same cannot be said for many of my Christian friends, who, by their own acknowledgement, are now supporting Trump in the general election out of expediency. I, and those who share my die-hard opposition to Mr. Trump, have repeatedly stated our reasons for opposing him – the chiefest of which is the fact that we cannot vote for such a wicked man in good conscience. We have not claimed, by this, to be better than anyone else – only that, before God, we cannot do what we do not judge to be right. For us, it would be a sin. We have not attempted to claim, nor have we ever publicly speculated, that it would be a sin for anyone else. Yet, despite the fact that we have given our reasons, and supported them with numerous arguments, those who would like us to do what we cannot in good conscience do, have undertaken to provide an alternate and dishonorable reason for our continued refusal to support their candidate; namely that we do so for a feeling of moral superiority – that we are on our “moral high horses” – in a word, that we are motivated out of pride. Since we have stated our reasons for opposing Trump, such accusations are tantamount to calling us liars.

This is hardly acting in Christian charity – hardly indicative of a wish to believe the best of others. Is it really so hard to believe that your brothers in Christ might find themselves unable to support a man who brags about committing adultery with other men’s wives? who has owned strip clubs? who has publically stated that he has nothing of which to repent, and yet profanes the name of Christ by posturing as a Christian? I can understand why one might find such qualms inconvenient and exasperating, but to sneeringly dismiss them as pride is, behavior unworthy of anyone who claims the name of Christ. You have heard our reasons for doing as we are doing. You may not agree with our logic, but, if you do not, it is up to you to show us where we are wrong. Until you do, you are not acting as your brother’s keeper if you attempt to browbeat us into doing something we have told you we cannot see our way clear to doing. You are, in fact, demonstrating that you care more about one election than you do about providing a stumbling block for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Do not let your anger and fear of Hillary cause you to do things that are unworthy of you.

Strong words? Perhaps, but so is the accusation that we are opposing Trump merely out of prideful hypocrisy, and that we are lying about our true motives. Now those are strong words indeed.

I have said before, and will probably say again: we are going to disagree on this point. This is a time of hard choices – none of them good. In this time we need to focus, not on what we think we know, but on what we know that we know. In other words, we need to get back to basics. That would include treating everyone – and most especially other Christians – with love and understanding. Yes, even when they don’t do what we wish they would do.