Honestly Thinking

Honestly thinking (& rethinking) about God, the universe, and everything in between

The Barabbas Choice: 5 Practical Reasons for Voting for the Lesser of 2 Evils & Why They Won’t Work

GiveUsBarabbas

 

This article has been revised and updated here.

The nomad and his wife made their journey toward a dangerous foreign land.  Behind them a severe famine threatened to overtake them. Before them resided a people with a deadly reputation. The man had heard stories before of their barbaric acts; he knew that if they found out that this beautiful woman with him was his wife they would likely kill him in order to take her as their own.

To stay behind meant certain death by starvation for both of them. To move forward and tell the truth would seal his fate by sword or some other horrific means. Thus, one small act of deception might serve to spare his life. What other choice did Abram and his wife Sarai have? It was the practical thing to do. After all, these were desperate times.

And desperate times often call for desperate measures….and a little bit of compromise, right?

One of the things I’ve come to learn as a Christian, whose beliefs are centered on notions of right and wrong, is that many moral decisions are not always as clear cut or black and white as I would hope.

Some things are known: we know as Christians we have an absolute responsibility to care for the poor and needy.  Some are more complex: if you encounter a homeless beggar do you give him money, or will you be further contributing to the problem?

Oftentimes, decisions cannot be handled by a formula and proclamation of right and wrong, but instead have to be committed to prayer – asking God what He would specifically have YOU do in that moment.

The current political season is no exception in terms of complexity.

While the choice for this year’s Republican presidential candidate is far from solidified, and in fact the tide may be changing somewhat, many of my fellow Christians who are equally disturbed by Donald Trump’s divisiveness and lack of moral character find themselves asking, “What if Trump actually does become the Republican nominee?”

Many have responded that, though they would not be happy about it, they would still have to simply “plug their noses” and vote for Trump…because “anything but Hillary or Bernie.”

And while I have been very outspoken regarding those, especially Christians, who have supported Trump early in the primaries, I also recognize that if Trump were to become the nominee, the moral decisions behind whether to support him or not become increasingly complex. 

At that point, what defines a “Trump Supporter,” or even for that matter a “Clinton Supporter” or “Sanders Supporter,” changes. Instead of ardent support, for many, it is simply a “lesser of 2 evils.”

I have openly stated that if Trump becomes the nominee I will not be able to vote for either the Republican or Democratic nominee.  At the same time, many of my friends, colleagues and even mentors, whom I deeply respect, are in a different place…and I have to say I get it.

The one thing I do firmly believe is that as Christians and as U.S. citizens we have an absolute moral responsibility to vote. To completely walk away and not participate, in my opinion, is irresponsible. But in terms of how one votes, it is more complex.

It is with that understanding that I come to you here, not to tell you what is right or wrong in terms of who you vote for, but to at least give you a few things to consider and perhaps even to persuade.  But more importantly to ask that you at least consider it in prayer.

One of the primary reasons given for voting for the “lesser of 2 evils” is concern about the damage that four years by the opposition party could do to our country.

For them, though their candidate is not ideal, it is a practical or pragmatic decision.  They are desperate for change from the destructive path our nation is headed and they feel they don’t really have any other choice.

But is “practical” really always the best way to go when faced with a desperate situation?

Abram (later known as Abraham) made a practical decision when he decided, as they entered Egypt, that they should lie and pretend Sarai was not his wife (Gen 12:10-20). And in many ways it actually paid off. Not only was Abram’s life spared but they gained many riches as a result.

Yet, few of us would argue that it was the right thing to do.

Many others suffered (with sores and wounds) at the hands of Abram’s dishonesty – not to mention what it likely did to Sarai’s heart after she was taken into Pharaoh’s house and more or less raped. Furthermore, what kind of testimony about the character of God was it to the people of Egypt if His representative was known to compromise faith and truth?

Shouldn’t God’s promise to Abram that he would give him the land of Canaan and make him into a great nation have been enough for him to trust that he could tell the truth and still live?

In fact, the Bible is full of stories of individuals who compromised and made “practical” decisions:

  • Abram and Sarai’s choice to have Abram sleep with their servant Hagar after Sarai couldn’t get pregnant (Gen 16:1-15)…practical and desperate.

The result was the child Ishmael, an ancestor to Muhammed and, thus, the birth of Islam – with which the Jewish people still have enmity today.

