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NoteThe views and opinions expressed here do not represent TGC or any of its council members, staff or supporters. They are the views of the author alone. This is a personal blog that happens to be hosted at TGC. Such hosting should not be construed as an endorsement from TGC for anything written here.

The Uneasy Evangelical Ethnic Alliance

It’s been more difficult to be an African-American and an “Evangelical” or “Reformed” these last few years. It was never an easily negotiated identity or space. But a certain quietude about matters of “race” and racism made it possible to enjoy a measure of unity in theological matters and some seeming trust as spiritual family. A degree of political affinity, defined largely by the obvious wrongs we opposed, created a co-belligerence that kept our eyes off our differing political needs and emphases along ethnic lines. Suspicion and mistrust were kept at bay by a tacit sense that some things were more important.

For many, all of that is over, like childhood summers remembered fondly but blurring in the fading distance of time. Things are more difficult in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin, Mya Hall, Mike Brown, Alexia Christian, Tamir Rice, Meagan Hockaday, John Crawford, Sandra Bland, the Charleston Nine, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Natasha McKenna, Freddie Gray. Things are less quiet following the various grand jury decisions that seemed once again to betray African-American pleas for a recognized humanity. Not that all those cases were the same or deserved the same outcome. They weren’t and didn’t. What was the same in each instance was the dreadful sense that African-American lives were nothing to be respected, protected or celebrated. What was largely the same in those instances was an encounter with what generally felt like white American and Christian indifference, antipathy and resentment. It didn’t matter if the life belonged to a 12-year old boy playing in a park or saints of various ages welcoming a stranger into their prayer meeting. The “respectable” and “dignified” were assaulted and the “unrespectable” and “undignified” further vilified and thuggerized. Many Christians felt that once again our best theology was failing to produce our best behavior—across the board, black and white, male and female.

The Trump Card Played at the Worst Time

Then came Trump.

We laughed at first. We thought it good theater. Then our laughter turned to unbelief. How could this man even be in the Republican primary, much less leading? Disbelief gave way to disdain toward those who filled stadiums supporting Trump. Who were they? Where were they coming from? Do they have an education—or teeth? So we questioned in our disdain and superiority. But they were there in the millions and—shockingly for some—they not only identified as Republicans but also “Evangelicals.” A lot of them.

Somewhere along the way some began to say #NeverTrump. But it was all too late. He’d bested every professional contender in the primary and was poised to receive the GOP nomination. He didn’t win on a technicality or through some bizarre trick with the rules. He won it outright and by a landslide. And the inevitable began to happen. GOP opponents, insiders, and king makers began to fall in line. They offered tail-tucked whimpers about problems with tone and not appearing “presidential.” But they fell in line nonetheless.

All of this happened, of course, while most of us were still catching our collective breath from the string of shootings, video playbacks, and debates about how to understand it all. When inter-ethnic tolerance and understanding were perhaps most stressed and frayed, along came a presidential candidate terrifyingly adept at strumming the chords of racial unrest, animosity, and resentment. And as one person put it: He didn’t use the silent dog whistle of racial resentment so common in politics; he simply whistled outright and out loud to gather the disaffected.

I try to be very judicious in calling anyone a “racist.” I recognize that label sticks, paralyzes and banishes. And I recognize that some overuse it. If you review this site, you’ll find that I’ve almost never used it of specific people. But, I don’t see another term to use for Mr. Trump. And I’m not alone.

The Growing Chorus Who Seems to Follow Suit

As Speaker Paul Ryan illustrates, despite identifying “textbook racist” comments in Trump, the GOP will line up to support him. Even some Evangelicals who were #NeverTrump sound a lot more like #ProbablyTrump these days. Some of them offer a soft apologetic: “Clinton is just as bad;” “At least he’d appoint conservative SCOTUS justices;” “He’s not a career politician.”

Some of these retorts are offered to African Americans whenever we point out the racism endemic to the man’s candidacy and behavior. I’ve even been asked, “Which is worse? Abortion or racism?” Though they quickly add, “This is no defense of Trump,” it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that racism rests lightly on the oft-cited conscience of some Evangelicals.

Here’s the problem with living 50 years after the American Civil Rights Movement and the de jure segregation of the land that produced it: Too many people now have no idea how every-day-horrendous-and-perilous life was under that system. And if you can’t imagine the daily stresses and sudden endangerment faced by African Americans in that system, then chances are you can’t quite fathom the alarm that survivors or students of that period have when we look at a Mr. Trump. Chances are you don’t quite appreciate the consternation felt when a brother or sister in the Lord appears to make light of racism’s evil and effects. And failing to recognize these things, you may be vulnerable to sliding over to the Trump column without due consideration of the ugliness of racism.

You also might be vulnerable to lobbing charges of racism toward African Americans and others who oppose Trump. Just the other day, I received a kind note reporting to me the concerns that some Evangelicals have expressed about my writing regarding the election. I’ve heard all the concerns before. They go something like this, with variants of emphasis:

  1. It’s un-Christian to vote for a Democrat.
  2. Any consideration of a Democrat makes you a baby killer, a supporter of abortion.
  3. Any positive mention of a Democrat means you’re endorsing them and all they stand for, especially the worse parts of their beliefs and platforms.
  4. Abortion is the single greatest evil of our time, by which is usually meant, “Do not talk about any other issue as if it has importance.”
  5. If you talk about any issue other than abortion, especially a “racial issue,” then you’re idolizing “race” and betraying the unborn.

You get the picture. The uneasy coalition of inter-ethnic Evangelical concern comes collapsing down. The problem, we are told, is the injection of “race” into “everything.” The problem, we are lead to believe, is that some people would dare break ranks with evangelicalism’s political orthodoxy—GOP loyalty and single-issue voting. The problem, we are told, is that African Americans need to quit bellyaching about racism and the mirage of systemic injustice and just get on with it. We are told these things by people who seem to steadily ignore or downplay the racial elements of this election. So the chorus grows.

Setting Back Reconciliation?

Then the African American is told that he or she has “set racial reconciliation back 10 years” or more. They’ve managed with a blog post to undo all the hard work good white folks and good black folks have done to achieve peace between the people groups.

My friend, if your “reconciliation” can be undone with a blog post then you were never reconciled in the first place. If a different, more inclusive set of issues or priorities pushes you from the table, you were never truly at the table in commitment. If the simple matter of voting differently and daring to speak of it publicly causes you “to lose all respect for someone,” then you never respected them in the first place. You respected the ways you thought they were like you and you “respected” them only insofar as they were like you. You didn’t respect the right of a person to have their own mind, think their own thoughts, or act in accord with their own conscience. They must act according to your conscience. You were not reconciled across that difference.

While an outward peace existed between the groups, you patted yourself on the back and took credit for being enlightened and gracious and loving. But such virtue made wings and flew away the moment you discovered—gasp!—that that person didn’t think like you at every point. While there was no cost or inconvenience to you, you could tell yourself that progress was being made and you were a part of it. As long as uncomfortable differences along ethnic lines were muted, you sang “Kumbaya.” But when an African American began to speak about how they really felt and thought, then the old man of white supremacy—the old man that insisted he never be questioned or accused in matters of “race” and the treatment of African Americans—that man came out of hiding to demand what he’d always felt entitled to: even the mental submission of Black people to his view of the world.

Friend, wherever the preceding paragraphs above are true or accurate, then reconciliation has not been set back. Rather, reconciliation has not really been achieved. There’s a massive difference between detente and peace.

But I’m so grateful to God that the above paragraphs do not apply to a great number of Evangelicals. I’m so thankful for the many, many Evangelicals who prove themselves brethren in the Lord precisely when disagreement and distrust emerge. Those are the Evangelicals who are friends to freedom, friends to life, and friends to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those Evangelicals who say, “I disagree and I love you and I protect your right to say whatever” are the true inheritors of Christ’s love. And for them, I give God praise and continue to write in the hope that reasonable men will once again agree, disagree, concede, argue and debate with charity and mutual affirmation of one another’s dignity and humanity. And I write with the hope that a true, deep and lasting reconciliation might be achieved on a firmer basis, on the basis of Jesus Christ’s completed work on the cross and in the resurrection.

Racism’s Trump

Now, on to Trump and this question of abortion and racism. For those who can still listen and who will allow me the dignity of my own thoughts (and it should be clear that I’m not asking for that dignity but asserting it), here’s how I’m thinking about the charge that I am making more of “race” and racism than I am of abortion. In general, the charge is false. But, specifically, here’s the two-point outline of my thinking.

Single Issue Voters Have No Champion for Their Single Issue

Without doubt Mrs. Clinton proves herself to be an enemy of millions of lives in the womb. Without doubt she would do nothing to curb or eliminate the abominable practice. We know that.

However, I don’t see Mr. Trump doing a thing to limit abortion or roll it back either. Not a thing. He hasn’t even made it a campaign issue. And when he’s spoken about it he’s changed his position several times IN ONE DAY. He’s not a champion I would trust.

You see, the choice is not between Hilary’s zeal for abortion and Trump’s bigotry—as if Trump were better on abortion and Clinton better on racism. There’s no tradeoff here. The two, in my opinion, are a push on abortion.

There’s At Least One Other Issue to Add to the Single Issue Nobody Champions

Now, if neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Trump will change or challenge our laws making abortion legal, then the question for me is: “What are the other set of issues these guys bring to the table?

That’s where racism gains more prominence and Trump’s open statements of bigotry and his intent to put some of it into policy becomes unbearable. When we recognize that Clinton and Trump are a push on abortion, then the message becomes, “Voter, you’re going to have abortion for the next four years either way you go. Do you want abortion and a 1950s America where racism and sexism abounded’?” That’s the question for me. And I think that’s exactly what you’d get in a “President Trump”: abortion + racism.

Again, Mr. Trump’s comments are not merely individual sentiment and personal animosity. His comments go directly to policy: register Muslims, walls against Mexicans because “they’re rapists,” questioning a judge’s competence because of his ethnicity, and so on. He’s suggesting clear religious and civil liberty violations become the law of the land. Nevermind setting reconciliation back ten years; this is setting law back sixty! This is not making America great again; it’s making America racist again.

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And, oh by the way, a “President Trump” would have the help of a GOP that itself has been a refuge for far too long for racist sentiment. When neo-con architects like Karl Rove feel comfortable telling Black women they should be more thankful because he “freed them” and gave them the right to vote (see here), we shouldn’t be surprised that there are millions of minions frothing with even worse diatribe. For too long the GOP has been home to this kind of thing and I wouldn’t want the party invested with Presidential power to act on it.

Now, my suggesting I’d vote for Mrs. Clinton in order to stop the twin evils that Mr. Trump represents is no more an endorsement of Mrs. Clinton or the Democratic party than our Lord Jesus Christ telling His audience to pay taxes to Caesar was an endorsement of Caesar or of emperor worship. Most every reader who earns a wage pays their taxes without the slightest qualms about their money being an “endorsement” of this government’s every action or policy. I don’t endorse Clinton or her views on abortion, sexuality and a host of other things. Claims to the contrary are simply a disingenuous effort to skip the discussion by sullying the writer. That won’t do. There’s a greater evil afoot than my particular leaning when it comes to voting in this election. The real evils abroad are murder, racism and sexism. And I feel I must do something, however marginal, to hold the line as best as possible. I trust you do, too, even if you choose a different “something” to do.

American Idols

Now if my including racism in my thinking is “idolatry,” well, so be it. But, frankly, I don’t think it is. And if it is, then we’d best recognize it’s a kind of shadow idol, the dark negative of much of white America’s idolization of its own whiteness. Racial idolatry comes in twin packs at least. It’s been that way from the moment some founders and denizens decided that whiteness would be privileged among all the so-called “races” and advantages would be given to “whites” over all others, at the expense of all others. They built their shrine to themselves and their skin color while effectively guaranteeing others would do likewise if for no other reason than survival. Logs and specks need to be checked at our own eyes.

Further, I think the folks who can only talk about abortion and can’t factor anything else into their decisions are guilty of another form of idolatry. Some make a tremendously important moral issue a “god” of sorts. Further, some make their conscience an idol by obeying their conscience instead of the whole counsel of God. For surely the Bible condemns hatred, partiality and the failure to love as much as murder. Wherever we set one part of God’s word aside with claims of conscience, then we make conscience “god.”

And we shouldn’t lose sight of this fact either: This idolizing of abortion has come at the teaching, preaching and advocacy of pastors and leaders. Some are offended that I’ve dare say these things “as a pastor.” But the church has been political for a long time and telling people how to vote for a long time. Sure, most avoided naming any candidate. But strong insistence that we only consider one issue and refuse voting for anyone who isn’t anti-abortion is, in fact, an attempt at binding the conscience in a political way in political elections. Insofar as one party has officially stood against abortion, then it’s also been a partisan binding of the conscience. That’s why so many today can’t even imagine a pro-life Democrat and can’t imagine participation in the party with the goal of changing its platform. Though the cause is just, wherever we pastors have gone too far in insisting that people’s consciences conform to our own, we’ve fostered idolatry and weakened the ability of many to consider and negotiate more complex realities.

