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Let me say from the onset that I’m not looking for a debate with anyone. I’m not looking to sway anyone’s vote or to suggest that someone viewing things differently from me is in sin. I’m not wanting to pit my “moral outrage” against your “moral outrage” in a battle for “moral supremacy.” I’m certainly not interested in casting aspersions or receiving any. If you’re looking for that, then you’ve come to the wrong post. I’ll delete anything I think comes close to violating an Ephesians 4:29 approach to communication.

I’m interested in thinking out loud about a dilemma most Christians feel they’re in with this election: who to vote for or whether to vote at all. I’m going to write passionately. How can I not? But you take responsibility for thinking actively about this and making your own decision. I’m trying to share how I land where I do today (might be different tomorrow).

For personal context, you have to consider my argument over the past several years. I’ve argued on principled grounds that I could not vote for anyone in the last couple of presidential elections because I found their moral positions on vital issues unconscionable. In addition to my own principle, I found historical support in the likes of W.E.B. DuBois and others. The key question then, as now, is: “Why are you voting the way you are?”

For some people it’s a simple matter of disgust or repulsion with one candidate or the other. You sometimes hear that phrased as “the lesser of two evils.” This election more than any other that I can remember has many Christians seeing with perhaps equal clarity the evil of both options. Many, as I would have for the past decade or more, are opting to sit this one out.

So what’s changed for me? Or, to ask again the key question, “Why am I voting the way I am?” I’ll answer this question by considering three either/or statements attending this election.

Stalin or Hitler?

A good number of people liken the choice between Clinton and Trump to a choice between Stalin or Hitler. Some argue there is no lesser evil–only evil. For some, it’s the first time an election season has brought them to that conclusion. Again, for context, I’ve been there for some time. I’m no party loyalist. I think the Dem’s and the Rep’s both have been selling their constituencies a mess of porridge for a long time. But now, the slick marketing and colorful wrappers have fallen off. We’re staring directly at the contents of a rather ugly soup–whichever you choose.

But here’s what we know about both Stalin and Hitler. They both stampeded through their countries and neighboring countries destroying lives. If we’re not just being hyperbolic with the comparison, but we truly believe ours is a choice tantamount in our context to Stalin or Hitler, then the question is, How do you defeat them both? Both. Neither should rule. Either is bad for everyone.

Honestly, I don’t know how you defeat them both. If there were a viable third party candidate, I’d quickly vote for them. I’m stressing “viable” not as a means of simply lapsing into some party loyalty. Remember: I have none. I’m stressing “viable” because I think the threat of either candidate is real. I’m not using the Stalin or Hitler comparison to simply be provocative. I’m taking it seriously (if rhetorically) and taking it seriously means I can’t sit on the fence this time. For me, compelled by the brutal realities, I now have to act, play my part as an individual citizen. I have to vote. And, regrettably, unless there’s a third party tsunami, which I’d happily ride, I have to vote for either Clinton or Trump because one of them will win. While writing in and third party has the appeal of offering some protest, some symbolic demonstration, it doesn’t mean jack when it comes to who will be Commander-in-Chief for the next four years. It has little value for at least limiting the evil that will result.

I feel the need to cast a vote–a vote against someone. I respect others who differ.

A Troubled or Quiet Conscience?

Some have written to ask, “Doesn’t this cause you problems of conscience?” Or, they put it affirmatively, “You’re going against your conscience.”

I appreciate the concern. The honest reply is, “Yes. I have matters of conscience to attend. And I am.”

But let me hasten to add a couple of things. I don’t think the goal right now is merely a quiet conscience. I don’t see how such a goal can be met without abdicating a significant moral responsibility to oppose evil. It’s not enough to say, “I had no part in the evil.” We must actually resist the evil as best we can. We’re in that Bonhoeffer-like moment where we can choose peaceful exile in some Evangelical enclave or enter the fray bearing our cross. If we choose exile, like Bonhoeffer, we’ll have no right to participate in our Germany after Hitler. If we choose to bear our cross, we’ll have the right now and later to testify to what’s right in the sight of God.

Which brings me to a second point. If a person can sit by peaceably while evil progresses, then they have a conscience problem of a different sort. It’s not the problem of seeming to actively support some evil by a vote, it’s the problem of a dull conscience that ignores evil. To seek a quiet conscience by not voting seems to me an abdication of moral responsibility. Better is voting third party or writing in. But they’re better in a marginal sense with little potential for abating the present evils. I’m choosing the troubled conscience that engages over the quiet conscience that abdicates.

We must enter the fight with the tools we have, with our consciences either afflicted or comforted by the word of God. Personally, I feel more trouble of conscience in acquiescing to a political quietism given the choices than I do in voting against someone.

Status Quo or Revolution?

To summarize: I think the evil is real. Consequently, my conscience is aroused and I feel obligated to act in a way that attenuates the evil–in this case, vote. That leaves one question: Who to vote for?

At this point, assuming Trump and Clinton are my only options, I’d vote for Clinton. Okay… take a deep breath. Count to ten. Pray.

Here’s why: I prefer the predictable over the unpredictable. Whatever we might call Clinton, however we might evaluate her as a leader or her platform as a vision for America, we could say more or less the exact same things about Trump–with one glaring exception. We have no way of predicting Trump’s behavior from one hour to the next. None. Except to predict that the behavior will be vile and repulsive for any person who cares about civility, truth, and the dignity of the office.

Neither candidate represents any of my values. That’s just not on offer to any Christian of serious biblical intent. But Clinton represents the status quo, a steady state of affairs in that regard. Trump is the revolutionary, the rebel it seems without a clear cause. His prescriptions are not only draconian but also erratic. When I add the loathsome race-baiting, the misogynistic views of women, the isolationist foreign policy notions, the equivocating on abortion, the advocating of war crimes and escalation of conflict even with allies, I’m left looking at a revolutionary that would cast us in sentiment and law back to the 1940s at least. Or, to put it in the terms often used (which I don’t personally prefer), I regard a President Trump the worse of the two evils before us–and worse in a way that I cannot predict and on issues that there’s been so much blood shed over already (i.e., the rights of minorities, women, and the religious). I’d vote for the incrementalist over the revolutionary. For revolutions almost never lead to progress.

To be clear: Voting against Trump by checking Clinton does nothing to advance any of the issues I care about. So this is not a vote for Clinton or her platform. This is not an endorsement as some so ardently want to suggest. It’s one man’s vote for the status quo rather than the self-styled “outsider” whose first step in potentially destroying the country is destroying his party.

What About a Third Party?

Finally, let me think out loud about our present predicament with having no third-party candidate. Why is that?

Well, it’s at least due to our allegiance to the two-party system. Americans are sold real hard on the notion that there are only two parties in this democracy; everyone else shouldn’t be taken seriously.

But for Christians, I think there’s another reason. We’ve not taken seriously enough the dignity and necessity of public service as a vocation. And we’ve not discipled people for public service with nearly the kind of prayer and effectiveness the country needs. Why don’t we have a slew of serious Christians available for the highest office in the land? Why is principle in so short supply? Perhaps it’s because the Christian Church–especially the Evangelical Church–has sought to cozy up with Caesar in the hopes of currying his favor rather than oust Caesar in hopes of replacing him in selfless and sacrificial service.

I don’t mean that pastors should leave their pulpits for this demotion. But I suspect more individual Christians need to be discipled to follow Christ into this sphere instead of left to be discipled by the two-party system. It strikes me that an awful lot of the professing Christians in politics wear their faith as a selling point for their constituencies while they really tout Dem or Rep party lines. Few are the servants who tout Christ and have the scriptures shape their platforms. Consequently, we have Christians on both sides of the aisle blindly and uncritically equating their party’s platforms and ethics with Jesus himself. Meanwhile, many others tremble before the world, yelling, “We don’t want a pastor-in-chief but a commander-in-chief” (you see how that worked for Israel in 1 Sam. 8). All the while we risk betraying our Lord, ourselves, and our country.

Conclusion

To be clear about one more thing: I’m in no way putting hope in any candidate, in our election process, or any other election. My hope is firmly in Jesus Christ my Lord. He is my Master and I am His servant. I don’t judge His other servants in this matter and I don’t even judge myself. To Him will I stand or fall–and I’m trusting Him to make me stand. I know Who I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep me in this present evil age and keep me until that Day.

Again, none of this is written to aggravate anyone’s flesh or to create dissension between brethren. If that’s you, then please go elsewhere. And don’t act wounded if your comment gets deleted or you get blocked. Ain’t nobody got time for trolls. Otherwise, feel free to think out loud with me and others that we might help one another arrive at faithful conclusions for our time, this politically desperate time.

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Note: The views expressed here are my own. They do not express or intend to represent the views of Anacostia River Church or any of its members.


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140 thoughts on “A Vote to Check Unpredictable Evil with the Predictable”

  1. Thabiti, . . I appreciate this post. I wonder if you could lay out, . . .a bit more. . .what you would consider a viable and meaningful 3rd party candidate? I understand that voting for a little known, fringe candidate is “abdicating” in your view. . and I largely agree. But, since you have note voted for any candidate in a while. . .what are you looking for, within the parameters of the current issues and current time (i.e., no writing in for Abe Lincoln)? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Aaron,

      Thanks for a very good question! This, of course, isn’t a political philosophy, but here’s what I’d be looking for at a minimum in a “viable” 3rd party option:

      1. A person of clear, articulated, reasonable and tested principle. Do they have values compatible with the scripture that they’ve lived out over time?

      2. A person who could pledge to protect life–in and outside the womb. If need be, he’d be a single-issue candidate on this point and have an expansive vision of what it means to be pro-life.

      3. They’re going to have to have some constituency and some money. That’s the sad, sad truth about presidential elections in our day. Folks are spending a billion dollars for the office! So he or she will have to be either independently wealthy, have a good donor base, and/or be capable of raising funds.

      These are minimums. But that’s where I’d start. How about you?

      T

      1. Kevin says:

        Let me get this straight, your standard for a 3rd party candidate is higher than that of the other 2?

        So if you can’t find the perfect 3rd party candidate, you’ll just vote for Hillary? The hypocrisy of this is so telling.

        1. Josh says:

          To accuse Thabiti of hypocrisy says more about you than him. While I don’t land where our brother lands, there is a logic to his statements. His goal is to defeat Trump, which drives him to vote for Hillary. With that as the goal, a 3rd party vote would only make sense if it had the criteria he outlined. For example, if the 3rd party guy met criteria 1 & 2, but not 3, then he could get enough vote to win or even potentially deny Trump victory. On the other hand, if he met criteria 3 but failed at 1 or 2, then he would essentially be no better than Hillary meaning there is no motivation to vote for him anyway.

          Now, I happen to disagree with Thabiti’s primary goal (defeating Trump), but I do agree that voting for Trump is unacceptable for me.

          But his logic is valid, and the charge of hypocrisy shameful.

