Religious Influence

Evangelical Outrage Against Trump; Why Not Clinton?

on July 28, 2016

Last Thursday as he wrapped up his hour-long speech in which he formally accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency of the United States, Donald Trump thanked the evangelical Christians who supported his candidacy, helping make his quest for the nomination possible.

Trump graciously said,

…I would like to thank the evangelical and religious community because I’ll tell you what, the support they have given me, and I’m not sure I totally deserve it has been so amazing and has had such a big reason for me being here tonight…

Though Trump tactfully thanked the “evangelical and religious community,” it’s no secret that evangelicals remain divided over the candidacy and potential presidency of Donald J. Trump.

Since last June when Trump declared his intentions to run for president, many Christian evangelicals have fervently, tirelessly, but thoughtfully explained why they, in good faith and conscience, could not, cannot, and will not support Trump’s bid to be the next President of the United States (see here, here, here, here, here, and on it goes). Additionally, these and other evangelicals have religiously and ethically reasoned that all evangelicals have a moral obligation to withhold their support and vote from Donald Trump, period (here, here, here, here and here).

Though their religious counsel, shepherding, and political opinions are indeed essential, I wonder if evangelicals have spilled too much ink venting their disgust, admonishments, and doom-and-gloom prognostications against Donald Trump, his candidacy and his prospective presidency.

For the record, I don’t support Donald Trump. He’s consistently inconsistent – not to mention vague – on a host of important policy issues. He’s boorish and lacks basic levels of tact and professionalism one should display when running for president. So I understand and am grateful for the need and the desire of influential self-identified evangelicals to offer depositions of moral clarity regarding Donald Trump’s character.

However it also seems as if evangelicals have been competing to showcase their political and ideological purity while trying to safeguard Christian witness – the latter a very praiseworthy thing, no doubt. Yet, is endlessly rebuking everything associated with the real estate billionaire and Republican presidential nominee really necessary?

To be clear, I’m not accusing fellow Christians of moral preening. But there’s been an prodigious amount of moral and ethical denunciations of Trump’s personal shortcomings regarding his marital infidelities, his arrogance and social incivility – mocking the disabled, personally disparaging opponents through lies and slander, and his claim that he doesn’t need to ask God for forgiveness. And of his political positions – accusing him of being a racist or being a vehicle that leverages white nationalism (some truth to the latter), lamenting his nativist tendencies (slandering him as anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim), and of being an autocrat who represents the greatest threat to American democracy, just to name a few. Hyperbole threatens evangelical temperance and credibility.

I’m also not arguing that these moral critiques are unfounded; quite the opposite, actually. Many of these and other criticisms are accurate and it’s encouraging to see that not all Christians have forfeited their moral compass in the age of subjective sentimentality over moral absolutes, where virtue and morality are constantly defined and redefined in relation to various forms of “injustice,” social victim status and identity politics.

But where was this full-throated and unyielding evangelical political witness and critique eight years ago when Barack Obama was running for president? Barack Obama claimed he was a Christian but articulated beliefs and political positions while running for president – and as president – that contradicted a biblical worldview and orthodox Christian teaching.  He repeatedly compromised his professed religious faith, or twisted it beyond recognition, to justify his leftist ideological agenda (abortion, immigration, same-sex marriage, transgenderism, using the IRS as a tool of intimidation against political opponents, etc.)

More to the point, why haven’t these same evangelicals put as much religious, political and intellectual vigor – and expedience – into expressing similar and consistent moral outrage and political condemnations about why Hillary Clinton is profoundly unfit to be President of the United States? We’ve repeatedly heard about Donald Trump’s disreputable character traits and what he might be as president, but why haven’t evangelicals highlighted, with similar resolve and vitality, Hillary Clinton’s ever-growing list of personal moral failings like her blatant and persistent political corruption? Or about her intentionally circumventing government protocol and rejecting repeated warnings about the vulnerability and almost certain guarantee that her electronic communications would be intercepted – compromising national security for personal financial gain- by setting up several private email servers? Or the serial lies about the servers? What about the fact that she used her non-profit foundation to launder money from questionable people and countries in exchange for favors and other special considerations if and when she becomes president?

