Note: This is a slightly modified version of an article that first appeared at TownHall.com. Used with permission of the author. This constitutes the opinion of the author only, it should not be construed to represent the opinion of Phoenix Seminary.
Sudden media attention
After I saw the shocking 2005 video with Trump talking about his sexual aggression against women, I wrote, "There is no morally good presidential candidate in this election." I condemned Trump's immoral conduct and said I did not know how I would vote. I asked Townhall.com to remove my earlier article, "Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice." http://townhall.com/columnists/waynegrudem/2016/07/28/why-voting-for-donald-trump-is-a-morally-good-choice-n2199564 I urged Trump to withdraw, http://townhall.com/columnists/waynegrudem/2016/10/09/trumps-moral-character-and-the-election-n2229846 hoping we could get a better candidate.
The liberal media loved this. "Evangelical theologian calls on Trump to withdraw." I suddenly had more requests for interviews from mainstream news organizations than ever in my lifetime. I turned them all down.
And Trump did not withdraw.
Deciding to vote Trump, not third-party
In the rest of this article, I want to explain why I have decided, for the good of the nation, for the future in which my children and grandchildren will live, and (I believe, though others will differ) to prevent liberal judicial persecution of the Christian church, I have now decided that I still must vote for Trump.
Voting for Clinton and her ultraliberal policies is not an option for me as an evangelical Christian. Therefore I am left with two options: (1) vote for Trump, or (2) vote for a third-party candidate whose hopes of winning belong to fantasy, not reality.
And if these are my only two options, then voting for a third-party candidate has the clear effect of helping to elect Clinton, because it is taking my vote away from Trump. That is why the liberal media loved it when I said I was finding it hard to decide.
(But when I published this article that you are now reading on Townhall.com, saying that I was back to voting for Trump, none of those liberal media outlets called me back. They were only interested in me, as an evangelical Christian voter, if I was anti-Trump.)
If my only two options are vote for Trump or vote third-party, it also means that my two options are actually this: (1) vote for Trump, or (2) help Hillary Clinton get elected.
Once I put the choice in those stark terms, there is a good way to make a decision. Since I find both candidates morally objectionable, I am back to the old-fashioned basis on which I have usually decided how to vote for my entire life: Whose policies are better? Do I agree more with Trump's policies or with Clinton's?
It isn't even close. I overwhelmingly support Trump's policies and believe that Clinton's policies will seriously damage the nation, perhaps forever. On the Supreme Court, abortion, religious liberty, sexual orientation regulations, taxes, economic growth, the minimum wage, school choice, Obamacare, protection from terrorists, immigration, the military, energy, and safety in our cities, I think Trump is far better than Clinton (see below for details). Again and again, Trump supports the policies I advocated in my 2010 book Politics According to the Bible.
A caution: There are still 10 days until the election. Just yesterday being FBI reopened its investigation of Clinton's emails. And there may still be another major "October surprise" about either Trump or Clinton – or both.
But there is also a positive possibility, because Trump claims he is a changed person from who he was in 2005 and he has apologized for how he acted back then. There is a possibility he has really changed, and I hope it is true. I don't know. Therefore what I write here is my best judgment as of October 29, 2016, given the information we know now.
Moral objections to voting for Trump
Several Christian friends tell me they still have some moral objections to voting for Trump. They say evangelicals should vote for a third-party candidate. Here is why I am not persuaded by their objections:
(1) "My conscience won't let me vote for Trump."
Answer: I fail to see how your conscience lets you help Hillary Clinton get elected, for that is the result of withholding your vote from Trump. Does it not trouble your conscience to help advance the terrible harm that she will bring to the nation? (See details below.)
(2) "Voting for Trump means you approve of his immoral treatment of women."
Answer: No, it absolutely does not. In my Oct. 9 opinion piece, I proclaimed to all the world that his treatment of women was morally wrong. And so did every other evangelical leader who is supporting him.