          1. Martyn says:

            I don’t understand the logic of opposing a candidate because of moral convictions , and then turning around and sacrificing those same moral convictions for the sake of ensuring said candidate doesn’t get in office.

            1. Largely because he has many more moral convictions against Trump than Clinton.

        2. Mary Simpson says:

          The standards for the current contenders is very low thus why we have such horrible candidates. The can be bought and sold like hookers on a street corner. That’s no leader.

      2. (Pastor) Todd M. Wells says:

        God bless you, Rev. Thabiti. Thou hast perfectly summarized my own sentiments on this. I was ardently opposed to the Clinton administration for many years, and I’m not jazzed up Mrs. C, either, but doggone it, we *must* keep Trump at bay. For me, this is like choosing between Putin and Kim Jong Un, no fan of Putin, but I think the majority of rational Evangelicals would know who to cast their vote for in that scenario. OK, so maybe it’s unfair to liken Trump to Un—yet. But this is where casting a vote for the unknown comes into play. As I have spent more than a few hours listening to counter-terrorism experts like Malcom Nance, I have no doubt that voting for Trump, (which not voting is, for me, a passive vote for Trump) is subjecting the future of the United States to the hands of someone who is simply incompetent when it comes to such immediate issues as ISIS, Syria, and various other high-security concerns. We must not put these matters, or domestic matters, into the hands of a flagitious scaramouch like Trump. We owe America more. I don’t know what the Reformers, Puritans, or early Church fathers would say about our inclinations here, but I suspect a handful would be sympathetic to our viewpoint. Press on, brother. And by the way, excellent sermon at T4G! Soli Deo Gloria.

        1. (Pastor) Todd M. Wells says:

          *about Mrs. C, sorry. .. and to think I’m an editor. lol

        2. Anthony King says:

          So you would give more power to the woman whose arms transfers in effect created ISIS. That’s what the Bengazi incident was all about, right? She and the President nurtured the little monster in its formative days when they could have easily carpet-bombed its long convoys out of existence. It took the “evil Putin” to do that and provide more protection for Mid-East Christians in about a week than Barack and Hillary’s “sand-blasting” did in a about a year.

          I don’t understand your beef with Putin aside from brain-washing by the American media. In the first place, he greatly slowed the destruction of our Christian brothers and sisters, for which you have demonstrated no gratitude. He immediately withdrew from Syria, demonstrating his non-territorial intent.

          There has been no “Russian invasion of Ukraine” except in the imagination of American mainstream media and those who choose to listen to their propaganda. His “invasion” of Crimea came on the heels of 93% vote to annex Crimea to Russia and there were already 25,000 Russian troops stationed there by prior treaty. Don’t you believe in self-determination of a nation to choose it’s own political destiny by popular vote?

          It doesn’t take too much research of various video testimony to figure out that Putin is apparently a convert to Christianity. He met a couple of times with Solzenitzen (sic) before his death, honored him in his Connecticut home , and may have been converted by him. He takes his baptism seriously and takes communion in the Russian Orthodox church. Aren’t we supposed to give a man the benefit of the doubt based on his Christian confession and participation in the covenant ceremonies that Christ instituted for the church. Especially a leader who has used his power with great restraint for defensive purposes.

          It was the West via the agency George Soros “investing” $5 billion in the overthrow of the elected government in Kiev that created this crisis. Now we are aggressively moving troops up to the Russian border, violating promises made to Gorbochev to end the Cold War.

          All based on our “trumped up” case against Putin. No pun intended, but at least Trump recognizes the role that Hillary played and to some extent our hypocrisy in the entire Ukraine affair.

          It is but one more example of our State Department’s barely veiled policy of creating instability and balkanization in the Middle East. Google “General Wesley Clark interview” to learn about the policy of the Bush regime to overthrow 7 countries immediately after 9-11: Libya, Somalia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iran & Iraq. Barack and Hillary have merely perpetuated the Bush policy of “pre-emptive warfare” because they are all in the same globalist camp. And you call Trump crazy?

          Why would the U.S. and the West foment this chaos in the Middle East you might ask. Google “Greater Israel Project” and you will have your answer.

      3. Scott Shaver says:

        If those are the criteria, you’ve got your man, and no good reason for TPs not to fall in behind him….Ladies and Gentleman, Wiley Drake. Meets all the criteria of NEVERTRUMP, Russell Moore, and Denny Burk.

      4. Nick says:

        I am completely baffled by the expectation that a viable third party candidate must be ardently pro-life when that standard is thrown out the window for the second party candidate. Am I missing something? And how can it be said that we should vote our conscience when to vote for either candidate would violate our collective conscience as followers of Jesus & lovers of all those bearing the Imago Dei?

      5. Jason says:

        Seems your position is all that matters is the ability to vote for a “viable” candidate rather than to cast a vote that would be honoring to the Lord.

        Is a vote for Hillary God honoring? Definitely not.

        Is a vote for Trump God honoring? Maybe (you admitted as much). But a high probability not.

        I choose to vote for neither. I worship the Lord of lords, the King of kings. I do not worship at the alter of viability.

    2. Tim says:

      There is a third option: gridlock. Vote Clinton and GOP on every other level so she’ll be hamstrung as much as possible.

      1. MGallagher says:

        That is pretty much what we’ve had for the past 4 years

    3. Anthony King says:

      To write such an article as this betrays I think a total lack of understanding of the globalist threat we are facing. Clinton is without question the puppet or mouthpiece of the globalist elite that is driving the nations toward world government. Trump — at least in terms of his stated positions — is the committed enemy of the globalist elite, most notably the international bankers.

      Some of the major planks of the globalist platform are
      1) destruction of national sovereignty by trade agreements such as NAFTA and TPP,
      2) destruction of freedom of speech and internet by TPP
      3) destruction of the Biblical right to defense against rogue government by personal armament
      4) crippling of national economies with carbon taxes based on junk science,
      5) destruction of national, cultural identity via unvetted immigration
      6) reduction of world population via abortion, spiked vaccines, poisoned water supplies, GMO food, etc
      7) Increase in corporate taxation and taxation in general.
      8) militarization of police, then stirring up resistance to foment revolution

      Hillary Clinton is the champion of every plank in the globalist agenda. By advocating a vote for Clinton, this Christian author is advocating for our continued march into the arms of globalist government.

      Trump’s popularity among Christian voters stems from their understanding that the globalist, one-worlders are the great enemy of all mankind. Admittedly, Trump is woefully deficient in understanding the threat of homosexuality and bisexuality, but has he not demonstrated teachability and a willingness to change when proven wrong?

      Has Trump not demonstrated a willingness to listen to church leaders in a way that Clinton will not? Is not his choice of running mate a nod to the evangelical community? To accuse Trump of Nazism, racism and misogyny only tells me that this author has been unduly swayed by Clinton and corporate media propaganda.

      1. Sem says:

        Totally agree.

      2. Ken says:

        Or maybe this vitriolic conspiracy theory rant is just a rationalization for a Christian to hate another individual with such intensity, contrary to the basic tenants of our faith. The real question is, Anthony, why do you despise this one individual so much?

        1. Anthony King says:

          In what sense is pointing out that she supports this agenda a rant or an expression of hatred? Your use of the term “conspiracy theory” is a red herring to avoid dealing with the facts of the matter.

    4. Shelley Ramage says:

      One important thing we need to add is judgement. Either one of these candidates seem to be God’s judgement for those who have rejected HIM. II think that’s why both candidates are a nightmare. This judgement isn’t for His Church. I think this will be like the Hebrews in Goshen or Joseph in prison. I do think we should not bow to the idol, so to speak, by voting for either candidate, but obey what we know to be the character of God because HE will set up the next leader. Not to abdicate our responsibility, but maybe the vote we cast or don’t, isn’t the point of this. I do appreciate your heart on this.

  2. * have NOT voted (apologies)

  3. Chris Cole says:

    Pastor Thabiti, I’m thankful for your thoughtful in your convictions and the words you use to express them. I hear and agree with virtually everything you write here, save for one thing. Like you, I am trying to think through this deeply; not wanting to take the *easy* road by sitting on the fence. As I started to read your post, recollections of Bonhoeffer entered my mind, so I was pleased to the see the reference. I do not want to abdicate my responsibility in being Christ’s servant in this culture. I hear that your vote is against someone rather than for someone. I get that. I understand how a third-party vote will have no effect. However, being a Californian whose vote has had *no effect* in a presidential election for my entire adulthood, my vote would likewise have no effect if I voted for one of the two primary candidates. The way I see it, a third-party vote is a vote against both.

    What am I missing, in your opinion? As I said, I’m thinking through these matters as well. And if you choose to respond, I appreciate your input.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Dear Chris,

      Thanks for joining the conversation and raising a really good question. I don’t think you’re missing anything. I think you’re perhaps landing in a different place given your local reality. Which, by the way, isn’t much different from where I am in DC.

      Here’s where my approach could make a difference in California: If Trump has even a reasonable chance to take the state–a HUGE state, at that–then your vote against him would matter immensely in terms of helping to ensure his defeat.

      Here’s a second way it matters, it seems to me: If Trump wins the election he not only makes a hash of the GOP primary and national, he will likely do unbelievable damage in the down ticket races locally and in the mid-term. Think about it: What will it mean for every genuine conservative and GOP of principle to be saddled with Trump when they run in state and local elections? If Trump wins and the anti-Trump fervor remains or grows, that’s going to effectively mean the Dems take a lot of seats in the mid-term and are likely to have the presidency and the house and senate four years out. It seems to me things are bad now. But if that doomsday scenario comes to pass, then its lights out on the GOP for a long, long time. And by the way, Supreme Court justices show remarkable longevity. It would not surprise me to see justices suck it up for four years and continue serving while on life support just so Trump wouldn’t have a chance to make a nomination! LOL. If that happens, you win the presidency with Trump but you lose the House and Senate and don’t get the justice nomination. That’s a lot of losses, imo.

      So, if it’s close and I were in Cali, I’d try to ensure his defeat. Which would at least mean strengthening the GOP base against Clinton, carrying GOP fervor into the mid-terms, and hopefully stymying her agenda as president.

      Just my mad ramblings! :-)
      T

  4. JP says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful approach here.

    I understand a conscience that doesn’t allow you to vote for Trump. Even if he has the potential to be closer to the positions you or I may hold, his trustworthiness to actually follow through on his statements or to become the candidate many are assuming that he could be is so lacking that I don’t believe it. At this point, my conscience will not allow me to offer active support (my vote) for Trump either.

    However, I also cannot stomach a vote for Hillary…and that is the confusing part of your position.

    If you can’t actively support Trump because of his unpredictability (and I agree with you)…then why actively support Hillary (who will intentionally work against the issues of life, Biblical sexuality, liberty, etc.)? I think the better case can be made for not supporting either. That doesn’t mean not participating in the process (as we are granted a great privilege to do so in this country) but we still don’t have to intentionally support evil.