None of this is to minimize abortion; it’s to say some have over-reached if they can’t negotiate a world where other things are on the table alongside this issue.

So, there are a lot of idols to avoid and to smash. Political parties, racial identities, moral issues and even the conscience can usurp the place of God in our lives.

CONCLUSION

Let me conclude by asking, “So what if I did ‘care more about race issues than abortion’?” What if I did think a situation or system of constant racial antagonism or outright oppression were a daily existential problem for African Americans that needed redress? Why would caring about something that affects your entire life and daily living be idolatry? And why would the white evangelical who cares about abortions that in many cases touch conscience but not their actual lives not be idolatry? Who decides that?

I’m doing my imperfect best to respond to the world as I see it unfolding. It’s an election where I take seriously the term “evil” and it’s application to the actions and policies of both candidates. If I could stop it all, I would. I can’t. I respect those who will choose to sit out the election and I wouldn’t want them to violate their conscience where God’s word is silent (see here). But my conscience finds no safe refuge in sitting out the election. I feel compelled to oppose as much as I can as effectively as I can. That means working to stop Trump in a field where there are no other viable options other than Clinton. Here I stand; so help me God.


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Comments:


116 thoughts on “On Abortion and Racism: Why There Is a Greater Evil in This Election”

  1. There is no winner between these two candidates. Is the Clinton Foundation’s sickening record in Haiti any less racist? One candidate spews racism with his lips, the other does it by fleecing a nation. Neither can be defended.

  2. Hugh McCann says:

    We’re still waiting to know why choosing a great evil candidate is preferable to more evil candidate.

    As to Ryan &Co.’s denouncing of Trump – they appear to have spoken perhaps too quickly.

    Pat Buchanan @ WND today has raised valid questions as to the suitability of Judge Curiel in the case in question.

    Lady Justice is to be blind – Mr Curiel has some conflicts to overcome.

    But as to issue at hand: Why vote for any great evil? To use your analogy, neither Hitler nor Stalin need our vote.

    As to the abortion/ racism point, hating one’s brother in one’s heart is as if you’ve killed him. But you haven’t killed him and caused the devastation that spreads to so many.

    Abortion is actual murder that DOES kills another. It is worse societally than hate speech and these are both worse than hatred in the heart. Are we agreed on this?

    I am not advocating anyone vote for any candidate, but that we continue to work on our theology here.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Hugh,

      I think you miss my point. It’s not about comparing abortion and hate speech. If that were the simple choice, then siding with the pro-life candidate would be a no-brainer. But we don’t have a pro-life candidate in either Trump or Clinton. If Clinton is going to be Clinton on the issue and Trump isn’t going to even fight the issue, then we’ll have the continuation of the abortion regime for the next four years barring a wonderful work of God.

      My point is: if that’s the case–Clinton and Trump are a “push” on abortion, then asking ourselves if we also want an openly racist president to boot is what we have to do. I don’t. Stacking open racism and sexism atop of genocidal infanticide is not the America I want for anyone, and it’s certainly not making America great again.

      T

      1. Hugh McCann says:

        Hi, T.

        Are you missing my point that we need not choose between two mass murderers – were the choice between Stalin & Hitler? Then, voting itself would be sinful.

        Are you missing my point that abortion is murder while racism is not? At least, not outwardly, until acted upon.

        Do you not agree that murderous acts are more evil than evil speech which is worse than evil thoughts?

        Thanks,
        H

        P.S. I will reread your 3(?) pieces and that of Mr Rodriguez. I currently completely disagree with you both.

      2. Nate says:

        Hi, Thabiti, thanks for the post and being willing to engage in difficult conversations. On, “what if I did care more about race issues than abortion”
        Human dignity is the thread that ties the two issues.
        Supporting abortion is the act of declaring someone else’s of so little value that it can be leagally taken from them without consequence. It is the utter disregard for God, the image of God in man, and fellow man in general (as it is murder).
        Racism finds its identity in the same thinking. If I can determine whether or not another has dignity or value, I can treat whoever with dignity or not on whatever basis I choose (skin color, class, nationality etc.).
        Protecting abortion as a right is protecting the “right” to make value statements about others that are so profound that their very life hangs in the balance.
        I know you do not support abortion, but it doesn’t seem that you have connected it to racism and every other “-ism” that results when people determine the value of people instead of accepting God’s definition. There is no logical difference between abortion and racism. If one is ok, the other must be, if one is celebrated so must the other. I am not saying all pro-choice people are racists, but simply that pro-choice people have no logical ground on which to condemn racism. Certainly it is done, but not without great inconsistency.
        For me, candidates and policies are viewed through the lense of human dignity. The farther the candidate strays from the biblical definition, the less likely they are to get my vote.
        Nothing else matters-I am a one issue voter. I would prefer a candidate that is classist but does not advocate for murder to a candidate that isn’t classist but advocates murdering people when convenient. The reason for this decision is that while neither candidate gets the biblical definition of human dignity, one is a heck of a lot closer to it than the other.
        So, I don’t see how racism could be equally or more concerning than murdering innocents. They are at heart, two evils on the same scale, but one is much farther down the scale than the other.
        What are your thoughts on connecting these issues?

    2. Graham says:

      Hmmm

      First, Mr Buchanan seems to confuse Diego La Raza Lawyers Association with the National Council of La Raza. If he has made that mistake, it is inexcusable. I’m NORTHERN IRISH and – by opening a few newspapers – I was aware of the difference.

      As the Washington Post points out
      “Curiel is a member of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, which is a professional organization for Latino lawyers. There’s no evidence the organization is advocating for giving law scholarships to undocumented immigrants. And the new attack that the group lists the National Council of La Raza as a member of its “community” on its website is just a red herring that says nothing substantive about the lawyers group’s activities or merits as a professional organization.”

      Second, Mr Trump did not focus his criticisms on Judge Curiel’s political affiliations but rather on the Judge’s ethnicity and heritage. Some white guys just can’t get a break from a Mexican. Perhaps Trumps believes this is because ethnic minorities make everything about race….

      Third, there is no evidence of bias or unfair treatment. Fewer than 10 percent of federal court cases in key districts between 1975 and 2000 ended with a summary judgment. Furthermore Curiel, in his November 2015 ruling, did grant Trump a partial summary judgment!

      Fourth, if you open an article about racism with “[b]efore the lynching of The Donald proceeds”, you are at best insensitive and at worst racist.

      Finally, if we are worrying about theology, has any candidate dismissed the need for repentance as robustly as Donald Trump. Could anyone else preach pride and idolatry so powerfully?

      The man’s opposition to the Gospel is proud, public and profound.

      GV

      1. Hermonta Godwin says:

        It does not seem that you actually read Buchanan’s piece but instead simply have a couple of comments that you simply cut and paste again and again.

        For example, Buchanan’s piece said nothing about scholarships, etc.

      2. Hugh McCann says:

        Graham,

        Check the connections (it will take more than merely opening a newspaper) between the National Council of La Raza & the [San] Diego La Raza Lawyers Association. Note the same goals. Also note the racist name of the organizations. No connection?

        It’s like saying that a KKK-defending law firm is disconnected from the KKK. Or that an IRA-friendly legal organization is unaffiliated in any way with the IRA. I am Irish American and we have newspapers, too.

        I am not defending Trump against the charge of racism, but if an Irish Republican judge is deciding an IRA case involving a lawsuit against UDA men, wouldn’t some concern of neutrality and objectivity be rightly questioned?

        Or reverse it: Can a pro-UDA judge be rightly challenged about his/ her objectivity?

        I am unaware of Curiel beyond his professional and ethnic sympathies, and that is all I was addressing.

        I certainly hope you’re right and that the Donald is wrong.

        Nor am I defending Buchanan’s opening, or Trump’s theology.

        My reference to the latter is with regard to the title of this organization, RE: “The Gospel.”

        The more we argue over candidates for office and which is less evil, we miss the point.

        If it’s truly just Hitler vs. Stalin, then voting itself would be sinful!

    3. Mrs MM Reynolds says:

      Abortion is murder. There is just no getting round it. As a supposed white person, I do not know what racism means. I do know what it means not to be let into a circle of people, because I am a Christian. I know what it is like not to be admitted into a circle, because I am not a natural sucker-upper. I don’t know what it is like to thought less of because I am different. But I know what a country feels like which has been occupied by an enemy who has murdered and pillaged and stripped the country of everything. That kind of thing does stay with a people for a couple or so generations. But one has to make up ones mind that this cannot continue. And there is a certain amount of hugging victimhood going on. There is no point denying that, nor is there any point in telling me I don’t know. I know I don’t. There are many victims though. Of many kind. Abortion is still murder, most of the time, ‘ism’ isn’t. You will have to be the bigger person, it sucks, but it is so. It is hard. But that is life. That is why children of God should major on being very close followers of God and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Only God can change people’s hearts. Banging the drum does nothing really.

  3. Well said, Pastor Thabiti! I completely agree!

  4. James Fetner says:

    I agree with most of this article. But the truth is, at this point, we don’t have to choose between these two evils. We might have to make the tough decision to vote for one of them when it comes closer to election time, but right now, we can work to elevate 3rd party candidates who might not even be evil. I understand why people vote to prevent the worse, but right now, we can try to find someone better, not just less bad.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      I’m with you in that James. If there’s a viable third party option, I’m all on board with that. If there’s a way to help make such a candidate visible as a means of stopping these two, count me in!

      Sadly, right now, we don’t have that. Let’s pray for it.

      T

      1. Adam says:

        Check out Mike Smith. http://www.mikesmith2016.org. I think he has some very interesting ideas as a 3rd party candidate.

      2. A. T. says:

        Gary Johnson is currently polling around 11% and hardly anyone knows him. If he can get into the debates, he can win if not play spoiler. He can siphon off Bernie Bros and disaffected conservatives.

        1. Aaron says:

          Gary Johnson has putrid views on abortion as well. He does have stances I agree with him on, but for that fact I cannot in good conscience vote for him.

          1. But since Thabiti is ok with voting for Clinton that is not a deal breaker for him. So voting for Johnson would still be a possible option. I’d like to hear why thinks only Clinton is a viable alternative.

      3. Larry Blair says:

        Agreeing with Luther’s assertion that it is neither safe nor right to violate the conscience which is held captive to the Word of God, I will not vote for for either major candidate. It is not my Christian duty to vote, simply because our nation alllows it. However, it is my Christian duty to decry the murder of the unborn, which is a liberty celebrated by the Democrat party. Racism is ugly and unChristian, and where tolerated by the Church is shameful. But we do have laws and constitutional protections to curb the damage made possible by racist practices. The unborn have no rights, no voice, no constitutional protection in America and the next Democrat president will fight with fervor to make sure killing our unborn is a celebrated privilege for pregnant mothers. How are these two vile issues of racism and abortion in America possibly treated as equal in scope or scale of concern for the Church? I probably won’t vote for Trump, but CAN’T vote for Clinton– it would be neither safe nor right.

      4. Chris Erwin says:

        Hey brother,

        I’ve been greatly helped in thinking through these issues by reading your posts. For what it’s worth, I think your mind on all this is becoming more and more clear as you’ve worked it out over this series of posts. And I agree with you that the oversimplifications that make this election seem somehow like an easy choice are increasingly being shown for what they are –
        superficial arguments passing itself off as principled arguments.

        One point here regarding the third party option – you’ve said that no viable third party candidate exists right now, and that’s clearly true. But I would argue that the power of third parties lies not in winning a current election, but in garnering enough support to frighten one or both of the major parties into shifting, morphing, and at time even adopting some of the third party’s policies in the future. The Populists in the late 1800’s are probably the best example, having gained enough popular support that the Democratic Party had to steal some of the Populist platform in order to avoid losing presidential elections to the Republicans.

        So at this point my thoughts are running in this direction — I will likely vote third party, recognizing that this person cannot win, for two reasons: One, I will have a clear conscience that I haven’t voted for anyone who openly supports wicked policies and/or attitudes. And two, if enough people do as I’m going to do, the numbers could well be significant enough that both major parties needs to address the third party’s supporters in future elections, which could well result in those major parties altering their policies in such a way that extremist candidates who wish to be their nominees simply cannot find a home under their umbrellas.

        Thanks again!

