Monday, February 15, 2016

HOW THE UTOPIAN EVANGELICAL VOTER’S DEMAND FOR POLITICAL IDEOLOGICAL PURITY GAVE US BARACK OBAMA, IS DAMAGING THE UNITED STATES AND WILL DELIVER AMERICA INTO THE HANDS OF HILLARY CLINTON

(Days before penning this article, I formulated its headline while Supreme Court Justice Anthonin Scalia was still with us. Obviously he has since died of a heart attack (?) which will no doubt affect the psyche and considerations of many GOP voters and those leaning that way. I may refer to this development in the article but am not sure yet since it has not been formulated and will let this prologue stand as it is, even after writing the piece.) 

*I modified the title from yesterday which may have been an overreach with my use of the word "destroying".

This is a comment I recently read at a website regarding an Evangelical commenting on voting for GOP candidate Donald Trump, were he to become the Republican nominee:
I will never vote for Donald Trump. I am a Republican and have voted straight Republican as long as I can remember. I had some reservations about Romney the RINO but held my nose and voted for him. I will not vote for Donald Trump under any circumstances and either will write someone in or just not vote.
Refusing To Vote GOP, Either By Way Of A Third Party, Write-in Or Non-Vote Is To Aid The Democrat Nominee

Understand my Christians friends, presidential elections are a two-party system. And to refuse to support the nominee of one of those parties is to deny added strength to one party thus, aiding the strength of the other party. That is a fundamental truth all politicians know which is why discouraging opposition voters is one of the tools of campaigning.

Please do not think I am ignorant of your reasons for hesitating or possibly refusing to vote for either Donald Trump or another GOP candidate. Some of your reasons are unique with regard to Mr. Trump, himself, and some transcend Donald Trump and have been applied to others in the past. But what overrides so many reasons for so many of you, unfortunately,
is a sense of entitlement and egotism you hold with regard to your voting privilege, as if it should revolve around you and not as a tool of what is real and responsible.

Many of you are the same people who, in 2008, utilized your vote as self-aggrandizing toy to prove to yourself and the world that you are part of the evolved and initiated class of racially sensitive citizens and voted for Barack Obama,. You followed the foolish lead of Evangelicals who saw this as a grand opportunity to exercise the demons of the past and ultimately rewarded one another with a collective pat on the back for your impressive, racial broad-mindedness. Your vote wasn't about what was best for the nation but for a very selfish cause - you.

Since then, of course, you have been disappointed over and over again by your choice. But alas, none of this was or is your fault. You voted for Obama for all the right, honorable and principled reasons (at least this is what you tell yourself to comfort yourself, but you and I know better)


Romney In 2012


By 2012, President Obama had had sufficient time to demonstrate his gross incompetence as President. Thus, the fight between the Republicans and Democrats in the election of 2012 should have come down to a very simple choice for Republican voters in the general election. It didn’t. Many GOP and non-Democrats were still fighting the primary fight at the voting booth on November 6, 2012.

Part of that had to do with what many claim were matters of “principle”. Romney’s achilles’ heel was two-fold:

Romney was a RINO proven by Massachusetts's Health Care Legislation
Romney was a Mormon, part of what was once called a Cult by Christians
I am not going to, nor wish to, debate the merits of the healthcare legislation in Mass. but suffice it to say that accusations that this proved Romney had socialistic sympathies because it was a broad reaching social program, were not true. Ironically, the very people making these claims fully expect to (or already do) receive social security and Medicare in the future, for the most part, because most of them are upper-middle class and below and cannot, nor never will be able to, function fully independent of any government social program.

As I said, the other factor was Romney’s Mormonism, a concern I laughed at but sadly, many did not. Evangelical after Evangelical expressed concern that Mitt's proprietary Mormon beliefs would affect his politics resulting in strange and incompatible doctrines and endeavors which would be hoisted upon American citizens.

The protesters all seemed to share the same problem in their objections. They never bothered to study his leadership, either in business nor as Governor. In both cases no political historian has uncovered any significant imposition of Mormonism onto or into Romney’s administrations. Yes, he was personally guided by his religious ethics but outside of that, his leadership style and doctrine, apart from its impeccability again, which stemmed from Mormon ethics, could not be distinguished from that of non-Mormons. But none of that mattered. A narrative had taken hold and self-righteous crusaders rarely let go of such things.

Trump

I get the abortion objection to Trump, the same objection many had to Bush 41 and even Reagan in his early years who was statutorily pro-choice but personally against abortion until he was involved in the elections of 1980 and Bush 41, in the '88 election for President (as Reagan's VP in '80 and '84 Bush remained coy on his position). Both men changed their public position to being against the statutory right to an abortion.