  • Jacob’s decision to trick his brother and then his father in order to inherit the blessing (Gen 25:27-34, 27:1-40)…practical, deceitful and desperate.

The result: a damaged relationship with his brother as well as a life of being deceived by others.

  • Moses’ murder of an Egyptian who had beaten a fellow Israelite (Exo 2:11-15).…an impassioned and desperate “practical” way to save the Jewish people.

Moses’ lost his position of influence and his salvation of the Jews was postponed another 40 years.

  • Saul’s decision to offer a sacrifice without waiting for Samuel (1 Sam 13:8-14).…after waiting desperately for 7 days while his enemies gathered and his people began to scatter it certainly seemed practical.

As a consequence, he lost his kingdom.

  • David’s arrangement for the husband of his impregnated lover to be “accidentally” killed (2 Sam 11:14-24)…again, practical and desperate.

He paid a heavy price, starting with the death of his son and ending with a divided family and kingdom.

The list could go on – so much so that it presents an overriding theme: when you resort to merely “practical” means you are often ultimately relying more on yourself than on God and the results are never good.  This is especially true when the practical causes you to act in contradiction to the very character of God.

On the reverse end, scripture is also full of people doing very “impractical” things:

  • Noah building a boat where there was not water (Gen 6).
  • Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son when it was the only true heir he had (Gen 22).
  • Moses leading the people to a sea that cannot be crossed (Exo 14).
  • David refusing to kill Saul when he had the chance (1 Sam 24, 26).
  • Esther approaching her king at risk of losing her head (Est 5).
  • Fishermen casting a net one more time into the water after a night of no success (Luke 5).
  • Paul and Silas singing praise songs in prison and choosing not to leave when they could easily escape (Acts 16).
  • Jesus allowing himself to die when he could have easily called on angels or men with swords (Matt 16:51-53).

All of these were able to escape the practical by seeing and being willing to make the seemingly “impossible” choice.

If you are a reluctant supporter, willing to vote for someone you normally feel would be completely unqualified, is it possible you are turning to the practical because, like Abram and Sarai, you are unable to see God’s ability to intervene in the “impossible?” Is it possible you are willing to compromise on the character of a candidate because you are looking to your own understanding rather than God’s?

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the “practical” explanations that have been given for voting for a candidate that seems to contradict our own Christian values:

1) We are voting for a commander-in-chief, not a pastor-in-chief.

As I shared in my article Must Our President be Christian? What Even Evangelicals Get Wrong About Separation of Church and State, it is true that the presidency serves a different function than the pastorate; however, both are still subject to the same rules under our Christ-created universe.

Such rules include the need to show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in order to be most effective. To believe these rules do not apply to everyone is to be guilty of compartmentalizing God into two false worlds of secular verses religious.

Even though Saul and David served different functions over Israel than Samuel (after the people demanded they be ruled by kingship rather than prophet), when they stepped out of obedience to God the people suffered greatly.

2) God sometimes places even wicked leaders over us and it is our responsibility to be like Joseph and Daniel, who honored and respected their leaders and, thus, gained prominent positions of godly influence with their leaders and over the land.

It is true that as Christians we have an absolute responsibility to honor our leaders no matter who they are.  Too often in the past Christians have tended to spend more time vilifying elected officials rather than treating them with love and respect, consequently losing their place of both witness and influence.

However, there are three things wrong with this argument.

First, we live in a democratic society and not a monarchy.  Joseph did not choose Potiphar or Pharaoh and Daniel did not choose Nebuchadnezzar nor the other Babylonian kings that followed.  Both were forced into their situation.  We have the option now to choose our leaders.

If someone is elected that we do not like, yes, we have a responsibility to respect them.  But for now, do you not think God will hold us accountable for the leaders whom we freely choose?

Second, in their desire to serve with respect and in their rise of influence, Joseph and Daniel never sacrificed character.  Joseph chose to disobey the authority of Potiphar’s wife and Daniel refused both to eat the king’s food and to stop praying to God. None of these were “practical” choices, with Joseph suffering as a result and Daniel nearly dying, but it was God who gave them favor and influence and not their own doing.

Do you think they would have achieved their same level of influence if they had sacrificed their character?

Third, this argument operates under the assumption that there is a good “wicked” leader and a bad “wicked” leader – as though the Nebuchadnezzar of one political party is redeemable and the Nebuchadnezzar of another is not.