(3) "When faced with the lesser of two evils, choose neither one."
Answer: I agree with this principle when facing a choice between doing two evil actions. For example, when faced with a choice between stealing and telling a lie, I should choose neither one. But this is not that kind of situation. We are not talking about doing something evil. We are talking about voting.
Yes, it is morally evil to commit adultery. It is also morally wrong to approve of committing adultery. But that does not mean it is morally evil to vote for someone who has committed adultery. In a world affected by sin, voting for morally flawed people is unavoidable. Voting for the candidate you think will be best for the country (or do the least harm to the country) is not a morally evil action, so this objection does not apply.
(4) "If you vote for Trump you'll never have credibility in the future when you say that character matters."
Answer: I disagree. The current chaos over Trump's candidacy (and Clinton's) is mostly because of character issues, and character will continue to matter in future elections, perhaps even more so because of this election.
On the other hand, if you refuse to vote for Trump, how can you ever have credibility in the future when you say that the policy differences between candidates and between political parties matter?
I have read the Republican platform and the Democratic platform for this year. In my opinion, the Republican platform is more consistent with biblical moral principles than any platform I have ever read. And the Democratic platform is more antithetical to Christian principles than any platform I have read. This is important, because elected officials vote consistently with their party's platforms 70%-80% of the time, according to a study by political science professor Lee W. Payne. Policy differences do ultimately determine the future of the nation.
(5) "We have to send the Republican party a message that a candidate like Trump is unacceptable."
Answer: You don't have to. You want to, perhaps thinking that it will demonstrate moral courage and heroism. But the leadership of the Republican party already knew that Trump was the most unacceptable of all the choices we had. They fought tooth and nail against Trump in the primaries, and he won anyway.
Is it worth turning the country over to a corrupt Clinton political machine that is hostile to Christian values, just to "send a message" that the party leaders already agree with? That's a steep price to pay.
And why not vote to help defeat Clinton and send the entire nation the message that a candidate like Clinton is even more unacceptable?
(6) "It is wrong for Christians to place their trust in a morally compromised man."
Answer: Our ultimate trust of course should be in God alone. But the question in this election is not whether we trust Trump or God. The question is whether we trust Trump or Clinton.
When the apostle Paul was on trial before the Roman governor Festus, he saw that things were going badly, so he said, "I appeal to Caesar" (Acts 25:11). But "Caesar" was the emperor Nero, an immoral and corrupt person. This doesn't mean that Paul was trusting in Nero instead of in God, but it means he wisely decided that he would have a better chance for a fair trial under Nero than under Festus.
Similarly, I think we have a much better chance for good government under Trump than under Clinton.
(7) "I could never tell my friends that I voted for Trump."
Answer: Why not? Are you acting out of a misplaced fear of what your friends will think? The future of the country is at stake. Is it worth it for you to pay the price of disapproval from your friends?
(8) "We should vote for neither one and trust a sovereign God to bring about his good purposes for the nation."
Answer: Every time I hear this objection, I think of the story of a man who climbed up to the roof of his house in a flood and prayed for God to save him. A man with a boat came along and urged him to get in, but he refused, saying, "God will save me." Another boat came and he gave the same response. Finally, as the waters were lapping at his feet, a helicopter came and dropped a rescue harness to him. He waved it away, yelling out, "God will save me!"
Then he drowned in the flood, and when he got to heaven, he asked God, "Why didn't you save me when I prayed to you?" God replied, "I sent two boats and a helicopter."
The moral of the story is that God often works through human means to answer our prayers. And I think that the ballot box in this election is still the human means that God has given in answer to our prayers that he would deliver us from the increasing opposition to Christian values brought on by the Democratic Party and the Obama administration. You have an immense privilege as a voter to influence the direction of the nation. Why not vote for the candidate whose policies are best, and also trust God for the future of the nation? Please don't wave away the helicopter – even a faulty helicopter – and later say to God, "Why didn't you save us?"