    I understand “the devil you know vs. the devil you don’t…” argument, but I can’t, at this point, in good conscience support Trump or Hillary because they are both irreverent, untrustworthy, power-hungry, crony-populists, who will make any deal to secure for themselves and their friends power. Two sides of the same coin. If this is true, then it seems illogical to say you’d actively support (with your vote) Clinton but not Trump… I can’t bind your conscience on this issue but I guess I don’t understand why your answer isn’t “neither.”

    If the polls turn out to be right… Clinton will win if you and I vote for Trump anyway. Why carry the cloak of the queen who will cut off your head? It is as bad as waiving the flag for the emperor who has no clothes… who will also cut off your head.

    While there are only two political parties currently that ISN’T how it has to be forever. The Whig party lasted for about 20 years but self-destructed because of some disagreement on some core issues (one of which was the expansion of slavery). It seems the Republican Party has a choice to make (and, if you look at the numbers between Bernie and Hillary the Democratic Party does as well). I believe that support for neither but active support for another candidate allows me to participate and also remind both parties that I owe them, as parties, nothing. Neither has earned my vote.

    If I may…a friend sent me this article/blog that was very helpful to me. Perhaps you’ll find it insightful as well: https://reformedlayman.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/no-a-vote-for-a-third-party-or-abstaining-from-voting-is-not-the-same-as-a-vote-for-hillary/

    Like you, I do not place my trust in human kings or presidents. The LORD Himself raises up and brings down (Dan. 2). May Christ continue to build and purify His Church and strengthen His people that live in the U.S. whether under Godly or ungodly leaders. None of this catches our good Father by surprise as He rules the cosmos with righteousness and justice.

    Blessings brother.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Dear JP,

      Blessings to you, too, brother. Thanks for joining the conversation. I certainly agree with that last paragraph!! Amen and amen!

      To your question, “Why?”, I guess the simplest answer is I believe Trump to be the greater danger. Mind you, that doesn’t mean Mrs. Clinton is “better” in some objective way. Just that Trump is worse, imo.

      As for why vote at all, it’s because I don’t yet think the election is a done deal. Trump has been counted out at every turn, taken for a joke, and then challenged when too late. He’s proven resilient and keeps winning. I’m not taking his candidacy for granted.

      I know it’s not perfect. But that’s where I land right now.

      T

    2. MarieP says:

      Amen! This is where I am on this too!

      1. MarieP says:

        With JP’s response.

      2. MarieP says:

        With JP’s response.– threading on here is not as helpful as Facebook.

    3. Seth Beebe says:

      I agree JP. I think we need to vote with the mind of the Lord rather than with a mind to winning. Pragmatism is an important thing to keep in mind in an election, but voting for morality is more important. Hillary Clinton stands boldly for immorality with her radical murderous views on abortion. That’s enough right there for me to not vote for her as a candidate. I don’t think believers should vote for someone who agrees with murdering people and will uphold those laws or expand them. Trump says he’s pro-life. I agree with Thabiti that he is unpredictable and has shown character issues that make him unfit for leadership. For this reason, Trump is not a valid candidate, but at least he is currently claiming to hold to a moral viewpoint on murder (his view on abortion for rape and incest is not holy imo).

      In the U.S. Republic, with balance of powers, Christian citizens have an amount of power to “govern” their own nation as God would. We are to punish wrong doing and reward good doing (Romans 13:4). We had better make decisions that lead to governance in accordance to God’s moral nature or we are irresponsible governors of the US Republic and we will give an account at the judgment seat of Christ.
      So, I think we must vote with conscience before God first by voting for moral platforms and laws over candidates/people. We must not abdicate this primary responsibility and stewardship from the Lord. Pragmatism comes secondary to moral conscience. Winning is not our first priority in our vote, but holiness. I believe acting in honor to the Lord in our vote by being involved in the process, of which the Lord has given us stewardship, is the best option. We should vote. I believe voting for a 3rd party candidate is the best option here regardless of his/her chances of winning. The Lord will see to it that His hidden will is done as we follow His revealed will as moral agents of the governing responsibilities that He has given us. We can trust Him.

  5. Doug McHone says:

    Votes do not ultimately determine the winners of elections. God places people in power and he removes them from power. There is no authority on earth that God has not ordained. Therefore, failing to vote for candidate A over candidate B is not the same thing as voting for candidate B. So why vote? To be a responsible citizen? Yes. But even more, we participate in our local governments as an act of worship. Do all to the glory of God.

    In our system of government, the voters are the employers and the candidates are the job applicants. The campaign process is like an extended job interview and the vote is the consensus decision on who should hold the position. Our loyalty is to God, not to any political party. It is never the responsibility of the voter to support or oppose any candidate. Rather, it is the responsibility of the candidate to earn my vote. No voter should be expected to compromise the moral standards of God in order to avoid a worse fate from the opposition. We should never vote against someone, but the candidate needs to provide reasons for us to vote for them.

    One day we all will give an account for our every word, thought and deed. And I pray that when I do, I can tell God that I voted, not to sway the election, but to demonstrate my trust in Him. Did this or that candidate meet the threshold of what it takes to gain my support? If not, why am I adding another vote to their tally?

    Daniel 2:21

    1. Bryan Fox says:

      This is the most biblical and God honoring response I have read regarding this entire discussion. Thank you for your clear words. I pray that many will reflect on what you have stated.

    2. Mark says:

      Generally I agree, but I’d raise two points. First, the vote is not really a consensus decision. That’s not how the general election works in light of the electoral college. And that’s no small distinction, as it also goes to people putting way too much faith in the value of their individual vote.

    3. Charles Gallagher says:

      Great response! Thank-you

  6. Doug says:

    Monsters are being created by political opponents on both sides. Pure propaganda. The real issue to be addressed by Christians is acceptance and promotion of polytheistic religious freedom. Acceptance of this political philosophy that contradicts the clear command and principle of Almighty God, is the doorway through which all of the other political evils we rail against have come through. It is hypocritical for one to long for a “righteous” candidate, all the while supporting a political system that assures righteousness cannot be explicitly pursued. Rather than reject a supposedly “evil” candidate, the church in America must first honor the Lord and reject the concept of polytheistic religious freedom. Primarily, the philosophy we have created is evil, not the candidates. If the root is bad, the fruit will be also.

  7. Rick says:

    I think that there is one ‘evil’ (politically influenced) in our present day that trumps all other evils – and that is abortion. I’m not sure if I could ever vote for a candidate who endorsed abortion. If both candidates endorsed abortion, I would choose not to vote or write in a vote. But since Trump has stated that he is currently opposed to abortion and Clinton is clearly supportive of abortion, I’ll go with the ‘lesser of two evils’ and vote Trump.

  8. Shane Walker says:

    Thabiti- what do you think of organizing a national write-in candidacy as a protest vote? I am not suggesting that we aim to win, but to protest the current candidates. If enough of us did so, it would allow us to be good citizens by protesting and to communicate to both parties and the national media our frustration. I suppose there’s an incredibly slim possibility of such a candidate winning. At the moment, I am ready to vote for Al Mohler or even for my deceased hero Samuel Ringgold Ward (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Ringgold_Ward).

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Shane,

      Good to hear from you, bro. I think a national write-in candidacy is a fine thing to do. Its appeal for me depends on its potential for upending both candidates. I’d support any movement to do so but my vote would depend on viability at this point.

      T

    2. Mark says:

      Write-in candidates are not likely to be successful. The rules around them are varied, and if you’ve never worked an election return, counting them is definitely unreliable. You would have a lot stacked against you in trying to make that work.

  9. Rosemarie says:

    My conscience will not allow me to vote for either Clinton or Trump. Barring a miraculous turn of events, I will be exercising my right to write in the name of the candidate of my choice. I think that both candidates are predictably evil. One is sneakier and the other is better able to spin moral inconsistencies so that they go unnoticed or are applauded. If we continue to buy the lie that there is a lesser of two evils, we will continue to have evil presented to us. For those who would argue that not voting for one of the two is to throw my vote away, I would rather stand before God having voted with a clear conscience and then resting in His sovereignty than to cast a vote for someone I knew to be evil. These are the times our Lord warned us about. How wonderful to be a saved woman and have peace with Him no matter who He sees fit to put into the office. Be blessed.

  10. Dudley says:

    Let a man be defined by his enemies. “If he world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” Donald Trump is hated by: The Republican and Democratic Elite, the Billionaires and Bankers, The Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Industry, the Political and Religious Leaders of our country and the Soros funded immigration nation destroyers. Good enough for me, I’ve never been more excited to vote in my life.

    I’ll place my faith in Jesus Christ, but vote strategically for the candidate that best represents me. In this case, it’s not even debatable.

    1. Craig says:

      Amen!

  11. Diane says:

    I see the situation opposite of the way you do. Clinton, I know, will be anti-life and against most Biblical principles. Trump might surprise me with some good decisions…. Or not. I am disgusted with both choices. I am sort of decided on voting for Trump while holding my nose or write in the one man that has Biblical values, Dr Ben Carson. Your article has made me think. Glad God is in control.

  12. laro says:

    A vote for Hillary is a vote for an avowed baby-killer, not to mention everything else she stands for. Which is also not to mention the legal and ethical problems including standing against victims of sexual abuse. How is that better than Trump?

    It is true that Trump is unpredictable; that means there’s a chance he could be better than Clinton and better than expected. There is also a possibility that Trump will break the system completely and force real change, not just for the GOP but for the country. It is likely that Trump will bring more gridlock than Clinton, and that is likely a good thing. With Clinton it will be more of the same, and we know how that turns out.

  13. Adrian Tribe says:

    We certainly need to be praying over here in the UK that the Lord would give our brothers and sisters on the other side of the pond great wisdom in knowing how to exercise their democratic privilege of voting when the time comes!

    Please forgive my ignorance of the process in the US, but do you actually vote directly for a presidential candidate, or for a local representative, with the leader of the party with the most votes becoming the President? In the UK it is the latter process (although substitute Prime Minister for President, of course!), and this can make it easier for a Christian to know how to vote. Because we each vote directly for a Member of Parliament rather than a Prime Minister, we can focus on our local candidates, of whom there are often quite a number, representing a range of political parties and none. We can talk to individual candidates about their position on a number of issues of concern to believers and come to a considered decision as to where to put our mark on the ballot paper. It seems to me that this potentially makes it a bit less of a struggle for Christians to decide how to vote. Based on what you say about there simply being no choice other than the two parties that Clinton and Trump represent, I wonder whether the US would benefit (greatly?) from the electoral system itself being changed? Not necessarily to copy the UK system, but something that would give genuine choice.

    If what I’ve said just shows I’m even more ignorant than I think myself to be, then feel free just to delete this, and apologies for poking my nose in!!

    Every blessing,
    Adrian

    1. Mark says:

      This is a little complicated, but bear with me. In each state, the respective political parties meet in a party “convention” where they choose a slate of electors from among the representatives to the convention.

