Confessions of a Politically Homeless Christian

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I am a pro-life Christian. I will vote for Joe Biden for President this November.

It amazes me how controversial the combination of those two statements has turned out to be. I’ve been called a Liberal, a Socialist, a Communist….and that’s just from my family. Someone I haven’t seen or heard from for 40 years dumped a load of Republican “passion” on me on Facebook after I simply expressed appreciation for Michelle Obama’s speech. Okaaaay, so some folks take a different view.

It’s been hard to have a meaningful conversation on the topic, and that’s as much my fault as anyone else’s. Strong feelings complicate rational debate, and most of us have pretty strong feelings on this subject. So I decided to use my platform to rationally make my case for a Christian’s vote for Joe Biden. I’m under no illusion that I will change anyone’s mind, or even that more than a handful of people will read this, but humans crave understanding. And yes, I’m still human.

Shifting Labels

To have any meaningful dialogue about our differences, we first have to abandon the binary thinking and name calling that characterizes so much of our political discourse. My vote for Joe Biden does not make me a socialist any more than your vote for Donald Trump makes you a white supremacist. So let’s start by acknowledging that our 2-party system covers a broad range of ideology. Folks line up on a continuum, somewhere “leftish” or “rightish” within their party. Only when we step into the voting booth does the choice become binary.

Not only is party ideology not uniform, it’s also not static. Over time, the definition of Republican and Democrat changes, too, as inter-party tensions move the whole party in a different direction. On the left, the Bernie Sanders faction tried unsuccessfully — for now — to pull the Democratic party toward socialism. On the right, Donald Trump’s “America-first” agenda has shifted the party dramatically toward populism, isolationism and protectionism. Republicans like to call themselves the “party of Lincoln” or the “party of Reagan,” but neither Lincoln nor Reagan would recognize today’s Republican party. Ever wonder why so many Republicans have left the party or feel like the party left them? To identify as a Republican today doesn’t mean the same thing it did even four years ago.

Why does this matter? Because shifting labels require voters to reassess whether the R or D label still fits them. This year more than ever, voters need to look at their political affiliation with fresh eyes. Does the party still reflect your values and priorities? I’ve done that reassessment, and I find myself neither R nor D….politically homeless. I’m not alone.

None of the Above

So what now? Some politically homeless Christians just opt out completely, choosing to stay home on election day. Others make a “conscience vote,” registering their disapproval by voting for a write-in candidate. Several faith influencers I admire have publicly stated this “none of the above” position. With all due respect to these fine people, I call this the “pee your pants in a dark suit” strategy. It gives you a warm feeling but no one notices. To vote for a candidate who has virtually no chance of being elected is to throw your vote away. And a vote is a terrible thing to waste.

Having rejected both of these “protest” options, I’m left having to make a choice between two imperfect options. Some people bifurcate their analysis between the person and the platform, but I see that as a false choice. Both matter. One influences another. This year, we have four more years of experience with both Donald Trump’s character and his policies, which we can assess by his actions rather than his campaign rhetoric. Likewise, we have plenty of experience with Joe Biden’s character and political actions.

In 2016, I made a lesser-of-two-evils vote for Donald Trump. This year, in spite of some reservations, I can enthusiastically cast my vote for Joe Biden. Hands down, his character and most of his policy positions align most closely with my values. I could expound on health care, income inequality, police reform, climate change, or any number of policy positions, but instead, I’ll just cut to the chase. My biggest policy issue is the one that outweighs everything else for most Christian voters — abortion.

But What About Abortion?

Without question, abortion is the the root of the “how COULD you” response I get from my Christian family and friends. And I understand. I care about the unborn as much as they do. Our values align on the sanctity of life, but our approach to living those values in our culture differs.

The Christian community has been laser-focused on repealing Roe v. Wade, and to do that, we believed we needed to change the composition of the Supreme Court. Surely with a majority of conservative judges, the law could be repealed. Right? We’re about to test that theory, especially if Republicans successfully confirm a conservative judge to replace Justice Ginsburg.

