There are many good conservatives who are Never-Trumpers, and there are many good conservatives who will vote for Donald Trump. Eight months ago, I warned that conservatives must resist gratuitous hatred or they will destroy themselves more effectively than the left ever could on its own.
I used the term "gratuitous hatred" because it is the term Jews and Judaism use to describe the reason for one of the greatest calamities of Jewish history: the destruction of the Second Temple and the second Jewish state. It wasn't the Romans who Jewish tradition blames; it was the Jews themselves -- for hating one another for no good reason.
When I read the Boston Globe column "How the Religious Right Embraced Donald Trump and Lost its Moral Authority" by Jeff Jacoby, a man whose work I have long respected, gratuitous hatred came to mind. Just as there are pro-Trump people who have expressed contempt for anti-Trump people since the very beginning -- as an early anti-Trumper I can personally attest to this (even though I wrote repeatedly that if Trump wins the nomination, I would vote for him) -- some Never-Trump people now dismiss the decency and moral credibility of conservatives voting for Trump.
In light of this, I would like to respond to Jacoby and the editorial against Trump that was published last week in the important evangelical journal World.
Jacoby's piece consisted of contained attacks on the moral credibility and decency of pro-Trump Christians. He said: "Religious conservatives shed their principles, and thereby dismantled their influence. ... Buried under the post-election wreckage will be the moral credibility of the religious right. ... (Their) hypocrisy ... is orders of magnitude worse than the customary flip-flopping and sail-trimming of a presidential campaign." Unlike Jacoby, World went out of its way to be gracious to those Christians still voting for Trump, saying, "We also value those who still plan to vote for Trump so as to vote for the Supreme Court."
But the private Trump comments on groping women pushed World to call for Trump to resign and for Christians to withdraw their support. It said, "If a person is unfaithful to his spouse, he's also likely to be unfaithful to his country."
I have heard this argument about the alleged connection between marital infidelity and infidelity to one's country my whole life. And it has been false my whole life -- as well as throughout history. There is no connection between marital fidelity and fidelity to country. Were the unfaithful Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy also unfaithful to America?
Indeed, some of the world's greatest leaders have been unfaithful to their wives. And some of the worst have been faithful.
I wish there were a connection. Choices for leaders would then be much simpler. The only married candidates we would vote for are those we believe had never been unfaithful to their spouses.
Jacoby and World must think God was pretty flawed in voting for King David. King David did much worse than privately boasting about women allowing him to grope them. He had a man killed so his adultery with the man's wife would not be exposed. And while God was angry with David and punished him, God still maintained David as king and gave him a central role in Jewish history. If God shouldn't be ashamed for supporting King David, Christians shouldn't be ashamed for supporting Donald Trump, given the far more corrupt and destructive alternative.
Mr Prager had me until now. However, there is little comparison between King David and Donald Trump. David was a man after God's own heart who went astray out of lust and repented intensely. Donald Trump is not a man after God's own heart, he is a 2 Timothy 3 man, and one all Christians should turn away from as Paul directed.
The unfaithful argument does not do honor to those fine people who make the argument because telling the truth is also a divine command.
World wrote, "To quote (Albert) Mohler (president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), we should not 'allow a national disgrace to become the Great Evangelical Embarrassment.'" That means that World is for allowing another national disgrace -- Hillary Clinton -- to become president. Why wouldn't that be a "Great Evangelical Embarrassment"?
"Another national disgrace"? Mr Prager has come to believe his own hype and the disgraceful exhibition of name-calling and character assassination that the Republicans have been ruthlessly hammering on for several years. Hillary is not the most wonderful person to run for President, but there are several presidents who's character has been far worse than hers, Johnson, Nixon, and her own husband just to name 3. I would vote for Michelle Obama in a heartbeat before voting for Hillary, but the US has had worse. Yes, even worse than Trump.
It's unfortunate that Prager uses such language for it makes it almost impossible for Trump supporters to lose gracefully and that will ensure a country that is almost impossible to rule with any elegance. Trump supporter's intransigence is liable to be the cause for a President Clinton to be the fulfillment of all the fears they express like gun control.
But they will respond that they are not for Clinton either.
This is the only argument of anti-Trump conservatives that drives me crazy -- this vociferous denial that they are not for Clinton. Of course they aren't for Clinton intellectually, emotionally or morally. But the voting booth does not assess intellect, emotions or morals; it only assesses votes. So no matter how much a Republican loathes Clinton, in depriving Trump of Republican votes, anti-Trump Republicans are helping Clinton win the presidency.
It didn't have to be this way. It was the complete lack of discernment in the character of Trump that allowed him to get the nomination in the first place. Had Mr Prager and others been more critical of Trump rather than hammering away at Hillary's emails, there might actually have been a reasonable alternative to Hillary.
In sum, a religious conservative can honorably support Trump just as honorable Christians supported Joseph Stalin against Adolf Hitler (and for the sake of those who enjoy mischaracterizing conservatives, I am, of course, not implying that Trump is Stalin, or that Clinton is Hitler -- only that if Christians could ally themselves with Stalin to defeat a more dangerous foe, Christians could support Trump to defeat Clinton).
Surely, there is something seriously wrong with the 2-party system in the USA. When it leaves Christians with no apparent choice but to support a man who exemplifies the culture of rape in America, it's time to reorganize the way Americans do politics.
There is no defense for Donald Trump's comments or alleged sexual misbehavior. But in terms of damage to America, there is no comparison between what he has said and allegedly done and what she has done and advocates for the future. Is acting on that realization un-Christian?
I completely disagree with this statement. The worst problem in America today is not Hillary, it is not debt, the economy, Mexicans, ISIS, Islam or anything else Trump is railing against. It isn't even abortion although about a million babies are destroyed annually even thought here has been 20 years (I think) of Republican presidents and more of Republican lawmakers since Roe v Wade.
The worst problem an America today is sex abuse of women and especially children. 3/4 of a million children are sexually abused every year in America, and that is a conservative estimate. Unlike aborted babies, very few of them get to go straight to Heaven. Most have to live their lives out in extremely difficult circumstances. Very few sexually abused children ever completely recover, and far too many struggle with horrible, debilitating, mental and emotional problems the rest of their lives.
This is the worst problem in America as it is the worst problem in the whole world where about 35 million children suffer sexual abuse every year. And since most suffer repeated abuse the actual number of child sexual abuses could be, and probably is in the billions annually.
So ask me, do I care about somebody's emails? Do I care about 4 dead bodies in Benghazi? If that's all you can wrap your mind around, then your priorities are severely screwed up! Just saying...