(9) "Are there no limits to what you will tolerate in a candidate?"
Answer: This is the question that set me back on my heels and threw me into a few days of uncertainty after the release of the Trump video.
In the end, I decided it is useless at this point to speculate about all possible future elections. The question facing us is how we should vote in this election, given what we know now. The question is whether Clinton or Trump would be a better president. My conclusion is that, because I agree with his policies, Trump is the far better choice.
(10) "My vote doesn't really matter. I don't even live in a battleground state."
Answer: This election is unlike any other in our lifetimes, and it is possible that the polls are more wrong than they have ever been. Individual votes matter. George W. Bush became president because of only 537 votes in Florida in 2000.
In addition, your vote sends a signal. Every vote in every state affects the margin of victory for the winning candidate. A large nationwide victory gives a strong political mandate and a lot of political clout going forward. A small victory gives a weak mandate and less political clout going forward.
In future years, people will ask, "In 2016, did you do what you could to stop Hillary Clinton or did you vote in a way that helped and encouraged her?" If we fail to vote to stop Clinton and her support for abortion rights, government imposition of gender confusion on our children, hate speech laws used to silence Christians, and government-sanctioned exclusion of thousands of Christians from their lifelong occupations because they won't bow to the homosexual agenda -- will our failure to oppose these evils destroy our Christian witness for the future? Will our grandchildren ask us why we failed to at least vote to try to stop the imminent triumph of anti-Christian liberal tyranny when we had the ability to do so?
(11) "I can't trust Trump to do what he promises."
Answer: This objection carries no weight with me. It asks me to believe that Clinton will be a better president than Trump even though Clinton promises to do what I consider bad things for the country while Trump promises to do good things. This objection says I should vote third-party and help the person who promises to do bad things rather than vote for the person who promises to do good things. This is nonsense.
Of course we cannot know Trump or Clinton's future conduct with 100% certainty, but we should decide based on the most likely results. And the most likely result is that both Trump and Clinton will do most or all of what they have promised. That's what elected officials always do, or they lose the support of their own party and become totally ineffective. Their policy differences matter a lot.
Yes, Trump has changed his mind, but notice how he has changed his mind. His policy statements continue to move in a more conservative direction, and he has chosen a very conservative vice president and list of judicial appointments. His transition team includes many solid conservatives, and they will determine many of his appointments and much of what his administration will do. Just as he succeeded in business by listening to the best experts to solve each problem, I suspect that he has been learning from the best experts in conservative political thought and has increasingly found that conservative solutions really work. We should applaud these changes.
His choice of Indiana governor Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate is an especially significant indication that he will govern as a conservative. Pence was outstanding when he debated Tim Kaine in the vice presidential debate. Trump could have picked a moderate but instead picked a lifelong solid conservative who is a thoughtful, gracious policy wizard. Pence is a lawyer and former talk radio host who served 12 years in Congress and had significant congressional leadership positions, so he will be immensely helpful in working with Congress. He is a committed evangelical Christian. He is a former board member of the Indiana Family Institute, a conservative Christian lobbying group in Indiana.
(12) Conclusion on moral objections
Trump has a morally tainted past. I will be voting for him, not with joy but reluctantly because of his deplorable past mistreatment of women. I wish the Republican candidate were someone with a spotless moral reputation (such as Mike Pence). But because anything I do will help elect either Trump or Clinton, these moral objections raised against voting for Trump are not finally persuasive to me. Most of them become even stronger arguments for voting to stop Clinton.
Two different futures for the nation
In the rest of this article, I will compare the results we could expect from a Clinton presidency with what we could expect from a Trump presidency. (The remainder of this article is an updated form of the political policy sections of my earlier article, "Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice.")
The Supreme Court with Clinton as president
Hillary Clinton would quickly replace Justice Scalia with another liberal like Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. This would give liberals a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court even without Justice Kennedy, and 6-3 when he votes with them.