Color me skeptical. First, I don’t believe the law will be repealed even with a majority of conservative judges. If you think Justice Gorsuch is going to vote to repeal Roe v. Wade, you must not have watched his confirmation hearings. The court has had several opportunities to weaken Roe and has not done it. And the votes weren’t even close. In fact, only one out of nine justices (Clarence Thomas) has declared his support for overturning Roe v. Wade.

But let’s say the unthinkable happens, and the highest court of the land repeals Roe. What happens then? It goes back to the states, the way it was pre-1972, and we have a patchwork of state laws. Abortion doesn’t go away.

Other than the appointment of conservative judges, what did Republicans get for their anti-abortion vote in 2016? When Republicans had control of the presidency, the Senate and the House, did they pass any meaningful pro-life legislation? No. Did they defund Planned Parenthood like they said they would? No. In fact, funding increased. So what did we get? Appearance at a March for Life rally. The appearance of support for life without any substance or commitment. Kinda feels like maybe we got punked.

I fear we have been so focused on the legal battle that we are losing the cultural war. Perhaps our most effective weapons against abortion are to value and support women and children, to uphold the dignity of all human life, to be light in a dark world.

Anti-Abortion or Pro-Life?

Many of my Christian friends proudly wear the “single issue voter” badge. From the grocery check-out line, they proclaim that they will never vote for a candidate who supports abortion. No matter what, abortion trumps everything else. I wonder if they’ve considered just what that position has cost them under the Trump presidency.

Trump recently (and conveniently) came around to opposing abortion, but there’s a difference between being anti-abortion and being pro-life. A “womb-to-tomb” pro-life position affirms the value and dignity of all human life. It’s an “all lives matter” philosophy, if that sounds familiar.

To fully support Donald Trump, you have to accept that only some lives are valuable. We will defend lives in the womb, but post-birth, it’s a mixed bag. Full-on MAGA says:

  • I’m okay with the thousands of needless deaths caused by Trump’s denials about Covid. Sure he lied about the lethality of the virus, but most of the deaths were old people. NBD. Or they were people in blue states. Again, NBD. It is what it is.
  • I’m okay with our government separating small children from their parents, sometimes permanently, as a scare tactic to discourage both legal and illegal entry into the United States. Our country is “full.” Let those people from “shithole” countries figure it out. In the meantime, good luck seeing your kid again. And I sure hope nothing bad happens to the little darlings while they’re in ICE custody….
  • I’m okay with the wholesale slaughter of the Kurds caused by Trump’s sudden and inexplicable removal of U.S. troops from Syria. We sure do appreciate the Kurds’ loyalty and friendship. Dang, they really helped us in our fight against ISIS, but hey, things change.
  • I’m okay with the U.S. turning a blind eye to the killing of journalists and dissidents so as not to upset Saudi Arabia and Russia. Not our problem. Best to stay on the good side of the bad dudes.
  • I’m okay with China’s ongoing human rights violations, including the “relocation” and “re-education” of more than a million Uighers, a minority Muslim ethnic group. So what if Trump gave two thumbs up for Xi’s concentration camps? Sometimes you do what you have to do.
  • I’m okay with our president mocking disabled people and assigning derogatory nicknames to people who don’t bow to him. He gets a free pass from the “be best” campaign, because hey, that’s just Trump being Trump. Well, no, I don’t want my kids to act like that. I’d ground their little butts!
  • I’m okay with thousands of innocent people, many of them children, losing their lives to gun violence every year because any regulation of firearms would infringe on my second amendment rights. There is no such thing as “sensible gun reform.”
  • I’m okay with our president disrespecting the men and women who serve in our military, including those who gave their lives for our country. Yeah, he may call our generals “morons,” and he considers those who died in combat “losers” and “suckers,” but the man does love a good military parade. And so what if Putin puts a bounty on the heads of our troops? Serving in the military is dangerous. They know what they signed up for.

Can anyone honestly call this pro-life? Absolutely not. But it’s really helped me clarify my own position. I’m not just anti-abortion; I’m pro-life.

Goodbye, Family Values

I recently saw a Facebook ad by the ever-smarmy Ted Cruz, exhorting Christians to “vote their values.” Did he anticipate that his advice might lead to a lot of votes for Joe Biden? I doubt it. I suspect he’s betting most Republicans still think they are the “family values” party. Remarkable.

