I am a white 28 year old evangelical male who is pro-life, conservative, and a life-long Southern Baptist; according to many pollsters I would cast my vote for Donald Trump today. I am not.
I am likewise not voting for Hillary Clinton.
To list all of the reasons why Christians of conviction should not give their vote to Trump or Clinton would be to rehash the best cases made repeatedly throughout this election cycle.
Trump is a morally bankrupt megalomaniac who campaigns on fear, revels in his sexual exploits, fans the flames of racial hatred and boasts about not needing to seek forgiveness. He has lived his life in direct contrast to the teachings of Christianity and has destroyed the credibility of those in the religious right who have aligned themselves with him. Trump has made a mockery of conservatism and damaged the Gospel witness of the Church in America.
Hillary represents a worldview that is diametrically opposed to the Christian faith and has made no indication that she plans to work with evangelicals. Her views on abortion combined with the wealth of controversy and questions of character that have plagued her for years are disqualifying as well.
Both candidates have repeatedly showed they are unfit for the office of the presidency. To vote for either Trump or Clinton would undermine the fundamental principles that I, as a Christian, live my life by and hold those in leadership to. Martin Luther, the great protestant reformer, said that “ to go against conscience is neither right nor safe”. I believe this is not only true but a necessary way for Christians to live and think about all areas of life.
I do not wish to abstain from voting, though that is a valid Christian response. Therefore, voting Third Party is the only option that remains open to me if I refuse to compromise my principles.
This is why I will be gladly pulling the lever for Evan McMullin. I’m voting for McMullin as a protest against the choices the major parties have given us but also for the idea that the character and conduct of our leaders matter.
It is unlikely that McMullin will win the Presidency but that doesn’t mean that my vote for him is a waste. I am not seeking a short-term victory, rather I hope that by taking a stand now the groundwork can be laid for a revitalization of conservatism in the long-term. More importantly I hope to:
- Preserve the integrity of my Gospel witness to my unbelieving friends.
- Love my neighbors of all racial and religious backgrounds by voting for principles I believe will promote their freedom and well being.
Throughout this election people on both sides of the political spectrum have decried the act of voting for a Third Party candidate as giving your vote to “the other parties candidate”. Somewhere along the way it seems the soul of America became chained to the Republican and Democratic parties. The idea of supporting any option outside of the two major parties is a fools errand according to prevailing wisdom.
This line of thinking is precisely what has brought us to the terrible situation of this current election. Unless the American people demand more and better options by the way we use our votes the major parties will continue to take advantage of our complacency. This election has proven the need for a third party.
Perhaps the most unnerving thing about the 2016 Election is the possibility that Hillary and Trump are not flukes but genuine reflections of the heart of our nation. As Christians we need to confront the very real and increasingly obvious truth that the cultural context we live in is dramatically changing.
The events of the last two years demonstrate that Christianity, specifically historic evangelicalism, is quickly shrinking in influence and prominence within secular culture.
America was once a place where to be a Christian was culturally expected and politically expedient, this is no longer the case. As this tumultuous election comes to a close the Church is going to be headed into stormy waters, no matter who wins.
I believe that this is a mercy from God and that in losing political power we will gain Gospel integrity. For too long many in the American Church have been more concerned with winning votes for the GOP than winning souls to Christ. If we are going to be faithful to our beliefs and protect the integrity of our witness as Christians; it is vital that unbelievers know we took a stand against Trump.
The ability to speak truth to power and to those in sin is of much greater importance than the outcome of an election. As a Christian whoever sits in the Oval office or on the Supreme Court should not be more important to you than the salvation of unbelievers. We bring scandal to the Gospel when we lose sight of eternity in exchange of political expediency or power.
This election has caused a schism of sorts within evangelicalism between those who made the case to vote for Donald Trump and those who were staunchly opposed.
The most important thing that the Church must do after the election is come together, heal wounds, and unite as best we can to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a dying and broken world.
To accomplish this we will have to cast off the broken methods of the old religious right and become comfortable with being outcasts in the public square. We are after all sojourners and strangers (Hebrews 11:13) whose true citizenship is not of this world but in God’s eternal kingdom (Philippians 3:20). Our home is not the United States of America but with Christ. This means that no matter what happens to America the nation, it is not where our ultimate joy or hope is found.
So today on election day I will not be wringing my hands as the exit polls, election results, and winners are announced.
I will take comfort in knowing that Jesus Christ the risen King is seated on his throne reigning in sovereign power over all creation forever.
Praise God that there will never be elections in eternity.