Some are willing to vote for one political candidate with hopes and beliefs that the person can still be radically redeemed and changed.  But is that not very much like a Christian dating a non-Christian, hoping the other person can still be saved?  And what makes one candidate worthy of your choice of redemption and not the other?

3) We must vote for the lesser of 2 evils, or the least “heathen.”

How do you choose which one is the least heathen?  By determining that one has only 8 false gods instead of 10 and, therefore, at least you’ll end up with 2 less?

Are there certain false gods that are at least acceptable and worth putting up with, while others are not?

How many and which false gods are acceptable?  The last I checked, the answer was none (Exo 20:3-4).

4) We cannot expect a perfect candidate.  No one is perfect.

This is very true and it is why, as Christians, we must continually offer grace to everyone, including candidates and elected officials.  But since when did we change the standard?

Our standard has always been Christ, who was and is perfect, and we have always taught that the goal is to seek to be like him.  When someone falls short, we should be quick to offer forgiveness and grace to those who humbly seek it.

Do any of our candidates humbly seek to be like Christ? Or have they settled into a lifestyle where arrogance, divisiveness, and deception are a regular part of who they are?

5) Too much is at stake to let the other candidate win.

Many are concerned about the consequences that even a 4-year term could bring if the opposing candidate is in office.  They state that in just 4 years that person could cause irreparable damage to our country, while simultaneously arguing, ironically, that we should not be too concerned about the “lesser evil” candidate because it is “only 4 years.”

Many of the concerns are valid.  However, we need to also consider the irreparable damage of the messages we send when supporting a still “evil” candidate as well as ask ourselves what it truly means to “win.”

Christians have long argued that it is not about party, it’s about principles.  Yet when they continue to support a party in spite of the fact that its main candidate has abandoned a large percentage of those principles, the message to others is that the argument is a lie.

And for those that have counter-argued that the “Christian base” is really more about power than principles, their criticisms become more strongly validated.

Many Christians contend that their “lesser evil” candidate will still at least fight for some very important principles, implying those principles are more important than they ones they are willing to sacrifice.  But like the one false god is better than another false god argument, what does that say to others whose important principles we so willingly cast upon the alter?

For example, while conservative Christians rightfully fight for issues of life, what does it say to minorities when you show that concerns about bigotry (something they live with on a daily basis) are less important?

Furthermore, recent polls have shown that many people consider Christianity to be entirely about intolerance and hate.  If Christians willingly support a candidate strongly thought to be full of divisiveness, bigotry and hate, how much more will that solidify the perception?

Some Trump supporters argue that the Donald is merely acting the way he does now to win the nomination and election, but once he gets the win he will change his tune and behave more morally and “presidential.”  But even were that the case, even if he turned out to be a great president, if Christians openly supported him while he acted bigoted and full of hate, they will never be able to take that message back.

In that sense they will have lost.  Yes, you might win the election, but at what cost?

A number of the faithful rightfully express concern that Christians are rapidly losing their first amendment rights.  Thus, it is worth it to support Trump just for that reason.

But what value are first amendment rights if you have completely lost the trust and respect of all the people you are trying to reach?

And if the opposing candidate ends up winning, then you will have completely lost everything.  Not only might you see a decrease in first amendment rights but you will also see a rapid decrease in the number of people still willing to defend you.

And if, as shown by all the biblical examples, you end up ignoring God and compromising your character, you lose every time.

 

It is for these reasons that I cannot vote for the “lesser of 2 evils.”

Scripture tells us “we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness” (Eph 6:12, RSV).  What better way is there to fight against principalities than with principles?

Since I began speaking out against Trump through my articles I have found myself making unusual alliances.  I have had people write me, stating that, though I am a Christian conservative and they are “polar opposites” in terms of political and religious views, they admire me for standing up.

What a greater time do we have than now to serve as a witness to those who have typically felt disenfranchised from our message?

I am sure I am dreaming here but how amazing would it be for the church in America to unite at this time and stand entirely on principles alone?  How powerful would it be if we gathered together and openly stated to both political parties, “You no longer represent us or the principles of righteousness and truth.  Therefore, we will not vote for either one of you at this time.”

What if we united around an independent candidate or a write-in that really did represent those principles?  Or what if we simply wrote in, “No more!”?

How much will it then wake up both political parties to then begin re-reaching out to those they have lost?

The truth is that neither party has truly represented all those values for quite some time.  I firmly believe that God has allowed the current circumstances to happen to greater highlight what has been there for a while.