        Chris

      5. Ted Freeman says:

        Indeed – let us pray for it. David French weighed running as an independent but after much prayer decided he was not the appropriate candidate. He maintains there is still a path for the right candidate. I cannot vote for either Trump or Clinton – neither are fit. Neither are worthy of the endorsement of my vote.

  5. Curt Day says:

    We need to realize that we are restricted to choosing between Trump and Clinton because we never invested in third parties and their candidates. It isn’t too late to start that and certainly both conservatives and nonconservative have third party candidates to vote for.

    In addition, an evil that is seldom recognized on Reformed boards that is just as horrific in its effect as racism is economic classism. In fact, our nation is no longer regarded as a democracy by some because of economic classism (see http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746 ). And one of the reasons why Blacks are so easliy given long jail sentences for minor crimes while rich Whites can commit felonies and serve only months, if any time at all, has as much to do with economic class as it does with race. And the Reformed Community must speak out against economic classism. For without addressing that, it is unlikely that we can address all of the structural issues that contribute to racism.

    Finally, I don’t think we do ourselves any favors by voting against the worst evil. Rather, we need to vote against those evils that are addressable and bide our time for those evils that are not addressable. To fail to do so will only result in us becoming a tool in the hands of one of our major political parties. Right now, racism is addressable but only if we include economic classism. Abortion is not addressable because we religiously conservative Christians do not have credibility with other groups in society that we could convince them to join our cause.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Curt,

      Thanks for joining the conversation. Three comments:

      1. Let’s pray for that viable third party option!

      2. I agree with you about the class dynamics of all of this.

      3. I’m not sure I follow you in the first two sentences of your last paragraph. On the one hand, in your first sentence you appear to be pushing back on the strategy I’ve been suggesting. On the other hand, in your second sentence you seem to be saying a version of what I’ve been tempting to say. We have to bide our time and we should play good defense while we do so. I think the way to play good defense is, as you say, by avoiding becoming “tools” to political parties. That only happens, though, if we (a) create a viable alternative–like a third party, (b) make sure the major parties know they can’t take us for granted, and (c) require really substantive commitments and proposals from whatever groups/candidates ask for your vote.

      T

      1. Curt Day says:

        T,
        Thank you for the response and sorry for the confusion. My point here is that instead of voting against the greater evil, as suggested by the title and elsewhere, we look at those evils that can be addressed at this point. Racism is one of them because we have addressed it before. Economic classism is one of them because there is a willing audience ready to listen. This is unlike the abortion issue where some of the stands associated with religiously conservative Christianity make our stand against abortion seem hypocritical. In addition, racism cannot be undone without successfully challening economic classism. So suppose someone regards aboriton as the greatest evil of the listed here. By basing ones vote on which issues can be addressed, one would not base one’s vote on abortion for the time being, but on the other evils. The title and other parts of this article suggested that we base our vote on the greatest evil we see. Hope I did not misunderstand.

        1. Heidi says:

          I think again, the problem with this kind of logic is that Mrs. Clinton is actually very vocal about her agenda to promote abortion, make it more accessible, and rid Christians of their scruples against it. So it’s not simply a wash either way. It may be a wash with Trump (it’s hard to know: he is quite a wildcard) but with Hilary it’s a vote for an agenda to aggressively spread this evil. One should be very clear about that.

          What I am concerned about is that we may come to a point where we can’t express our very natural, wholesome, absolutely just outrage over abortion and the political urgency of it — where it becomes improper to do so because it militates against concern over racial (or some other sensitive) issues. We witness the people who can identify themselves in racial concerns but we don’t hear the babies affected by abortion. There is a danger for the one to override the other if they are pitted against each other. This is why I keep trying to understand if the babies being targeted were all from one race — would we be willing to put up with four years of an *aggressive* agenda to destroy them, to fight battles on other fronts? If we could see and hear these little ones instead of having to believe in their personhood? The answer would seem to be yes, we would. We would put up with four more years of a plan to expand concentration camps if we could work on other class or economic issues. If that is the answer, so be it: I understand that politics has to be played somehow, but I can’t agree with that way of playing it. I still think the call hosted by this blog to urge leaders to tell me to vote this way inappropriate and worthy of some moral outrage. I think working on the issues they could was the reasoning for some people — probably well meaning in many ways — to support previous horrors in human history. It’s so hard to know where to the draw the lines because essentially that is the political process, but some evils should always be opposed.

          I agree about class being quite significant in racial issues.

          1. Curt Day says:

            Heidi,
            I remember when the pro-choice movement was starting and a significant part of that movement had as their biggest concern the health of the mother who was seeking an abortion. Though I disagreed with their conclusion, I had respect for their concern. And that concern was part of the pro-choice mix up through the time when Bill Bradley ran to become the Democratic nominee to be President. And Bradley, though disagreeing with us, framed the issue in a way that showed respect for our views.

            That perspective of having concern for the health of the mother id dying and what has taken overtaken it are other pro-choice concerns that make the human value of the unborn child completely subject to what the would be mother wants. If she doesn’t want the child, the child is referred to as an invasion of her body.

            But all of us accept or practice that kind reframing of issues. We refer to the efforts of our troops in battle as defending our freedoms while our opponents are terrorsts at best. And we apply that language when the battle is occurring in a nation we have invaded.

            We try to contol opinions by how we frame issues. And with abortion, there is this militancy that just isn’t against our views, it is against the unborn child. And the harshness of this militancy is hiding the loss of humanity that occurs during an abortion.

  6. laro says:

    Many have already pointed out that Trump’s questioning of this judge was not racist (e.g., The PowerLine Blog). It was a legitimate question whether a Hispanic judge affiliated with La Raza will give a fair hearing to a man who has publicly stated his desire to keep illegal immigrants out of this country. It is hardly a racist question.

    Trump did not say that Hispanics were incapable to fair judging. He merely questioned whether this individual judge was treating him fairly. It seems there is hard evidence that the judge may not be treating this case fairly.

    And we seem to have forgotten that Sonia Sotamayor said exactly the same thing (that one’s ethnicity does affect how they judge) and was widely praised for it. Was that also racist?

    It is one thing to see politicians leaping all over themselves to condemn Trump. It is disappointing to see evangelicals, for whom critical thought should be second nature, leap so fast and so hard.

    Trump may be a racist, but this is not evidence for that. It is rather evidence that our judicial system is still broken. Why can the defenders of Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, and others wonder if they will get a fairing hearing but Donald Trump cannot?

    It is a question that needs to be answered.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Iaro,

      Thanks for joining the conversation.

      I don’t think Trump’s questioning of Curiel was justifiable at all. His first comments were “because he’s Mexican.” He later began to make reference to “a Hispanic group.” But membership in LaRaza doesn’t disqualify Curiel to be a judge or even indicate bias. In this instance Trump was both racist in his comment and striking at the very heart of our legal system. Your repeating the question as though it was legitimate only provides cover for the man’s racism. It was very much a racist assertion.

      Trump can wonder if he will get a fair hearing. And if he has a procedural complaint, he should make it. But that’s also who he has attorneys, who, by the way, have been largely silent in all of this. If it’s a fair process we want, then we should discuss the process. But attacks based on ethnicity are, as some have said, the very definition of racist.

      T

      1. laro says:

        Thank, Thabiti for the response. I don’t think the comment was justifiable at all, and I think his attorneys should handle it. Trump may in fact be a racist. But this is not evidence for that. Trump’s point was the conflict of interest, not some supposed lack of intelligence or ability based on the judge’s ethnic heritage.

        Pointing out the ethnicity of a person doesn’t make one a racist. Nor is it automatically racist to question whether or not there are other motivations behind a questionable ruling particularly when there is the appearance of a possible conflict of interest. We have seen such charges before with white judges, with grand juries, and with juries, and it seems no one bats an eye. A SCOTUS justice says it and everyone praises it. Trump says it and people blow a gasket.

        The code of ethics for judges requires that judges avoid not just impropriety but the “appearance of impropriety.” It is a legitimate question as to whether this judge can avoid that appearance. The judge is a member of the same group as the attorneys bringing the action (La Raza) which is a group dedicated to Hispanic issues including immigration. The judge appointed the plaintiffs’ counsel, a firm that had given almost $700,000 to Clinton. Why did he appoint them? What is his connection to them that would lead to his appointing this group?

        This doesn’t automatically mean anything, but it is entirely reasonable to suspect that the judge has a conflict of interest in this and that Trump’s comments on immigration may be a sore spot with a Hispanic judge and that the judge might use his position unfairly, particularly when they are suspect rulings (which may or may not be the case here).

        Our legal system depends on judges being above reproach in the cases before them, Justice is the heart of the legal system and there needs to be clear and open fairness. If there are legitimate reasons to question that (see the code of ethics), then the judge should recuse himself or herself.

        Does that exist here? I don’t know. And I don’t really care. In the end, we get back to the idea of racist, and this is not a racist comment.

        Thanks, again.

        1. Graham Veale says:

          First of all, it is a mistake to confuse Diego La Raza Lawyers Association with the National Council of La Raza.

          As the Washington Post points out. Curiel is a member of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, which is a professional organization for Latino lawyers. There’s no evidence the organization is advocating for giving law scholarships to undocumented immigrants. The National Council of La Raza does appear on the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association website as a member of its “community”

          Furthermore, there is scant evidence that Trump was treated unfairly. Fewer than 10 percent of federal court cases in key districts between 1975 and 2000 ended with a summary judgment. Furthermore Curiel, in his November 2015 ruling, did grant Trump a partial summary judgment!

          It is racist to explain a person’s actions and motivations by referencing their “race” or “heritage” and nothing else.

          Pretty much the definition of racism, really.

          Graham

        2. Mark says:

          Well said. I agree, Iaro. Trump hires many Hispanics and African Americans… We all need to be a bit more careful before just throwing out this word.

          1. Graham Veale says:

            You can’t seriously argue a man isn’t racist because he hires black and Hispanics!

      2. JL says:

        One of the most poorly reasoned articles I’ve ever seen on TGC. Mr. Anyabwile implies that voting for Clinton is acceptable on the basis that 1) Trump wasn’t going to do anything about abortion, anyway, so he’s no better than Clinton in that regard, 2) Trump is racist and the sin of racism today is even more horrific than the sin of abortion today.

        1. a. Should we give Mr. Anyabwile the benefit of the doubt and conclude he is completely ignorant of Trump’s actual statements on the topic of abortion?

        Or should we assume that Mr. Anyabwile views Trump as so evil that his pro-life statements are a flat-out lie? In that case, Mr. Anyabwile should simpl announce that he is certain that Trump is a shameless liar, and leave it at that.

        1. b. Race is a categorization of people according to their genetic characteristics. (Given that all humans descend from Noah and his wife, it is neither a useful nor biblical term, but I digress.) We already have a word for categorizing people according to the nation and culture: ethnicity. There is no Mexican, Hispanic, or Latino race and therefore Trump’s comment is not racist. Is Trump creating an unwarranted division between Mexicans and Americans? Yes, but not because of racism.

        Racism morphed into a catch-all, wastebin term for any kind of bigotry that could even be remotely related to race not because there was any need or justification for it but because, hey, doesn’t it feel good to pin the most inflammatory of pejoratives on someone’s chest? (There’s also the amusing fact that most people who oppose racism hold to macroevolution, which implies the genetic superiority of some races over others, but again, I digress.)

        2. Blacks living today have rights and babies have zero. Moreover, more babies are affected by their lack of rights than black people are affected by racism. Mr. Anyabwile’s insinuation, therefore, that racism is on par with abortion is simply surreal.

        A final comment: Trump is an arrogant buffoon, but Clinton literally ought to be in jail for half a dozen reasons, including breaches of national security and negligence resulting on loss of life. Add on her anti-marriage and anti-child agenda, and voting for her is inexcusable.

        1. Bill says:

          Your note is the truest on this board. I might only quibble with your statement that Trump is a buffoon (OK, I’d probably grant arrogant, but even that is hard to say without meeting him). Actually, Trump and his “cultural christianity” is more in line with many of the theistic rationalists that formed our Federal government.

        2. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

          Hi JL,

          Thank you for joining the conversation and taking the time to read the post. May the Lord bless you and keep you today.

          Here are a few quick reactions to your comment:

          1. If we’re going to talk about Mr. Trump’s comments on abortion, let’s be sure we include them all. Here’s a roundup from a 3-day period illustrating the erratic and inconsistent nature of his comments and why I don’t think he’s a champion on the issue or to be trusted: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/04/03/donald-trumps-ever-shifting-positions-on-abortion/.

          2. If you’d like to know what I think about “race” as a biological construct, see here: http://t4g.org/media/2010/04/bearing-the-image-identity-the-work-of-christ-and-the-church-session-ii/. I reject the category as a meaningful genetic/biological reality.