Where are the evangelical voices, commentary and news pieces beseeching fellow evangelicals against supporting and voting for Hillary Clinton, knowing precisely how sedulously fraudulent she’s proven herself to be? Or because of the consequences of her disastrous foreign policy achievements, if one can call them that? Or because of her lies and irresponsible handling of the terror attack on a U.S embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and the resulting media fallout from it (including having an innocent man jailed as part of the charade)? Or because she thinks pre-born children up to the moment of birth, are unworthy of civil rights protections? That she’s in favor of leftist ideological conformity at the expense of religious liberty? Or because of the deliberate, public character assassinations of multiple women who were victims of her husband’s sexual predations?

To his credit, Princeton professor Robert P. George – a devout Catholic – recently acknowledged on Twitter that conservative critics of Donald Trump are obligated to admit just how destructive a Clinton presidency would be. But we need to hear more.

I understand that many evangelicals taking public positions against Donald Trump are religious and political conservatives or Republicans, and are not only worried about the negative effects that Trump will have on evangelical integrity (rightly so), but also the credibility of the Republican Party.

Nevertheless, there’s been a recognizable absence of evangelicals highlighting Hillary Clinton’s public record of demonstrable and unethical actions, as well as forewarnings of what might happen if a person so pathologically dishonest is elected president. The evangelical silence concerning Clinton’s character and governance threatens evangelical credibility.

I applaud the evangelical critiques of Donald Trump, but we need less selectivity in our outrage to maintain what’s left of Christian moral authority and to maintain an effective evangelical political witness.

  1. Comment by Nutstuyu on July 28, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Sevenfold Amen. #NeverHillary

  2. Comment by C. Y. Cheng on July 31, 2016 at 10:47 am

    History of the past years is the best proof that Hillary and Bill Clinton are the worst criminal politicians (their crimes are already proved, although the the United States of American has changed the rule of the law twice for Bill and Hillary, respectively). Whether Trump would be a good president if elected remains to be seen, but it would be an absolute disaster if Hillary Clinton gets elected due to her track record. Let alone all the important domestic policies, Clinton would destroy the scarcely remaining respect and credibility of the U.S.A. with her war-everywhere foreign “policy”.

    Every time I saw news on the Syrian refugees and the brutalities of the IS criminals of the Islam, I cannot help but wonder if Americans realize that our nation under Obama and Clinton is fully responsible for the disaster? Of course, the media have done a great job in making sure nobody even suspects this is the fact. All the blame is put on Bashar el Assad.

    In the past, I always refrained from talking about politics among my brothers and sisters in our church. But not any more. Under the circumstances of the upcoming election, we will have tremendous regret if we continue to stay silent. We have to present the case and raise the level of alert among evangelical Christian friends in particular.

  3. Comment by Joan Watson on July 28, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    I am going with a thought Mark Tooley attributed to Martin Luther: when it comes to political leadership it is better to have a smart Turk than a dumb Christian. After stumbling into Pence’s speech last week which got me curious about what Trump had to say my money is on the smart Turk. My guess is Trump realizes his limitations and is not going to go this along. If Pence is any indication–Trump chose him because of the turnaround he engineered in Indiana–Trump is going to assemble a think tank of political thinkers unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime! I’m betting the farm that Christianity has an excellent chance of flourishing during his time as President. God has been known to raise up unlikely leaders and it would just be like Christians to miss out on an opportunity because they are looking for the wrong things when it comes to political leadership. I have not really listened to Trump before last week, but I am very well acquainted with all the criticisms–my sense is he is realizing what he is undertaking and is just beginning to hit his stride!

  4. Comment by RustyShk on September 22, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Pence lies through his teeth, brother. Have you fact-checked anything Pence has said lately?

  5. Comment by Skipper on July 29, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Good question! The outrage is there, but the media won’t report it. And I hear she claims to be United Methodist, in spite of supporting homosexual behavior and abortion. I remember when Bill Clinton claimed to be Southern Baptist and they came right out and said he was not one of them!

  6. Comment by tpartygramma on July 29, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Did you hear her quote John Wesley in her acceptance speech last night? “Do all the good you can”, etc.? She used it as an example of what she claims to have done in public service, not mentioning the millions of dollars she has acquired for the Clinton Foundation or how it has been spent (or not).

  7. Comment by C. Y. Cheng on July 31, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Not just millions, billions. The most shameless lying criminal is now the nominee. It’s time we shouldn’t keep our silence. We must let people know, with due evidence and respect, it is a crime to vote for a criminal as the next president of the United States of America.