      Then, in the presidential election specifically you vote for a particular candidate when you fill out the ballot. Whichever party wins that state’s election, that party’s slate of electors are sent to the electoral college. Each state gets a variable number, calculated by adding the number of senators (always 2) to the number of allocated seats in the House of Representatives. (In most states, this is winner take all, but I think a few still allocate them proportionally based on percentage of votes.)

      After the general election, the electoral college casts votes based on the way the state they represented voted — usually. (Sometimes you can have faithless electors, but they are very rare.)

      This means that it is entirely possible to win the popular vote and still lose the election. This happened in 2000 for example, in the race between GWB and Al Gore.

  14. Christy says:

    I completely agree with your thoughts that this is no time to abdicate but to make a difficult decision to prevent a tyrant from office. Clap. Thanks for your bravery in saying what needs to be said.

    1. MarieP says:

      Hillary is not a tyrant as well?

  15. MarieP says:

    Where in Scripture does it say we are obligated to vote against our conscience? Must we not rather obey God than men (or women)? I believe God is bringing our deserved judgment through either of these, but I don’t think the prophets of old went and fought in Babylon’s army.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Marie,

      No one is arguing that anyone should “vote against their conscience.” What the scripture does teach about the conscience is that:

      1. We should seek to live in good conscience before God all of our lives (Acts 23:1; 2 Cor. 1:12; 2 Tim. 1:3);
      2. We should seek to live with a clear conscience before men (Acts 24:16; 2 Cor. 4:2; 1 Pet. 3:16);
      3. Our conscience bears witness for/against us (Rom. 2:15; 9:1);
      4. We should submit to government as a matter of conscience (Rom. 13:5);
      5. But the conscience can be weak, defiled, and even seared (1 Cor. 8:7, 10, 12; 1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 1:5);
      6. We have a responsibility to consider the consciences of others in matters of worship (1 Cor. 10:27-29);
      7. God’s word is meant to produce in us godly love that comes, in part, from a good conscience (1 Tim. 1:5);
      8. One part of our spiritual warfare and faithfulness is defined by keeping a good conscience (1 Tim. 1:19);
      9. The conscience is not perfected by religious acts of worship like sacrifices (Heb. 9:9) but only by the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:14; 10:22; 1 Pet. 3:21);
      10. Christians should pray for one another, that our acts lead to a clean conscience (Heb. 13:18).

      What is evident in all of this is that the conscience should be a guide, an alarm system of sorts, but shouldn’t be trusted as the final arbiter. The word of God has that place because the conscience needs to be instructed, informed and sometimes reformed. So, in the context of clear and present evil, it’s not enough to simply say, “My conscience won’t let me.” We actually have to ask our conscience some questions about the whole counsel of God in our situation. We may still end up saying, “My conscience won’t let me based upon the word of God,” but that’s a better position than an implicit trust in one’s conscience–which can be wrong and often is for many.

      You’re asking the correct questions. Just keep pressing into the scripture for the answers rather than the conscience alone.

      Every blessing,
      Thabiti

      1. MarieP says:

        Thanks, brother. I agree that our consciences must be captive to the Word of God. But, acknowledging that, this wasn’t my question. I do not understand how the Christian in good conscience can vote for Hillary any more than he/she can vote for Trump. Your reasoning was that these are our only choices, but why is that the case? Where in Scripture does it say I need to vote for a viable candidate if my conscience will not allow me to do so? I do not believe either candidate is simply a “lesser of two evils” but I see both of them as greatly detrimental to what we hold dear (sanctity of life, Christian civil liberty). You mentioned this in your post, and your response was that we can’t defeat them with a third party. That may be very well the case, but you won’t be defeating them by voting for them either.

        1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

          Dear Marie,

          Perhaps the difficulty comes from your assuming things about this post that I’m not arguing. I’m not arguing you must only vote for one of these two persons. That’s my position. I respect everyone who chooses for conscience sake or some other principle to vote 3rd party, write-in or not vote. It’s not my position, but I respect that choice.

          Granted, we’re not defeating them both in this election. So, for me, not that anyone else needs to reason this way, it comes down to “the devil I know” and making judgments about whether status quo is better than the unpredictable. Since revolutions rarely turn out well, I’m tilted toward the horrible status quo–and only because I can’t see a way to change the status quo itself.

          Hope that helps. Thanks for joining the conversation.
          T

      2. Nick says:

        What if it’s “my conscience won’t let me vote for Hillary because she’s culpable in millions of cases of infanticide & applauds evil”?

  16. Matt says:

    Praise God for you, TA!

    It is sad to see the mainstream evangelical conversation immediately shift to “two evils” as if this were something new in politics. When the conversation shifts like this on a top level, many Christians stop thinking through the issues at hand and jump into the “a vote for either is sin.” This is a sad state of affairs for the Christian church as it engages with society. Unfortunately, an article written by the likes of Dr. Moore (who I love) goes a long way in convincing many Christians to stop thinking (with as little as 750 words!)

    Anyways, keep it up.

    -Fellow DC resident.

  17. Tom Brewer says:

    Evanjellycals cry “liberty of conscience” and think somehow that cry gives them justification to be autonomous in their decision-making. A conscience is going to be shaped, influenced, and informed by something; it is never an autonomous liberty. The Christian conscience is to be renewed with the mind of Christ and is to set apart Jesus Christ as Lord first in all things. Evanjellycals have rejected the Law of God as a standard for conscience, thinking “liberty” means libertarian free-will and “liberty of conscience” means nothing influences the conscience. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Josh 1:8

  18. Michael says:

    2 Questions (as a qualifier let me state briefly: I am #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary. As of right now I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do):

    1) I, like you, didn’t vote in 2008. Do you think our time for action has passed us by and that the time to act was then?

    2) If you truly believe Hillary Clinton is evil, in what way could one, at the same time, classify her as “predictable”?

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for the questions.

      1. We missed a window, surely. But it’s always the right time to do what is right.

      2. Well, nobody is utterly predictable. We’re all sinners and sin itself is a kind of irrationality. So is sinful self-interest. So, no, she’s not completely predictable. But in comparison to Trump, who is all over the place all of the time, she’s almost a study in consistency! So it’s really relative in that sense.

      Grace and peace,
      T

    2. Duckygirl says:

      Here’s a descent #NeverTrump #NeverHillary option: http://austinpetersen2016.com/

  19. Duckygirl says:

    Thank you for writing this article. My head, heart, and conscience sound with yours on all of these issues. Beyond the “voting for” or “voting against” issues, I am deeply grateful you addressed the issue of too few Christians entering into the political sphere. My family and I are prayerfully considering taking on that vocational mantel. If we don’t, who will? We have the experience, education, and fervor necessary to be a viable, effective candidate on the state and national levels. Not being totally naive, we know we need Godly men and women around us to provide wisdom and guidance as we take this step. My problem is where to find them. Where do we start? Who do we call, email, follow on Twitter or Facebook, whose publications do we read, whose podcasts to we listen to, etc.? Do you have any recommendations?

    Many thanks for the encouragement and blessing you brought through this post!

  20. Kevin says:

    I’m glad to see that TGC compared the candidates to Hitler and Stalin, and now endorses Stalin.

    1. john mosher says:

      Amen!!

  21. Jay says:

    Thabiti – I understand your crisis of conscience regarding this election, and I too have a serious decision to make. As I read your article, it seems that you are looking at how you will be held accountable for who you vote against rather than who you are actually voting for. Remember, Hillary is an open proponent of Planned Parenthood and is potentially more destructive in the area of baby murder than President Obama. Can you vote for her and support her as a viable candidate in good conscience? Remember, it’s not just who you’re voting against that matters here. Don’t you believe that you will be held accountable for who you actually vote for – even if it’s a protest vote against someone else?

  22. Tom Buck says:

    Thabiti,

    As I shared with you on Twitter, I have NO intention of voting for Trump. His views are completely repulsive to me. There are significant ways that I believe that he would be worse for our country than Clinton. I truly do. He may be the most racially tone deaf candidate that I have seen in our lifetime. Anyone who thinks he is proving his love for Hispanics by posting a picture of himself eating a taco salad is beyond ignorant; it’s delusional.

    But I don’t see Hillary maintain the “status quo.” First, I fear the most about a Hillary presidency is that I believe she will be an ardent opponent to religious freedom. I believe that she will work with every branch of government to use the LGBT agenda, for example, as a means to shut down our religious freedom. How would you feel if that was brought about by her presidency? (I don’t mean that question to be belittling or sarcastic… Sincerely wondering)

    Second, you said the following about Trump and what motivates you to actively vote for Hillary against him: “When I add the loathsome race-baiting, the misogynistic views of women, the isolationist foreign policy notions, the equivocating on abortion, the advocating of war crimes and escalation of conflict even with allies,”

    I think you could easily say most of the same things about HIllary. Particularly, I believe the AA community has been held hostage by the Democrat party much like evangelicals (of all colors) have been held hostage by the Republican Party with the issue of abortion. I believe Hillary and other democrat leaders have been a part of race-baiting to keep certain groups loyal to them (I am obviously not AA, so would love your perspective on that). And could anyone be more misogynistic than Hillary as she trashed the women who had been abused by her husband in order to help him gain and retain power?

    These are just a couple thoughts. Would love to hear your response if you have time.

    In His Grace,

    Tom Buck

  23. Charles Johnson Jr. says:

    My problem with this article is that you did not list the third parties’ candidates and their pros and cons. If we are to take third party option seriously, which we should since the current choices before us show us the horrible manifestation of the “lesser of two evil” talking point, then we should include them by name and not referrer to them like they are a mythical fiery or something. As of now I will be casting my vote with The Constitution Party’s candidate, Darrell Castle. Vote pro-life. https://www.facebook.com/TheConstitutionParty/?fref=ts https://www.facebook.com/DarrellCastle2016/
    http://castle2016.com/

  24. David Pitman says:

    Any evangelical who could not see Romney as a qualitatively better candidate than Obama in 2012 by every standard, should avoid the political process altogether. Don’t vote and don’t vent.

    1. Mark says:

      Every evangelical who could see him as qualitatively better, or even qualitatively different, should spend some time in careful reflection, because you’re a large part of the problem that gave us the Trump/Hillary choice.

    2. DL says:

      Amen, David! Plus, it’s been hard for me to take the moralistic arguments seriously in this election, given the capitulation to Barak Obama the last eight years. How we allowed Obama to be reelected over Romney is indicative of the emptiness of moralistic arguments at this juncture.

      1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

        I agree with Mark.

  25. Lauren says:

    I’m a millennial and this is something I’ve thought about for a while. I’ve been very against Trump since February and would never consider voting for him. Like you, I think Clinton is the lesser evil. However, when I talk to my evangelical parents, they are also troubled by Trump, but view him to be the lesser evil because of the Supreme Court issue. I think they’re wrong, and Trump’s latest insult of Russell Moore just proved how inept he is at understanding anything about true Christianity. We live in a “red-state”, so our votes do count for something. How do I approach this- respectfully- with my parents and other friends who are so convinced of the awfulness of Clinton they won’t even consider anything can be worse? I definitely think with Trump’s total lack of knowledge on policy, and his racist rhetoric, things can get much worse!