In 2016, a lot of my Christian friends expressed a “hold your nose” vote for Trump. They didn’t like his vulgarity. They questioned his honesty. They didn’t like his tweets. But hey, he represents policies we support, so we have to vote platform over person.

Something has changed in the last four years. Now many of those same people enthusiastically support Donald Trump. They tolerated him until they finally embraced him. And worse yet, now they emulate him.

The full evolution became clear the day I saw a Facebook post by a man who was an elder and teacher in the church I attended for more than 25 years. The post was a vulgar photoshopped picture of Joe Biden groping a young woman. I was stunned. Friends, the Trumpification of the church is ugly and bitterly disappointing.

But wait, it gets worse. Now we have men like John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church, declaring that “no true believer could vote for a Democrat.” And we have Christian author Eric Metaxas declaring that people who oppose Donald Trump are under demonic control. Jerry Falwell Jr., that paragon of Christian virtue, produced a feature-length film declaring that God ordained the Trump presidency in fulfillment of prophecy. And the list goes on: Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress, James Dobson. These evangelical leaders now preach Trump.

Someone even went so far as to boil it down to a simple billboard message. Driving I-44 across Missouri recently, I came across a giant billboard proclaiming “Jesus = Trump.” I nearly wrecked the car.

Brothers and sisters, with all due respect, what the heck? What do you see in common between Jesus Christ and Donald Trump? To be full-on MAGA, you have to abandon all claims to integrity and embrace an ends-justifies-the-means philosophy.

  • I’m okay with the constant lying from President Trump and his entire administration. Or better yet, “What lying?”
  • I’m okay with the president cheating to win an election. If he needs to extort a foreign government for dirt on his opponent (see Articles of Impeachment), or dismantle the U.S. postal service to prevent mail-in voting, or give Russia polling data to support its disinformation campaign (see bi-partisan Senate Judiciary Committee report), I’m good with it.
  • I’m okay with the president’s immoral lifestyle and denigration of women. I don’t think it’s our business to question his close friendships with several pedophiles, including Jeffrey Epstein. Nevermind that he brags about “grabbing women by the pussy.” Nevermind that there are several pending sexual assault lawsuits against him. Innocent until proven guilty, right? Nevermind that he paid off a porn star to keep her quiet. Sure, I screamed bloody murder about Bill Clinton’s sexual scandals, but it’s different when it’s our guy.
  • I’m okay with trusting our national finances to someone who was convicted of stealing funds from his charitable foundation. He’s forever barred from running a charity in New York, but hey, I trust him with taxpayer dollars.
  • I applaud Trump’s efforts to “drain the swamp.” What an unlucky break that so many of his inner circle are now convicted felons (Manafort, Cohen, Papadopoulos, Stone, Gates) or indicted felons (Flynn and Bannon). It’s all a hoax! Those dang Democrats!

Remember when we used to teach our children the error of an ends-justifies-the-means philosophy? I seriously wonder what Trump supporters say to their children now. Something along the lines of “might makes right?”

Jesus ≠ Trump

I often wonder what Jesus would do if he walked among us in America today. The Bible gives us a few clues. He had dinner with tax collectors and prostitutes. He gave bread to the hungry and touched the unclean leper. He broke religious protocol by talking to a Samaritan woman about living water. He welcomed a religious leader under cover of darkness for a conversation about being born again. He let sticky little kids hug on him. Instead of trying to overthrow the Roman government, he subverted it with love. “My kingdom is not of this world,” he repeatedly told his disciples. His heart was turned toward the marginalized and outcast, not toward the wealthy and powerful. He was the ultimate globalist.

I consider Micah 6:8 my life verse: “He has shown you, O Man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” While I can appreciate the Trump administration’s support for the rights of the unborn and for religious liberty, I will not endorse with my vote the rampant lying, cheating, cruelty, race-baiting, greed and corruption. No. These are inconsistent with my faith and values.

To be clear, abortion is not the only Democratic policy I oppose. If Joe Biden becomes president, I fully expect to oppose some of his initiatives just as I opposed Obama’s. Such is the lot of the politically homeless.

