The problem with the pharisees is that they made their standards more binding than God’s standards. And our problem is that too often, we fail to recognize that we’re much like the Pharisees.
If the Pharisees were in America today, they might shame Christians for voting for Trump. If the Pharisees were in America today, they might condemn Christians for failing to submit to their pharisaical standards. If the Pharisees were in America today, they might place burdens on Christians that the Bible doesn’t place on them. If the Pharisees were in America today, they might have written an article like David French’s latest article.
Those are strong words, I know. But strong accusations demand strong replies. And I think I would be a dishonest and an unhelpful writer if I were less candid with my words.
I admire David French. He is one of the few genuine Christians in mainstream political commentary in America today. That makes him an invaluable resource. His articles on politics and culture have deeply impacted me for years, especially his articles on racial issues in America.
However, I admired David French more when his judgement wasn’t clouded by his Never Trump bias.
I’m actually sympathetic to David French’s Never Trump position. I’m glad he isn’t willing to sacrifice his principles for political gain. Besides, Trump has made himself unappealing to many American voters like French. And I’m not interested in defending Trump. But I’m eager to defend American Christians who vote for him.
David French’s latest article is in response to Albert Mohler’s recent words about his intention to vote for Donald Trump in the upcoming American presidential election. In French’s article, he explains that Mohler’s recent words about Trump are inconsistent with his words from 2016—when Mohler refused to vote for Trump in faithfulness to the Southern Baptist Conventions’ Resolution On Moral Character Of Public Officials.
I don’t think it’s unfair to challenge Mohler’s new positions on Donald Trump, especially in light of the SBC’s resolution on the importance of electing politicians with good character and his words in 2016 about owing Bill Clinton an apology if he votes for Donald Trump.
But it’s completely unfair and unrighteous for David French to insinuate in the article that white evangelicals like Albert Mohler who are not as adamantly and arrogantly Never Trump as he is—are simply not as moral, honest, courageous, and faithful like he is.
David French also wrote: “It’s well-established that a great number of white Evangelicals didn’t truly believe the words they wrote, endorsed, and argued in 1998 and for 18 years until the 2016 election.”
French explains in the article that he’s singling out white evangelicals because they are Trump’s core political constituency. However, if you read the article, you wouldn’t know black Christians were more loyal to Barack Obama than white Christians are to Trump—81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump, but over 90% of black Christians for Obama.
Black Christians were more loyal to the most pro-abortion and the most anti-religious liberty president in American history than white Christians are to Trump. But in the article, French suggests that black Christians who vote for the Democrats aren’t lesser Christians than white evangelicals who vote for the Republicans. However, he suggests that white Christians who vote for Trump are less Christian than he is.
But French’s political preferences isn’t the Christian standard for political votes: the Bible is.
The Bible is the standard for us all—including David French. You see, the problem with French’s and many Never Trump’s arbitrary character test for the American presidency—a character test made in their own image, not the word of God—is that they can become victims of the same arrogant thinking.
David French was the evangelical organizer for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. And he wrote a book to convince evangelicals on why they should vote for Mitt Romney, despite their concerns about his Mormon religion and his supposed liberal positions on social issues.
Many evangelicals were uncomfortable voting for Romney, but they did so anyway because they believed he was the best candidate available. Others—Never Romneys—however, refused to vote for Romney, because they believed Christians shouldn’t vote for members of an oppressive and cultish religion.
Presumably, David French disagrees with them. But on what basis? What if Never Romneys suggested that French wasn’t as courageous, faithful, honest, and moral as they are since he voted for Romney?
In his article, French said: “There were many men who thought character counted, until a commitment to character contained a real political cost.”
What if Never Romneys said, “there were many men who thought that Christianity counted, until commitment to Christianity contained a real political cost.” What would French say to that?
The truth is: the Bible doesn’t command you to vote for only Christians or people with an arbitrary level of character. The Bible doesn’t tell you whom to vote for—it tells you what to vote for.
In Amos 5:15, the Bible commands Christians to “hate evil, and love good, and establish justice.”
That means we should hate all evil—including Donald Trump’s evil character. It means we should love the good things Donald Trump has done for preborn babies and religious freedom. And it means you also have the liberty to vote for Donald Trump to establish justice for preborn babies and Christians—or it means that you have the liberty to not vote for him, if you think you would be loving his evil character by doing so.
Either way, God’s word is the standard—not David French’s political preferences, not mine, not yours.