Skip to comments.Michael Gerson Is Mostly Right about Evangelicals and Trump; But what he's wrong about is important
Posted on 03/17/2018 7:20:01 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Michael Gerson's much-ballyhooed articles in The Atlantic and The Washington Post have made quite a splash, at least among evangelicals. Much of the response has been of the hand-wringing kind. As in, what right does Gerson have to throw evangelicals under the bus because of their support for Donald Trump? Well, count me as an evangelical who mostly agrees with Michael Gerson. I believe that the overall support for Donald Trump is a self-imposed obstacle to evangelicals' ability to be a faithful witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
When Gerson, after listing just some of Trump's sizeable moral failings, writes, "Yet religious conservatives who once blanched at PG-13 public standards now yawn at such NC-17 maneuvers," I add my sad "Amen."
To be clear, though, I do have some fairly substantial points of disagreement with Gerson, at least over what he's articulated in his two recent essays. In fact, my points of disagreement may trump my agreement.
For starters, Gerson uses a very broad brush with which to paint all evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump. One of the problems with his essays is that he doesn't allow space for evangelicals who are deeply embarrassed and disturbed by Trump's "NC-17 maneuvers." Instead, he implies that all "Trump evangelicals are best understood as conservative political operatives, seeking benefits for their interest group from politicians who are most likely to provide them."
Almost every person that I know who voted for Trump is as disgusted by our president's behavior and language as I am. And, just as importantly, they do not view President Trump as some kind of savior riding in on his horse to bully those who would bully us out of the public square. In fact, they do not want that. At all.
What they want is for President Trump to protect the lives of unborn children, defend the sanctity of marriage as defined by God, and provide a public voice that pushes back on the gender confusion being harmfully peddled by leftists. And my Trump-voting friends recognize that any moral stand Trump takes on these issues is a hypocritical stand. They're not stupid.
They're also not hypocrites, as Gerson claims.
Instead, they looked at what they believed were the only available options, held their nose, and voted for a man that disgusts many of them.
For the record, I disagree with my friends. I did not vote for Trump in 2016, and, unless something changes in his character, I will not be able to vote for the man in 2020. I remain #NeverTrump. Unlike my Trump-voting friends, I believe that they are overlooking another optionthe choice of expressing "none of the above" with your vote.
You see, no one can simply vote against someone. As in, you can't vote for Trump merely as a vote against Hillary. By voting for Donald Trump, you are claiming a level of support for the man, something I'm not comfortable with.
Rather than choosing their own agendas, evangelicals have been pulled into a series of social and political debates started by others. Why the asinine issue of spiritually barren prayer in public schools? Because of Justice Hugo Blacks 1962 opinion rendering it unconstitutional. Why such an effort-wasting emphasis on a constitutional amendment to end abortion, which will never pass? Because in 1973 Justice Harry Blackmun located the right to abortion in the constitutional penumbra. Why the current emphasis on religious liberty? Because the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing same-sex marriage has raised fears of coercion.
Think about what Gerson is actually saying. Condescendingly chiding evangelicals, Gerson insists that deeply held beliefs about the sanctity of life and marriage are to be set aside. In other words, evangelical concerns are not allowed a seat at the table of discourse. To him, we evangelicals are dull-minded children who mistakenly believe that society's failure to adhere to biblical morals mean that they are out to get us. We're a notch better than conspiracy theorists, in his estimation.
Well, the millions upon millions of dead children at the hands of the abortion industry would say that society is most definitely out to get themif they were given a voice, that is. I know of a few Christian bakers who could help Gerson define "coercion." At the moment, Miracle Hill, one of the largest foster care agencies in South Carolina, is in a legal battle for its life over its Christian identity. And the list goes on and on.
Gerson also fails to account for how deeply evangelicals believe in these issues. Abortion and same-sex marriage are not throwaway policy positions. Both are deeply rooted in what we believe the Bible teaches about the sanctity of life and the purpose for marriage (see Ephesians 5:31-32). To ask evangelicals to set aside our beliefs about either issue is insulting and reveals that Gerson's morals are shaped more by society and less by the Bible.
In conclusion, while I too am saddened by evangelicals' seeming wholesale and uncritical support of a man like Donald Trump, it's disingenuous to claim that the support is in any way monolithic. Likewise, insisting that evangelicals lay aside their deeply held beliefs is patronizing and reveals a lack of understanding of what drives those beliefs.