  26. Deb Yuck says:

    I know you to be a wise and faithful man of God, one I highly respect, but…

    This:

    “But here’s what we know about both Stalin and Hitler. They both stampeded through their countries and neighboring countries destroying lives. If we’re not just being hyperbolic with the comparison, but we truly believe ours is a choice tantamount in our context to Stalin or Hitler, then the question is, How do you defeat them both? Both. Neither should rule. Either is bad for everyone.”

    As of this very moment, 395,770 babies have been murdered in the U.S. since January 1st of this year.

    395,770. Babies. Murdered. In just over 4 months.

    It isn’t hyperbole to say that Hillary Clinton, who has been an integral cog in the Obama administration’s wheel over the past 8 years, is as complicit in the murder of those children as Stalin and Hitler were during their reigns of terror.

    I understand the dilemma of our brethren to the south, but to write an influential article indicating you will cast a vote in favour of a woman who’s not only on record in support of the almost 400,000 murders which have taken place over the past 4 months, as well as the countless millions before and to follow, one who will increase funding for the most vocal and practical purveyor of the death of innocents, Planned Parenthood, is utterly incomprehensible to me.

    It is not for us to necessarily “beat them both”. It is for us to stand upon the Word and faithfulness of God alone, to Whom we answer not only for every idle word, but for every pragmatic vote, and to trust Him with the outcome.

    Brother, I sincerely pray you’ll reconsider.

  27. JJ says:

    Thabiti,

    Thank you for giving your thoughts in this article. I’ve never met you, but have heard good things about you, watched your sermons, and appreciate your demeanor and heart in this article.

    Before I share my opinion I want to acknowledge a few points of common ground:
    1) I too am very disturbed by the major choices we have been given come November.
    2) I agree that a third party candidate mounting a victory is extremely unlikely (although I am still open to trying)
    3) I, too, am deeply distraught by many of Trump’s stances and am very opposed to a Clinton presidency.
    4) I very much appreciate how high the area of sanctity of life is on your list of qualities.
    5) I, too, think there are many ways to look at this dilemma, and believe we should be gracious as others reflect.
    6) I agree that Clinton is more predictable in many ways than Trump.

    Still, I land strongly in the camp of finding a third-party candidate, viable or not, for the following reason(s), and would be honored if you would respond to them to see if I am making any sense/understanding your points.

    Let’s say that you, me, and even 5% of Americans vote for a third-party candidate who agrees at least with your first two principles (“1. A person of clear, articulated, reasonable and tested principle. Do they have values compatible with the scripture that they’ve lived out over time? 2. A person who could pledge to protect life–in and outside the womb. If need be, he’d be a single-issue candidate on this point and have an expansive vision of what it means to be pro-life.”) I actually think at least 10%, but maybe even 15% of Americans are in this dilemma with us AND care about your core principles (many others have the same dilemma, but could care less about the abortion issue or Christian principles)… likely more will sympathize as the election continues and the media actually shares all the negatives they have on Mr. Trump. So let’s say 5-10% or more jump on board with Mr./Mrs. Positive/Honorable 3rd party candidate….

    In the above scenario:
    1A) CLARITY: You don’t give any excuse or muddy the waters for someone who actually thinks Sec. Clinton is a viable option for Christians. We should hate the shedding of innocent blood and the mocking of God’s Word, so we can’t risk people seeing us care more about highlighting negatives in Trump more than highlighting things like abortion that democrats have promoted and republicans, with significant power currently, have barely bothered to try and change.
    1B) IT CAN’T HURT: The only candidate that is helped by a grassroots effort like this is Sec. Clinton, so she would likely win anyway. How could my scenario be worse than your proposal to actually vote for Sec. Clinton… I mean if Mr.Mrs Positive gets very little traction (5%), then that still likely tilts it Clinton’s way. If we gain momentum at get 10%, it’s not even a question who would win. What I mean is that your ideal conclusion would happen anyway without actually voting for Sec. Clinton and giving even a hint that she may be a viable option to lead.
    2) BEST FOOT FORWARD: We don’t spend the summer and fall voting against our beliefs and then hoping someone specific loses, but we instead proudly vote for someone who shares our values and pray that they can get traction and that their message can challenge the status quo, impact onlookers, and impact future elections etc. This is why I don’t agree with your 3rd point above about having enough resources/$$ etc. It would be nearly impossible for them to win anyway and they would be relying mainly on a grassroots/social media effort, so why would they need so much money?
    3) IT SPEAKS TO EVERYONE: That contingent would no doubt be a disaster for Trump, because it would likely be a major factor in his loss, but it would also go directly against Sec. Clinton because our values would be in stark contrast to hers. I believe even a 5-10% group would turn a lot of heads and force the issues to be talked about.
    4) ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN, ESPECIALLY IN 2016: These last 12-18 months have been very surprising…crazy swings and shifts for both parties…We’d be assuming the best and hoping for a swing in our direction and for more momentum to coalesce around candidates (on all levels) and movements that actually appreciate our values and we’d be actively trusting that God can change hearts/culture.
    5) MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY: We can’t waste the next 6 months of idea battles and media coverage by simply being against someone in general… uniting in voice and voting on principle will at least push issues we care about to the forefront and can be an active boycott of the assumption that there always needs to be two main party options.

    1. Mark says:

      Well said.

      Personally, I vote by faith, believing my job is not to concern myself with winning or losing, but with faithfulness. The outcomes are in God’s hands, and even if I do everything right, if God has in mind the judgement of this nation, it isn’t going to change the outcome. That doesn’t make it futile mind you, it just means that the significance is in my making a righteous choice, regardless of the “odds”.

      But, if you want to think strategically, then if we want to see things change, then we have to send that message. Right now, the message that political strategists see every four years is that people vote predictably. Voting for Hillary would definitely upset that cart a little bit, but it still sends the same message that we are willing to be trapped by a two-party system, and will generally only ever consider those two choices.

      If there was a significant shift, it would throw a wrench into that, and force people to think about the fact that a line had been crossed, and that people had finally said enough. It would force them to re-evaluate for the next election.

  28. Nick says:

    When is evil ever predictable?

  29. Joel Veldt says:

    I share almost all of your concerns. However, I find myself landing on the other side — I distrust and despise Mr. Trump. Yet I think I could vote for him to stop Hillary. How can an unknown be worse than a totally evil known? How many ambassadors and Seals have died because of Mr. Trump’s actions or lack of action? How many conservative organizations have been blocked from receiving their IRS letter of tax-exempt status because of Mr. Trump’s policies and underlings? How many major national corporations have found ways to divert funds to Mr. Trump or his spouse that manage to just scrape by the technicalities of insider trading and campaign contribution regulations? How many unexplained deaths are in his circle of friends, colleagues, etc.
    I sincerely hope that something in the way of a third party or write in campaign will present itself in the next few months. But if it doesn’t, I will MUCH rather take a chance on someone who actually says things I agree with occasionally, rather than someone who has never made a decision that has led the nation toward Godliness.
    Interested in your views about Bernie vs Trump…

  30. CRR says:

    I have run the gamut during this primary season on who I support for President but I have never been on the Trump band wagon. I have at one point in time believed if he did win the nomination that I would consider not voting for a President for the first time in my life. That I then determined was a vote for Hillary who I believe is reprehensible. I then decided that I could write in my choice which is a vote in my opinion, a vote against both Hillary and Trump. I cannot in good conscience vote for either of them. I don’t trust either of them and neither have earned my vote. I find it sad that these two individuals are the best we can come up with to lead this country. What does that say about us as a people if all we can put forth as a candidate is someone who is a liar, dishonest, manipulative, fowl mouthed, adulterer, narcissistic, flip flopping, egomaniac, and prideful. Shall I go on? I think you get the picture. Attribute those traits to whichever candidate you choose and add your own. Remember that whoever you choose is the one you are saying best aligns with your values and you will have to decide if you can defend it. The choices before me now I don’t know how I can defend voting for them. I will vote but it will be a write in. I like the idea of a campaign for a write in candidate. Don’t know how that can get done.

  31. Brendt Wayne Waters says:

    Thabiti, I saw your comment regarding the 3 things that you consider to make a viable candidate. I won’t take issue with the first two; they’re clearly issues of conscience. But I’m struggling with that last one. Genuinely struggling, as in this is what I’m thinking about as I decide how to vote. In other words, not “struggling” as some passive-aggressive Christianese code word that really means “you’re wrong!” :)

    Frankly, with Trump’s and Clinton’s disapproval ratings through the roof, I think a third-party potted plant has a very legitimate shot. But let’s assume that that’s not the case.

    It still seems to me that of those abandoning the two main parties to vote third party, the VAST majority of them will be those who would ordinarily pull the R lever. In other words, most traditional Democrats who can’t stomach Clinton will just hold their noses and vote for her anyway. Whereas most traditional Republicans won’t hold their nose and vote for Trump. Those voting for him will be mostly limited to the Svengali’d true believers.

    So with that in mind, a third-party vote (regardless of candidate) is nearly as much a vote against Trump as a vote for Clinton would be. The difference in impact seems negligible to me. Do you think I’m too hopeful here? (Honest question. No snark intended.)

    Also, I can’t wait to see what Phil Johnson does with this. :-P

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Brendt,

      Thanks for joining the conversation and for your warm spirit!

      You may be correct in what you’re describing. We’ll see. Right now Trump is in DC meeting with Ryan. My guess is they’ll do what politicians do–broker some kind of deal and put party over principle. They’ll come out talking about “uniting the party” and making noises that signal to the traditional Rep voter that it’s either “okay to vote for Trump” or “we gotta beat Clinton.” I’m afraid that’ll carry a lot of people into the booths to pull the Trump lever. If that happens, then your otherwise good analysis gets weakened by that party spirit. But we’ll see.

      As for Phil, my guess is he’ll continue his blog retirement and continue being fruitful for the kingdom :-)

      T

      1. Brendt Wayne Waters says:

        Yeah, I had formulated that theory before Ryan started tentatively getting into bed with Trump. I bet you’re right that a lot of folks who traditionally vote R will stay in the fold now. :(

  32. Doug says:

    Is it not hypocrisy to lend credence to a political system that promotes the worship of any and all gods, and then impose righteous expectations on a political candidate for that system? Israel was told, “you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.” It was only in the context of a people wholly committed to God. If we truly desire righteous leaders, we must first obtain a righteous, God-honoring political system.

  33. Curt Day says:

    I don’t think the part about viable third party candidates goes far enough. We must realize that both change and any following growth from that change happens incrementally. So if we wait for a viable third party candidate to appear, we are waiting for godot. But when I’ve asked people why not vote for the available 3rd party candidates, they say that such a vote is a wasted vote because they can’t win.

