A number of white evangelicals have written books or spoken about why Donald Trump is the answer to all of America’s problems — if not the next great prophet or an example of how God works in “mysterious ways” to achieve His goals.
But here’s a pleasant change of pace. Ron Sider, who founded Evangelicals for Social Action, has just released a compilation of essays called The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump, in which 30 evangelicals try to warn readers about how Trump is damaging their spiritual reputations:
The Christian Post has more:
“Our plea is to white evangelicals to please take another look and ask, ‘Does this person measure up to biblical norms?’” Ron Sider, founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, told The Christian Post. “We are not telling you what to include. But please prayerfully think about that. Even if you think the book will make you mad, given the title, I challenge you to read it and decide for yourself if there are any valid points that we are making there.”
“The book is not a book to tell people how to vote,” Sider stressed. “It is a book to call people to think biblically about this election and about the character of candidates.”
The book features commentary from Republicans, Democrats and Independents who work in a wide range of sectors: from university professors and theologians to a former congressman and a former CIA analyst.
This book is both refreshing to see… and too little, too late.
At this point in the game, Trump’s fan base is pretty much set in stone. If white evangelicals weren’t turned off by the rape allegations, the “pussy” comment, the blatant racism, the mockery of the disabled, the embrace of ignorance and name-calling, and the rejection of asking God for forgiveness — all of that was before the 2016 elections — and they’re still not bothered by the embrace of White Nationalism, the refugee kids in cages, or the utter manipulation of the law to further his own agenda… this book isn’t going to do it.
White evangelical leaders had the chance to reject Trump in no uncertain terms before the 2016 elections. They didn’t do it. At least not in any meaningful way. They didn’t tell their congregations that there was more to a candidate than being a rubber stamp for judicial nominees. (While pastors shouldn’t be telling their churches how to vote, period, it’s not like prominent evangelical pastors were urging their members to vote for Hillary Clinton.)
Even if some white evangelicals are changing their minds about Trump due to his administration’s botched handling of the coronavirus crisis, it still means that everything Trump did before now wasn’t enough of a dealbreaker.
For what it’s worth, voting “biblically” is a difficult thing to do within a two-party system. You can use the Bible to justify or condemn multiple stances from both Democrats and Republicans. Perhaps a better way to go about this — and one that still aligns with Christian values — is to ask, “Which candidate represents the best interests of all Americans?”
There’s no one way to answer that, but it’s a more realistic starting point.