But that is not all. Justice Ginsburg is 83, and she has had colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and has a heart stent. Justice Kennedy is 80. Justice Breyer is 78. A President Clinton could possibly nominate three or four justices to the Supreme Court, locking in a far left activist judiciary for perhaps 30 or more years. She could also add dozens of activist judges to federal district courts and courts of appeals, the courts where 99% of federal lawsuits are decided. Judicial tyranny of the type we have seen when abortion rights and same-sex marriage were forced on the nation would gain a permanent triumph.
The nation would no longer be ruled by the people and their elected representatives, but by unelected, unaccountable, activist judges who would dictate from the bench about whatever they were pleased to decree. And there would be nothing in our system of government that anyone could do to stop them.
That is why this election is not just about Hillary Clinton. It is about defeating the far left liberal agenda that any Democratic nominee would champion. Liberal Democrats are now within one Supreme Court justice of their highest goal: gaining permanent control of the nation with a five vote majority on the Supreme Court, and then systematically imposing every liberal policy on the nation not through winning elections but through a relentless parade of one Supreme Court decision after another.
Even if Clinton were to drop out of the race (perhaps due to additional shocking email disclosures, for example), our choice in the election would be just the same, because any other Democratic nominee would appoint the same kind of liberal justices to the Court.
On abortion, a liberal court would probably find the ban on partial-birth abortion to be unconstitutional (it was upheld by only a 5-4 majority in Gonzalez v. Carhart, 2007). This would allow babies in the ninth month of pregnancy to be partially delivered out of the birth canal, and then have their skulls crushed so that they are not born alive. Hillary Clinton supports protection of this horrendous practice.
In addition, the court could find an absolute "right to abortion" in the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and then sweep away with one decision most or all of the restrictions on abortion that pro-life advocates have worked for tirelessly over the last 43 years, including ultrasound requirements, waiting periods, parental consent requirements, and prohibitions on non-doctors performing abortions.
Voters should not doubt the power of the Supreme Court to abolish all these laws restricting abortions. Think of the power of the Obergefell v. Hodges 5-4 decision in June, 2015. It instantly nullified all the work that thousands of Christians had done over many years in persuading the citizens of 31 states to pass constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. But no one is campaigning for such laws or amendments anymore, because it would be futile. The Supreme Court has spoken, and therefore the issue is settled in the political system of the United States. We lost – not at the ballot box, but because we had a liberal Supreme Court that nullified the democratic process regarding the definition of marriage.
So it would certainly be with any efforts to place legal limitations on abortion. Nobody would campaign any more for laws to limit abortions, because any such laws would be unconstitutional. The legislative lobbying work of pro-life advocacy groups would be totally and utterly defeated. Millions of unborn children would continue to die.
The current liberal agenda often includes suppressing Christian opposition to its views. So a liberal court would increasingly nullify rights of conscience with respect to forced participation in same-sex marriage ceremonies or expressing moral objections to homosexual conduct. Already Christians are being pushed out of many occupations. Florists, bakers, and professional photographers have had their businesses destroyed by large fines for refusal to contribute their artistic talents to a specific event, a same-sex wedding ceremony to which they had moral objections.
What about protecting people's religious freedom? Clinton recently said, about Christians who oppose abortion, "Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed."
Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran in Atlanta was removed from his job because of self-publishing a religious book that briefly mentioned the Bible's teachings regarding non-marital sexual conduct, including homosexuality, amidst a host of other topics. His situation holds ominous implications for any Christians who hold public sector jobs. In our military services, many high-ranking officers have quietly been forced to resign because they were unwilling to give support to the homosexual agenda.
Mozilla/Firefox CEO Brendan Eich was pushed out from his own company merely because he had donated money to Proposition 8 in California, supporting marriage between one man and one woman. This event has troubling implications for Christians in any corporate executive role who dare to support a political position contrary to the liberal agenda.