Maybe you believe, on this issue alone, you must take a stand and your conscience before God would be violated were you to vote for Donald Trump because of this. I get that and even more so because that is a Biblical principle. However, your conscience is also required to be informed by knowledge (epignosis). So here is some additional knowledge.

Suppose you refuse to vote for Trump because he will not commit to remedying the federal ruling which permits abortion on demand. You do know that Mr. Trump is personally against abortion, himself, right? Wait, I’m not finished.

By refusing to vote for Mr. Trump, if he becomes the GOP nominee, you do realize that you will be aiding and strengthening the Democrat party and specifically their nominee, whether it be Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, both of whom support abortion on demand, not just statutorily but from a personal morality meaning, not just lawfully or statutorily do they support it, but morally approve of it.

How does your conscience before God resolve itself by strengthening such people?

Consider This

Seeing that Donald Trump has been publicly aligned with the Republican Party, at least since 1988 (in which he formed a great friendship with conservative Christian VP Dan Quayle whom he admired greatly and with whom he has had many a conversation since), and has evolved toward a more conservative political philosophy, could it not be possible that his own moral conviction may grow further on the matter of abortion and other issues, especially in the grave context of the office of President? Maybe it will not but he certainly has a record of flexibility and growth toward conservative values and their expression.

Compare this with Clinton and Sanders who not only have not emerged in any conservative direction but have accelerated in their leftist/progressive/socialist views. They certainly are not going to provide any hope on the singular issue of abortion for those who are single-issue voters.

Conclusion – Do Not Fall Victim To Self-righteous Christian Utopianism

I cannot fathom any honest traditional Christian (I say honest because I believe those professing to be traditional Evangelical Christians such as Thabiti Anyabwile who supports Sanders but claims to be conservatively orthodox in his Evangelical beliefs, are not honest with themselves. He tells himself he is one thing but has fully and zealously embraced another thing in practice. His actions betray the claim of his theological positioning) assisting the Democrat party platform. Not only is it anti-theistic in its sentiments but is aggressively and unapologetically steamrolling in the direction of socialism, fascism and the persecution of constitutional rights which include Christian expression on many fronts.

I understand your reluctance to support GOP candidates who do not fit your ideal. And I agree that there have been times in which a GOP candidate was less qualified than either a Democrat, third-party or write-in candidate but this is not one of those times and further, even if it were, your chances of putting that man or woman in office is remote.

The truth is, your protest vote would only aid the worst and most damning party. And you, Mr. and Mrs. Christian, would be responsible for lending such aid.

Christian Utopians – Often I’ve asked myself where this posturing by Christian voters comes from in their refusal - already - to vote for Donald Trump were he to become the GOP nominee. I have one answer which I believe covers much of the territory of this question.

It comes from what I call Self-righteous Christian Utopianism (SCU). I know, some of you are already offended but hear me out because we all, you, me and every Christian, falls victim to a self-righteous crusader mentality at least once in our Christian life.

SCU is the product, primarily, of Christians formulating their ideal principles as to how left kingdom (civil governments) or the right kingdom (ecclesiastical governments) should operate. This is not only noble but a righteous theological exercise. Understand though, such formulation is not foreign outside of Christian thinking. In fact, socialism is one big long idealized theory which sounds great on paper.

The problem?


People and reality do not exist off paper so neatly. I would love a godly President, maybe. Why maybe? Because one man’s Godliness can be another man’s tyranny.

What a nation needs is a man or woman who understands principles of freedom. Our constitution is a document which codifies social and political freedoms mixed with the demands and responsibilities of that freedom. Our constitution protects the liberty of both the sinner and saint that they may be a good and free citizen and that he or she may practice their faith, pursue their dreams, enjoy liberty granted by God and contribute to their nation and in this case the greatest nation on earth.


However, theologically speaking, while some things are clear some things are not. Who would make a better ruler and who would not can become precarious. David and Solomon, two great men of God not only had multiple wives but mistresses, i.e., sexual play-toys. Worse, David had one of his greatest military men murdered so he could hide his sin. This does not justify weakness but it ought to temper some of your demands of sainthood and pristine morality. 

Don't Blind Yourself   

Mr. Trump understands the exceptionalism of the United States and confesses its unique blessings from God. He is no atheist or agnostic. Indeed, he may not be a man of faith or if he is, one of immature faith, but he is a man of understanding with regard to freedom and its necessary principles/elements.

