This year, perhaps more than any other year, conservative Christians who normally vote in presidential elections are looking at two choices that are an utterly depressing indictment of the spiritual condition of our nation. Most of us do not even consider Hillary Clinton a viable option. Her fervor for expanded abortion rights and liberal ideology that would erode religious liberties for Christians make it nearly impossible for us to look her way. That being said, that doesn't mean our support should therefore flow to Donald Trump.
Perhaps it's time for Christians in America to transcend politics in 2016 and choose Christ over country. Conflating Christianity with American nationalism is an error and should be guarded against. Patriotism and politics can indeed become an idol. Often times we may think our national prosperity and earthly comfort is the ultimate will of God. However, as the Apostle Paul and many other martyrs will tell you, that isn't necessarily true. We are not promised temporal liberty and freedom as Christians. In fact, quite the opposite. We are guaranteed persecution.
This doesn't mean that we should set ourselves up for persecution, but it does mean that we should never compromise our foundational Christian principles to avoid it! This seems to be the main argument from evangelicals for voting for Trump: Under Clinton, the Church would face political persecution and abortions would be unrestricted. At least Trump promises Supreme Court justices who would safeguard both the child in the womb and our religious freedoms. In essence, the enemy of our enemy is our friend.
With that in mind, I don't think that's a good enough reason for us to hitch the Christian cart to the Trump horse. I'll start with the assumption that Christian leaders really have the best interest of the Church in mind and are not just looking for political influence and fame. Also, I don't think evangelicals always need to abstain from voting if neither choice is a Christian. But Trump makes a mockery of the Christian faith by using the Church for his political gain. He claims to be a Christian, yet he can't recite one Bible and recently said he has never asked for God's forgiveness. This doesn't add up because we know Trump, as do we all, has many sins for which he needs to be forgiven. He is now on his third marriage, he has partaken in many unscrupulous business practices, he has bragged about his promiscuity, he owned a casino with a strip club in it, etc.
How does Trump's false claim of Christ and the Church's endorsement of him glorify God? By saving our skins from some earthly political persecution? How do we retain credibility with unbelievers? We are so afraid of losing our freedoms, our God is so weak that we had to ally ourselves with a man who refers to women as fat pigs and slobs, tears down any who disagree with him and makes a mockery of the faith?
Some say the ends justify the means in this case. The Church will be able to carry on its preaching of the Gospel by protecting our religious liberty, that the church's future is brighter in a free country. That goes against everything the Bible teaches us. The early Church exploded under Roman persecution, the Church today in China is currently exploding under persecution, Christ has built His Church under horrific persecution. If anything, persecution is ultimately good for the Church, it separates the wheat from the chaff. It would cause true believers to really forsake the things of this world, this foreign land that we live in, and look to Christ in all things.
So, no, I do not believe that Christians ought to endorse Donald Trump. It does violence to the Gospel and the credibility of the Church. We should not support or accept him as our deliverer. It should prick the Christian conscience. As Luther said, "To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen."