Earlier this week, at the University Club in Washington, D.C., members of the Institute on Religion and Democracy gathered to discuss who would be worse for evangelicals: Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
The two views were personified at the meeting by Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard. Neither of them likes the prospect of Trump winning the Republican presidential nomination, but they differ instead on which potential nominee would be the worst possible outcome.
I just don't think a Christian can support a sexist, racist, demagogic, misogynist, woman hater, anti-immigrant person who shows none of the fruits of the Spirit, who has called himself a Christian but puts his money in the "communion plate," and says he's never had to ask God for forgiveness.
I don't vote on candidates based on their rigorous theology, but I like them to know at least one thing! It is so clear that his own personal profession of faith is totally calculated. I just think that somebody who makes fun of reporters who are disabled, who has this attitude toward other races, other ethnicities, other genders, that's so obviously off-putting, I can't understand how that kind of person can win the support of real Christians.
He then voiced his agreement with conservative blogger Matt Walsh, saying to evangelical leaders who have supported Trump, "We're going to remember you ... Shame on you!" Much of the room erupted into applause, but Barnes quickly countered with his position:
If Trump is the nominee, and you don't vote for him, what do you get? Hillary Clinton.
He said he disagreed with Trump on nearly every policy position, except taxes, but said there was a way the GOP front-runner could still earn his vote. He thought a Trump-Rubio ticket would be a winner, even if the former rivals don't particularly like each other.
"Of course they hate each other, but this is politics," he said. "Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson hated each other."
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