I suggest that to many of you refusing to vote for Donald Trump, were he to become the GOP nominee, you are guilty of demanding the impossible in insisting on someone who reflects an idealized Christian Utopia.

Further, in your complaints against Trump you have stated that you will either stay home and not vote or will vote for an unnamed third party or a write-in. I am willing to wager, Christian voter, that this “other” candidate cannot and will not measure up to your idealistic demands either but in spite, shameful spite, you will cast your vote for him or her.

The fact is, you are a self-righteous Christian Utopian who blames everyone else for the misery of your choices and will ultimately blame the rotten list of candidates for your final selection of an "other" in your self-centered refusal to involve yourself in the realistic two-party process. And the inevitable result of your choice will be aiding the worst of the choices, the Democrat candidate.


If you wish to aid the Democrat party and accelerate the demise of this nation, so be it but don't hand me or anyone else your self-righteous excuse that you couldn't vote for Donald Trump. We now have bigger stakes, not just a President but the balance of the Supreme Court. Time to learn how to play on a team and quit taking your ball and going home every time things don't go your way. That isn't how nations are built nor maintain their strength.

6 comments:

Micah G. said...

Alex,

Good stuff. It's refreshing to here this line of thinking from another brother. I've been extremely frustrated with the evangelical mindset in general over their attitude towards Trump. I am a Trump supporter and believe he is the best hope for preserving our freedoms and advancing the country economically. I believe his flaws, while absolutely real, are an excuse for too many to incessantly vent their self-righteous anger at him and characterize him as some form of evil incarnate.

Just to be clear, I am under no illusions that Trump is a true believer in Jesus or that he molds his life in any way upon his His saving power. I also am, like many, concerned that he has a bit of an open mind when it comes to abortion.

I, however, am not looking for a Christian king to rule over this nation. I'm simply looking for someone who has American values and desires to return America to freedom and constitutionalism and prosperity. Christians already have a problematic reputation for being mostly single or double issue voters only. That is, as long as the candidate is fully, unabashedly pro-life and does not support same-sex marriage, he/she is good to go regardless of anything else. Granted, this is a mostly unfair caricature projected by liberals, but most Christians don't do the church any favors by fitting themselves into this projection. That has never been truer than this election cycle. Don't get me wrong, I am fully pro-life and I don't believe there is any such as marriage between members of the same sex. The great priority, as I see it in following politics very closely, is breaking up the stranglehold that the establishment class has had on the GOP. This establishment, donor class (led by the US Chamber of Commerce) has effectively rigged our electoral process to get their preferred candidates into office and carry out their (not OUR) agenda. This agenda is nearly the same agenda of the democrat party and they have been attempting to rig the primary process (through rule changes and candidate splitter strategies) to get one of their preferred candidates (Rubio or Bush) on the GOP ticket. The establishment never planned for Trump and he is the only one who can break them and their shenanigans up. Break up the establishment is part and parcel of restoring conservatism. Cruz is a possibility to a lesser extent, but his record is of one who has still at times worked for establishment interests (not to mention a more worrisome issue for evangelicals being his dominionist leanings). The establishment wants evangelicals to laser-focus on Trump's character flaws and see him as nothing more than an angry, hate-filled individual. Christians should keep this in mind, that they are falling in line with how the establishment wants them to view Trump rather how their ethics may be informing them.

Micah G. said...

(Continued)

They are doing everything they can to magnify his moral/character flaws and marginalize his policy proposals which would be beneficial to the country. The truth is that no president will have nearly the influence people think they will have with regard to the legal standing of abortion or on gay marriage. Those issues are battles that will have much more to do with Congress/Senate and the judiciary. Certainly the president can provide leadership on those issues, but he/she will have very little say ultimately in how those issues wind up. I get the feeling that too many Christians believe that a pro-abortion president means we're doomed on that issue and, conversely, that somehow a fully pro-life president will be able to reverse all manners in which the procedure has been legalized. It doesn't work that way. It has never worked that way. While I would absolutely love nothing more than to see it outlawed and for marriage between to be only between one man/one woman to be axiomatic, I'm not naive enough to think that my vote for any particular candidate is going to affect those issues one way or another. I'm much more interested in witnessing to the power of the gospel than I am in choosing a president to legislate those things out.

I am much more concerned for the church when the likes of Anyabwile are speaking on its behalf. This is a man whose philosophy and ideology are informed by nothing more than liberalism and cultural Marxism. It certainly is not the scriptures. To the extent that it is, his interpretation is based on a faulty hermeneutics and contextualization.

Alex A. Guggenheim said...

