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Is Voting For Donald Trump a Sin?

A refutation of those who say that Christians voting for Donald Trump are guilty of moral compromise.

I’m not writing to claim that voting for Donald Trump is obligatory. I don’t think voting is ethically mandatory. Period. So voting for a candidate, no matter how good, is not mandatory.

Nor do I think a person is wrong to vote third party. A lot of Republican voters who lean libertarian see this as an opportunity to make progress toward a future where the Libertarian Party has a more influential role. If you think America can survive a Hillary presidency, and feel free to work towards more distant progress, this decision makes some sense. I’m not sure we will survive, but I can see the argument.

But Christian #NeverTrump-ers who insist everyone who disagrees with them is in sin need to recover their ability to think rationally.

First of all, while one can decide to reject binary thinking by concentrating on the far future, for the next presidential term the options are absolutely binary: It will be Hillary Clinton if it is not Donald Trump. There is no argument to the contrary.

Second, most Christians think it is likely that Donald Trump will be better than Hillary Clinton.

#NeverTrump partisans get around this issue by claiming that it doesn’t matter if he might be better; he is still too evil for a Christian to vote for.

Will Donald Trump be worse than Bashar al-Assad? Are all Syrian Christian who prefer Assad to ISIS unrighteous for not siding with some marginal Christian candidate?

Were Spanish Christians in sin for siding with Franco against the Left-wing anarchists? I don’t think so. Neither were Chilean Christians who preferred Augusto Pinochet to his Marxist rivals.

Christians don’t have the luxury of installing a better ruler. They have to make the best of what options they have. Christians are not sinful for preferring Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton.

Other #NeverTrump voices claim Donald Trump is more dangerous because he can subvert Christians. This could happen with any President. But these people seem afraid of vindicating the Christian leaders who glorified Donald Trump during the Primary. Frankly, that seems kind of shallow. The bottom line is the situation has changed. We’re not choosing among Republican candidates anymore. We are choosing between Trump and Hillary. If some Christian leaders are guilty of idolizing a human ruler, whether George W. Bush or Donald Trump, God will deal with them. But Christians who vote for Trump in the general election will be doing so because he is preferable to Hillary. That is all.

In fact, most Trump criticism is really a hymn of praise to the “divine” office of the presidency—as if the office is too good and pure for someone like Trump. Give me a break! And statements that “the conservative movement” won’t survive a Trump presidency are whitewashing past Republican presidents. If the conservative movement survived eight years of George W. Bush, then Trump can’t kill it.

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Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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