Last year Boston urologist Paul Church, a Harvard Medical School faculty member, lost his hospital privileges at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center because he had expressed concerns about the medical dangers associated with same-sex activity.
Are my predictions about this kind of loss of religious liberty too grim? The three conservative justices still on the Supreme Court expressed similar concerns just last month. The case concerned a Washington pharmacy that has been owned for 70 years by the Stormans family, who are committed Christians. They will likely now be put out of business by the Washington State Pharmacy Board for refusing to dispense an abortion-causing prescription drug. On June 28, 2016, the Supreme Court refused to hear the Stormans' appeal, in spite of the strong dissent written by Justice Alito (joined by Roberts and Thomas):
"At issue are Washington State regulations that are likely to make a pharmacist unemployable if he or she objects on religious grounds to dispensing certain prescription medications. . . . . there is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the State . . . . If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern." (italics added)
Christian business owners
If Clinton appoints just one more liberal justice, it is likely that many Christian business owners will be targeted. Hobby Lobby won its 2014 Supreme Court case (again 5-4), so it was not compelled to dispense abortifacients to its employees, but that case could be reversed (the four liberal justices in the minority, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, are still on the court). If that case is overturned, it would force Hobby Lobby out of business, because the Green family had said they would shut down the company of 23,000 employees and over $3 billion in annual sales if they lost the decision. The implications for other Christian business owners with pro-life convictions are ominous.
These incidents show that it is not an exaggeration to say that, under a liberal Supreme Court resulting from Hillary Clinton's election, Christians would increasingly experience systematic exclusion from hundreds of occupations, with thousands of people losing their jobs. Step-by-step, Christians would increasingly be marginalized to the silent fringes of society. Is withholding a vote from Donald Trump important enough to pay this high a price in loss of freedom?
Some Christians have even hinted to me that "persecution would be good for us." But the Bible never encourages us to seek persecution or hope for it. We should rather work to prevent such oppression of Christians, just as Jesus taught us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matthew 6:13). Paul did not encourage us to pray that God would give us bad rulers but good ones who would allow us to "lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way" (1Tim. 2:2).
Christian schools and colleges
A liberal Supreme Court would also impact education. Christian colleges would likely be found guilty of "discrimination" if they required adherence to the Bible's standards regarding sexual conduct, or even required affirmation of primary Christian beliefs. Campus ministries like Cru and InterVarsity have already been forced off of many university campuses following the 5-4 Supreme Court decision CLS v. Martinez (2010), which upheld the exclusion of the Christian Legal Society from the campus of Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. And we will likely see more bills like the early form of California's SB 1146, which would have prohibited Christian colleges from requiring students or employees to hold Christian beliefs or abide by biblical moral standards regarding sexual conduct, and would prohibit colleges from assigning housing based on a student's biological sex if a student claimed to be transgender. Colleges like Biola and Azusa Pacific could not long survive under those regulations.
With regard to elementary and high schools, laws promoting school choice or tuition voucher programs would likely be declared unconstitutional if they allowed such funding to go to Christian schools. A tax credit program for scholarships to private schools, including Christian institutions, was only upheld by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn in 2011, and all four liberal justices who voted against it are still on the court. Another possible target of the liberal agenda would be laws that allow for home schooling, if the secular/ liberal governmental hostility to home schooling in European countries is any indicator.
Churches would not be exempt from the impact of a liberal Supreme Court. The court could rule that any school district is allowed to ban churches from renting school buildings on Sundays, an action that could severely hinder the work of small churches and church planting in general. (This was already the ruling of the Second Circuit in the Bronx Household of Faith case regarding New York City public schools.) And some churches in Iowa have now been told that they have to make their bathrooms open to people on the basis of their "gender identity" if the churches are going to be open to the public at all.
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech would be increasingly restricted in the public square. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that prayers of visiting pastors who prayed "in Jesus' name" when they opened a city council meeting were allowed under the Constitution, but again it was a 5-4 decision (Town of Greece v. Galloway) and all four liberals who wanted to restrict such prayers are still on the court.