Micah

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and challenging comments. You hit the bullseye, over and over again.
I am surprised by the preoccupation with insisting a candidate be staunchly against the legal right to choose to have an abortion as if that singular issue guarantees reasonable and righteousness rule in other areas. History demonstrates otherwise.
Regards

AG

Daniel Meyer said...

Dear Alex,

Do you believe there is any point at all at which a candidate should not be voted for? Supposing he were a lying, cheating, stealing, raping, molesting, murderous, cruel, tyrannical, bloodthirsty man -- if the other candidate were more so, would you say it is the Christian's duty to vote for the first man over the second?

Alex A. Guggenheim said...

Daniel, 1 of 2

Thank you for visiting and offering a very reasonable question, one I am sure that many have asked. I will answer the question, directly, at the end of my response but allow me qualify it with some observations.

1. Most things we do in life, with respect to the Bible, are not directly commanded or bounded rather, they are matters of degrees in our application of Biblical principles. That is to say, while a minority of issues in the Bible have strict and dogmatic commands that either direct us to or not to do something, most often we have to use discernment in our application of Biblical principles (a myriad at times) and come to a decision with a good conscience before God. We have believed God's principles and formulated a conclusion based on them.

2. The value of a worst-case hypothetical - whenever we are attempting to formulate a Biblical personal policy with regard to a plan of action, it is normal to include a worst-case scenario. However, a worst-case scenario and a worst-case hypothetical are not necessarily the same thing (most often this is the case).

A worst-case scenario which has a plausible chance of occurring though the odds are low.

A worst-case hypothetical throws out likelihood and accepts remarkably implausible or unlikely scenarios.

The value of the worst-case scenario is based in realism, though more remote.

The value of the worst-case hypothetical is greatly diminished because it departs from realism and into more fictionalized possibilities.

Thus, it is only the first which gives us a real far-end gauge for a worst-case possibility and a plan of action. Additionally, the consideration of a worst-case scenario will include the exercise of some principles that you may use in more-likely scenarios as you move up the chain of possibilities. And so it has added value there, as well, because it will force you to exercise and examine a number of principles more thoroughly that you may actually use in more-likely scenarios

The worst-case hypothetical, other than for the sake of exaggeration to illustrate a point, is not useful as a tool from which we can derive principles for realistic application. Worst-case hypotheticals break the rules of realism thus, they change the rules thereby forcing us to write a script which generally is not useful in a context where the rules normally are followed.

Alex A. Guggenheim said...

Daniel, 2 of 2

This brings me to your scenario as an example. The rules generally are that if a person is a "lying, cheating, stealing, raping, molesting, murderous, cruel, tyrannical, bloodthirsty man" we wouldn't be voting for him, he would be a tyrannical dictator or if he were such in a free country, he would already be serving a life sentence or awaiting execution,

However, with that said, I do understand your intent and the main focus of your question which you did ask and that is whether there is a point at which a candidate should not be voted for or whether it is a Christian's duty to vote for less desirable candidate over another. Thus, here is my response to that.

I do believe it is a Biblical duty to live in this world as a citizen of both heaven and earth. Our heavenly citizenship does not void our earthy obligations. While marriage ends on earth when we die and go to be with the Lord, we are duty bound to attend to it with love and care while under its contract here on earth.

As well, God has clearly pointed to the divine nature of government/civil establishment as his prescribed means of nations existing to his glory and providing protection for its members that they may prosper and perpetuate, individually and nationally.

Romans clearly reveals they are ministers of what Lutherans often called the Left Kingdom.

Enter the individual Christian citizen.

He/she has been given rights and tools, as a citizen, by his government and we hope by God as a blessing, at least with America. One of those tools is voting. Instead of Kings reigning through succession, the people get to speak.

If you (I am speaking generally, here, not to you, personally) believe staying silent because no candidate represents your voice sufficiently, so be it. But remember, your silence always has a price in some manner. If you believe the price to be righteous and without blame before God, I cannot condemn such a man.

However, I will challenge any Christian voting who has voted in the past and now might object to the two-party offerings coming soon in the general election. In the past when you voted, was your candidate without fault, always, or did you accept certain liabilities because he/she possessed other important properties? Why, now, do you believe you have crossed a threshold where you refuse to vote?

Secondly, as I said, can you live with your refusal to vote which ultimate will aid a less desired candidate and are you so certain that the other candidate who for whom you refuse to vote will be as awful as you tell yourself because in the end, you have two candidates, and one of them will have an impact on this nation and on you, individually, to some degree and you wish to remain silent and not vote and take your hands off the controls?

I think every man or woman, Christian especially, is duty bound to control and influence what they can where they can.