This Year’s Presidential Election Presents an Excruciating Choice, But Richard Land Says Evangelicals Should Reluctantly Vote for Donald Trump

(PHOTO: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI) Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally in Fredericksburg, Virginia, August 20, 2016.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally in Fredericksburg, Virginia, August 20, 2016.

Editor’s note: This editorial is one of two follow-up articles to a CP staff editorial laying out two options for Evangelicals in this year’s challenging presidential election — either vote for Trump or cast a protest vote. In this editorial, CP Executive Editor Dr. Richard Land argues that because of the dangers presented to the country and Evangelicals in particular by a Hillary Clinton presidency, Evangelicals should reluctantly vote for Donald Trump. A second editorial, by CP Opinion Page Editor Dr. Napp Nazworth, argues evangelicals should cast a protest vote instead of supporting Trump.

This presidential election confronts Christians with a terrible dilemma. Many feel that choosing either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8 confronts them with an intolerable outcome. Which one is worse?

They find both major party candidates to be morally compromised and are struggling with the dilemma of how to respond. Scores of them have contacted me personally and asked, “What should I do? What areyou going to do?”

My answer is, first, you have a moral obligation to vote. I believe Romans 13 makes it clear that supporting the civil magistrate “for conscience sake” includes not only obeying the law and paying your taxes, but votingyour values, your beliefs, and your convictions. Your ultimate loyalty must be to Jesus, not any political philosophy or party. Choosing not to vote is disobedient to our Lord’s command to be salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16).

Choosing to wash your hands of the whole thing and withdrawing from the process — what I call the “Pontius Pilate option” — is not a valid or defensible alternative for Christians.

Second, each person has to prayerfully seek the Lord’s guidance as to how they should cast their vote. As with everything else you do, every Christian is morally accountable to the Lord individually for how you cast your ballot — and the Lord will evaluate both your actions and your motives.

Third, when you cast your ballot, you need to think about what the consequences of your actions will be. Your vote does not just concern you — it concerns your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors, your town, and your country and its future course. Elections are like forks in the road, and a country, having chosen one direction over another, often finds it difficult, if not impossible, to go back and undo the impact of what has been done. Elections, especially presidential elections, are often written in indelible ink.

By the way, many millennials I have talked with have said, “Your generation urged Christians to get involved and make a difference and what real difference has it made?” Such questions contain a fatal flaw — comparing the way things are with what they were rather than comparing the way things would have been if millions of Christians had not gone forth as salt and light in the last three decades. Did these Christians accomplish all they desired to do? No, they did not. However, most of them knew that the change America really needed was a Christian revival and awakening, which, alas, has not yet come to our nation. Real American revival will come from a spiritual awakening, not from Washington D.C. Government is a caboose, not a locomotive. When America’s heart is spiritually renewed (the locomotive), then, and only then, will the government (the caboose) truly change.

However, Christian involvement in the political process has made a significant difference. Without that involvement, for example, President Carter would have had a second term, Ronald Regan would never have been president, and the Soviet Union (the evil empire) might still be tottering on, systematically abusing the rights and crushing the aspirations of hundreds of millions of people.

Now, to answer the questions “what am I going to do” and “how did I arrive at that course of action?” I cannot vote for a third party candidate as a protest vote. Why? To me, this is a variation of the “Pontius Pilate option” and the consequences of this truly “fork in the road” election are too important to merely cast a “protest” vote.

So, how am I going to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? Let me be as transparent as possible. I know several of the Republican presidential primary candidates personally, and they all were far preferable to Mr. Trump. Out of the 17 Republican primary candidates, Mr. Trump was my 18th choice.

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Dr. Richard Land is president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and executive editor of The Christian Post.