I know many Christians don’t share my views, and I accept that. As I mentioned, I’m a political outlier within my family and circle of friends. I may strongly disagree with their political positions, but I love them dearly. Can we at least agree that our choice of political candidates is not a litmus test for our Christianity? Can we give each other room to love Jesus and choose different political candidates? I sure hope so. Because after this election, we’re going to need each other either way.

If you’ve made it to this point, thank you for hearing me out. Please note: I’m going to moderate all comments here on my blog, not on Facebook, so please share your {respectful} thoughts in the comment section below.

Recommended reading:

The French Press, by David French, August 23, 2020. https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/do-pro-lifers-who-reject-trump-have

Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America From a Culture of Contempt, by Arthur C. Brooks.

47 Comments

        1. Yes, Kay, I agree. However, I’ve been surprised how many people have expressed feeling the same way. Maybe if we felt at liberty to talk about our concerns, we’d find more common ground. We keep trying! Thanks for commenting.

  1. I do respect your opinion and respect your right to express it. However, I must say I’m very disappointed at the gross misrepresentation of what President Trump has accomplished during these past 3 1/2 years. In spite of his arrogance and irritating tweeting habit, he has done more good for America in so many areas than our past several presidents have combined. He loves America fiercely and has our best interest at heart. I don’t believe that can be said about Biden. But the sad thing is, if Biden is elected, Kamala Harris is one step closer to the presidency and that should scare every Christian.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to consider my viewpoint, Jennie, even if you disagree. Hope you and your family are doing well. Love to see photos of your folks. This is such a tender season with our parents, and I wish you every grace as you walk the journey with them.

  2. CHARACTER?
    I’ll start out by saying that I do not believe Trump’s morals are something to be lauded, but this article suggesting that Biden’s character is somehow sterling is laughable. And suggesting that this is a deciding factor in voting for Biden is farcical.

    “Likewise, we have plenty of experience with Joe Biden’s character and political actions.”

    Yes we do.

    Biden has plagiarized on occasions too many to count. He dropped out of one presidential campaign because of that. He has lied on many others. Just this campaign cycle he said he was arrested trying to visit Mandela. Biden claims every Covid death could have been prevented if Trump weren’t President. Really?!?

    “”If the president had done his job, had done his job from the beginning, all the people would still be alive. All the people. I’m not making this up. Just look at the data.” — Biden

    Trump pretty much followed to the letter what Faucci recommended. Biden said he would keep Faucci on, so EVERY death could have been prevented. What an asinine thing to say.

    Biden implied that the truck driver involved in the accident that killed his first wife and daughter was drunk. Reports found no evidence of that and suggest his wife swerved into the truck driver’s lane. The truck driver immediately got out and attempted to help Biden’s family. That’s integrity.

    Biden’s family members have become quite wealthy during his time in office over the years. Most notably is his son Hunter. Funny the media has not bothered to lift a finger into this.

    Biden has been in public office for 40+ years, Trump barely 4, yet Trump’s policies have provided the best economy EVER for blacks, Latinos, and women.

    Trump’s character may not be perfect either, but as a Christian I’m sticking with the party…

    – that mentions God, not erases Him
    – that champions the life of the unborn (regardless of whether RvW gets overturned in the Supreme Court)
    – that doesn’t believe a women should be able to abort up until birth
    – that doesn’t want to burn the system down when they fail to lose elections (getting rid of the electoral collage, adding states, stacking the court)
    – that understands capitalism has brought more people out of poverty than any other system in the world
    – that values the right for me to defend myself and my family (and understands that ‘common sense gun reform’ actually means stripping us of all our guns just like the UK and Australia)
    – that finds it ironic that in one breath you say I don’t need a gun because I just need to call the police and in the next breath say we don’t need the police
    – that doesn’t find it racist to fly the thin blue line flag or the American flag for that matter
    – that values the lives of those men and women who choose to ‘protect and serve’ and put their lives on the line for us each and every day

    Voting for Biden is voting for the voices of Bernie Sanders, AOC, Omar, Tlaib, Pressley and more. Many of whom have out-and-out hatred for this country and all that it stands for and was founded on.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to consider my viewpoint, Daryl, even if you don’t agree with it. Hope you and your family are doing well! God bless.

