Within the brokerage world a generation ago, it was said "When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen." Hutton was highly influential among brokers. Albert Mohler, Jr. is arguably the most influential Southern Baptist today. Similarly, it might be said in the evangelical world generally and the Southern Baptist world particularly, "When Al Mohler talks, people listen."
Well, Mohler talked in the Washington Post yesterday.
He talked about the latest news buzz surrounding Donald Trump and the video in which the presidential nominee was heard using explicit and undeniably demeaning sex-talk about women.1 Though this dirty sex talk from a decade ago could hardly come as a real surprise to anyone with quarter a brain, it nonetheless fired up Mohler (among others) to publicly proclaim that voting for Trump sacrifices Christian integrity and leads to what he called the "Great Evangelical Embarrassment."
Trump's horrifying statements, heard in his own proud voice, revealed an objectification of women and a sexual predation that must make continued support for Trump impossible for any evangelical leader.
According to Southern Baptists' most influential spokesman, supporting Trump for POTUS is "impossible." Why? Because we heard what we already knew and weighed in the political balance?
Why can't Mohler, et al get it through their thick skulls that voting for Donald Trump is not a pleasant thing to do for most evangelicals who find themselves doing so? Nor are we Trump's "apologists" looking to create "cover" for his despicable womanizing, loud-mouthed, shoot-from-the-hip verbiage, excessive narcissistic attitude, among other not-so-nice things we could mention that we abhor about Donald Trump.
Rather we are voting for Trump because we think the next generation will be much better off without a Leftist Supreme Court. We also think the protection of America's borders are at stake. We also think the unborn deserve better than Hillary Rodham Clinton, and that even a known womanizer like Trump will be kinder to the unborn than a Leftist Democrat like Clinton. We also think our military personnel and their families will have grander support if Donald Trump is elected. We further believe small businesses will flourish under a Trump presidency more than a Clinton White House. We believe Immigration Reform most likely will happen under Trump not Clinton. We believe Health Care will get a fresh start under Trump but will only worsen under Clinton. We believe the 2nd Amendment will all but vanish under a Clinton administration.
What I'd like to know is, which one of the foregoing concerns, concerns that tend to push evangelicals to reluctantly but surely vote for Donald Trump, is unchristian? Which concern is invalid? Which concern shows cowardice? Which concern sacrifices one's Christian integrity? Which concern sells out one's Christian faith? Which concern is selfish? Which concern is a "cover" under which Donald Trump may hide or explain away his unacceptable, immoral vices? Which concern is driven solely out of political power or party allegiance? Which concern above casts an undeniable shadow over one's Christian testimony?
Mohler appears to be fixated upon what other people think of evangelicals if they support Donald Trump. I find that at the threshold of amusing. Mohler doesn't care what others think about his views on homosexuality. He doesn't care what others think about his views on evolution. He doesn't care about what others think about his views on biblical inerrancy. Heck, he doesn't even care about what others think about his coddling a suspected (some say known) conspirator in covering up child molestation. Then, why in Sam Hill does he care about what others think about a choice in politicians? Especially in a political race with only two viable, electable candidates both of whom have serious character flaws?
Surely it can't be the naïve notion that if, a) we vote for X; then b) we approve and support all X does, all X believes. Frankly, I've never known a more ridiculous political criteria in my life. If we took such seriously, Southern Baptists couldn't vote for anyone who wasn't a Southern Baptist!
Even so, that criteria appears to be the bottom line driving Mohler's lament.
Well, here's my bottom line.
I publicly detest the known vices of Donald Trump, vices which make it very hard to support him as president of the United States. Nor do I defend such vices as Mohler suggests. Nor will I "cover" them over with a layer of sugar suggesting his vices are not all that objectionable.
All of the above admitted and fully acknowledged, I intend to vote for Trump as POTUS not because I think Trump is the best man for the job because he's not. Better men than Trump were unfortunately eliminated in the primaries.
Indeed, what is often overlooked is, evangelical leaders including Al Mohler, Denny Burk, and Russell Moore are as much responsible as anyone for creating what Mohler now laments as an "excruciating moment" for evangelicals when they have two "unsupportable candidates" in Trump and Clinton. Where were Moore, Mohler, and Burk when the only real challenger to Trump, Ted Cruz, was still a viable candidate in the primaries? Why didn't they step up to the plate and swing for him if they were so concerned Trump was going to get the nomination? Apparently, they were so overwhelmed by the Roman Catholic Republican underdog, Marco Rubio, they couldn't see supporting Cruz. Hence, one reason we are now in this "excruciating moment" Mohler laments is, at least in part, because of Mohler himself.
Rather than voting for Trump because he's the best man for the job as president, I will vote for Trump because, given the only viable alternatives we possess, he's the only man for the job.
And, contrary to Mohler who thinks the price is "unthinkable and too high to pay," I think preserving SCOTUS for a generation, saving millions of the unborn, securing our borders, reforming immigration, dumping ObamaCare, lowering taxes, supporting our military and its veterans, and extending life for the 2nd amendment together equal the political bargain of the century thus far.
I'll take it.
1here's my Facebook response on Trump's dirty mouth: "This is the kind of putrid moral mess that makes one want to throw up. And those of us who're convinced SCOTUS remains at the top of the politico-cultural priority checklist are stuck voting for this scuzzball. How far America has fallen. Maranatha. Come Lord"--link to story