          However, your conclusion that Trump can’t be a racist because “races” do not exist really illustrates a common misunderstanding. Most people think racism is what you get when you think wrongly about “race.” But in reality, “race” is what racism made up to justify itself. In other words, racism is real. It’s a form of alienation experienced since the fall. And in order to legitimate itself, racism and racists made up the idea of “races.” If you want to think more about that try here: https://www.amazon.com/Racecraft-Soul-Inequality-American-Life/dp/1781683131?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0. And if you want a historical and theological account of how “race” was developed using the Bible, try here: https://www.amazon.com/Forging-Races-Scripture-Protestant-1600-2000/dp/0521797292?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0.

          But Trump can be a racist without their being actual races because at root racism is a sin that predates “race” as a construct. In this sense, it doesn’t matter that we change the language to ethnicity. What’s being expressed is a sinful prejudice and animosity based on a constellation of factors like culture, heritage, color, etc. It’s flat wrong and rejecting “race” doesn’t make it acceptable.

          3. You’ve misread me on the relationship between abortion and racism. But even so, as one person put it to me in an email, how do you even begin to empirically evaluate whether “the evil of abortion (which potentially strikes out against all of God’s image bearers at one very narrow segment of their life) vs. racism (which strikes at certain groups of God’s image bearers pervasively across their whole life)”? It’s a good question and attempts at categorically or empirically trying to answer it strikes me as rather wrongheaded and proud when, in fact, both things ought to be decried and opposed as stridently as we might.

          Grace and peace to you,
          Thabiti

  7. Heidi says:

    Somehow my comment to Rev. Anyabwile went missing from this discussion: though I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful? I was pointing out that this post overlooked Mrs. Clinton’s very overt pushing of the abortion agenda (Donald Trump, though I am not voting for him, is not pushing for greater legal protection for killing the unborn or for Christians to lose their scruples here, even though he is pushing for other evils). I was pointing out that many of us are perceiving an endorsement here of Mrs. Clinton/democratic party in this election because of the title of the post explicitly calling on Evangelical leaders to tell us how to vote, invited by Rev. Anyabwile and sponsored on this platform. That is something in the public arena that is going to call out public response: perhaps the title ought to be clarified if Evangelical leaders are not being called on to tell us how to vote? (IE, many of these responses are not about dictating other peoples’ votes at all but about that call to influence ours.) I was asking a question I asked on the other thread that was not answered above: if unborn children being murdered were seen and heard, were all of one race or religion — I have Jewish ancestry, so to speak of the Jewish extermination under Hitler is not to speak of some other group — would that make it less tolerable to come to terms with abortion for the purpose of winning politically over some other evil? If some evils are always intolerable, is abortion not one of them? If not, why not? How does it differ from racial genocide? These are not insincere questions, and I don’t understand why they would be removed: surely there are answers if we are to come to terms with this particular evil for the purpose of fighting another?

    It’s true that we must never become ‘one issue’ people. But I don’t think that means we should learn to be *less* outraged over the destruction of the innocent, while it is still happening around us every day. The danger is not of becoming too unacclimatised to this issue. I think we only tend to be too content to vote for candidates who pay mere lip service to our values here.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Heidi,

      Thanks for leaving your comment and joining the conversation. Since your comment really applied to another post, I deleted here and went to answer it there. Please look back at that post for a reply. Thanks again for joining the conversation.

      T

  8. Joseph Randall says:

    1. Amen to all your anti-Trump sentiments. I would never want to stand before King Jesus and give an account for why I supported – in any way, shape, or form – this man.

    Just like I would never want to stand before King Jesus and given an account for why I ever supported the beheading, mutilation, and dismembering of little babies by voting for any pro-choice candidate.

    2. I see a difference between voting and paying taxes. God commands us to pay taxes. He never commands us to vote (I know, they didn’t vote back then, but still). In voting, whether you like it or not, you are saying: “I want this person to be the federal head of our country. I want them to represent me.” And, whether you like it or not, you are saying yes, to some degree, to all that they stand for. Especially if it’s written into a party platform like abortion and the celebration of sexual perversion is written into Hillary’s.

    3. When you stand against abortion, you are also standing against the greatest form of racism of our day. Abortion cuts up into pieces millions of minority children. Abortion targets minority neighborhoods. Abortion does the most horrific violence to minority children – cuts the back of their necks and sucks their brains out; cuts their arms, legs, hands, and penises off, etc.

    4. Can you imagine ever supporting a pro-slavery political candidate? May it never be! Under any circumstances ever – no! And I would never support a pro-cut babies up into little pieces candidate either.

    5. If we were talking about cutting up two year olds into little pieces, we would not be having this conversation because it would be so horrific in our eyes. But as Christians, we are supposed to believe that the baby in the womb has the same value as a two year old. But I fear, deep down, Christians really don’t believe they have the same value. May God be merciful to us the sinners.

    6. Amen to not making any moral issue an idol! Christ is all! May we count everything as loss compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ! And therefore, may we never be found supporting anything, even in the slightest, that sent our Jesus to the cross.

    I like his take: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/gospeldrivenchurch/2016/06/03/politics-ought-nevertrump-principle/

  9. Elros says:

    Thabiti, you said,

    If Clinton is going to be Clinton on the issue and Trump isn’t going to even fight the issue, then we’ll have the continuation of the abortion regime for the next four years barring a wonderful work of God.

    While I agree abortion shouldn’t be the single issue when voting for President, this is because the President has little influence over saving lives TODAY.

    The grassroots and city/state governments have accomplished many victories on this front compared to Republican Presidents. Of course, when the case finally does go back to the Supreme Court, they do have an influence. Possibly 3-4 judges will be replaced in 4 years. We know Clinton will not only set that issue back but also religious freedom. At least Trump is a COULD on appointing better judges (actually like other Republican Presidents, as we’ve seen how some Republican appointees have completely dropped the ball on key rulings as of late).

    Now, my suggesting I’d vote for Mrs. Clinton in order to stop the twin evils that Mr. Trump represents is no more an endorsement of Mrs. Clinton or the Democratic party than our Lord Jesus Christ telling His audience to pay taxes to Caesar was an endorsement of Caesar or of emperor worship… The real evils abroad are murder, racism and sexism. And I feel I must do something, however marginal, to hold the line as best as possible. I trust you do, too, even if you choose a different “something” to do.

    So I ask you again, Moving on to one key argument you make about racism/sexism/etc getting worse under Trump instead of Clinton, how do you ignore the left’s feminism and overuse of crying “racist” that has gotten us to the point of Trump? Furthermore, it’s not just the right that are tribalizing. I invite you to read this quote from The Atlantic below on how even liberals are being tempted to vote for Trump because tribalizing as whites make sense to them because of radical leftist’ rhetoric. Notice that even though this Atlantic writer is liberal, he lays the blame for increasing racial resentment at the feet of the radical left and not right.

    How can you be sure that Clinton will get in those radicals’ way unlike Obama?

    Finally you say,

    I respect those who will choose to sit out the election and I wouldn’t want them to violate their conscience where God’s word is silent.

    So would you respect those of us that say we would vote for Trump with the same goal in mind (preventing violent racial strife from being a reality all over the country)? As I tell people the case in short, nationalism today or ultra-nationalism tomorrow.

    The correspondent’s words track concerns I’ve aired before.
    In The Federalist, David Marcus argues that anti-white rhetoric is fueling white nationalism. I’ve previously warned that ‘encouraging a focus on white identity is a dangerous approach for a country in which white supremacy has been a toxic force,’ an admonition that applies to the right and left in different ways. And on the subject of ‘political correctness,’ I’ve posited that citizens who oppose Trumpism should ‘take a careful look at everything that falls under the rubric of political correctness; study the real harm done by its excesses; identify the many parts that are worth defending; and persuade more Americans to adopt those norms voluntarily, for substantive reasons, not under duress of social shaming or other coercion.

    Today’s correspondent is just one voter. Future opinion polls will say much more about how typical Trump supporters relate to political correctness and white identity. If it turns out that there are a significant number of people who are reacting to social-justice shaming and rhetorical anti-whiteness by shifting from supporting campaigns like Gary Johnson 2012 to campaigns like Donald Trump 2016, what then?

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/a-dialogue-with-a-22-year-old-donald-trump-supporter/484232/

  10. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

    Hi Elros,

    If a person reasoned that Trump were the person to stop what they saw as even incrementally worse evil under Clinton, then, yes, I’d respect their right to vote for Trump. That would simply be a disagreement about the relative merits and prospects of each candidate. At a very fundamental level, that’s the disagreement we’re always having in electing political candidates. And at the end of the day we’ll see how things play out.

    As for the left causing Trump, racism, nativism, classism, bigotry and prejudice are wrong wherever you find it. The right is no more justified in its contribution because of the left, not the left more justified because of the right. Most African Americans have long held that each have their part in these sins. Often times it appears a distinction without a difference. So I’m not much into the “left v. right” on racism. I oppose it wherever I find it, and that’s easy since I’m not a member or loyalist of either party. Wrong is wrong.

    T

    1. Lorriane says:

      What you are not taking into consideration Mr. Anyabwile, is that there is a Supreme Court nomination at stake which will have vast repercussions on this country. We have no chance for a conservative with Hillary. With Trump we do. This can determine the direction our country takes and I wish more people considered the importance of this issue.

  11. Doug says:

    When the Public Schools refused to acknowledge God any longer, many nonetheless continued to put their children into the institutions with little noise. However, with the imposition of LGBT initiatives, many parents got upset and changed their tune. Such behavior illustrates how little weight we assign to the honor of God. It was primarily the dishonor and rejection of God that Paul railed against in Romans 1; not abortion, racism, or anything else. It was because “they refused to acknowledge God any longer” that God gave them up to a depraved mind. This should cause us concern. Recently, the ERLC of the SBC headed by Russell Moore, lead a panel discussion on religious liberty in Washington, D.C. In addition to representatives of Catholicism and Evangelicalism, also included by Moore were representatives of Islam and Mormonism, lending legitimacy to these alien false gods. Yet we want to argue over racism and abortion?

  12. James says:

    There are Christian police officers who put their lives on the line each day. They detest racism and they seek to live out principles of Phil 2 while on duty. They seek to promote unity in the communities they serve. But they would disagree with you that in the case off at least some of the individuals named above, the death resulted because the individual did not comply with the lawful order of the police. They would say that these types of orders are put in place for the safety of the individual and the officer and had they complied they would be alive today. It had nothing to do with race. These officers are men who passionately the love God and submit to His Lordship. They wonder if your opinion may change if you were to join them in a ride along and see the danger they face on a daily basis. On the other hand, we never walked your shoes. We don’t know what it is like to be a black man growing up in the South in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. In 1972 my family moved from California to Georgia and I heard the n word for the very first time in my Christian school. Ridicule of blacks in the Christian community was rampant. My white friend who grew up and still lives in Alabama says that tragically Sunday is still the most segregated day of the week. What’s my point? My point is is that if reconciliation is to continue to move forward, White Christians need to take an honest look at the injustices that have been done to the black community. However it is also proper to question accusations of racism where appropriate because the accusations are not always valid.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Amen to all of that.

  13. Carlo says:

    I don’t think a vote for Clinton can be any Christian’s imperfect best response as he or or she see’s the world unfolding. We are a nation where millions of unborn babies are murdered annually, and it is the worst sin against against African Americans because twice the rate (at least, maybe more) as many African Americans are killed by abortion than whites. You have to see that the legacy that Clinton would is not just her four (or more) years that she is in office, but the life time appointments she makes to the federal judiciary. Donald Trump is an unknown evil, he can’t be trusted, even with his list of solid conservative Supreme Court nominees. That doesn’t translate into a vote for Trump. But Hillary Clinton is a known evil. She will appoint justices to the Supreme Court that will continue this evil practice of abortion for decades. (Recall that one of the seven justices that ruled in favor of Roe v. Wade in 1973 was Justice Douglas appointed by FDR in 1939. He was 40 years old when he was appointed.) So, you’re not voting for just four years to come, but decades to follow. And the thought of any prominent and thoughtful Christian like yourself voting for Clinton is very, very disappointing. The impact and influence you will have on many other Christians (irrespective of race) as they consider their vote is considerable. I really, really hope you will reconsider your decision and recommend to your readers also to not vote for Hillary Clinton.

  14. Keri says:

    You are so right about not trusting Trump on the abortion issue. His position on abortion, like most of his other positions, is completely unprincipled. He says he changed from pro to anti because he knows a very successful young man whose parents had considered aborting him. What if the young man wasn’t very successful? Would his life be valuable? What if Trump meets a homeless person and finds out his parents considered aborting him? Will he change his views again on abortion? This issue will be the first to be compromised because the reality is that Trump switched his position because he knew he couldn’t get the GOP nomination without being against abortion.
    Another issue that never gets brought up is Trump’s moral character. He has been a serial adulterer, owns a strip club, and brags about taking vengeance against his enemies. Is this the kind of man that we Evangelicals can support?