    2. A few of your words have a hollow ring now. “… That doesn’t want to burn the system down when they fail to lose [??? … I think you meant fail to win] elections.”

  3. Do you ever think God gave us Trump and Biden (and our current political climate) just to look down and say- “ok kids, figure this one out!” 😉

    But seriously, I love this. Always brave, always true to you!

    1. Ha! Well, that’s possible, Rachel! I do think we’re learning a few things through this dumpster fire! Thanks, as always, for your encouragement!

  4. Thank you, Aileen, for expressing this Christian’s viewpoint as well. I’m not as politically knowledgeable as you, but I do recognize a jackass (my PG word of choice) when I see one, and I hope and pray we’re successful in voting him out of office.

    1. Thank you, Julie! We really need Florida to go blue! We need to catch up soon so I can hear all about your Michigan summer.

  5. Well said – and well-documented points. I agree whole-heartedly. Please know you are not alone. Thank you for this.

  6. Thank you Aileen, well thought and well said. When I hear or read of the “millions of evangelicals” who support Donald Trump, I have to wonder what it does to our collective Christian witness. What can non-Christians think when the see so many of us so vehemently support someone like him? What can someone who doesn’t know Jesus possibly think when they see a sign that says Jesus=Trump? What must Jesus be thinking?

    1. Yes, Jim, that’s the greatest tragedy of all. The vast evangelical compromise for political power has deeply damaged our collective Christian witness. But I remain hopeful! This political crisis has prompted some real soul-searching within the church. There’s an awakening happening, a repentance. We may very well be on the brink of a national revival. I sure hope so. Thanks for the feedback!

  7. Wow. This is extremely well written and the same way I have felt for the past 4 years. I am pro-life, but for all life’s. Thank you for doing this and BTW I am going to print this and re-read.

    1. Susie, thank you so much! Apparently there are more of us than I realized! 🙂 Can’t wait for this pandemic to be done, because we really need another New York reunion!

  8. Appreciate your thoughts. It is very well stated. I respect your views but I feel differently. I too struggle with what is best for our nation. For me it boils down to a few points. Trump has accomplished more than the last several presidents combined. This is the first real relief our business has experienced in 20 years. Our taxes are now simplified. I feel more secure. I believe he handled the pandemic as well as anyone could expect and listened to the CDC. (Yes, he would do well to think before some things come out of his mouth.) He turned to each governor to care for their state- Big government is one of our largest problems. Florida’s governor has done an exemplary job. Our county’s (Hillsborough is one of the largest)positive infection rate is now under 4%. Biden has been in politics over 45 years. Like all of us, his views and positions have changed. We evolve. So has president Trump. I truly believe he deeply loves this country.
    A sobering thought came when my rheumatologist commented on the upcoming election and his concerns. He’s not a young man- my age or older. His biggest concern was the obvious cognitive mental impairment he’s observed in Biden. Concerns of puppet president or turning the office over to a very objectionable Vice President are alarming to me. At 78 he should be enjoying time with his family and not endure the stress that inevitably comes with the presidency.
    Considering my experiences and the options, I will stand behind President Trump.

    1. Dawn, thanks so much for taking the time to consider my views and to respond. That means a lot to me. I hope you and Jim are doing well! I see the Florida Covid positivity rate is headed back up, so stay safe! (Stay out those bars — haha!!)

      1. Our county is doing well and we definitely feel safe. I rarely leave the house. We arranged worship services in person for the first time since March. Wonderful and frightening.
        We are doing well as are our girls and their families. Hard to believe we’re great grandparents! Katie’s daughter has a little boy who just turned 2. He’s adorable. Also have a bonus granddaughter and bonus great granddaughter. So nice!
        Think of you and Roger often. Jim should be back to Wyoming this month to help his brother. He spent a month there this summer and came home mid August. If it wasn’t so cold, I’d consider going.

