By Joshua Sander
Nearly eight months ago, I wrote an article for this publication stating that I was going to vote for Hillary Clinton for president in the upcoming election. In the article, I cited Clinton’s experience, her apparent willingness to compromise, and Donald Trump’s complete disregard for everything a president and human being should be. Even so, I simultaneously acknowledged Clinton’s flaws, including the ongoing questions about her character. At the time, however, I was able to give Clinton the benefit of the doubt on the unknowns and work through the mistakes which we knew about. As the months went on and new information regarding her conduct came to light, I began to question whether or not my choice to vote for her should remain the same. Furthermore, when Clinton dehumanized opponents in a public statement by calling them “deplorables,” I was deeply disturbed, especially when the essence of the statement was never apologized for.
Meanwhile, leaders in the American Church saw Trump for who he was and knew that both they and the Church were obligated to oppose him. In their disavowal of Trump, they responded equally by declaring that their reasoning in Christian ethics also called both them and the Church to have nothing to do with Clinton.
With all of these points of information going through my mind, along with Donald Trump’s 2005 comments bragging about attempted sexual assault, the questions grew until I was unsure whether I would vote for Clinton or a third-party candidate until I received my absentee ballot in the mail. As I had the ballot in my hands, I realized that it would be very difficult for me to make a case against voting for Donald Trump based significantly on character if I were to vote for Clinton, given the looming questions and doubts surrounding her character. I also realized that Christians must stand as united as possible against the apathetic attitude of some in the American Church of Trump’s grossly satanic behavior. Therefore, I made the choice to stand in solidarity with Church leaders against current Trump-esque attitudes in the Church and Clinton-esque attitudes in our leaders. I also made the choice to remain clearly consistent in my arguments against the reasoning leading many to support Trump. I did not vote for Hillary Clinton. Instead, I wrote in Mike Maturen of the American Solidarity Party for president of the United States.
No one denies that this is a confusing election cycle, causing a number of ethical dilemmas for many in the American Church. There is much grace that must be shown when discoursing with others on these topics. But through the fog of confusion, there is one issue that is clear, and it is this issue which caused me to give up my vote for Clinton in order to be able to argue more effectively. The public support and defense of Donald Trump as a person and as a candidate by Christians, for whatever reason, will destroy whatever credibility or sincerity the Church had in the eyes of many onlookers. And not without good reason.
Pro-life Christians have been attempting for some time to convince pro-choice Americans that being pro-life does not mean being anti-women, that the Church seeks to protect and value both women and unborn children in our society, and that they seek to see laws put into place reflecting these values. However, many are voting for Donald Trump because he is seen as the more pro-life candidate. I ask you, how will the public view the pro-life values of those who are willing to excuse or overlook the derogatory and sexually predatory actions of the person they wish to be president in the name of saving unborn children? This question is made especially poignant when his “pro-life” position consists, at best, of indifference towards the issue.
Many Christians have also publicly campaigned for laws disallowing transgender people from using certain restrooms out of a fear of an increase in sexual assault against women. These Christians commonly refer to valuing the safety and well-being of women. I ask you, how will the public view those laws based in such arguments when so many of the same Christians wish to support in his quest to be the leader of this nation an individual who has admitted to sexually predatory behavior as well as to intentionally walking into ladies’ dressing rooms while they were changing?
Many Christians have well-founded concerns against Clinton with regards to abortion, religious freedom and the cultural presence of Christianity in America. But, should Christians continue to support Donald Trump, our witness to many will most likely be significantly damaged on well-founded charges of hypocrisy and overlooked threats towards those most vulnerable people groups in our society. Because of this, arguments against abortion are not likely to persuade many, and if we Christians keep our freedom and cultural presence, it will likely be bought at the price of our corporate witness.
But there is a better way. We, as Christians in America, can take a stand, both personally and corporately, against policies and attitudes which dehumanize and marginalize any members of our society. We can stand together in solidarity as a witness to the world, declaring boldly that neither the potential prosperity of our nation nor even our own protected legal status is worth the price of the Church’s witness. We can stand together calling out blatant evil for what it is, no matter the letter behind their name or whom they are running against.
Let us be the voice of solidarity in this time of division.