  15. Wyeth Duncan says:

    Thabiti, I agree with you. In this Presidential election, I have an obligation to do all I can to keep a racist and xenophobe like Donald Trump–a man who also gives clear evidence of having Narcissistic Personality Disorder–out of the White House. So, given a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I will in good conscience vote for Mrs. Clinton.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Thanks bro!

  16. Brian Hager says:

    I’m interested to know, what policies is Trump going to put into place that legalize racism? That would help tremendously connecting the dots in your argument.

  17. Drew Hoppenworth says:

    Thabiti, I wanted to write just to thank you for your labor to present your point of view with clarity and precision, as well as with grace. Your thoughtfulness about this complex and challenging topic is clearly evidenced by your writing. I think this post (and your interaction with the commenters) truly embodies the type of charitable discourse and disagreement that you champion, and for that I believe Jesus is honored. I’ve not yet reached a conclusion yet on how to vote in November, but as a white guy from the midwest who hasn’t been on the receiving end of any racism to speak of, I’m thankful to hear your perspective and learn from you.

    Drew

  18. Joseph Porter says:

    Man, the two party system has us so shook. Furthermore, I have not found anywhere in scripture, a verse that requires us to vote, nor is there anywhere in scripture that requires us to listen to the manipulative statement that your vote for someone other than a potential winner is a “wasted vote”. Please correct me if I’m wrong. And please, regarding the both of these matters, don’t tell me what all has been done for you to have the freedom to vote. That is a personal conviction that requires a lot of examination before being converted into a sword with which to threaten others who don’t feel as compelled to violate their own conscious by feeling forced to make a decision to endorse someone that they feel is harmful to the spiritual and physical well being of this country.
    Unfortunately, I think our ideology, idolatry and traditions have got us stuck. Reformed folks in modern day America should be very comfortable bucking the status quo and its rhetoric. But I guess politics and race run deeper than theology from time to time.

  19. Jeff Cavanaugh says:

    Hey, Thabiti! Hope you’re well. Thanks for always being willing to engage carefully and charitably on these topics. I know you’re taking a lot of flack over it, and even if we disagree on some conclusions, I appreciate your spirit.

    I want to follow up on your point about binding people’s consciences. I agree with you that we do it too often and need to be careful about insisting folks agree with us on our conclusions we draw from biblical principles, and not just on the principles themselves.

    But, brother, I think that’s precisely what bothered a lot of people about Nick’s post you published last week. Nick told us we should be voting for Hillary, and he didn’t offer any real qualifications on that, or concessions to the individual believer’s conscience. By leaving those out, I think he ended up wrongly attempting to bind believers’ consciences in a similar way to what you describe here. And worse, he tried to enlist “evangelical leaders” to join him in conscience-binding, too! That’s problematic, especially if he means to include pastors among the evangelical leaders he’s talking to.

    Love you, man. Give my love to K.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Love you, too, bro. Thanks for the push back on Nick’s post. Very helpful comments. I think Nick would actually agree with you about not wanting to improperly bind people. I think he was trying to make the case as forcefully as he could, knowing it’d be a difficult case to make with most Evangelicals. But your point stands. Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Give our love to A.
      T

  20. Brian Parks says:

    This is exactly why I will vote for HRC. Keep writing Thabiti and please don’t give up on us, as long as God gives you strength.

  21. Elros says:

    Thank you for the reply.

    If a person reasoned that Trump were the person to stop what they saw as even incrementally worse evil under Clinton, then, yes, I’d respect their right to vote for Trump.

    Fair enough. If those opposing Trump in Evangelicalism are willing to grant this, we can have more fruitful dialogue.

    As for the left causing Trump, racism, nativism, classism, bigotry and prejudice are wrong wherever you find it. The right is no more justified in its contribution because of the left, not the left more justified because of the right.

    I agree it doesn’t justify the sins you listed. But if you want to, I’d be interested if you would comment on the relative merits of which side actually seems to be causing it more, on the empirical grounds I mentioned (years of effects based on rhetoric and actions). You made a positive case for the left doing better, but you didn’t address the strongest negatives of left on these issues outweighing it. Would also be interested in your thoughts on the point that the tribalism isn’t going away, irregardless of if Trump loses and Christian moralizing.

    Finally, I’m still curious if you’d be willing to grant some kinds of nationalism don’t automatically fall prey to the sins of nativism and racism? For instance, I’m an ethnic nationalist, and we typically think every people group deserves a homeland, and therefore the rights to self-determination of statehood if they so desire, free association, etc.

    This is different from/rejects both white nationalism (there isn’t one white ethnicity in our 50 states, but several historically and presently, just as in Europe, although perhaps there is just one major black ethnic group and one major Hispanic group) and Trumpian American nationalism (also incoherent because our American nation is actually a federation of many “nations” if we define nation as ethnicity as has historically been the case).

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Elros,

      Thanks for the comments and questions.

      I don’t think we have empirical evidence for saying the Left or the Right is more racist. In fact, the side to which we attribute the most racist attitudes and actions have shifted in history. From an African-American perspective (though not every AA thinks this way), there’s not much difference. Many have long regarded the two groups as different sides of the same coin when it comes to these issues. Right now, I think it’s difficult to suggest the GOP is more inclusive than the Dems on any measure.

      I’ll have to think more about whether there are kinds of nationalism that don’t automatically fall prey to nativism and racism. I suppose the moment you base your nationalism on ethnicity or “race” you’re already a long way down the road to racism. Having said that, I also think people become nationalists for a variety of reasons. For example, there are black nationalists who have sought a homeland and independence inside the U.S. They’re a small group usually on the far left, though there’s 1-2 examples on the far right, too. Arguably many of them are “reactionary nationalists.” There are still racial and racist dynamics at work, but it’s possible for that to not be the sole cause I guess. I’ll chew on that some more.

      In the meantime, grace to you.
      Thabiti

  22. James says:

    Thabiti,
    Thank you so much for putting your thought out there on this subject. I’m not a political person, my time in the Army has kept me from commenting. Like you, I serve the King so Presidential stuff is often too trivial. Years ago at one of the T4G you spoke on our being “One in Adam.” I served you dinner that night and thanked you for the message. I have directed it to people throughout the years. It was excellent.
    Concerning this election, I do not see a good choice in the two candidates. You offer wise words on being a one issue voter. These are wise words. I do feel that abortion is too much of a one issue vote determiner. For me the issue isn’t just about life and death (it is) but it is also very prone to racism as the location of clinics is concerned as well as statistics for the amount of minority abortions.
    Concerning past elections, would you consider past votes for President Obama a form of reverse racism? In the previous elections, there were candidates that were more pro-life but they did not garner your vote. I hope you do not view this line of questioning as out of line. If you do please delete the comment. My family immigrated from Ireland and I’m a missionary overseas. We don’t have much time in the US and I’m trying to wrap my head around things. I’ve always viewed and have better been able to clarify us all being “One in Adam.” Thank you.

  23. Abthomas says:

    I will probably get bashed for this comment, but here it goes. Why is a person that is pro-choice assumed to be pro-abortion? Secretary Clinton has said publicly that abortion should be legal, safe and rare. The way to reduce abortions is to invest in education and birth control. We can’t legislate morality. We also won’t win the argument by demonizing those women who choose abortion. They are broken sinners just like all of us. As the church, we need to do a better job of teaching the Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in their lives. If we spent as much energy and time working to prevent teenage and unwanted pregnancies as we do fighting about abortion, we may just achieve our goal of reducing abortions. Notice I said reducing, not eliminating. Women will still get abortions even if it is illegal. If a teen or an adult woman sought my counsel as she decides whether or not to get an abortion, you can be sure I will do everything I can to talk her out of it, but at the end of the day, it’s her decision. So if she does do it, it should at least be safe, and unless it’s legal, we have no guarantee it will be safe. If you disagree with that, then what you are saying is that the life of the mother is of no value or consequence, and that is most certainly not a Christian position.

    To the broader issues raised above, I agree with all of what you wrote. Lord help us all.

    1. Nate says:

      First, thanks for having the courage to post your question. I don’t want to bash you, but I am hoping to give a reasoned response from the other perspective to your position and hear a response.
      Would abortions drop dramatically, saving millions of lives/year, if abortion were outlawed? Yes. The ease/convenience/legality of abortion has a huge effect on how many are performed. It is one thing to do a relatively safe procedure in a medical office as a good law-abiding citizen. It is another to do an unsafe medical procedure in a back room illegally and possibly face criminal charges for doing so. So abortions would be dramatically reduced, millions of lives would be saved–and those lives count/matter. Will some women do the illegal procedure anyway at great risk to themselves? Yes, undoubtably. But not nearly as many. No one is forcing them to endanger their body in such a way, so it is not a matter of not respecting these women. It would be their choice just as much as going 100 mph through a city, even if it wasn’t an easy choice.
      Second. I am all for not legislating morality (Romans 7) except for a few issues such as assault/murder/abuse etc. Murder is wrong. A society that embraces murder by necessity diminishes the value of human life-every human life. This is why abortion is a bigger and more fundamental issue than racism for me. If you are ok devaluing human life (it is ok to murder an innocent person given the right circumstances) than racism/classism/nativism/bigotry and so on will necessarily result. Necessarily. Once society declares itself capable of determining which image bearer is valuable and which isn’t, that society has legislated a HUMAN determination of human dignity. Thus, statements or convictions such as “I feel whites are better than blacks and I can not only make that assertion but act on it justifiably” result. Once a society states that we can legally murder someone, there is no logical reason for members of that society to abstain from denigrating and mistreating other people on any basis whatever. “I determine this baby’s life is not valuable”, is not logically different from, “I determine that Italian/black/white/Mexican’s life sin’t valuable. In fact, considering one is an innocent baby, one might make the case that it is considerably worse.
      Final thought. Abortions are by nature not safe-ever. The point is to murder someone. Clinton’s “legal, safe, and rare” is contradiction in terms. “Murder should be legal, safe and rare”. From my perspective such a statement is the opposite of anything civilized and people who hold such a conviction should be kept as far away from any kind of governing as possible. They do not respect life-or worse they have made determinations on which lives are valuable and which aren’t (there’s that seed of racism again). It is not only illogical to a concerning degree, but it is also the fertilizer for the mistreatment of people everywhere.
      These are my thoughts, I hope they have not given offense, I haven’t written them to do so, and I would love to hear your response.

      1. Nate says:

        I am PROUDLY a one issue voter. I vote on the candidate that I feel does the best job at respecting human dignity. Abortion is a huge concern for me, and so is every other transgression in policy or action of human dignity. For better or worse, I rate them. Not giving someone a job because of their skin color is wrong and should be punished. If I am forced to choose between that evil and the evil of a candidate who advocates taking someone’s life because they are inconvenient, I will opt for the former (or not vote at all).
        I hope for the candidate that rates high in every way in terms of respecting human dignity.

  24. What has led you to the determination that Gary Johnson is not a viable alternative to Donald Trump?

    1. James says:

      I need to look more into him. I’m not completely sold on the Libertarian position but he has at least had some time as a Governor. From what I have seen, I like him so far.

    2. I would be interested in your response if you have time, Thabiti Anyabwile.

  25. Troy Blakemore says:

    I think WNG and Al Mohler have discussed that the term “evangelicals” has become meaningless. Those who claim “christianity”, yet never attend church or adhere to biblical values, and still claim to be “evangelicals” are falsely being labeled as such (or we should throw out the term). Including the most recent results from the June 7th primary, Trump has still NOT, I repeat NOT capture the majority of Republican votes in the primaries–only a plurality; 56.3% voted for someone other than Trump. Rest assured, Trump will lose this election–enough Republicans will either not vote or pick a 3rd party candidate (Libertarian, Green or write in–David Petraeus is floating around).

    On the abortion question–both are pro-choice and I’ll be voting for neither.

    MAAFA21.com

  26. Adam Omelianchuk says:

    Thabiti,

    This was the best post I’ve read from you. Ever. Keep it up, and godspeed.