        1. Dawn, I cannot believe you are a great grandmother!! That’s wild, but I’m sure it’s a lot of fun. We have spent several weeks in Wyoming every summer for the last few years, and it never gets old. If it weren’t for 8-month-long winters, we’d just up and move back! 🙂 Give Jim our love, and you guys take care!

  9. I so appreciate this writing from you. Just last week, while speaking with a longtime friend, I mentioned a need to really evaluate the candidate platforms and actions prior to an election.
    Please, do not rely on social media and (entertainment) news shows to influence your decisions on matters of great importance.
    May His grace be with us all.

    1. Thank you, Rita. I agree that we have to carefully discern what news inputs we allow to influence our thinking. I have several that I’ve come to trust, but I also go directly to the source whenever possible. Because I am retired, I have the time to watch congressional hearings, etc., so for the last four years I have gleaned a lot of my understanding from watching both sides present their evidence live. Inasmuch as I have news sources I trust, I also have news sources I don’t trust. I never take my news from Fox unless it comes from Chris Wallace. I get a lot of my information through print media, not television or social media. For that, I really like The Dispatch, which presents a conservative, non-reactionary, thorough analysis of current events. God bless!

  10. I’m a lifelong thoughtless party-line Republican — till Trump. My husband (we’ve been married almost three years, and he’s a lifelong Democrat) sent me your post here as he’s helping me navigate some tricky waters with my Trump-loving brothers and father. I appreciate the love and care and thoughtfulness of your writing and of your responses to comments, even to those who disagree with you. I just had a long conversation yesterday with a church friend who shares my dismay about the political divide in our congregation and in our church generally (we are faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is culturally very conservative and Republican so long as I’ve been voting anyway), and I think our main conclusion was that God is love, and when we fight and harbor ill feelings towards those who disagree with us, we’re not pleasing God, we’re pleasing Satan. And I can’t control how others feel towards me and my choices, but I can strive for self-mastery in how I think and speak and act towards those I disagree with. Thank you for your clear example of good ways to do this! Best wishes and continued faith, hope, and love to you and yours (and the greatest of these is love)!

    1. Oh, April, thank you for this feedback. Yes! This is exactly the struggle I’ve been wrestling with for the past 4 years. And I have failed miserably at it. But God has been very gracious to me, and as I seek his face on this issue, he’s giving me insight and compassion. It’s been so hard for me to understand how Jesus-loving Christians could be so devoted to Donald Trump, but as I’ve really tried to understand where they are coming from, it has taken some of my frustration and anger away. I keep coming back to the same thought — as different as our political positions may be from our Christian b brothers and sisters, they are rooted in the same values. I try to keep the focus on what we share in common, not where we differ. The book that really helped me is Arthur Brooks’ “Love Your Enemies”. It’s solid gold. If you have time, I highly recommend it. Thank you again, and God bless your journey.

  11. Wow! Thank you for sharing your insightful and intelligent thought process with brave honesty. I felt politically homeless in 2016, and even more so now. I am also pro-life, but an even stronger issue for me is supporting Israel.

    I share every single one of your sentiments about the vulgarity and cruelty of President Trump. His bragging in campaign ads in 2016 about being able to go out and shoot someone on the streets and still be elected was disturbing! I am also appalled at the blinders being worn by people of the faith about his immoral character. How can such wise people be fooled by a man who talked about scripture from “Two Corinthians?” I have not seen the billboard that you speak of on I 44, but it is blasphemous! How can Christians tolerate that? It troubles me deeply.

    Nonetheless, I am almost fearful of contemplating voting Democrat. Not that I don’t think Biden is a decent, even likable guy, much more likable than Trump. I just can’t help but feel that a vote for Democrats is a vote against Israel AND a vote against unborn babies, both of which are extremely important to me as a Christian. I’m also aware that perhaps this fear is irrational. I have friends who are hard core Dems, but I don’t think they are going to hell for being Democrats.

    Christian principles aside, I also can’t get behind the ridiculousness of Nancy Pelosi and others like her. While I am the first to admit that I am not nearly as knowledgeable about politics as you, nor have I done a good job of educating myself on the issues, I feel played by both parties. It is almost impossible to know what to believe anymore. I am certain that I can’t completely trust either side.