For too long the church has been complacent while candidates have compromised aspects of decency and integrity just so our side could get the win.

For too long we have allowed politicians to lie, in spite of fact checkers obvious proof, accepting it all as just a normal part of the political process.

For too long Christians have allowed other important principles to be compromised simply on the promise the candidates will look after our own pet projects.

For too long we have tuned into TV, radio, and social media where anger, gossip, hate, exaggeration, half-truths and divisiveness are a normal part of the language.  And often we have knowingly passed it along.

For too long we have compromised on righteousness and truth and bowed down to the false gods of “practicality” and “first amendment rights” when we should be bowing to the true God of “faith” and “self-sacrifice.”

Is it possible by not voting for one of the two main candidates that the candidate you least desire will win?  Yes.  But when you vote on principle, and especially if you vote according to what God is specifically telling you to do…even it if sounds impractical…you win every time.

There is one more biblical example I have not brought up.

Just prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, Pontius Pilate gave the people a choice: he would release the notorious prisoner named Barabbas or he could release Christ.

Barabbas was a wild man, an insurrectionist, guilty of robbery and murder. Many historians have interpreted that he was likely a revolutionary – one who resorted to whatever means necessary in order to defeat the establishment Roman government.

Jesus, on the other hand, was righteous but would not give the people the kind of physical revolution that they wanted.

Barabbas was the practical means for change.  Jesus stood on principles alone.

Interestingly, everyone around them made decisions based on feeling they had no other choice.

The chief priests and elders felt, as Caiaphas had prophesied, that Jesus death was the only way to save their nation (and their power).

Pilate, though he thought Jesus innocent, feared an insurrection if he did not respond to the mob.

Peter, terrified of his own persecution, responded practically by denying the very person he swore he would never leave.

And the people, wanting change and swayed by cries of everyone else around them, chose the wild revolutionary while literally calling for the sacrifice of righteousness and truth itself.

The only one who really knew he had a choice that day was Christ…who instead of the practical chose the will of the Father and self-sacrifice.

And fortunately, the God of grace called for a revolution of his own – one that involved new life and a revolution of the heart.

Today, we do have a choice because we know that we serve a God who can do the impossible, even when it seems most impractical.

So who do you choose, Church…Barabbas or Christ?

16 Comments

  1. Interesting article Steve: I am hoping that Ted Cruz in the Republican candidate, but I fear that the overwhelming media circus and wall to wall coverage (2 Billion in free ads and counting) will dilute his message. Trump is a danger on many levels and Clinton is another Obama. The negative results for the country could be HUGGGGGGGEEEEE if we don’t get this right. But on the other hand in the last two elections the republican base stayed home because they did not like McCain or Romney. Well I bet they don’t like the insane agenda that has been pushed through by Obama either. Staying home or throwing your vote away by voting for some one with no chance – is voting. It may make you feel better temporarily, but in the end the country suffers. Again I think Ted Cruz is the guy to get us back to a principled, constitution based country. No one person can do it alone, but he could lead us in the right direction. My two cents!

    • Steve Baldwin

      April 4, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks for reading, Rory, and for commenting. My take is that voting for someone other than the 2 main candidates is not so much throwing your vote away as it is voting for something…even if it’s just a principle. It may not be practical, but as shown throughout scripture not everything that people of faith did was. And if enough people united around that it would send a clear message to both parties and potentially change the future in bigger ways than we know.

      That said, I appreciate your perspective and I get it.

  2. Nick picky time 😉 If you’re going to call him Abraham during this time period to avoid the confusion some may have about the name change in Gen 17 then you should also just call Sarai Sarah. So, go with Abram and Sarai or Abraham and Sarah. I tend to fall on the picker side and go with Abram and Sarai because of the time frame you’re mentioning. More comments to come…

    • Steve Baldwin

      April 4, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      That’s a good point. I was intentional on Sarai but got sloppy on Abram out of habit. I’ll adjust. Thanks

  3. You should add the revolution of the colonies that lead to the US independence in clear violation of the principles of the New Testament to this list of practical over principled decisions. Something hard for “American Christians” to swallow.