  8. Comment by Karen McKim-Altman on August 1, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” To me, it is obvious that both Bill and Hillary do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior. As Billy Sunday said, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.”

  9. Comment by RustyShk on September 22, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    You may be right. It all depends on your criteria. God’s criteria are not the same as yours or mine, thankfully. He’s the one who knows. If anyone left in this race is godly, I know he’s not named Trump.

    Hillary has had a lot of false witnesses tell lies about her, I do know that. With Trump, you can document that he has cheated people and charities, that he constantly fabricates things, that he’s selfish, and so on. With Hillary, she’s been serving in government for a long time. She’s no Pharisee, certainly; she doesn’t make a scene about her faith, like anyone who heeds the Gospels.

  10. Comment by Creed Pogue on August 1, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Evangelicals pushed very hard to defeat Barack Obama. Do we forget:

    Even in 2012, many evangelicals twisted themselves into pretzels to justify supporting Mitt Romney. Now, we see many doing the same thing yet again for Donald Trump!

    The belief that Trump is today’s version of Cyrus the Great is without foundation. The belief that Trump is going to “assemble a think tank of political thinkers unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime” and actually listen to that group is simply fantastical.

  11. Comment by RustyShk on September 22, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Not all evangelicals. Not this one.

    The business about Cyrus the Great is just a way to try to justify voting for someone as immoral as Trump. The exact rationalization could apply to voting for Hillary.

  12. Comment by PPTA on September 24, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Use your search engine, and look up who picks the Rulers and Kings in the Bible. I am Evangelical, and I do not not believe in Cyrus the Great at all. when you look up the verses that the Lord says he picks the Rulers and Kings, you will find he also picks the bad ones. Why? To punish the nation of the people who have fallen away from him. I prefer you look it up rather than just me telling you.That way, you read the Lords words yourself, and can argue with him. You can tell the Lord how wrong he is.

  13. Comment by PPTA on August 6, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Just because you claim to be a Christian, does not mean you are one. As far as Trump is concerned, what has he lied about? Give me Proof. What has Hillary Lied about? Everything for years. What money has been paid to a Trump Foundation? To campaign fund in the primary? Nothing. He certainly is not on the take. He has made public a list of names he will pick Supreme Court Judges from. Has Hillary? This hog wash with Khan, the Father, (And Mother) of the slain Muslim soldier, what did he actually say? Compare it with Hillary who called the Mother , a Gold Star Mother, a liar on national TV and Radio. She told the Mother the Benghazi attack was because of a video, then told Egypt and her own daughter the same day it was a terrorist attack, then when the Mother called her on the lie, she called the Mother a Liar. Trump never did that. But the lying Democrats and the RINOS twisted what he said. Hillary Clinton is a criminal. Satan wants her elected. Those who help get her elected are working for Satan, for evil. You people who call your self Evangelicals, are not Christians. Read Revelation Chapter 2, start with verse 8, And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things sayth the first and the last, (Jesus)which was dead and is alive, 9. I know thy works , and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which they are Jews, (Christian’s) and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. It talks about people who claim to be Jews but are not, same thing, claim to be Christian’s but are not. That is these evangelicals. They know who Jesus is. But they do not believe. Therefore they would rather have the criminal, the murder, the liar, the one who is on the take from the elite of the elite rich. Read the verses yourself.

  14. Comment by RustyShk on September 22, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Are you sane? Hillary has lied about things that would lead to her conviction. That’s pretty much it. Trump has done that, too, but he is constantly making up silly lies.

    You would see how incredibly wrong you are, brother, if you would only open your eyes. Read fact-checking sites.

    Also read Proverbs, especially chapter 6. Read the New Testament, including the Sermon on the Mount. Read James. Read “one” Corinthians. Do you still want to vote for Donald Trump?!

  15. Comment by PPTA on September 22, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I. have read them. And Yes, I vote Trump. No way can I vote for a party that hisssses and Boooos God when they put him back in their platform like the Democrats did in 2012 at the convention. . Hillary belongs in jail. So does most of the cabinet, Leadership Democrats, the RINOS and others that have broken the law . And that includes Obama, Since you like reading verses, try 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, start with verse three and read to he end. I believe this describes America today.