  27. Paul Yates says:

    Thabiti, I’ve watched over the past year or so as conversations have taken place on Twitter about racial issues and politics, especially this particular election. I’ve seen you get hammered by people for raising questions that rightly make most of us squirm, if not actually holler. I want to commend you not only for graciously, thoughtfully, and compassionately seeking the good of the body of Christ by speaking the truth in love, but for also having a backbone and standing firm. You’re good people, by the grace of God, and I’m proud to call you “brother” by virtue of that same grace. I pray for you as you lead your congregation, and as you help shape the thoughts of others by your writing.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Thank you, dear brother. The Lord bless and keep you today and always!
      T

  28. Emma Williams says:

    While I don’t think that Trump is substantially better than Clinton on abortion, I would argue that one cannot separate abortion and racism as if they are two distinct issues. In my opinion, abortion is the ultimate expression of racism and bigotry; the abortion industry openly targets minority neighborhoods and low income districts, thus discriminating against people based upon their race and class. Hillary has proved herself over and over again to be a panderer and a paternalistic racist, from her put-on accent to her identity-fueled politics. While Trump openly discrimates, Hillary lets hidden racism fuel her policies. Also, whether or not Trump would be proactively pro-life, he would most likely not be proactively pro-abortion while Hillary would indeed actively promote abortion.

  29. David Neff says:

    White Christians who do not take this country’s resurgent racism into account in this political season have taken the Lord’s name in vain. And the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

  30. Brad says:

    Thabiti,

    Thank you for a reasoned explanation of a small portion of the issues surrounding this election. You voice on issues has often been used by the Father to deal with bias that I didn’t realize I had. I want to give a faithful thought to what you’ve said. In doing so, I would like to understand something else.

    One issue that I’ve not seen mentioned is what do you do with the likely 2 Supreme Court nominees that this next President will nominate? I would really like to hear your thoughts on how these candidates will ultimately affect the future of the nation and the world in light of new judicial nominees. It seems to me that HRC is very likely to nominate candidates that will favor limited religious freedom in support of “equality”. Do you feel that this should be a concern of ours?

    As an overseas worker in a country with very little freedom (of all kinds) I have become even more strongly convinced that my Father’s Kingdom is the only one that ultimately matters. I also know that my savior told Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church. Experience has shown me that the Kingdom will grow in all situations and sometimes more so in the worst situations. We serve a sovereign God and as such I’m not worried about the outcome of this election I’m simply trying to find my place in it.

    With all respect,

  31. Elros says:

    Thanks for the comments and questions…

    There are still racial and racist dynamics at work, but it’s possible for that to not be the sole cause I guess. I’ll chew on that some more.

    Likewise. You are the first evangelical commentator/blogger I’ve seen engage this particular viewpoint. I appreciate it. I’ll add a couple comments below that should be helpful clarification on how ethnic nationalists think minorities should be treated in any future ethno-states and help you chew on the topic.

    I don’t think we have empirical evidence for saying the Left or the Right is more racist. In fact, the side to which we attribute the most racist attitudes and actions have shifted in history. From an African-American perspective (though not every AA thinks this way), there’s not much difference. Many have long regarded the two groups as different sides of the same coin when it comes to these issues. Right now, I think it’s difficult to suggest the GOP is more inclusive than the Dems on any measure.

    You misunderstand what I’m aiming at for an empirical analysis. It isn’t about determining which side is more racist in their heart of hearts or more inclusive. It’s about answering the question of how the rhetoric and actions of radical leftism is affecting the general populace to tribalize more according to their race or ethnicity, but especially whites, including white liberals. This is why I cited The Atlantic article about a white liberal doing just that and considering Trump. One could also say Obama didn’t do anything to heal tensions and even further inflamed them.

    I’ll have to think more about whether there are kinds of nationalism that don’t automatically fall prey to nativism and racism. I suppose the moment you base your nationalism on ethnicity or “race” you’re already a long way down the road to racism.

    First off, ethnic nationalists think a little bit of immigration is okay and can even be beneficial for the host country. We just don’t want multi-ethnic countries or empires because they always devolve to a situation similar to what we have or worse. They don’t have long-term staying power (unless they like in the Roman Empire, but that required exercise of a lot of state tyranny and brutality). Of course any nationalism can develop into ultra-nationalism, but so can many theological and political systems go “hyper” with many terrible consequences for this life. As even the Dalai Lama recently said, “Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arab country. Germany is Germany.”

    So to throw out a few representative examples of how it might look here, one would could say Deep South would be on the low-end (allowing less than 5% of its population be immigrants). New England and the West Coast would be on the high end (10%+) with New Netherland (New York City) being the top (it’s always been strongly multi-ethnic unlike the other regions of the 13 colonies). The peoples of the Greater Appalachia region, Africa-America(s?), Midwest, the West, and Hispanic Southwest would have %’s in the middle. These names aren’t completely original to me. I recommend a liberal historian’s, Colin Woodward, book called American Nations. (I recommend clicking the map on his blog that is on the first page of Google. It has borders based on a county map).

    There’s finally the practical prophetic and theological issue. If we think nations have a moral imperative to not stop multiculturalism from developing in their country, is there a point we can draw the % line? Does “every tribe, tongue, and nation” of Revelation 7 and “the kings of the earth brought the glory of the nations into the holy city” of Revelation 21 reference only nations before our modern era? Ethnos is also frequently translated as “nation” in the NT too.

    None of this should preclude multi-ethnic fellowship in the church today of course, just like Japan being very ethnically homogeneous doesn’t hinder our fellowship with the churches there (to name just one example).

    Having said that, I also think people become nationalists for a variety of reasons. For example, there are black nationalists who have sought a homeland and independence inside the U.S. They’re a small group usually on the far left, though there’s 1-2 examples on the far right, too. Arguably many of them are “reactionary nationalists.”

    Part of the reason I’ve come to embrace ethnic nationalism is because I think that the more people do, the less likely soldiers will be willing to commit atrocities in any local conflict of the future in the name of “Keep the Union together!” This also connects to police brutality. I don’t see how a minority will not suffer ethnic-based discrimination from the government in any sufficiently multi-ethnic country (sufficient for resentment to build and inter-ethnic competition to begin-there’s global research on this if you want to see the data).

    The only way to alleviate the situation is to partition the country to give various peoples self-government or make it unnecessary if the culture is thoroughly “gospeled”. Even if you’re postmillenial as I am, that’s obviously a long way’s off. A government shouldn’t force multiculturalism in its borders. Only the church can make it work in the meantime at a micro, “pocket” scale.

    1. Elros says:

      To connect ethnic nationalism to the prevention of increasing racism and inter-ethnic strife as your post focuses on, I should have added that many of us of this viewpoint think that multiculturalism, globalism, open borders, or a multi-ethnic country are much more likely to lead to the development of ultra-nationalistic movements (and street gangs) in said country.

      Conversely, we see ethnic nationalism as the best preventative of ultranationalism. This is why we can pragmatically embrace some aspects of Trumpian nationalism (our societal context is still no where near pre-WWII Germany, but what if severe economic depression hits under Democrat leadership?).

  32. Aaron Coalson says:

    Perhaps one of the boldest, bravest things I’ve read in a while. I’ve been working through for a while how I could consider, as a pro-lifer, voting for Hillary. You’re helping me understand this more and more. Thanks for your boldness to write what you believe.

  33. Heidi says:

    There are factual errors though. For instance, Mr. Trump said that Mexico sends ‘their rapists’ across the border, not that ‘they’re rapists’. He has stated that he would be happy to nominate a Hispanic judge to the supreme court: it’s a fair trial he’s concerned about. If Judge Sotomayor can think she’s likely to make better decisions across the board than a white male because she’s a Hispanic woman — to wonder if someone’s ethnic background might affect the outcome a particular case, when the defendant is proposing plans that would affect others of the same ethnicity is actually a milder statement. I don’t like Mr. Trump’s plan for immigrants: I think there are better solutions to the real problems, which would help the many who are contributing so much to our society. But Mr. Trump is often misquoted or over vilified while special pleading is allowed for statements other people make.
    Also Senator Clinton does, again, actively promote the abortionist agenda. It is not accurate to represent that the outcome with regard to abortion would be the same either way. The fight against it might go nowhere under Trump (though it is highly likely his supreme court nominations would be better in this regard). But abortion, and various other very unbiblical social agendas, would be aggressively promoted and expanded under Mrs. Clinton. If one is going to talk about strategising this way it is important not to fudge the actual differences and consequences of the strategy.
    I do not think we should ever use the suffering of our community as a power play for our voice to be heard over the suffering of others. This is my concern in setting precedents of pitting racial issues against those of the unborn. If the voice of one suffering community is used to silence the voice of another (as is the world’s way) — the unborn who can’t speak for themselves will find that their cause is easily allowed to slip to the background while we fight on other fronts. They’re easily silenced unless we speak for them. Our experience of suffering should make us more sensitive to speak for others in other communities who are suffering, more careful over the actual impact to them of our decisions. We should be extending this kind of care across racial barriers and always to the weak and unborn.

  34. Bryan says:

    A very interesting post. The perplexing piece for me is that there seems to be a faults dichotomy that is presented: either you are a single issue voter or all issues are equally valid for the dictates of conscience. But issues come in a moral hierarchy. I recognize that Christian people may not have the same taxonomic structure to that hierarchy, but it certainly doesn’t negate the presence of a hierarchy, or for that matter, the necessity of it. It seems apparent to me that a hierarchy of issues in the biblical text exists that begins with protecting and caring for the most marginalized and defenseless and then works its way out to defending those who have the voice and opportunity to defend themselves. I find this in theological trajectories found in the law, proverbial literature and on into the New Testament ethic of Jesus language regarding children, Paul, and the General epistles as well. Seeing an issue and it’s cultural abuse as a primary focus where the text rubs hard against society does not mean that no other issue matters. But does it demand that we give less voice to it or equal voice to other issues. I don’t think by speaking in a loud voice to abortion I have to say that I am bound to speak to all injustices with an equal resonance any more than the person resounding appropriately and loudly against racism is now a hypocrite if he gives less voice to sexism than racism. It is not idolatrous to care deeply about an issue to a degree that outweighs other issues so long as other issues do not get ignored or subverted.
    I personally have taken the path of not voting for either as I cannot see a moral mandate for voting in the Scripture. But it is very easy for me to see that voting for Clinton would be voting against my conscience and the textual prohibitions regarding abortion in one area while voting for Trump would be violating other principles of racial and fiscal integrity and value that the Bible supports. I am perplexed how one (like Thabiti, whom I respect) arrives at the place, without a biblical mandate to vote, where pragmatics take over and a vote for Clinton ensues.

    1. Bryan says:

      *false dichotomy not “faults”… Blasted autocorrect

    2. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      hi Bryan,

      Thank you for a thoughtful comment and for taking the time to both read and engage the post. Two quick replies:

      1. I agree that there is a hierarchy of sorts to the moral issues involved. I am not equating abortion and racism, though I think both are morally abominable. I am simply saying that since I think we’re going to have a draw or “push” on abortion with these two candidates, then racism, sexism and other factors become tipping points for me. That’s not to silence anyone on abortion or to argue an absolute moral equivalency. It’s simply my way of making the issue more complex and realistic than simply saying it all comes down to official party stances on abortion.

      2. I’m hearing a variant of this a lot: “The Bible doesn’t say anything about abortion so why vote?” There are at least two problems with that question/statement. First, it’s an argument from silence which is inherently weak. We could just as well argue the opposite conclusion from the same silence. Second, the argument unintentionally bypasses the fact that while the Bible doesn’t specifically speak to voting (or a lot of other issues), the Bible is nonetheless sufficient for our discipleship and action in this area (and all other areas). I think the appropriate response is not to argue from silence against voting, but to wrestle with the appropriate texts of principle and use our freedom as wisely as we can. That’s how I come to my position here.

      Thanks again for joining the conversation!
      T

      1. Bryan says:

        Thanks Thabiti. Just to clarify in response to #2. I was not suggesting that “the Bible doesn’t say anything about abortion” so why vote? I was suggesting that voting, while an important task of responsible, Gospel-centered people in a free society, is not biblically mandated. I often hear people speak of voting as “your Christian duty.” Candidly I think my Christian duty is to take voting seriously, much like i would take using my words seriously. In taking the task seriously i am bound to consider two questions: 1) Do i vote and 2) for whom do I vote. If the options afforded in #2 violate issues of conscience and theological/ethical commitments for me then I find that answer weighing heavy on my decision regarding #1. That was my point, perhaps I did not communicate that clearly. In sum, the Bible teaches me to take the opportunity for cultural transformation seriously alongside and in many ways out of my commitment to the Gospel. But it seems to me that transformation happens by weighing in with a vote and/or by weighing in with strategic abstinence at times as well.

        1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

          I’m sorry, brother. I misspoke in my point #2. I’ve been engaging on abortion so much that I wrote it when I should have written the word “voting.” So the sentence should have read, “The Bible doesn’t say anything about voting, so why vote?” Sorry about that.

          I’m glad you take voting, like speaking, seriously. We should. Both are expressions of Christian discipleship and opportunities to image the God who made us and the Christ who saved us. But there’s probably another question you should ask before your two. “What does voting mean?” A lot of this discussion turns on how someone answers that question.