    Point 1) It’s made clear in scripture that the people’s choice wasn’t a rejection of Samuel but of God because it was God that ruled and asking for an earthly king was rejecting God’s kingship. In short it would be more accurate IMHO to say “(after the people demanded they be ruled by kingship rather than by God)” 1 Sam 8:7

    I will say a big AMEN to the whole idea of voting on principles rather than practicalities. I’ve explained this idea so many times to others that are befuddled with my voting choices. I do wish however you’d emphasized the false dichotomy of “lesser of two evils” a bit more. I’ve voted for the Constitution Party in every presidential election I’ve been eligible. Check them out at http://www.constitutionparty.com/

    p.s.
    Grammatical error “Pilate, though he thought Jesus’ innocent, feared an insurrection if he did not respond to the mob.” Jesus should not have the apostrophe as Jesus is not in the genitive case indicating possession of the following word. It could be changed to either “Pilate, though he though Jesus innocent,” or “Pilate, though he thought Jesus was innocent,” If your intent was to use the apostrophe as a contraction of Jesus and was then that’s also wrong as proper nouns should not be used in contractions.

    • Steve Baldwin

      April 4, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      Regarding the American revolution and whether it was practical over principle or the other way around that’s a huge historical debate. A worthy debate, but one I won’t get into as that would easily rabbit trail.

      You are correct that in asking for an earthly king the people were ultimately rejecting God, but since the point of my illustration was about function: commander-in-chief vs pastor-in-chief, the comparison of king vs prophet more appropriately fits. The main point being that all leadership (clerical or non-clerical, religious or “secular,” prophet or king, pastor or president) are still subject to God’s standards, which in turn can bring consequence to the people they lead. Perhaps “under the leadership” rather than “ruled by” might have been a more appropriate phrase.

      Thanks for the info on the Constitution Party. I definitely am going to need to begin my research of best alternatives.

      The apostrophe was purely a mistype – just like your “though he though” 😉
      I know this because every time I do write Jesus in the possessive I go through the constant debate of “Jesus'” or “Jesus’s” which is about as big of a battle among grammar Nazis as is the debate among historians on whether the American revolution was practical or principled. And I didn’t go through that debate this time so I must have just accidentally hit the key. 🙂

      I’ve adjusted it. So thanks for the catch!

      • lol yup I sure mistyped too!

        Your Samuel answer is sufficient and clarified to my satisfaction. That’s the important part. :-þ

        Proper nouns only get an apostrophe ending when the nominative form ends in ‘s’ and they are in the plural genitive case. e.g. “Meet the Joneses’ new dog.” – and I prefer grammatically inclined. My grammar is broken constantly in the non-formal writing i.e. when I write comments on blogs.

        If you find anyone else of value outside the constitution party please share. I haven’t seen it in elsewhere so far.

  4. I am a card carrying Cruz supporter, but if Trump wins the nomination I will support him. The alternative is throwing away your vote and letting Hillary win — then watch our country decline even further. While Trump is probably only a nominal Christian, his policies can turn the country around for the better. My recent post on my Facebook page speaks to this . . . .
    I had a dream where . . . .

    Hillary Clinton at the “Pearly Gates” meets up with St. Peter . . . .

    St. Peter: Hello Hillary, why should I let you into Heaven?

    Hillary: Well, I became a Christian when I was a little girl and have gone to church all my life. I spent my adult life in public service and have always supported women and women’s rights!

    St Peter: We had another person try this approach several decades ago, but in his zeal to create a perfect human race, he was responsible for the deaths of over six million Jews! He has now been assigned to his own wing in hell. In your zeal for women’s rights, you are complicit in the deaths of over 50 million innocent babies who were murdered by their own mothers, mostly on the alter of convenience!

    Hillary: But…, but I wasn’t the only one. . . .

    St. Peter: No, you will have plenty of company including one of your idols, Thurgood Marshall, who single stripped all the Christian principles from the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence making them essentially sectarian documents.. America was founded on Christian principles and all of your founding documents had their basis in the scriptures! As a result, God has blessed America beyond anyone’s dreams! But, like the Israelites of old, America has now turned away from following the one true God and have turned to worship the pagan gods of money and sensualism including abortion, promotion of homosexuality, greed and the acceptance of life styles inconsistent with scriptures. If America continues on its current path, God will withdraw His favor and America will no longer be the great nation it has become! I think you might fit in better on the “Hitler wing” in Hell with many of your friends and supporters.

    Hillary: But . . .,but . . .