  16. Comment by RustyShk on September 23, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    A troublemaker (Trump) and a villain, (Trump)
    who goes about with a corrupt mouth, (Trump)
    13 who winks maliciously with his eye, (Trump)
    signals with his feet
    and motions with his fingers, (Trump)
    14 who plots evil with deceit in his heart—
    he always stirs up conflict. (Trump)
    15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;
    he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

    16 There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
    17 haughty eyes, (Trump, Hillary)
    a lying tongue, (Trump and PPTA more than Hillary)
    hands that shed innocent blood, (Hillary presently, but Trump if he becomes commander in chief)
    18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, (Trump)
    feet that are quick to rush into evil, (Trump)
    19 a false witness who pours out lies (Trump, mostly)
    and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. (Trump)

    Trump’s policies, and the core of his support, are based not on compassion, but on hatred. Hillary’s are mostly compassionate. Trump pours out lies constantly. He cheats customers, contractors and even charities! He cheated on Ivana, and was proud of it. He doesn’t ask God for forgiveness, since he claims he doesn’t need it. He uses other people’s money to get where he is. He misleads his supporters. He’s Oz. Don’t be the Tin Man.

  17. Comment by PPTA on September 23, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Your totally wrong. Just tell me one thing, who is paying off Trump? Like Hillary, Like Obama, Like the RINOS, who is footing the bill for Trump? I want the source if you have one, So I can check it out myself. Not some BS you make up. But the real source. I gave the source of the Moneys that Hillary gets, that Obama gets, tat the Rino and Democrat leadership gets. And anyone with a computer with a search engine can look it up. So How about you and your sources? You accuse him of all orts of stuff, so where is the proof and your source? No far left crap like from George Soros either, Also be specific regarding he lies you say Trump ha told. Trumps cire is based on no more corruption in our Government. Read the book
    Te True Story of te
    Bilderberg Group
    By Daniel Estulin
    Right after the Publishers Foreword, you will fund a section that list names. Go to page xv and take a look at heads of Corporations. You can not say I am lying, because I gave you valid sources. Last but not least, ” The lord hates false witness’s also. ” You may want to consider that. Also Consider 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 2, start with verse 3 an read through the end. It describes where civilization is at right now. .

  18. Comment by RustyShk on September 23, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    You’ve lied several times, actually, and other times have just been wildly inaccurate.

    Lying is when you claim to know something you don’t. You’ve done that several times. Lying is when you spread false information that you know to be untrue. You may have done that; you’ve definitely spread false information. I suspect you actually believe it to be true. You’ve been woefully misled down a dark, false path. You haven’t bothered to consider other sources, or perhaps know how to evaluate the truthfulness of sources when they differ.

    But I predict you won’t listen to this, either. You’re too far in, and you don’t have enough knowledge and wisdom to get out, and you probably won’t accept that you need to. Nothing is impossible for God, however, even if Hillary has written you off.

  19. Comment by PPTA on September 24, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    I gave all my sources, have you? I will ask , for the last time, for your sources, if You do not have any, then this written conversation will cease. As a suggestion only, use your search engine an look up BSF, (Bible Study Fellowship). They are a International Bible Study Group, no Church denomination, no Politics. Just Gods word. This year, the Gospel of John. last Year, the Book of Revelation, the year before the study of the first five books of the Bile called often “The Pentateuch” .written by Moses. That is another source for you. Hope you follow thorough and find a BSF Group near you. You may really find it interesting and enlightening. All people are welcome, all races attend.

  20. Comment by RustyShk on September 27, 2016 at 11:36 am

    What sources have you given? Right wing propaganda is all you’ll ever cite.

    Let’s look at what you’ve said.

    People claim to be Christians who are not. According to Jesus, this is true. Unfortunately, it looks like it applies to Trump. 1 Cor. 15 (or “One Corinthians 15).

    Trump hasn’t lied. You didn’t quite say that, but suggested it by asking where’s the proof that he’s lied, and then going on to focus on Hillary as a liar. I’d call it misleading, and suggestive of mistruth.

    You’ve said Hillary has lied about “Everything for years.” That’s a gross exaggeration. We’ve all lied at some point, and Hillary is CERTAINLY no exception, but she doesn’t compare to the constant barrage of BS coming from Trump’s mouth and twitter account. If you don’t accept this, you are highly deluded, ignorant or both. You pick a day, and Trump will have said a lie every 4 minutes, on average. That’s what independent fact checkers found. (Actually, 3 minutes and 54 seconds, I think it was.) Hillary lies when she’s accused of something, and court transcripts show that Trump is no different.