    So the real reason why we don’t have any more choices that Trump and Clinton this year is because we don’t want to change. And, as far as I can see, is due more to our not wanting to be any more involved with politics than we have too. We are minimalists at democracy. We want to reduce democracy to voting every x number of years. That is why every Presidential election year, we are presented with a choice of two people who are marketed as heroes who solve our problems so that we go back to real life whether that real life involves making money or spending it. As a result, we’ve lost our freedom (see http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746 ).

    And I think waiting for more Christians to run is a sign of another problem: we are too insular. And that is because when we think of sharing society with others, namely unbelievers, we want to have some kind of upper hand over them. We don’t think of sharing society with others as equals. If we did, we wouldn’t want to restrict our votes Christian candidates only. What we need to do here is to vote for those candidates who not only protect our own interests, but the interests of other groups especially those groups who have been marginalized.

    1. Doug says:

      Curt,
      What is the biblical rationale for your philosophy of “sharing the earth” with all indiscriminately?

  34. Jim Ashby says:

    I had points upon points that I wished to through out that would probably not make it past your Ephesians filter as it might be applied.

    I will make 3 statments and one attempt at a nice punny anecdote

    1.) It is better to do good than to feel good
    2.) I think the way you argue for the status quo is a bit misinformed. The status quo under Obama and under Hillary is downhill. The ideas of “the left” are antithetical to everything “Christian” that was involved in the founding of this country.
    3.) As a graded absolutist, I believe it a great good to put uncertainty and the chance of good in the seat of power than to allow or help what which is certain to degrade all the country stands for.

    My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness…

    be wary of playing your conscience trump card…..

    Love you Thabiti

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      lol. Nice punny comment at the end :-)

      1. Jim Ashby says:

        What were your thoughts on the actual content of my comment. I appreciate the shout out for puns.

        1. Jim says:

          Would still like to hear your response to my critique. Its harder and harder to get TGC or SBC brothers to actually engage critique. Thanks for not blocking me yet though…..My old SBTS proff has blocked me twice this spring.

  35. Grace says:

    Thanks for this; super thought provoking, and I’m excited to share it with my husband who has yet to vote in any presidential election because he sees no viable options.

    He’s a nit-picker though, and before I share this with him, did you mean to say this:

    “If we choose exile, like Bonhoeffer, we’ll have no right to participate in our Germany after Hitler. ”

    Didn’t Bonhoeffer choose to go back to Germany (he was safe teaching in New York), and be part of the resistance movement that was actually trying to assassinate Hitler. His was not a choice for exile, but for engagement.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Grace,

      Yes, I did mean to write that, but I see it’s not clear. Bonhoeffer concluded that if he chose exile he would not have a right to participate in Germany’s rebuilding. He did not, in fact, choose exile. Just the opposite as you said. Hope that helps.

      T

  36. T-

    God has used your gracious and careful analysis of many issues to be a big help to me. Thank you for the time it takes to think through and post long articles, especially the ones that are sure to be controversial. You’re a gift to the church and to me. Those posts with your niece were such a benefit to me in thinking through the tragedies of slain youths from a different perspective. I’m still thinking through your reasoning in this post. I don’t know that I’ll land where you land, but I’m grateful for you laying the argument out. I do have a related question. What is your thinking in being so vocal on the most political of issues (i.e., who to vote for) given your role as a pastor. I find it is a tough road to walk many times.

    BTW when are you coming back to Michigan?

    Love ya, Bro.

    -McKeev

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Love you, too, bro. Thanks for the encouragement and for the very good question. Perhaps it’s better to answer the question in a post all its own. I’ll hope to get to that sometime soon.

      Much love,
      T

  37. Ritch says:

    Brother,
    In general, I believe the discussion is a good one. However, I suggest you refrain from comparing the evil of Clinton and Trump to the evil of Hitler and Stalin. While Hitler and Stalin were responsible for much evil, arguably they are most infamous for their mass murders of millions. Do you really believe that Clinton and Trump are currently or potentially will be responsible for the mass murders of millions? You certainly have not made the case for such comparison. On the other hand, if you are suggesting that the evil of Clinton and Trump is comparable at another level to that of Hitler and Stalin, you haven’t made that case either.
    There are plenty of good reasons to oppose both Clinton and Trump without suggesting that they are like Hitler and Stalin. I suggest that speaking the truth in love would necessitate making accurate comparisons. If you truly believe that Clinton and Trump are on the same level of evil as Hitler and Stalin, then please state how the evil of Clinton and Trump compares with the mass murders of millions.
    For His Glory,
    ~Ritch

  38. Jim says:

    I think I agree with the reasoning of your article except when it gets to your proposed threshold for viability of a third party candidate. Practically speaking, your one individual vote will not decide who wins no matter who you vote for. However, by not voting for a more suitable third party candidate on the ballot, regardless of how much money they have access to, you would be supporting the elements of the system that require a candidate to have access to so much money in order to be competitive.

  39. Craig says:

    Pastor Thabiti,

    I voted for Trump in the primaries and I will be voting for Trump come November, and my conscience couldn’t be more clear! I am truly sorry your conscience doesn’t allow you to vote!

    C

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      God bless you, Craig. Grace and peace,
      Thabiti

  40. Steve says:

    I would like to suggest the following book for those asking the questions that started this blog post. It was near the end of the Civil War.

    Civil Government: Its Origin, Mission and Destiny and the Christian’s Relation to It
    By David Lipscomb

    http://icotb.org/resources/Civil_Government.PDF

  41. Hugh McCann says:

    If Trump and Clinton are your only options…

    You forgot abstention.

    The alternative is voting for NEITHER evil. Please.

    And you guys enjoy 501.C.3 status & protection?!

  42. Hugh McCann says:

    I guess it helps to be egalitarian…?

  43. Hugh McCann says:

    This is the best a man of God (a minister of the word of God, no less) can do?

    “I’m trying to share how I land where I do today (might be different tomorrow).”

    We have a more sure word of prophecy, that we all do well to engage in. Not this sort of folly.

  44. Matt says:

    Thabiti, good thoughts! I’ve been stuck in a similar predicament in my mind. Right now I am leaning Trump (unhappily) because Clinton’s record on abortion and issues of life is so unbiblical. I understand your points, but I’m not sure Hillary is any less erratic and power hungry. (She’s just more sneaky). Even John Stewart was frustrated with her stances and plasticity. Also I can’t support Hillary after the Benghazi debacle. I agree, this is taking a risk, but I think Trump’s mostly hot air. I’m unconvinced how much he’ll actually change the system.

    Alas, if only Kasich had been a more viable candidate! But for all the reasons he was a great candidate, his commitment to not marketing himself by his faith, his commitment to pro-life issues, his ACTUALITY experience in governance (which neither Hillary not Trump can match), he probably was unelectable this season.

  45. Rich Shipe says:

    All worth thinking about. Thank you for taking the time to wrestle through this. I’m personally still undecided on how I will vote but this is helpful.

    One thing I will add though as a correction is that we have a two-party system because we have winner-takes-all elections. Two major parties is the natural outcome of that electoral approach. Anytime a new third-party rises one of the established two must die in order for that new party to become one of the two majors. Voters don’t choose that approach by their votes, it is hard-wired by the design of the system being winner-takes-all. We create coalitions as a matter of course in order to get us above 50% and I think that is a very good thing.

    The winner-takes-all electoral system is a very good thing because we want a majority of people to pick who governs. We don’t want a minority of the people governing. The only other option (that I can think of) is the parliamentary system (Canada, UK, etc). Seats in parliament are given based not on a winner-takes-all approach but by percentage of the total vote received. The good thing is that it allows for all types of candidates and the voter can vote more in line with personal preference. The downside is that a majority is still needed in order to govern. So coalitions are formed in parliament among the politicians to make a ruling majority. I personally prefer a system where people attempt to make the majority coalition, pre-election through campaigns, than for the party bosses to do it.

    In my opinion, Louisiana has one of the best approaches. They have what is nicknamed a “jungle-primary” where nearly anyone can get on the ballot with enough signatures. The parties nominate individuals but anyone can still get on the ballot. But to avoid giving the election to a minority of the electorate, a run-off of the top two vote getters is done. Under this approach the parties have less say and yet a majority of the people still decide who will govern.

  46. Missy M says:

    Have you observed the man’s children who are now adults? Did you learn how they were reared, with high standards and ethics and now operate that way?

    Unpredictable?

    No. There are man predictors and indicators, you’re simply ignoring them.

    1. David says:

      Right. And Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz.

      The soundness of the fruit may come from something other than the paternal seed.

  47. David says:

    Interesting thesis, Thabiti, and — though I disagree — well-argued.

    Still holding out for a good alternative candidate, and hoping I won’t have to swallow either of the presumptive major-party nominees as a “lesser” evil. But re: Hillary, consider:

    (1) If Ms. Clinton gets to pick one or more Supreme Court justices, it’s pretty certain that Elane Photography v. Willock will become the law of the land, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores will be overruled, and many evangelical institutions which hold to Scriptural and historic Christian norms on sex (the kind we are and the kind we do) will be Bob Jones-ed. And it’s likely, given the tenure of federal judges, that the judiciary would continue delivering such results for decades after the end of a Clinton term of office;

    (2) A President Clinton would almost certainly enjoy the protection and support of the Democratic Party and its governors and representatives in the House and Senate, and most of the mainstream media. A President Trump, by contrast, would not only face vigorous opposition from the opposition party and media, but also suspicion within his own party. And as unsettling as it is that Trump has smashed so many (to borrow David Frum’s term) protective guardrails of American politics, many even of Trump’s voters are likely to withdraw their popular support after his election. It’s easy to arouse popular anger and energy on the campaign trail; but when someone has to govern, the all-things-to-all-men signaling has to stop and tough choices have to be made. In that reality, I think a good many grassroots Trump supporters would quickly be disillusioned and fall away — bad seed as well as good withers quickly in the rocky ground.

    (3) When the popular support dries up, Trump would no longer have the means to smash the guardrails of American politics — except by his use of the bully pulpit. And here I’ll make a concession: President Trump’s use of the bully pulpit would be quite damaging, perhaps more damaging that a President Clinton’s. Certainly it would be damaging in less predictable ways. Clinton’s national preaching would embolden abortion-rights absolutists and illiberal Social Justice Warriors; Trump’s would . . . well, who knows? Inflame racial hatred? Provoke foreign powers? Embolden Putin’s Russia?

    Still, in light of considerations (1)-(2), while I do regard this as a good reason not to vote for Trump, I still cannot regard it as a good reason to vote for Clinton.

  48. laro says:

    I think your reason (predictability vs. unpredictability) is exactly why a vote for Clinton is the wrong answer. Clinton is predictable; Trump is not. That means there is a chance Trump will be better than expected. There is virtually no chance he will be worse than Clinton. He might be as bad.