    St. Peter: Maybe you would like to meet some of the children who lost their lives before they were born. (St. Peter summons a lady standing behind him) This is Jill who has one of the highest IQs ever measured in human history. Jill was destined to finish medical school before she was 20 years old and then continue in research until she discovered the cure for breast cancer along with some other forms of cancer. But alas, she was murdered by her mother and never got the chance — leaving millions of women to suffer the scourge of breast cancer!
    (St. Peter then turns to the man standing behind Jill) Next, I want you to meet Joe who was destined to become one of the greatest agricultural minds the world had ever known. His work would have all but eliminated hunger and starvation in he world. But alas, it was not to be. He too, was murdered by his own mother before he was born!

    Hillary: But, I didn’t know . . .

    St. Peter: What does the scripture say about life? The scripture teaches that “the life of the flesh is in the blood” starting in Genesis and throughout the Bible. Your blood banks have it right when they say to “give the gift of life when you donate blood”. When a baby has its own blood system less than a month from gestation, there can be no question that it is a new life!

    Will America continue on its path to destruction OR will its people turn back to God and go on to even greater things??

    160405 DLB Richmond, TX

    • It’s almost as if you didn’t even read the blog… The alternative is NOT throwing away a vote, unless principles are worthless and the ends always justify the means. What your saying is like telling people it’s Jeremiah’s fault for not backing Israel’s rebellion against Babylon and that’s why they were defeated. That’s just wrong thinking. If your politics, and this country, are more important than your principles I would encourage some real time in prayer and study of the Word.

      • Micah:
        Hey, relax! Jesus and I are best friends. Certainly the end does not justify the means in most cases. But here, you have a clear choice of turning our country over to the sectarian evil to further turn us toward perdition, or vote for a somewhat flawed candidate who can possibly turn the country in the right direction. Trump is neither a bigot or a racist. He did not disparage Muslems, but merely wants to keep the radicals out of the country — I agree. We should be compassionate with the refugees, but we should help them to stay in the Middle East in their own culture. In the Old Testament, God does not show much patience with idols and pagan religions. Every time the Israelites allowed pagan religions to flourish in their country, it invariably caused problems. I think you need to realize that a vote for a candidate who has no chance even based on principles, is in effect a vote to turn our country in the wrong direction. If Trump is elected president, at least we will still have a chance to get our country restored to our Christian principles. If Hillary is elected president, America may well go down the drain!

        • That’s fine if you think Trump upholds _your_ principles but if you’re talking to someone who says he does not uphold _my_ principles and you tell them they’re wrong for not compromising those principles because a possible alternative is, in your view, worse… well that’s terrible.

          “Jeremiah, don’t convince a bunch of people not to do rebel against Babylon. If you do we’ll probably lose the rebellion and things will be so much worse.” – Said the anti-Babylonian / Zedekiah would at least be better than Nebuchadnezzar voters. Jeremiah stuck to his principles and believed God could and would do radical and miraculous things even if it meant they didn’t work in their own means to fight against the obviously pagan and evil ruler of the day even when this could and did, land them in a hostile environment with their country virtually completely lost and run by a puppet.

    • Steve Baldwin

      April 6, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      Dan, I am completely with you in regards to the issue of abortion. If I were to pick an area of concern, that is probably the one that I am most passionate about (along with an equal concern to make sure we are loving and caring for girls and women who find themselves in such a desperate situation).

      But in our desperate concern to fix this devastating problem, we have to make sure we are not turning to man-made solutions as opposed to God. In other words, if we are really going to turn back to God, then we have to make sure we are actually turning to God and not to ourselves – especially if doing so introduces new problems while trying to solve others.

      Is it possible for God to use Donald Trump to accomplish His will? Absolutely! We need to all be willing to ask God how he would have us vote and then be willing to follow through on whatever he tells us to do, no matter how uncomfortable or impossible it may seem. And if God specifically directs you to vote for Trump as His solution then I encourage you to do so.

      But personally, I have a hard time reconciling Trump’s message of divisiveness and hate with my Christian faith and am concerned that we may be introducing more problems then we may be helping. Therefore, we also need to reflect on that and be willing to vote radically different then the “practical” sounding solutions if God directs us to.

      After all, if God directs a person to vote for someone other than the main 2 party candidates, can you really call it a “throwaway vote?” Was Christ’s choice to allow himself to be crucified a “throwaway” opportunity to successfully revolt against the Roman oppressors? While it may not have given people the physical revolution that the people wanted, it certainly did something in people’s hearts and within the power’s and principalities above. I believe in a resurrection God who can do the impossible and often does when the people follow His ways and not their own.