    I have spoken to several Christian brothers and sisters about the personal conflict I have about voting for Trump again. As you know, I love Hispanic people! I hate admitting to any of my Hispanic friends that I voted for him! I hate his mean bullying. Many of my Christian friends have compared Trump to General George Patton. He was a hated figure, but he got the job done. That argument makes some sense to me, but it still doesn’t make me feel that I am justified for voting for a President that divides our nation instead of uniting us.

    I honestly don’t know which lever I will pull in November. I know I need to pray and seek God above all else. However, I truly appreciate your open dialogue on the subject. It is nice to know I am not the only one who has felt these things.

    The “None of the Above” reference you made from The movie, “Brewster’s Millions” reminds me of his campaign slogan, “Don’t vote for us. We’re assholes!” It was so funny then. It is actually depressing how true it was in 2016 AND how true it is now. God help us all!

    1. Sally,

      Thank you so much for honoring me with such a thoughtful and careful response to my post. I understand and agree with every one of your points. Anyone who approaches this election without being conflicted hasn’t really acknowledged the implications! I hope we live long enough to once again be able to cast our ballot for a candidate we can wholeheartedly support. This “lesser of two evils” business is exhausting and demoralizing!

      I didn’t mention in my post one of my strongest reasons for concern about Trump — he’s a national security threat. That he openly solicited and accepted Russia’s help in 2016 and is doing the same today, that he was impeached for extorting Ukraine for political dirt on his opponent….these facts have not received enough attention during the campaign. I know a lot of Republicans deny or try to explain away these facts, but that doesn’t make them less true. The evidence is overwhelming. And now we finally have the tax information he’s withheld this whole time, and we know he has $421 million of debt in personally guaranteed loans (no collateral), and about $330 million of that will come due during his second term. This is highly relevant information that does not get enough media scrutiny! Who does he owe? Almost certainly Russia, among others. We know that U.S. banks would not lend to him, so it’s reasonable to believe some number of foreign players have leverage over him. Any national security expert will tell you this makes him highly vulnerable to blackmail. If he were subject to our security clearance procedure, he definitely wouldn’t get one, but because he’s president, he gets a pass. There’s a reason he never criticizes Putin. There’s a reason he guts our intelligence agencies. There’s a reason he hides his tax information, stonewalls subpoenas, and fires IGs. I fear the truth is far worse than we could ever imagine. Knowing how bold he has been in flaunting our laws in his first term, just imagine what he would do in a second term. I shudder to think.

      Because I’m retired, I have more time than most to study the political issues than most people. One thing Trump has done exceedingly well is to convince people that they cannot believe any news source, except maybe Fox on the days when he’s not mad at them! That definitely is not true. Yes, you can find fault with any media source, and yes, you always have to account for bias. But good journalism still exists! I go to the primary source whenever possible. For example, I watched all the impeachment hearings and the judicial nomination hearings, as well as many of the televised committee hearings. I also read a variety of print publications and books, and I listen to several podcasts. One of my new favorite media sources is The Dispatch, a conservative digital media company. I’m particularly a fan of David French. He’s a dedicated Christian and a Harvard-educated lawyer, and he gives insightful, non-reactionary analysis to all the events of our day. You might be interested to know that he has taken the “none of the above” approach to this election. I don’t know if he’s planning to write in a candidate name, but he won’t vote for either candidate. He explanation for that position is thought-provoking.

      Good luck with your voting decision! We will still be friends either way! 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful, Carrie! This is such a fraught and confusing time. Blessings!
      Aileen

  12. Welcome to the club!! I’ve been a member since 2006 – and it’s a great club (though terrifying at first). Just know you aren’t alone. Everything you’ve said is spot on and your observations about Trump that seem to us to be so blatantly obvious to anyone with 1/2 a brain – somehow aren’t. I don’t know if it’s a hardened hart or just pure laziness, but many of the leaders whom you and I have looked up to for the past generation have undone all authority and respect. They have gone to such great lengths as to block anyone and everyone from FB who even remotely questions Trump. As a former Missourian, I’m glad to other people from Joplin who have seen the light and come to the realization that the Republican Party has dupped them with Roe v Wade and the notion of “pro-life” which is really just “pro-birth”.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Sid. I think in some ways, your generation is leading in some necessary changes within the church. Like you, I’ve been frustrated with some views I cannot understand, but I’m genuinely trying to listen and find the common shared values at our core. It’s painful to see the church as divided as the nation, but I pray good things will come out of it. Let’s keep listening, keep coming back to the teachings of Christ, and resist falling into the culture of contempt that characterizes so much of our political discourse. I hope life is good for you, even in these weird times! Take care.