    With Clinton, there will be very predictable SCOTUS nominations that will have lasting effects for generations against liberty. With Trump, there might be some decent nominations. It is unpredictable. With Clinton, there will be more of the same gridlock, which isn’t quite enough gridlock yet. You will have Democrats panting like dogs after her and the Republicans will roll over on command and give her whatever she wants. If Trump does something too extreme, both Dems and Repubs will reject it. Or to put it differently, Trump may break the system completely and cause a serious rethinking of politics. Clinton will not.

    How is Trump’s misogyny any worse than Clinton’s? I don’t understand that argument. Is Clinton’s acceptable because she is a woman? How is Trump’s arrogance and brashness any worse than Clinton’s? Again, I don’t understand that.

    Clinton is a known liar, a bald-faced liar with no conscience whatsoever. And this has been public knowledge for decades.

    In a nutshell, it is the very unpredictability of Trump that makes him a better option of the two currently electable Should some 3rd party get a decent run, it might be worth looking at. But for now, it is hard to imagine a serious case can be made for Clinton over Trump. And this article certainly was not it.

  49. Raymond C Dix Jr says:

    Pastor Anybwile,
    In my opinion, it is naive to think Mrs. Clinton is not as much a revolutionary as Mr. Trump. I support neither. A vote for Mrs. Clinton is to continue the governmental assault on values I hold dear, including the misuse of the Civil Rights Movement by the LGBT community. She will continue the revolution started by our current President. I am a black Christian and pastor and my trust in God will face perhaps its greatest test in the public arena. But I will not cast a vote for either of them. Blessings to you and thank you for your opinion.

  50. It’s a lot to take in and I’m still processing, but your pragmatism scares me. I acknowledge the fact that as a white male I’m naive to the your experience of the evil of racism. As a dad of 2 adopted sons from West Africa, and as a Christian, I’m completely opposed to Trump – racism is just one of many reasons. DJT will not get my vote. However, why not just stand for what is right? I get it: your saying loudly (with the concern people are not hearing), the evil is real. I agree. But isn’t it true, we just don’t have a non-evil choice at this point? Why not write in a candidate or abstain? You argue that this is to remain silent when we must oppose evil. I’m wondering (thinking out loud) that maybe a voiced objection and non-vote “moves the dial” toward what is right even if evil appears to win on this occasion. Think about the slippery slope you are advocating for: if I’m running for office and come to believe that in order to win I have to compromise what I know to be right, but convince myself that is the lesser of 2 evils, I have started down a disastrous road. Yes, it appears that much pain will come from the result of this next election, regardless of who wins (unless we are miraculously presented with a viable candidate). But ultimately we are seeking something greater than political power and even greater than the avoidance of the misuse of such power. Now, and when it comes in full bloom, we must stand and we must suffer, but I fear what it will do to this country and to our own souls if we endorse one evil over another greater evil (I know you have said you are not endorsing this other evil but in all honesty I find it extremely difficult to see any other way – it is semantics and not reality in my thinking). This is not a pragmatism akin to standing at the door lying to the SS about Jewish friends hidden in the attic. There is nothing innocent about voting for either of these candidates. I appreciate your argument and believe it awakens us to evils we ignore – calling for a yes vote for Clinton accentuates the danger Trump presents. But I struggle to find either evil reconcilable to a Christian position. Perhaps we are missing the point altogether. We live in an evil day. Wake up. Renounce evil altogether. Get ready to suffer with a suffering nation. BTW, I reserve the right to vote for Clinton; you may convince me yet!

  51. James says:

    In many ways, I really appreciate the TGC. However, this blog post dillutes the power of the gospel and the purpose of TGC which should be the gospel. Why divide on this issue of whether you are going to vote for trump or hillary? This is of no issue regarding the gospel and does nothing to futher the gospel. how does it further the gospel? Please explain. Do you think that Christian trump supporters will see this post and not feel as if they are “less than” because an official pastor and the TGC comes out with a post like this and the trump supporter is not falling in line.

    You can put in all of the caveats at the front but basically, do you think that a Christian trump supporter might be discouraged by this post?

    Please explain.

    1. Brendt Wayne Waters says:

      This represents an obscenely limited view of the gospel and its ramifications.

  52. Eric says:

    I am curious to know who would you write in, if you choose not to vote for either candidate? If believers could know who to vote for, that is not a lesser of two evils, shouldn’t there be a grassroots movement by believers to rally in that direction? I have added a link to a survey I created to find out who you would write in, please fill out and share.

      1. Brendt Wayne Waters says:

        The fact that this isn’t “Who would you write in?” so much as it’s “Which other GOP candidate would you support?” speaks volumes.

  53. Judd Dixon says:

    This post is disturbing and disappointing. It really is a “I will vote for the devil I know” vs “The guy who may be the devil”.

    Just two quotes that stood out poorly reasoned. First, “I’d vote for the incrementalist over the revolutionary. For revolutions almost never lead to progress.” We are a nation of freedoms because of “revolutionaries”. Many God-fearing men who bled and boldly stood up to a king they considered a dictator for us to enjoy what we take for granted everyday. As for as voting for an “incrementalist”, I would point out that we have had that for the last 8 years. It has been a steady march by the Obama administration to lead our nation into socialized healthcare, gay marriage, stricter regulations, less freedoms; all the while we are more politically and racially divided and unsafe than we have been in two decades. Incrementalist–I think not!

    The second quote disturbs me for all the reasons I just listed. “But Clinton represents the status quo, a steady state of affairs in that regard.” I don’t want the status quo! I don’t want more transgender bathrooms, or terrorists killing Americans here in my state, I don’t want the Lois Lerner’s targeting conservative, tax-paying, law abiding citizens and then retiring with full pension. I don’t want Christian bakers being sued $150k while loosing their business because they respectfully refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple. I don’t want a President that every time a terrorist tragedy happens he refuses to call it by it’s name while reminding me that Muslims are peaceful. I don’t want an administration that secretly makes a deal with Iran that will allow them to obtain a nuclear weapon while sending State Department employees to Israel on tax-payer dollars to affect their election. I’m sick of a President that brags about his christian faith and then twists Scripture to violate the very morals that God clearly lays out in his Word.

    Why would I vote for a lady who’s foundation has raked in millions of dollars from terrorist-sponsoring nations and call it voting for the “predictable” and feel right in accepting that?

    There are so many things about Trump I don’t like and I completely understand anyone who is genuinely annoyed by him. But, after 8 years of the most arrogant, narcissistic, self-serving, liberal President in my lifetime I will not vote for a lady that should have been in prison long before her email scandal was revealed.

    I’ll choose the guy I’m not sure of and pray for him everyday, because with Hillary I know that I will continue to lose my religious freedoms, my tax dollars will continue to support illegals and abortions, and that dangerous nations will finally get the preferential treatment they have already paid for through the Clinton Foundation.

    I’m not endorsing Trump, but I would NEVER vote for Hillary.

    1. Brendt Wayne Waters says:

      “I don’t want the status quo! I want racism, misogyny and religious freedom for only some (which eventually becomes religious freedom for none)!”

      1. Judd Dixon says:

        Great job Brendt. You just pulled an “Obama”. I never said I want racism or mysgony or religious freedom for people that believe like me. Which is exactly why I oppose Obama and Clinton because they use the same type of argument. “If you don’t support gay marriage you are a bigot.” I guess because I would rather take my chances with Trump than Hillary than I am the epitome of the Left’s talking points. By the way, my wife and dad are minorities and they support Trump. Go figure.

  54. Brendt Wayne Waters says:

    TGC will not let me unsubscribe from updates for this post, though I’ve tried multiple times. Then it occurred to me that maybe it’s providential, so that I remember to pray for my brother as he continues to have hate spewed at him.

  55. Jim S says:

    Well said in the article and lots of good, thoughtful discussion. Thanks to Thabiti and all for choosing to engage instead of isolating. I feel that if a Christian considers the issues and reluctantly chooses the option that he or she deems likely the least damaging, they have acted faithfully. Assuming a candidate will somehow act in ways better than the record shows and campaign promises indicate–is unreasonable. One change in my behavior is that I now jump to answer all political surveys so that I can signal my revulsion at the main options and indicate a willingness to accept a less bad alternative. Another is that I often fact check things people send me so that I can help guide them out of knee jerk acceptance of memes.

  56. Michael says:

    You are putting policy over faith and conviction with both major candidates. While you side with Hillary, you inform me you rather look at her moderate voting record over the fact she approves of killing the unborn(mostly minority unborn).

    1. Brendt Wayne Waters says:

      I forget. Is racism a sign of good faith or good conviction? What about misogyny? Or the unwillingness to ask for forgiveness?

      Your false dichotomy is staggering.

  57. Gabe says:

    Hi Thabiti:

    I’m currently in the “Not Voting for Prez 2016″ camp and not a Trump fan in any sense, so this question is for the sake of argument. Why wouldn’t Trump’s unpredictability be just as good of a reason to vote for him vs. against him? You can make the argument that at least there would be hope of a less corrupt, pro-life administration than you would most certainly get with Clinton, based on her consistent policy over decades. Why is unpredictability necessarily worse? There are ways that I might answer these questions myself, but I’m interested in how you would do so.

    I apologize if this was addressed earlier in the comments. I didn’t have time to read through them all.

    Gabe

  58. MC says:

    Sorry, I’m a single issue voter and Hillary has a long track record in regard to abortion. And though I am very uninterested in voicing support for Trump (and wish desperatley for another option), he is at least theoretically beholden to a general pro life platform… and that MAY mean he makes some decent decisions in that arena (though I am well aware it COULD go the other way). And though I totally relate to your delema, I cannot imagine a scenario where Hillary is the lesser of two evils. And frankly, Obama has just as much blood on his hands in regard to abortion, and I truly don’t understand how you could have sat out those votes only to vote for Hillary in this cycle. I know this season is unusually aweful, but to me – the choices were far easier twice before. Can you help me understand?
    Thanks for being willing to “hang it all out there”!

  59. Rob Steele says:

    Our choice is not between Hitler and Stalin but between the antichrist and the beast, which really is a much easier choice.

  60. Gina says:

    I’m sorry, but this makes no logical sense to me at all. You are casting your vote for a woman who will fight against your religious freedom, will fight FOR the right to kill infants at any stage of pregnancy all nine months and will fight to make YOU pay for it. She has actively sold out our country for donations to a charity that on record gives 10% of their money to charity and the rest goes right in their pockets. She will proudly slide our country deeper into progressivism and keep stirring the same strife that Obama has been stirring.
    Against a man who SAYS he stands against those things. Now, I don’t know that I believe him any more than you do because I have been against him from the start, but not only is he saying those things, he has up to this point surrounded himself with people (besides his family) who believe those things. I may not believe very much he says, but at least there’s a slight chance he won’t fight AGAINST our beliefs. You are voting for someone who hates everything about you and has stated so.
    And no matter how many SC justices drop over four years, we know for sure the next president will pick one. You know exactly what you’ll get with Clinton. Trump put out a list with good judges according to most constitutionalist law people I’ve read.
    Honestly. This makes no sense to me at all and I’m sorry if you sway people to agree with you.

