Maybe you saw the recent article at The Federalist defending Roy Moore, titled “Why It’s Justified to Vote for a Morally Questionable Politician,” and immediately thought, “You’re joking, right?”
If so, Christian author Eric Metaxas, who has a history of making no sense at all, has some advice for you: If you’d just “think it through logically,” it would totally make sense.
If you haven't seriously considered what @McAllisterDen is saying here, you aren't being honest or intellectually rigorous. This is very difficult, but important. Think it through logically, not with your emotions and/or religious self-righteousness. https://t.co/7FMniJFqTt
— Eric Metaxas (@ericmetaxas) November 28, 2017
If logic were involved at all, the article never would have been written in the first place. How else could any website, even a conservative one, defend an alleged child molester and man who thinks hitting on high school girls is a lovely way to pass the time?
Here’s what the piece’s author D.C. McAllister said:
Character does matter, and when two people are running for office, you need to take into account the character of both candidates as well as their values regarding governance and policy, for these reflect character as well…the fullness of the person needs to be taken into account, not just one aspect, failing, or virtue, but the whole of the man or woman—his or her complete character.
Unfortunately, many social conservatives, and Christians in particular, treat secular leaders as if they’re spiritual leaders, as if any stain on their character, fault from their distant past, or even theological apostasy disqualifies them from political leadership.
That’s one way to push aside allegations of pedophilia…
And Roy Moore isn’t running as merely a “secular leader.” He’s a wannabe spiritual leader whose entire campaign and career are based on the idea that he’ll bring conservative Christian “values” to wherever he is, whether it’s the State Supreme Court or Capitol Hill.
McAllister should be a bit more specific, though: it’s the secular Democratic leaders that conservatives want to see disqualified for their “moral failings.” With their Republican brethren, no crime is too heinous to withdraw their support. Donald Trump voters are still grousing about Hillary Clinton‘s emails, even after Donald Trump, Jr.‘s email server was found to contain far more incriminating information involving Russia.
She then argues that we shouldn’t look to politics for guidance on faith:
Political leaders, however, are not spiritual leaders with the same responsibilities, burdens, and covenantal obligations of leaders within Scripture. This doesn’t mean we can willy-nilly vote for immoral men, because there are consequences to these kinds of choices in everyday secular life.
McAllister is speaking out of both ends of her mouth: character matters, yes, and Christians can be judged for elevating a person of poor character into a position of influence. But don’t feel too badly about voting for an immoral person, because God can still use them.
Which is it?
Furthermore, when a politician is caught in a consensual affair (for example), that’s quite a different “moral failing” from getting banned from a shopping mall because you make teenage girls feel unsafe. The former indiscretion can break trust within a family and ruin a marriage, but predatory behavior (not to mention touching little girls) is a crime.
McAllister says it doesn’t matter that a politician has “moral failings.” On some level, she’s right since every human has them. But not every politician has been accused of inappropriately touching a 14-year-girl. There are different kinds of moral “failings” and it helps nobody to lump them all in the same basket.
She then goes on to document a history that anyone who grew up Christian is likely familiar with: God uses imperfect people. He worked through David, despite him being an adulterer and murderer; Jonah was cowardly; Peter denied knowing Jesus; etc. The point is that God doesn’t require anyone to be perfect in order to be useful in working toward the greater good.
That’s the same reasoning she uses to defend her support of Trump.
I think we know by now that perfect politicians don’t exist. But whatever happened to the simple requirement of not being a threat to the women around you? Or being competent? Or putting the Constitution above your personal religious beliefs? Whatever happened to candidates who at least pretended to give a damn about minorities, rather than openly flouting their sympathy, if not outright support, for neo-Nazis?
McAllister brushed aside those glaring flaws when she explained her reasons for voting for Trump: he seemed less corrupt than Clinton, and he’s anti-abortion.
So what if he bragged about grabbing women by the pussy, right? So what if multiple women accused him of sexual assault? So what if he hid his taxes from the public, and lied in every speech, and insulted millions of Americans at a time on any given day? It’s all a small price to pay if he can appoint a right-wing Supreme Court justice.
She writes in the conclusion of her piece,
Outside the realm of criminality and abuses of power that degrade the office and put the public at risk, a sinner can still serve and do great things.
They could… but when the person’s sins reveal an unrepentant man capable of doing far worse, and the credible allegations of his wrongdoings continue to mount, you don’t get Jesus Points for being forgiving. At that point, you’re just being duped.