Another troubling possibility is that liberal activists, once in power, would further entrench themselves by criminalizing much political dissent. We have already seen it happen with the IRS targeting of conservative groups and with some state attorneys general taking steps to prosecute (!) groups who dare to disagree with activists' claims about the danger of man-made global warming. We have now seen what no one thought possible – the political corruption of both the IRS and the FBI under the Obama administration. A Clinton administration would be even worse.
The Supreme Court with Trump as president
By contrast, I continue to believe that many positive results would come from a Trump presidency.
On September 23, Trump released an expanded list of 21 possible Supreme Court justices and promised, "This list is definitive, and I will choose only from it in picking future justices of the United States Supreme Court." I'm confident that Republicans in the Senate will hold Trump to this promise. A lawyer familiar with many of these names has told me that they constitute a "dream list" of outstanding judges who would uphold the original meaning of the Constitution and would not create new laws from the bench. They would uphold the "original meaning" view so strongly exemplified by Justice Scalia before his death.
If Trump would appoint a replacement for Scalia from his list of 11, and probably one or two other Supreme Court justices, then we could see a 5-4 or even 6-3 majority of conservative justices on the Supreme Court. The results for the nation would be overwhelmingly good.
Such a Supreme Court would finally return control of the nation to the people and their elected representatives, removing it from dictatorial judges who repeatedly make law from the bench.
Such a court would likely overturn Roe v. Wade and return abortion laws and the regulation of abortion to the states.
A conservative court would vigorously uphold the First Amendment, protecting freedom of religion and freedom of speech for Christian colleges, Christian ministries, and churches.
Such a court would likely overturn the horribly destructive decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) that changed the meaning of the First Amendment and ruled that a government action "must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion" (note: not a specific denomination but "religion" in general). A conservative court would likely declare that the First Amendment was only intended to prohibit the establishment of a state-sponsored church or denomination.
Such a decision would once again allow the nonsectarian affirmation of personal belief in God in public schools, would once again allow coaches to pray with their football teams before a game, and would allow visiting clergy to be invited to give a prayer at high school graduation ceremonies. It would also imply that nativity scenes without Santa Claus and Buddha should be allowed in government-owned parks and buildings at Christmas time. It wouldn't require these things, but would allow them if local officials chose to approve them. It would restore true freedom of religion as the First Amendment intended.
It would also protect freedom of conscience for Christians who object to participating in abortions, or dispensing abortifacient medicines, or who do not wish to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies. It is also possible that a conservative Supreme Court would eventually return control of marriage to the states.
Freedom for Christian influence in politics
Significantly, Trump has pledged to work to repeal the 1954 Johnson Amendment to the IRS code, which has been used for 62 years as a threat to silence pastors from speaking about political issues, for fear of losing their tax-exempt status. This would be a great victory for freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
In short, a Trump-appointed Supreme Court, together with dozens of lower court judges appointed by him, would probably result in significant advances in many of the policy areas important to Christians. It would also open the door to huge expansion of influence for the many Christian lobbying groups known as "family policy councils" in various states, especially enabling them to work for further legal protections for life, for marriage and family, and for religious liberty.
But the Supreme Court is not the only issue in this election. I agree with Trump and not Clinton on several other issues as well.
Taxes and jobs
Trump has pledged to cut taxes significantly, while Clinton wants to raise them. Trump is advocating a 15% tax rate for corporations rather than the current 35%. Lower corporate taxes would lead to business expansion and a massive increase in available jobs and higher pay levels. For individual taxpayers, Trump favors a top rate of 25%, but Clinton 45%. Most small businesses file under this individual rate, so once again Trump's lower taxes would result in substantial expansion of businesses and many more jobs. Finally our economy would snap out of its eight years of anemic growth.
