Shocking! How do we explain the Evangelicals voting overwhelmingly for Trump?
Don’t be confused by the evangelical vote. Pundits on both sides will try to explain this. As shocking and unexpectedly as this is, do not misunderstand what this election was about and not about.
What it is NOT about…
This was not about Donald Trump. His character flaws are overwhelming, which have been so apparent both in his speeches and uncovered in videos. There’s no way to support his past words, actions, and values. His previous sins against women both in word and deed are unacceptable and reprehensible. His marital history does not reflect a robust appreciation for the institution of marriage, the one-flesh relationship between a husband and wife, and covenant faithfulness. Further, the business practices of this casino-building businessman have not seemed ethical, although they were evidently legal. True Christ-followers cannot stand up with or behind the character of Donald Trump.
Make no mistake about it, this is not about the man Donald Trump!
Nor was this election for evangelicals about sexism, misogyny, racism, hillbilly-ism, and whatever other -ism may come to mind. I can’t speak for the rest of the electorate; however, evangelicals were motivated by something else.
What it IS about…
Concern for America’s greater morality. Traditional everything has been attacked for eight straight years. People wanted change with Barack Obama but not the change of the current administration. I’m not even addressing the Obama policies. This is about an activism against traditional values. Most traditional Christians have been stunned with the aggressive approach to sexuality and marriage among other issues.
What are some of the particulars?
Abortion. Christ-followers respect the human life of every unborn baby. For many people, this issue alone was enough to vote against Hilary Clinton and for Donald Trump. During the third debate, she went on the record for late-term abortion. Evangelicals heard her.
Supreme Court nominees. Many evangelicals were motivated by the immediate Supreme Court opening and the probable opportunities to name several more. Evangelicals are concerned about future issues before the court regarding the family, religious freedom, the first amendment, abortion, and similar items.
Party platform. In the week before the election, several key evangelical leaders asked evangelicals to consider the platforms and not primarily the person leading the ticket. Most evangelicals I know were in the #NeverTrump camp until the final week (and many never changed their position).
Mike Pence. What Christian wouldn’t want the most humble, seemingly godly man in recent memory as the Vice President? Many (or most) evangelicals love Mr. Pence. His character stands alone among all those at the top of the leading four national tickets.
Hillary Clinton. Mrs.Clinton’s many-year public history, her arrogance toward those in the faith, her position toward abortion, and her embrace of everything Barack Obama proved to be more than what most evangelicals could stomach.
What exactly happened?
Exit polls (here) show that evangelical voters voted 81-16 for Trump. This surprised me; I’ll be honest. The division among conservative evangelical voters was immense. Several prominent leaders and bloggers led the charge for #NeverTrump. I expected the perceived rift to actually give the election to Clinton. However, to maybe the surprise of everyone, evangelicals, for the reasons I listed above, coalesced together for Trump rather than following the seemingly never-ending admonishment of some leaders to not vote for him.
I chose to not “try” to influence people either direction, and to keep my personal preference private. However, I respect my brothers and sisters on both sides of this issue who either for conscious reasons could not vote for Trump or for conscious reasons must vote for Trump. Many evangelicals agonized for months over what to do because of their desire to ultimately honor God with their vote.
So what must evangelicals do now?
I wrote a pre-election blog on this issue recently. As Christ-followers, our response does not change regardless of who became president. Therefore, I refer you to that blog here to get my full opinion. For those who do not check it out…at least we must pray and live lives that honor God in our communities as we submit to God’s plan as it developed out of this election.