          In the end, I agree with your analysis about voting, though I may be far less sanguine about “cultural transformation” as a goal. There are multiple things to consider. And in matters of conscience, we must grant the freedom that the scriptures grant. To paraphrase Paul, “Why should anyone’s freedom be determined by the conscience of another?”

          Grace and peace,
          T

  35. Funny enough, I just wrote about this same thing. I invite you to read my new article, “Who Should Evangelicals Vote For? Whomever They Want, Now Shut Up.” Link below.

    subversivetheologian.wordpress.com/2016/06/04/who-should-evangelicals-vote-for-whomever-they-want-to-now-shut-up/

  36. Vicki says:

    Thank you for sharing your ideas and your heart. I have found God revelling more of my heart issues and preconceived ideas of race relations over the last few years……Thank you for being patient, gracious and kind with those of us who have failed to see the problems and pain of our brothers and sisters. And keep speaking the truth to us……Thank you!

  37. Annie says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for speaking up.

  38. Tim says:

    What would happen if enough of us voted for someone else besides these two candidates? Just saying.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      May it be so!

  39. Joseph Hession says:

    Perhaps the Lord is making it more clear to us than ever that politicians will not save this nation. We have put too much hope in a president curing the deep sins of our nation. Only Christian revival will do that. When the people have repented, we will see more godly candidates. And let us not forget that God can cause good to come from either of the evil candidates that take office.

  40. JS Boegl says:

    This election – and in this hour of western history, there is something greater “at risk” than the political future of our nation.

  41. Susan says:

    Thabiti, I just saw this posted on fb. I’m curious what you think of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7e6gLht6OQ

  42. Jordan says:

    Hi Thabiti,

    I want to thank you for confronting issues so boldly in the face of criticism. If I still can’t quite come to the same conclusion as you, I have definitely become more sympathetic to your position. I especially appreciate your condemnation of either neglect of racial issues or outright racism in the evangelical community. In the past few years you have confronted my own sinful neglect or lack of thoughtful consideration of these issues. I see the problem of Christians who seemingly put forth little effort into emphasizing with and understanding the problems facing those of different backgrounds. And even some who do see do little or nothing to alleviate the problems. And so I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on specific ways the church has failed in this regard and in what ways the church can fight this tendency and confront it in our preaching, discipling, and any other means.

  43. Jenny says:

    “[The devil] always sends errors into the world in pairs–pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.” –

    C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

  44. Aaron says:

    “Of two evils, choose neither” – Charles Spurgeon. I will be heeding Mr. Spurgeon’s advice this election. There is no rationalizing between these two terrible candidates. As to many “evangelicals” support of Trump, I believe just as in many other areas, they are “Christian” in name only. Probe further into their “faith” and you would likely find it lacking to what you and I would know as a follower of Christ. As to the elected officials of the GOP variety that have bent over backwards to support Trump, I believe many of them take advantage of those who are anti-abortion as a guaranteed vote just as many Democrats take advantage of those that typically vote for them to maintain the status quo. We need to desperately pray for our leaders and take solace in the fact that ultimately God is sovereign. It is quite hard in an election year such as this though.

  45. Tony Nguyen says:

    Thank you for you courage and for sharing how you arrived where you are. I think a lot of people get lost when comparing the record of two unrepentant, very rich, very powerful people. Yes, they’re both evil, but if Trump actually means what he says, then he is obviously the more dangerous of the two candidates.

  46. JA says:

    And may I just add, where is the call to serious prayer and fasting? If every Christian in this nation got down on their knees and cried out to God for mercy and spent time fasting, I truly believe that we would see God move. I don’t mean to be disrespectful at all, but I believe that Christians would be better served at this time with a call to prayer and fasting rather than being told to vote for Hillary.

    1. Lorriane says:

      I agree with this comment. I would love to see pastors across this nation calling for a time of prayer and fasting.

      1. Gene Johnson says:

        “The local church is God’s agent for change in society!” This quote by Randy Nabors summarizes the answer. Government can help, but the church (both white & black) in America has fallen prey to the notion that a political party is the answer. The ridiculous choice for us in 2016 is God’s way of kicking His church in the rear end. Trump or Hillary are simply diversions to keep us from doing what we are called to do. We are saved by grace, through faith, given to us by Him (We aren’t even smart enough to believe!) and are His workmanship, created in Christ to do good works in this world that He has prepared for us to do. Let’s quit arguing politics in the world folks who are literally “harassed and helpless” and lead them to the Great Shepherd.

  47. The problem, as I see it, is that Trump’s racism is the same racism shared by all those with a Liberal worldview. Clinton routinely sides with folks who judge based on race alone. Liberals call blacks with ideological differences “Uncle Toms”. Liberals say “men can’t speak to women’s issues”. Liberals say that “white police officers can’t do their job in black communities.” The only difference between Trump and Clinton, is that he applied that same racially bigoted worldview to a hispanic.

    Let me be clear, I think Trump’s comments are racist, but it is the exact same kind of racism we hear every day from Liberal politicians. Clinton is no less racist than trump, she just expresses hers in a way that has become acceptable. So justifying ones vote for Clinton as some kind of referendum against “racist Tump” is really just turning a blind eye to the larger problem of racism in all Liberal ideology.

  48. Lari says:

    If there are two “evil” candidates, why would you vote for either one of them? Why not vote for a third party candidate, even if you know they don’t have a chance to win? I thought Christians are supposed to be salt and light? So again, how can you vote for an evil person? More so, why would you as a leader encourage others to vote for either one? Hillary is a habitual liar who is currently under investigation by the FBI. She’s also very much pro-abortion, wanting to make it easier for women to have an abortion for any reason up until the baby’s due date. This is not just abortion; it’s infanticide. She’s also for LGBT “rights” which will only continue to have social ramifications, because when you break down the structure of the traditional family, you break down society. And to add to it, she claims to be a Christian, which makes her even worse since she claims to know the Truth yet does not practice it. Why were these issues not addressed by you? Why is it only about abortion and racism? I truly hope that you reconsider your position.

  49. Lorriane says:

    I would also like to say that one HUGE point that is not addressed is that a Supreme Court Judge nomination is at stake. This will have a massive impact on this country. With Trump in office, there is a much better chance of getting someone that is conservative into office which can help move forward anti-abortion laws. With Hillary in office, we have no chance of this happening. But, again, I have to agree with JA’s comment – why are Christians not fasting and praying and asking God for mercy? Why this quick jump to already tell people who to start voting for? This is the most disturbing point for me.

  50. Morgan says:

    THANK YOU for this word, Pastor Anyabwile. Though I really do not support any of the main candidates currently, I do believe it’s important to still evaluate the candidates and to analyze their stances on multiple topics – not just one. Our political views should be firmly rooted in the truly pro-life idea that all life matters – those of the unborn are vitally important to protect, yes, but we must also care for the young, the old, the poor, the imprisoned, and any group who for one reason or another cannot find a true seat at the table. I am so encouraged by words like these from our leaders. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  51. Darrell says:

    I take issue with your position on racism against blacks. Most blacks in this country (and from your article, I gather you do as well) believe that they are the victims of systemic racism. Surely blacks have encountered racism at various times. But there is no systemic racism against blacks. Today most people in this country do not harbor racist attitudes against blacks. Your showing a photo from the 50’s is disingenuous.

    But there is systemic racism in this country. And it is why Trump has gotten so much attention and support. The problem is you’ve missed whom it is directed at. That racism is against whites and white males in particular. In this country, we are operating on quota systems for hiring. They worked against my father, me, and my brother, and countless more white males like us. We were repeatedly denied positions that were given to lesser qualified persons because they were of the correct race (i.e. black) and/or female.

    The government has set-aside contracts for minority- or woman-owned companies. White males need not apply for such contracts. You live in the DC area. Walk into any post office, and tell me how many white males you see working there. You will be hard pressed to find any. It is all minority and female. If it were all white and male, there would be blood-curdling outrage. But as long as the racism is practiced against white males, it is permitted, even encouraged. Lately in the news is the fact that a number of universities have started courses attacking what they call “White Privilege”. This is just another way to attack whites, and try to get even more set-asides for minorities. This is why I can say that we have systemic racism in this country.

    My generation brought in civil rights. When I was a teenager, I proudly rode the bus to school with my black friends as the US Army (my father was in the military at the time) opened up a segregated high school in NC. I was proud to be a part of this desegregation. Little did I ever suspect that within a decade or two, the seeds of systemic racism against white makes would be instituted by our government.

    You don’t like racism. Neither do I. But I think you are greatly confused as to where it exists primarily today.
    I didn’t vote for Trump in the primaries. But there is no way that I could ever vote for Hillary for the simple reason that she will perpetuate this systemic racism against white males. She is the real racist/sexist. Her own words are, “Vote for me because I am a woman”. She belongs to the Democrat party which has institutionalize this war on white males.

    I suggest you are very confused on race issues in this country. To put the Charleston Nine in the same category with a hoodlum like Michael Brown, demonstrates your thinking is very fuzzy.

    So if you are against racism for ALL people, I can’t see how you could possibly endorse Hillary or any other Democrat.

    And not to change the subject, but I would like to point out that the Democrats have not fielded a real Christian for the office of the Presidency for as long as I can remember. But there were several among the Republicans in this current year’s race. The Republican Party may not be the party of God, but I can assure you that the Democrat Party is the party of the devil. And under another Democrat President, Christians will fair even worse than they have under Obama. Just another reason for Christians to vote for anyone but Hillary.

  52. I very much appreciate your courage and your clarity here Mr. Anyabwile. And totally agree on the closing prayer: May God help us all. We need it.

  53. Jeff Rickel says:

    When I grew up there was a show on called “Land of the Giants.” That is how I view the people in TGC and including yourself. There is so much light you shine for many people. I am deeply impressed and humbled at the personal response you give to the letters. Peter talked about elders who lead by example as much as by their words. You give such great testimony to God in so many ways, and yet you listen and try to learn and always try to think and do what is best.

    I grew up with a different definition of racists. Recism was a description of the core and personality of an individual not isolated remarks or actions. If you look at their lives, their associations, their family, any authority structure they were involved and put them all together you get a consistent pattern and priority that tires to belittle or isolate a group of people. It is a state of heart and a priority in their lives.

    This is the opposite of who you are. If people look at your life, your family, your words and decisions it is very evident that God is your priority and focus and reason behind all you say and do. This is what makes you a Christian. It is evident in your walk, your family, the darkness you are striving to overcome and the light you reflect in this world.

    The only person I am aware of who has come forth publicly with such an wholistic evaluation of Donald Trump’s racism is Dr. Ben Carson. He was on “The View” and talked about his meetings with Trump. Dr. Carson also talked about Donald Trumps employee/employer relationships, all of his actions to lessen discrimination, his family, his goals and aspirations. His conclusion was the Donald Trump was not a racist under the above definition. Their very association causes grave doubts about this charge. Instead Dr. Carson described a man who loves America and is willing to meet with and work with other individuals and groups including the Republican Party and those in the party who share many of your views and concerns for the good of our country.

    Because of Donald Trump the Republican Party is looking to update and perhaps redefine its platform and they are asking for your help in doing so. The website is Platform.gop Please check out http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/06/08/gop-asks-for-publics-help-crafting-2016-platform-launches-interactive-website.html

    To quote the article
    Platform.gop is proof of our Party’s philosophy of listening to the voice of the people and honoring the democratic process,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

    Of all the voices that need to be heard by the Republican Leadership, I think yours and voices likes yours are the most important. Please go there and encourage anyone you know to go there and help move this country out of its present darkness. You know this so well, but it has to be wise, respectful and constructive.

    More than I would encourage you and those you know could help to reach out with your concerns and suggestions to the GOP leadership. The results may surprise you and if they don’t, you will have something very substantial to share with the world. I am not above blackmailing DTs or Rs.

    Please pray about this and keep faith, love and hope alive. Anyone with your maturity, faith and experience must have seen some pretty improbable things happen and God working in very unexpected ways and means. I know it sound crazy and maybe impossible but the opportunities and stakes are very high. This is almost as crazy as a boy with a slingshot defeating a heavily armed giant, a small group of men with pottery and flashlights defeating a mighty army, or a boy with a sack lunch feeding a large rock concert (Matthew 7:24)

    As always you have my highest respect, admiration on so many levels, and are a hero and a true servant of the Most High.

    Matthew 5:9, 43-48
    Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called children of God.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    1 Corinthains 13:4-7, 13

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    Ephesians 5:15-16
    Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

  54. Tim Terhune says:

    “The views and opinions expressed here do not represent TGC or any of its council members, staff or supporters.”
    Really? Isn’t Pastor Thabiti a TGC council member? Seems to me that TGC should be standing firmly with Pastor Anyabwile and not hiding behind disclaimers. Great post!