  13. Thank you for your well-researched and insightful blog. It was a breath of fresh air to me. I’m politically homeless. I could not bring myself to vote for either candidate in the last election. I was conflicted and prayed right up until I voted. I did exactly what you described and wasted a vote by voting for a lesser party I knew could not win; however, I could live with my conscience.
    I’ve been very troubled by Trump for all the reasons you outline. I’m appalled at the Christian leaders who support him & ignore his behavior. His disregard and disrespect for women, children, those of different race or culture, those in poverty, those who are suffering etc. is blatant and offensive. I could go on but you’ve said it better than I ever could.
    Thank you for your honesty. It takes courage to take a stand, especially one so volatile. That’s what Jesus did. I applaud you & add my voice to yours. I believe everyone needs to be well informed and give considerable thought to whom they vote for.

    1. Diana, I’m so grateful for your comments! As you know, it’s not a popular position in our circles. I can understand and give grace to those who reluctantly vote for Trump on policy grounds, but I can neither understand nor excuse those Christians who embrace him. Some people have sold out their values for political power. The world is watching. Our children are watching. Lord have mercy. Thank you again!

  14. Don’t know what prompted me to explore your FB while viewing my daughter Lisa’s photos, but so glad I did. Have felt the same as you and felt alone & stopped talking to friends that would go on & on about their party and seeing all the vicious FB posts and hearing of the family rifts. Read all the comments & feel better informed. Thank you.
    April Culpepper

    1. April, how very kind of you to comment! That blog post was a departure for me. I want my blog to be positive and uplifting, so I tend to stay away from controversial subjects. But I just could not be quiet about the danger I felt Donald Trump was doing to our country. I completely understand your feeling of being all alone with your views. I paid a price with some people for speaking out, but I also gave important affirmation to many others. It was worth it! By the way, I adore your daughter! She is a treasure. Thanks again for writing, and have a very merry Christmas!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jill. I paid a high personal price for this post, and the thought of updating it makes me break out in hives! But I do have a new post coming soon that discusses some of the confusing messages we get from faith leaders at election time. Perhaps that will address some of your interest?

      You asked what my thoughts are now …. well, we dodged a bullet with the election of Joe Biden. No matter how many of his policies I may not like, there simply is no question that Donald Trump was, and remains, an existential threat to our democracy. We have never had a more corrupt leader. I used to hold out hope that Trump would just go away — prison maybe? — and we could begin to right the ship. Sadly, Trumpism has infected the Republican party to a such a degree that it will continue even without Trump. Even the “good” Republicans remain silent and complicit, in spite of the attempted coup on Jan. 6 and all that has come to light since then. There really is no bottom. I applaud Liz Cheney and will support any of her efforts to avert disaster in the 2024 election. I consider myself a moderate/conservative, but for any Republican to get my vote, he/she would have to 1) reject the stolen election lie, 2) condemn the Jan. 6th violence and call it what it was – an insurrection, and 3) not have Trump’s endorsement. Otherwise, I’ll be voting Democratic.

      While I continue to be very attentive to the political landscape, I’ve intentionally diverted my focus to activities that deepen my faith and create connections with people. I choose to live in faith, not fear. God is sovereign. I pray for our country to be spared the storm that seems to be coming, but if we are not spared, God’s might is not diminished. I remind myself that Rome was a corrupt and godless empire, but Jesus did not exhort his disciples to fight culture wars or try to overturn the government. Instead he turned their attention to the kingdom of God. That’s where our hope lies.

      I hope that addresses some of your questions, but if not, let me know. Thanks for your interest!

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