Gerson's essays will accomplish the exact opposite of his purpose. He is only giving credence to evangelicals' belief that broader society is unwilling to allow them a public voice. In fact, it's essays like Gerson's that will possibly cause me to change my mind and vote for Donald Trump in 2020.
The author is drowning in the Satanist cultural revolution, and believes that individuals should swim or tread water, and not grab onto a flotation device.
No, Trump is not perfect. Throughout the Bible God has used imperfect people to do good. The author seems to think it better to support a spawn of Hell like Hillary Clinton than allow an imperfect leader to help fight the flood. And not supporting Trump is supporting Hillary.
If Trump has had a conversion and sought God’s forgiveness no Evangelical need listen to this confused author.
The evidence is that Trump has had such a conversion.
I do not always like some of president Trump’s behavior. What this author fails to be able to comprehend in his self-righteousness is that not supporting Trump essentially supports worse.
You can not - unless you are a completely delusional lunatic even argue that whatever President Trump’s moral failings The PIAPS were worse. In fact, given the obvious, egregious, intentional sin and advocacy of sin propounded by The PIAPS to fail to cast your vote for the ONLY candidate that had any chance of keeping her from power for a moral reason is the same as the Pharisees standing on the corner and praying out loud, announcing to the world how pious they were.
It like saying is that because Hezekiah wasn’t perfect you’d he’d rather have Ahab! What a fool. What an evil thing to desire!
Would this man have refused to vote for King David because he was an adulterer? Would he have withheld his approval of David’s sons for having not three but three hundred wives and 700 concubines? Yet the Bible says both of these men, with moral failings as great as any of Trumps were chosen by God.
Would he have, as the Sadducees and Pharisees did condemn Jesus for having a meal with sinners? Is he more righteous than our Lord?
Apparently, he believes he is. That is the argument he is making.
I doubt he will ever see this but I am calling on this recalcitrant sinner to soften his heart and repent of his self-righteousness.
Mr. Ellis, you are not God and it seems you have a very over blown opinion of your own righteousness and believe yourself to be a judge. Such arrogance.
This is a common occurrence with many of you leftists and pretend conservatives.
If people were perfect in God’s eyes, he wouldn’t of sent us Jesus.
What great Biblical patriarch or character did not have major character flaws or moral failings? God works through imperfect humans because we are all deeply flawed. God applies his wisdom and strength to mankind’s efforts to accomplish his will. God makes the rules, not self-righteous politicians, pundits,journalists or theologians.
We report, God decides!
Bought and paid for by the swamp
Beautifully said. My conscience is more clear for voting for Trump than if I had stood aside and allowed that evil, wicked Hillary be the one to make SC appointments.
Amen—it is never acceptable to allow a Democrat to gain power—never!!!!!
As an actual evangelical Christian I follow Gods word above all else. Not some fanciful milquetoast socialist utopian version where everyone marches in lockstep with zealot shamers like this twit.
Is Trump the ideal Christian? Hell no. But then recall that none of us are worthy of heaven or could be called proper Christians as we all fall short of God. Besides - we dont elect presidents to be our religious orthodoxy (good thing too)
So Trump has had sex with lots of women - good for him - as a male I applaud his ability to attract that many women. I also applaud his ability to respect them as individuals and giving them positions of power in his administration. Ive yet to see one allegation of assault about him.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone
As for his language - again it doesnt bother me. Ive heard far worse from evangelicals in the locker rooms.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Above all things, for all his foibles, for not being god like - Trump is enacting Gods Word in deed.
Thats all I need to know.
It is good to see sanity returning to FR. When Romney was defeated by Obama there were Freepers who were declaring the glory of being rid of Romney. The point is that the Democrat will ALWAYS be worse than a flawed Republican. ALWAYS vote straight Republican as they will always be better than the Democrat.
Gerson’s much-ballyhooed articles in The Atlantic and The Washington Post are just a pile of BS. Not once in his Atlantic article did NeverTrumpista Gerson mention Hillary as the reason many Christians voted for Trump.
Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; LORD, tear out the fangs of those lions!
What the author doesn’t seem concerned about is that voting “none of the above” doesn’t achieve that result. Normal people are concerned about getting the best of the choices before them, not registering a protest vote over the imperfect choices on offer.
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