In my judgment, Christians should support lower tax rates that would lead to more jobs, because Obama's economic policies for the last eight years have hurt lower income and low-middle income families the most. Many can't even find jobs, and others can't find full-time jobs. Those who have jobs struggle to survive with no meaningful pay raises year after year. It is no surprise that these are the people who are supporting Trump in overwhelming numbers.
Tax rates are also a good indicator of government control. Higher tax rates mean greater government control of our lives, while lower tax rates indicate greater freedom.
Restoring economic growth
Under the current Democratic administration, our once-powerful economy has limped along at an anemic 2% annual growth in GDP, whereas it should have been 4% or more. Hillary Clinton's solution is more of the same. She wants to spend more government money to "stimulate" the economy, even though this hasn't worked for eight years as we go further and further in debt. I think Clinton's view is complete foolishness. (Democrats never seem to understand that for every dollar the government spends it has to take a dollar away from us, the citizens, hurting economic growth more than helping it.)
Trump wants to lower taxes to revitalize the economy, help businesses grow, and provide more good jobs. Trump's plan is the only one that will work. (And here I speak as the co-author of a book on sustainable solutions to world poverty.)
Two of the deepest causes of poverty among minority groups and racial tensions in our country are failing public schools in our inner cities and lack of available jobs. Trump expressed a commitment to solve these problems at several points in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention. He pledged to reduce taxes and regulations, leading to many more jobs. And he said,
"Nearly 4 in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58% of African-American youth are not employed . . . . This administration has failed America's inner cities. It's failed them on education. It's failed them on jobs. It's failed them on crime . . . . Every action I take, I will ask myself: does this make life better for young Americans in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Ferguson who have as much of a right to live out their dreams as any other child in America? . . . . We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice."
By contrast, Clinton will bow to the teachers' unions and oppose school choice at every turn, and she will continue to strangle businesses with high taxes and regulations, preventing job growth.
Clinton and the Democrats want to keep taxpayers' money going to support only public schools controlled by powerful teachers' unions, even where those schools are failing horribly. Trump wants to let parents decide where their child's share of the money goes, so that poor children will have the ability to choose between public, private, and Christian or other religious schools. I strongly agree with Trump's position, because all children, especially inner-city children from poor families, need the opportunity to get better education so that they will find good jobs and no longer be trapped in poverty.
Trump has promised to rapidly rebuild our depleted military forces, but Clinton would continue the liberal policy of eviscerating them through denying funding. This is dangerous in light of increasing threats from China, Russia, Iran, and ISIS.
Clinton will not secure our borders, but will continue to allow in what she thinks will be thousands of future Democratic voters. She actually said (privately, but now exposed through WikiLeaks) that she wants "open borders." Trump has repeatedly promised that he will finally secure our borders, an urgent need to protect the nation from ever more terrorists and drug smugglers. I think we should continue to admit millions of immigrants to this great nation, but they should come in legally and fairly.
ISIS and terrorism
Trump has pledged to aggressively attack and utterly defeat ISIS. Clinton will continue the anemic Obama policy of periodic bombing runs and drone attacks, under which ISIS has continued to thrive.
China and Russia
Trump will not let China and Russia and Iran push us around anymore, as Obama has done, with Hillary Clinton's support when she was Secretary of State. If Trump is anything, he is tough as nails, and he won't be bullied.
Trump has promised to vigorously defend and support Israel, while Clinton will most likely continue the Obama administration's criticism, snubbing, and marginalization of Israel.
Trump has said he will approve the Keystone oil pipeline and grant more oil drilling permits leading to lower energy costs and providing thousands of jobs. Lower energy costs help everybody, but the poor most of all. Clinton, by contrast, will make fracking nearly impossible and essentially abolish the coal industry, causing energy prices to skyrocket.
Executive orders and bathrooms
Trump has promised to rescind many of the most objectionable executive orders given by President Obama, so he will likely end the compulsory moral degradation forced on us by a liberal agenda, including orders forcing schools to allow boys in girls' bathrooms and locker rooms, in defiance of the will of the vast majority of Americans. But Hillary Clinton would likely perpetuate and expand these policies.