  61. Joe Parker says:

    “A good number of people liken the choice between Clinton and Trump to a choice between Stalin or Hitler.”

    These people need to study history. Please stop making and purporting this fallacy.

  62. Zoltan says:

    So if I understand correctly, this entire position boils down to voting for one to prevent a greater evil. There is merit to the argument. However, I wonder how the lesser of the two evils was determined?

    By your own commentary, you seem to have accepted certain perspectives on Trump without adequate evidence. Now I am not a Trump supporter but like you would cast a ballot for the lesser evil. I grant that Trump has been uncivil but why Clinton’s corruption is more acceptable or predictable because she seems nicer is beyond me. That merely makes her a greater hypocrite. Being in DC, you are probably inundated with anti-Trump commentary but clearly he has run a very successful business hiring both women and minorities. Labelling him misogynistic and a race-baiter would seem an over simplification.

    Clinton would most certainly continue the cronyism of Washington. She would appoint Supreme Court justices in favour of abortion and the homosexual agenda. She is wily enough to do much harm without getting impeached. Trump on the other hand, could be kept in check from both parties. He could be impeached but I doubt that would happen. He has already made a wise VP candidate choice in Pence. There is more hope in the uncertainty of Trump than in the certain evil of Clinton.

  63. Lane harrison says:

    I appreciate your voice and ministry, but I must say that your assessment of Clinton as “status quo” is a damnable miscalculation; for the unborn, for all matters of race relations, for Foreign policy, for the furtherance of moral decay in all branches of government, for economy, and in every other way.

  64. Rory Yates says:

    In this whole debate I’ve noticed a real lack of consideration for the function of our three branches of government to check and balance one another. Most of the discussion I have seen is as if we, as a nation, are voting for our next monarch, not President.

    The checks and balances written into our system of government in the Constitution were set forth for such a time as this. Could you also not differentiate between these two candidates as one whose evil will not be checked (Clinton) and one whose evil will be checked by the legislature and the courts (Trump) even if it is not on any moral grounds but because he is not of the political insiders of either party? It seems to me a vote for Mrs. Clinton allows the revolution already WELL underway against our Constitutional system of government to go on unabated while Trump would see our government start to function again in a way it has failed to for over a decade.

  65. zsmcdonald says:

    The one in which a Southern Baptist pastor compares taking up your cross and being salt and light to voting for a woman who is pro-baby murder….pastor, their are other ways to be politically active than punching a voting card. Not voting does not equal idleness.

  66. Nathan says:

    How is abortion not a deal breaker for you? Your colleague, Al Mohler, talked about this issue this very morning on his Briefing podcast and how the DNC is actively pursuing the destruction of religious exemptions from abortion legislation and you would cast a vote for that? Why are the innocents in the womb never considered as THE issue? God forgive us for putting any other issue ahead of that.

  67. Jay Bee says:

    “At this point, assuming Trump and Clinton are my only options, I’d vote for Clinton. Okay… take a deep breath. Count to ten. Pray.”

    I find your conclusion incompatible with everything I’ve ever heard you say. Not voting and leaving it up to God to choose who will fill that office is better than giving your assent to Mrs. Clinton.

    Your “status quo” will get to fill four supreme court seats, and they will have thirty years of making rulings that run counter to what you are supposed to believe. This election has been eye-opening for me. Everyone who used to talk about things like Supreme Court seats and the sanctity of life mattering has no real belief.

    You actively choose evil but call yourself a Christian pastor. Weak As Water!

  68. John says:

    I’m shocked, stupefied, baffled (pause while I get a Thesaurus) that anyone calling themselves a Christian could rationalize their way to cast a vote endorsing Clinton. And yes, a vote is an endorsement, don’t lie to yourself to ease your conscience pretending it’s just “not endorsing” Trump. I find it ironic that you reference Bonhoeffer linking your choice here, to his choices then. The comparison is laughable if not for the “pay no intention to the man behind the curtain” flavor of your article. Sorry, your cowardice and lack of faith in an Omnipotent God screams from the article. Both are evil. And evil is evil. Stop equivocating. As I saw a friend post…. “Would you vote for Jezebel because she would be the first female president? Or, would you vote for Ahab because he’s not Jezebel? Or, would you vote for Elijah, even though he’s been forced into a cave by the powers-that-be?”

    1. Brendt Wayne Waters says:

      I’m shocked, stupefied, baffled (pause while I get a Thesaurus) that anyone calling themselves a Christian could rationalize their way to cast a vote endorsing Trump.

      And yet millions are.

      1. SortingHat says:

        Because not voting for Trump say’s it’s okay for Hillary to win. Personally I’ve never voted and didn’t become of age until Obama and say his own biography not liking what I saw and not liking the alternatives given bailed out. If our ancestors who made this country haunts me then I will call upon God to remove them from harassing me and so should you.

  69. Vern says:

    Thabiti,

    While I don’t reach the same conclusion as you, I understand and largely agree with your line of reasoning. Thanks for adding to this discussion, I think you provide a helpful perspective.

    Blessings,
    Vern

  70. Mike says:

    Some counter considerations:
    1) Between the two, Hillary Clinton is the only one who we know has committed crimes as an elected official, and is therefore ineligible for public office and ineligible for my vote.
    2) Between the two, Hillary Clinton is the only one who has a laundry list of associated individuals who have conveniently chosen to die or disappear within close proximity of testifying in court cases or deposition against the Clintons.
    3) Trump’s indiscretions thus far have been limited to idiotic rhetoric, personal moral failings, and posting tabloid stories about my favored candidate having Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald for nursemaids.
    4) Trump has no track record of public service or governing. Therefore, we have no idea how he will govern. A Trump presidency could turn out to be a neutral or even a positive thing. We just don’t know. He is the X Factor.
    5) On the other hand, we know how a Clinton presidency would turn out.
    6) If you’re looking to keep a misogynist, racist, and a liar out of the White House, good luck with that by voting for a Clinton — you’ll get one as First Lady.
    7) Between the two, who is more likely to face opposition from Congress if they go off the rails? The historic first female President? Or the white billionaire celebrity? GOP lawmakers have shown very little stomach for putting up a fight against the current Democratic president, but quite a bit of fire when putting down revolts in their own ranks. I’m betting Paul Ryan and The Turtle would be willing to butt heads with the Toupee and maybe even pull out the old impeachment routine if El Donald pulls shenanigans. Then we would be left with President Pence. I can live with that.

  71. JL says:

    Dear Pastor Anyabwile,

    I apologize that I am commenting so late on this issue. I actually arrived here in a circuitous fashion. I have been studying complementarianism especially in regard to women sharing the Gospel. I came across your article on women within the church, and was both touched and encouraged by your compassion on this topic, which is made unnecessarily complex by modern times.

    If I understand correctly, the fractal picture is that Christ (male) is the head of the church as the pastor/elders(male) are the head of the church as the husband(male) is the head of the family. That makes perfect sense to me. As I finished reading that article, I thought, “Why is that name so familiar?” Then it struck me that I had seen your name mentioned on Douglas Wilson’s blog.

    That’s how I got here. My question, which is probably obvious now, is why would you advocate a woman as the head of a nation? It just seems so antithetical to complementarianism and what our Lord had indicated in Scripture? I know that difficult times call for difficult decisions, but to willingly encourage the upending of God’s order of authority is rather upsetting, mostly because I can’t figure out how you got there.

    Thanks for listening.

    1. Jim S says:

      I think there is a large nugget of profitable discussion here, but I think you need to discard the rest of it. Is the nation the church?

  72. Omar Taborda says:

    Thabiti, I appreciate you expressing your thoughts, and it is good to remember that we are not Christian because we vote for Candidate A or B, but because we have been generated by the Spirit / Believe in Jesus as our Savior (1 COR 12:3) —

    I am Latin, and all this racism going on, have let me to search and recognize that I am racist as well – for which I am going daily to GOD in confession and asking for a pure Heart. I believe we all are in one degree or other, racist, that includes all Candidates running, but the issue on Abortion is either ON/OFF — Pro Life / Pro Choice – For me, they dont have the same weight.
    Await your comments;

  73. Joe Parker says:

    Are you still supporting Hilary in the wake of her own emails detailing the corruption and lies, or are you still planning to vote for the certainty of evil over the possibility of evil?

  74. Nathan Bruno says:

    I hope with the revelations of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager’s connection to the occult and the other things now weighing heavy on our nation that the Gospel Coalition will repudiate this post. Pastor Anyabwile argued in favor of voting for evil – evil that we now know (it could be known then if he really cared to know it) is considerably more pernicious than some bad words, boorish behavior, insults, and what you call racism.

    Pastor Anyabwile has come to my church before. I do not think he can be an effective pastor or agent of the Gospel after having counseled so many to vote for known evil. I will make it an issue with my elders and conference organizers again in the future to avoid this man if this article is not retracted.

  75. SortingHat says:

    Big corporations have gotten greedier and more evil under the Clintons and Liberalism then any other time in history.

    Look at EA Games and Steam they are a monopoly and just make shit products but people keep right on pre-ordering and saying f-ked up things like “Well I spend THOUSANDS of dollars on your products and another sub-par one comes out shame on you!”

    Okay so I’m like if you spend so much like a fanboy then why complain? Either vote with your wallet or shut up!

    Saying an honest review pointing out the goods and bads of a product is one thing but acting like a fanboy snob to make people feel sorry for you is……………….twisted. But then again that’s how Hillary fans act all the time so I guess I shouldn’t put my standards so high.

  76. SortingHat says:

    The point of it is people have allowed capitalism to become broken and look for big government to patch it up. Big government can’t patch up stupid choices consumers make. Until we are seen as customers again we will continue to be treated like cattle and fed slop.

    Me and my parents grew up with the *customer is always right* from the old fashioned business model which has more or less been the most successful one.

    Today’s business model is “Stop online piracy for the cheapest price!” and as a result freedom is gone and crap products come out like SamSung phones blowing up and I-Phones catching fire.

  77. James says:

    I wish I had found this article sooner.

    I am in accord with your logic re: the Hitler/Stalin vs. Trump/Clinton comparison, Pastor Anyabwile. Having said that, couldn’t you also make the argument for going with the unpredictable evil if it won’t have as much of a lasting effect as the predictable evil? Granted, Hitler did unspeakably evil things during his rule, for me at least, Europe has tried to rebuild itself in the aftermath of World War 2, whereas it seems Stalin’s rule had a much greater, longer lasting impact still felt to this day, unrectified. That, and from what I gather, Hitler, while unpredictable, was also not the brightest, while Stalin was predictable, but quite able… Much like Trump vs. Clinton.

    Regardless, you will bear your cross, OF COURSE, but I think with this election, the big question is: how do you want to bear it? Color me undecided still!

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Thabiti Anyabwile


Thabiti Anyabwile is a pastor for Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, DC and a council member of The Gospel Coalition.

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