    You’ve said no money has been paid to the Trump Foundation. This is false. Trump has paid into it — at least he did early on — but others are paying into it. All the money going into it since midway through 2008 has been from others. And Trump has used that money in illegal ways, to get his companies out of legal trouble, including to help P. Bondi get elected so she could keep Florida from taking Trump “University” to court, for fraud.

    These are just the first 4 claims you made on this site, and only the first one was true. I’m not going to go through them all, nor am I going to do your homework for you, and give citations for everything. You sure didn’t.

    Your mind is clearly made up. I’m examining all the candidates carefully, as an independent voter. Hopefully other readers will, too. If they want sources, they can do their own homework. Start with Google. Trust only balanced sites, and not far right or far left stuff. Go with journalists whose career is on the line. They’re either going to tell the truth, or they’ll be forced to apologize, or they’ll lose their careers. I’m talking about the major newspapers. Even in conservative Texas, the Dallas Morning News endorsed Hillary, noting that a Trump presidency would be dangerous, and the DMN is paying a heavy price in lost subscriptions. They did the moral thing. We should, too.

  21. Comment by C. Y. Cheng on November 30, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    RustyShk, I have read most (not all) of the arguments in this thread. I cannot believe your sheer dishonesty displayed in the words when you were arguing with PPTA about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    Assuming you are confused, hence I would tell you something you would never believe even when evidence is all there. But prove me wrong here and show that you can handle the truth.

    Hillary Clinton has very close ties to Satanists, her top campaign manager Podesta is one. From Wikileaks email dump, it is 100% clear that Hillary Clinton is involved in their activities.

    Knowing Hillary Clinton’s close ties to Satan worship and practices, I am sure you still insist that we should forgive her, but at the same time condemn Trump for every single problem and mistakes he has done throughout his life, right?

  22. Comment by RustyShk on September 22, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    The author has some good points, but he overlooks some obvious differences between Trump and Clinton:
    1. Trump clearly meets the definition of “demagogue.” He appeals to prejudice, emotion and whatever is popular. He’s a businessperson who responds to social media.
    2. Enthusiasm for demagogues leads to dangerous, evil consequences. Taken World History lately, or even read the news?
    3. There’s been plenty of enthusiasm, in some quarters, for this demagogue.
    4. He has no guiding ethos, other than to make money, and avoid risking (or giving) his own money.
    5. Trump claims to be pro-life and against special rights for LGBTQ, positions which could appeal to some evangelicals who are willing to make a deal with the devil. I say “claims,” since he’s constantly flipping, and has flipped on these issues at convenient times, along with flips on the birther silliness, immigration, and on supposedly being born again. He held positions when the majority of those voting (Republicans only, or all voters) held those positions — or when a significant minority was suddenly needed to win.

    A Hillary Clinton presidency is not much more dangerous to the unborn than what we have now, when 1 in 6 unborn in the USA are aborted (and nearly 1 in 3 in NY). Roe isn’t going away, people. Abortion is still a paradox of rights.

    Ethically, we know what we’re going to get with Hillary Clinton. It’s not perfect, but neither is it going to cause whiplash. We know that the Clinton Foundation will either shut down, or that she’ll never again be part of it. With Trump, how do you know that Pres. Trump won’t be setting up Eric and Ivanka or even Tiffany somehow, as well as himself? Imagine all the conflicts of interest with The Trump Organization, as well as the Trump Foundation, when dealing with Russia, China or even Mexico.

    A Clinton presidency is far safer for the USA and the world than having someone as ill-prepared as Trump — someone who seems rather curious about the possibility of using nukes, and whose vague proposals would lead to major issues in Korea, the Middle East, and North America, as well as destruction of the environment that we all depend upon (and that God gave Adam as our responsibility). Trump won’t reveal his plans since that would “give everything away” to our enemies. No, it’s because Trump has no idea what he’ll do. (Did you notice Trump accidentally admit to Matt Lauer that he has no plan to defeat ISIS, right before he backtracked and claimed that he does, but it’s secret? No one asks him, “What elements of your secret plan CAN you reveal? No one presses him for details that would show how he knows almost nothing.)

    A Clinton presidency wouldn’t have surprises, at least not on the level of Trump, and would entail far more dignity. Even with her errors and lies, she’s a far more godly person. Trump has “won” in that department — errors and fabrications.

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