Trump will work to repeal Obamacare, which is now imploding and also ruining the nation's health care system, and replace it with an affordable free market system in which companies have the ability to sell insurance across state lines, thus substantially lowering insurance prices especially in those states that currently allow only high-priced "Cadillac" insurance plans. But Clinton would continue to work relentlessly toward federal government control of our entire health care industry.
Where I disagree with Trump
I don't agree with Trump on everything. I didn't like his earlier plan to immediately deport all undocumented immigrants, but he could never get it through Congress, and he has backed away from that and now only talks about deporting those convicted of crimes and those who have overstayed their visas. I also disagree with his views on free trade. But those differences are far outweighed by the huge areas where I agree with him.
Christian voters should consider one other factor. Trump promises to recognize and protect what Wall Street Journal writer Peggy Noonan calls "the unprotected" in America -- people in lower income areas who cannot find good jobs, cannot find good schools for their children, do not feel protected from crime, and find their retirement savings are not enough because for years they have been earning no interest in the bank. Trump said in his acceptance speech, "Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people I have met all across the nation that have been neglected, ignored, and abandoned . . . . I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves."
These American citizens may not have college degrees but their old-fashioned common sense tells them that America would be a much better place if we no longer had to be afraid to say "Merry Christmas," or that boys are different from girls, or that Islamic terrorists are Islamic terrorists, or that we still love this country. They're sick and tired of being condescended to by the snobbish moralism of the liberal elites who dominate the power centers in our nation. That is why they cheer when Trump repeatedly violates the canons of politically correct speech. They have found in him someone who gives them hope, and they are supporting him by the thousands.
Christians should seek what is best for the nation
Some people urge me not to be so concerned about politics. I admit it would be easy just to teach my seminary classes and write academic articles and books.
But the apostle Peter says Christians are "exiles" on this earth (1 Peter 1:1). Therefore I take seriously the prophet Jeremiah's exhortation to the Jewish people living in exile in Babylon:
"Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare" (Jeremiah 29:7).
By way of modern application, I think Christians today have a similar obligation to vote in such a way that will "seek the welfare" of the United States. The overriding question in deciding how to vote is, Which vote is most likely to bring the best results for the nation?
In addition, I seek to obey Jesus' command, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39). This means that I have a moral obligation to seek a good government for my neighbor, and to prevent an anti-Christian liberal tyranny from taking power. If I love my neighbor as myself, then it does matter whether unborn babies are killed or not, whether Christians are forced out of their lifelong occupations are not, whether impressionable children are subjected to gender-reeducation propaganda in their schools or not, whether Christian schools and colleges can continue to operate freely or not, whether my neighbors are protected from terrorists or not, whether poor children are able to go to good schools or not, and whether my neighbor is are able to find a good job or not. If I didn't care about these things at all, I don't think I would be loving my neighbor as myself.
My conclusion is that the most likely result of voting for Trump is that he will govern for the most part in the way he promises to do, bringing good to the nation in many areas.
But the most likely result of not voting for Trump is that we will be abandoning thousands of unborn babies who will be put to death under Hillary Clinton's Supreme Court, thousands of Christians who will be excluded from their lifelong occupations because they won't affirm same-sex marriage, thousands of the poor who will never again be able to find high-paying jobs in an economy crushed by government hostility toward business, thousands of inner-city children who will never be able to get a good education, thousands of the sick and elderly who will never get adequate medical treatment when the government is the nation's only healthcare provider, thousands of people who will be killed by an unchecked ISIS, and millions of Jews in Israel who will find themselves alone and surrounded by hostile enemies. And we will be contributing to a permanent loss of the American system of government due to a final victory of unaccountable judicial tyranny.
Dr. Wayne Grudem is a professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary. Read his blog at WayneGrudem.com.
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