      • Hey Steve, thanks for a thoughtful reply. I don’t agree that Trump is “divisive and full of hate”. He tells it like he sees it without “political correctness”, so it can many times sound harsh. One only has to look at the problems in Europe to see what happens when two cultures collide. If God directs you to cast your vote for a “throwaway candidate”, you should by all means do so. I don’t understand it, and that is not the direction I am being led at this time. We should all include Mr. Trump in our prayers, just in case he wins the nomination.

  5. As you know, I don’t like Trump. But I’d have to disagree with the idea that he is “full of bigotry and hate.” Sure, the left will make this case as they always do. If you don’t let a man use a girls’ restroom, you’re full of bigotry and hate, so that means nothing. I tend to view Trump as crass and foolish in his speech, not someone who hates women or Hispanics or any other certain group. Problematic, yes. Undesirable, yes. But bigoted and hateful? Not quite.

    I also would take issue with your underlying premise that the choice is between supporting Trump in the general election or being faithful to Christ. To directly answer your question, “So who do you choose, Church…Barabbas or Christ?” the answer is, obviously, Christ. But that’s not the same question as, “Who do you choose…Trump or Clinton?”

    • Steve Baldwin

      April 6, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      Hey Randy,

      To be clear, though there are certainly allusions to it, Barabbas is not Trump. “Barabbas” is the practical means of overcoming a desperate situation, while sacrificing righteousness and truth (thus compromising) in the process. Thus, if in your desperate search for equality you are willing to sacrifice babies or trample on the religious rights of others or be complacent with a pattern of lies, then Clinton very well might be your Barabbas. If in your desperate attempt to get free health care or college you are willing to ignore basic principles of economics and to sacrifice and devastate the financial security of others, then your Barabbas may very well be Sanders. For me, Clinton, Trump and Sanders would all be Barabbas. To be honest, Cruz could also possibly fit in that category considering some of the things he’s done lately – but that’s something I’m still pondering. You might be able to argue it’s all the candidates we have had in years, but now God is simply making it more obvious. It could also easily be a 3rd party candidate if in the end you are going against God and compromising what He is telling you is right.

      In regards to “bigotry” and “hate,” I agree it is overused in this PC world, but when it comes to Trump I think that is something you and I could debate about for quite some time and in the end we’d probably have to agree to disagree. But that’s not the main point. Regardless of what it is you think is wrong with Trump, if you have to “hold your nose” while voting then that means there is something very concerning. If it’s not “bigotry” then it is “lying” and if not “lying” then “arrogance” and if not “arrogance” then, as Max Lucado put it, a lack of “decency.” And if you really don’t see any moral issues with any of Trump’s statements or behavior (or lack of competence, which is another issue) then I can’t really continue to argue with you, I guess.

      But why would a person have to hold their nose if it is God’s will for them to vote for someone? Shouldn’t we have joy and peace in doing it? Yes, there are times when God calls you to do something uncomfortable, but if you can’t ultimately get to a place of peace and joy with it then it means 1 of 2 things: either you still need to need to adjust your attitude to get to that place of peace, or you know deep inside what you’re doing is simply wrong.

      So this really isn’t an article about who to vote for so much as the attitude and reasons with which you are doing it? In regards to voting for Trump, though, the question is do you feel like you can ever get to a place where you have peace and joy with it? If so (and you have prayed about it and heard), then great. If not, then why?

      For me, whatever you want to call it (bigotry & hate, or simply crassness) I can’t see the messages that Trump gives out (even if he’s a nice guy privately) matching up with the messages of Christianity. And I’m very concerned about the fallout if by voting, we tie those 2 together.

      Also I’ve heard too many Christians say they would vote for Trump if he became the nominee because we would have no other choice -even though they likewise have problems with much of his character and message (likewise for any Christians voting for Clinton or Sanders). But I can say with absolute certainty that God will never put you in a place where you have no other choice but to compromise righteousness and truth. Sometimes the choice for righteousness is hard and self-sacrificial (ask Stephen) but there is still ultimately a peace. But if in your final choice, you still feel like you are compromising, then that should say something. You may be choosing Barabbas.

Join the discussion. Please tell me what you honestly think. My comment policy is simple: you are welcome to disagree with me or others on here as long as you do it with respect (no insults, personal attacks, etc). Of course, if you'd like to tell me how awesomely wonderful my points are then you make my unofficial favorite commenter's list. ;-)

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