Evangelicals and Trump: Personality or Policies
WASHINGTON — Even though the platform of the Republican Party this year has the most biblically oriented, pro-church policies; the dividing line is growing wider between evangelicals who continue to support Republican nominee Donald Trump and those who believe the now infamous “Trump tapes” make it impossible to stand with him.
Author and columnist Craig Parshall told CBN News despite the revelations, the urgency of the state of the union is more important.
“If you have a house that’s on fire and your children are on the second floor, you want a fire captain and firemen who are going to put out the fire and save your children,” he said. “If that’s the state of our union right now, and many people believe that it is, then we need someone who’s going to be able to put out the fire, protect the church, protect our families.”
“Unfortunately, if words of profanity come out during the process of that person putting out the fire, that’s not optimal but it’s certainly necessary to get someone who knows how to handle the conflagration that’s facing our republic,” Parshall said.
Trump has since apologized for the remarks but that hasn’t halted the avalanche of criticism. One of the biggest rifts comes from inside Trump’s own “evangelical council.”
Megachurch pastor James MacDonald sent an email to fellow members of the faith council condemning Trump and distancing himself from the candidate.
In an interview with CBN News, Bishop Harry Jackson, who is also a member of the council, respectfully disagreed.
“Mr. MacDonald, who I highly respect, is coming from a spiritual coaching point of view. I believe that he thought Mr. Trump was further in his spiritual journey. I think all of us get confused about the language of 11 years ago versus the heart of today…We are over spiritualizing this process. I don’t consider Hillary a Christian advocate. I’m not questioning her faith. I am not considering Donald Trump as a born-again believer who is 100 percent in the fold. I’m looking at their policies,” Jackson explained.
Jackson said the consensus of the council is to stick by Trump for the sake of policy, pointing to Trump’s stance on Israel and religious liberty.
“We kind of came to an agreement on this… We’re not supporting a personality but a set of policies. The policies and the platform of the Republican Party this year are probably the most biblically oriented, pro-church kind of platform that we’ve had in all the years that I have been publically active in politics,” Jackson stated.
Meanwhile, Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, has called on Christians to show a little forgiveness. “I believe in forgiveness, and we are called to forgive as we have been forgiven,” Pence said.
Former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, a Trump supporter, implored Christians to look at the bigger picture. In an interview with CBN News, Carson said he was “uncomfortable” with Trump’s remarks but brought up the issue of policy, namely abortion.
“I’m uncomfortable with them too. Everybody is uncomfortable with them. But you have to be able to look at the big picture. If you’re talking to evangelicals, you have to say, which candidate is pro-life, is trying to save babies? And which candidate is okay with tearing babies heads off when they are fully formed and could survive outside the womb?” Carson said.
Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Dr. James Dobson echoed similar sentiments…..
“Mr. Trump promises to support religious liberty and the dignity of the unborn. Mrs. Clinton promises she will not,” Dobson said.
Falwell Jr. called Trump’s comments “reprehensible” but went on to say, “we’re never going to have a perfect candidate.”
Prominent evangelist Franklin Graham is among the latest to chastise Trump’s behavior, but he also reminds Christians of the long-term severity of this election.
In a Facebook post Graham wrote,” The crude comments made by Donald J. Trump more than 11 years ago cannot be defended. But the godless progressive agenda of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton likewise cannot be defended.”
“But as Christians, we can’t back down from our responsibility to remain engaged in the politics of our nation,” he added. “On November 8 we will all have a choice to make.
Source: Excerpted from CBN News Article by Amber C. Strong; A House Divided: More Evangelical Leaders Take A Stand Against Trump;10-12-2016
*The Washington Report neither supports nor opposes any candidate for public office.
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