  55. Thank you, Thabiti. A well-reasoned, kind and insightful post. I’m deeply thankful for it and you.

  56. Melody says:

    Pastors claim to be prolife but it’s only in the abstract. The babies that die every day in a horrific manner can never compete with those shot by guns. Why? Because the media will show the violence against a man over and over and over. All the discourse that follows will be played over and over again to everyone’s horror. The media brings fear to people’s hearts. Outrage for those that want real justice on this earth which we will never have until Jesus comes again. Which is no excuse not to try and have it.
    The babies, 3000 a day, 300 big enough to cradle, will not get a single showing of the violence done to them. Even though we know that God has given them a soul, a need and desire to be loved, physical feelings, they are still abstract because they, he, she didn’t get the privledge of making the news.
    More and more cops wear cameras but the abortionist’s violence will never be exposed.

    I think pastors, all pastors, should go on youtube and put abortion or late term abortion in the search and look at, make yourself look at what God sees everyday from our country.
    Do this everyday and these children will stop being abstract. This is what God sees from us as a country.
    If life isn’t respected and honored from the beginning when it’s given us from God then how will a politician fix what happens after birth?
    Do one a day, just one. See if at some point you can work up the same kind of outrage.

    Here is one that you get to see the little boy alive before they kill him https://youtu.be/gdj7zKGiDNw

  57. Hugh McCann says:

    Knowledgeable Leftists know better:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyDQxfDeWRc

  58. Doug says:

    To keep “racism” in perspective, we must keep in mind that many of the apostles were guilty of it and had to be opposed by Paul (Galatians 2). They were corrected with the Gospel, not by government intervention. In contrast, racism in the USA has been confronted primarily through political means producing only outward conformity at best, not true change in the heart. A political focus regarding this matter simply perpetuates superficiality.

  59. Scott G Sherman says:

    I read your blog with interest and have some “wandering” comments and observations that, if I am lucky, I will be able to tie together in a meaningful way at the end.
    In 2008 95% of African Americans voted for the Democrat (Obama). In 2012 93% of African Americans voted for the Democrat (Obama). In 2000 90% of African Americans voted for the Democrat. It was 88% in 2004.
    African Americans vote for the Democrat as a rule and have for some time. It is a reliable voting block that the Democrats count on. Therefore, I was not surprised to read in your blog that you support Hillary. I don’t want to make this personal but I do wonder in my mind, who you voted for in 2012 or in 2008? I wonder, have you ever voted for a Republican? Maybe the answer is “yes” but I do know if the answer is yes that such an answer is not the majority report.
    Yes, Trump has a big mouth and he says some unkind things. However, I am pretty confident that the African American Community will support the Democratic candidate regardless of who is at the head of the Republican ticket. Trump is just an easy target.
    One of the reasons (in my opinion) why Trump has done so well (and there is more than one reason) is because Republicans are tired of getting beat up by the media. Republicans constantly lose the media battle and our elected Republican leaders have failed miserably at shaping our message (a good message of hope) or in doing what they were elected to do. We want someone to shape our message and accomplish at least some of what they set out to do. By the way, I am not a big Trump supporter. I support him mostly because I always vote for the Republican. I just lean that way and in the same way that the African American Community lean’s Democratic.
    If elected, Trump is not and will not take us back to the “Jim Crow” days. However, I really do fear the radical left in the Democratic party. There is “French Revolution” type of fever infecting them. Look at what the paid protesters did to the Trump supporters in San Jose California? The Mayor of San Jose told the police to stand down. Jesse Benn wrote an Op Ed titled “Sorry Liberals, a Violent Response To Trump is As Logical As Any” saying that “[T]here’s an inherent value in forestalling Trump’s normalization. Violent resistance accomplishes this.” That’s right, some in the Democratic party promote violence.
    After 7 ½ years of a Democratic President and 4 years where the Democrats were completely in charge of everything, how are things faring? The rich are richer and the poor are poorer. How are things faring in the African American Community? Unemployment is up amongst black males. Inner City of Chicago is a disaster. It seems to me that we all need (African American Community included) policies that foster and support economic growth, security and jobs. And, the Democrats “aint getting it done.” Why would you vote for 4 more years of that?
    Let’s talk about racism since you brought it up.
    Michelle Obama just said at a commencement speech that she lives in a house built by slaves. Got it. Message received. I said to myself “Just keep piling it on.” Slavery and racism are wrong. I get it. I didn’t have anything do so with it. I am living with the consequences of it. How do we move on? Who do I apologize to? What can I do? How do we get past it? When can we stop talking about it all the time?
    I get that if we forget history we are doomed to repeat it. But do we need this in our face every day? Think about it like this. Suppose a spouse in a marriage (doesn’t matter who) commits adultery. May the couple reconcile if the non-cheating spouse is always throwing it up in the other’s face? Of course not. Every time the scab is picked the wound bleeds. And, yes, I get that racism still exists and that every time it rears its ugly head, the scab is picked and the wound bleeds. I know it goes both ways.
    I wonder if the only solution is interracial marriage. Maybe at some point the concepts of black and white will not be meaningful anymore. Maybe I should encourage my sons to marry black women (Christian black women) and have interracial babies. I dare anyone to say anything about it! You get the point.
    You call Trump a racist. Maybe he harbors racist thoughts. I don’t know. He does trade in identity politics usually the province of the Democrats.
    I am not black and I have no idea what it was like to grow up black so I am not competent to comment or judge feelings or perceptions or facts as the case may be with respect to racism. I cannot change the past. I can only move forward and walk in the light that God gives. I am not going to tell you how to feel. I have no right.
    I close with a couple of thoughts. First, I love my Christian brother (TA). I agree with Russell Moore when he says “The gospel frees us from scrapping for our “heritage” at the expense of others. As those in Christ, this descendant of Confederate veterans has more in common with a Nigerian Christian than I do with a non-Christian white Mississippian who knows the right use of “y ’all” and how to make sweet tea.” The bond of Christ is stronger than the bond of politics. Revelation Chapter 5 and verses 9-14 describes heaven thundering with a new song which says that the Lamb ransomed people for God from every tribe, language, people and nation. Racial diversity in heaven will be sweet. “May the Lamb receive the reward of his suffering.” Second, God is not blind to injustice nor is he indifferent to suffering. (Reformation Study Bible notes on Revelation 20:11-15). The Great White Throne Judgment is a foundation of assurance for the saints. Those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life not only live with God eternally but they see and experience justice administered completely, fully and finally. To say it another way, God is watching. God will judge every deed and all wrongs will be righted. According to the text, God is keeping records and he will judge completely. The Great White Throne demonstrates that those who persecute and practice injustice cannot ultimately win. The retributive providence of God is a reality as certain as the law of gravity. I preached a sermon on this passage at Osu Castle in Ghana last year after touring the castle and it is still fresh on my mind. I take this to mean that God will judge those who participated in the Atlantic Slave Trade. He will also judge us for what we do NOW in the light we walk in. I hope for and pray for racial reconciliation. It proves elusive but let us not weary in well doing.
    In closing I have failed miserably to tie together these wandering thoughts. Please forigve the ramble. We can be friends as “image bearers” of God and we can be brothers in Christ. But, I ain’t voting for Hillary.
    Your friend, brother in Christ and political antagonist.
    Scott

  60. Joel says:

    This article confirms it, racism is alive and well. :(

  61. Thad Riley says:

    I have been critical of Nick’s post, but I greatly appreciate much of your insight. I think we do have a choice, but we need something different from the Evangelical Leaders we haven’t seen before. Basically, we need to be Samuel’s. Just a few thoughts I sent out this morning to some of the leaders who will be meeting with Donald Trump on June 21st. https://thadriley.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/its-time-stand-up-lead-and-fight/

  62. Graham Veale says:

    A few thoughts went up on our website this morning –
    http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/the-donald-and-the-mcchurch/
    A few more thoughts didn’t fit into that article.
    1) How deep Mr Trump’s personal prejudices run is not the issue. But Donald Trump has successfully revitalised the politics of race by blaming America’s woes on outsiders – Mexicans, Muslims, foreign businessmen – and the elites who “pander” to them.
    2) Many of the defences of Donald Trump could also have been made for Governor Wallace during his Presidential runs. For example, there is actually evidence that Wallace did not hold racist beliefs; he was simply content to cynically manipulate the crass, malignant racism of others.
    3) Racism and nationalism are alive and well. This is an issue of apologetic concern. If the Church cannot demonstrate that there is no room for either in the Christian worldview, and that it does not have the intellectual and motivational resources to extinguish such prejudices, Christianity will seem suspect.
    4) On the issue of single issue voting, some have compared the issue of abortion in the 21st century to the issue of slavery in the 19th century. Each issue is of such moral import that Christians need only examine a candidate’s stance on that issue to decide who to vote for.
    But not a single viable candidate proposed the immediate abolition of slavery in 1860. Are we saying evangelicals should not have voted for Lincoln? Those who make abortion the single issue which determines their vote remind me a little of William Lloyd Garrison. I admire his integrity, but had he the flexibility of Wilberforce he might have achieved a deal more a deal more quickly.
    5) I am not convinced that we have a pro-life, as opposed to an anti-abortion, voting block. If we began with the principle that each human life was sacred, and believed that this consideration over-rode every other, we might be more inclined to support “progressive” policies on health-care and gun control.

    To be clear, I do tend to vote on issues like life, religious freedom and marriage. And Northern Irish politics is, very probably, just as chaotic as US politics – and most of our politicians lack the competence and skill of US politicians. Prejudice is probably a greater problem here; it’s actually written into our laws.
    So I’m not going to throw stones out from a glass house. We all have a lot of soul-searching to do here. As my article argues, the age of the moral majority was a myth. We now need to devote more thought to evangelical political attitudes.

    But I do think

    1. Doug says:

      Graham, good article. Sad we generate so much “dialogue” apart from holy writ.

  63. Mark says:

    Trump’s appeal isn’t that he’s more Christian than Hillary, Trump’s appeal is that he’s the only one who seems to recognize that preserving our country’s security/sovereignty, our existence and way of life (religious freedoms included) is the PRIORITY. It’s about prioritizing the future generations of Americans — the common good, and protecting our society from inappropriate aspirations of those who would seek to erode our values.

    1. Mark says:

      Hillary means much more than abortion rights (I mean women’s health); Hillary’s inappropriate aspirations generally include more big government (more tax and more deficit yet less national security), increased government regulation and overreach, global warming policy, gun control, illegal immigration, gay and transgender “tolerance”, feminism, education “reform”, socialized everything and on and on and on.

      2 Thessalonians, Chapter 3

      1. Graham Veale says:

        Hi Mark
        There’s no problem at all with a Christian voting against more tax increased government regulation , global warming policy, gun control, immigration, and education reform.
        But there’s no problem with Christians voting for those things either. We really have to appeal for liberty of conscience on these issues.

        http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/socialism-sanders-and-christian-voters-a-plea-for-realism/

        (I’ll grant that Hillary’s secularism goes beyond advocating abortion rights; but Trump’s views on business and wealth are entirely secularist.)

        GV

  64. Dwight says:

    I wonder – if Trump were vociferous in his support for the rights of the unborn and articulated a clear strategy to change the national consciousness on this issue – would that be enough to persuade some African-Americans to begrudgingly vote for him?

    Thanks so much – great discussion TA!

  65. Speaking of evil in this election. Putting race and abortion aside for the moment, what does it say when we vote for the leaders who inspire this kind of violence? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t7PnrelFdY

  66. Dan Lynch says:

    Dear Rev Anyabwile,

    Sojourner’s Friday e-mail had a link to your blog post “On Abortion and Racism: Why There’s a Greater Evil in This Election.” Reading the post and comments, I was astounded by the hypocrisy and hatred described and expressed by people who claim to follow the man who commanded us all to, “Love our neighbors.”

    The “Evangelical concerns” in that “kind note” you got disturbed me profoundly, waking me in the night.

    It’s un-Christian to vote for a Democrat.
    Any consideration of a Democrat makes you a baby killer, a supporter of abortion.
    Any positive mention of a Democrat means you’re endorsing them and all they stand for, especially the worse parts of their beliefs and platforms.

    These comments have to come from non-Democrats (i.e., Republicans), members of the party that officially decided to treat as a (“nigger,” the only proper word to use here. Please insert any politically correct euphemism you must), that good and competent man we “hated” Americans twice elected to be our president! These folks are the Republi-Klan, a GOP that has been drifting toward “White People’s Party” for years. Trump was a perfect Grand Dragon to lead them into the future. He isn’t running for president, he wants to be Imperial Wizard of a national Klan. In November, we will see if America has enough good voters or if we get to be Syria.

    In the comment section, abortion is murder! Murder! “Cry ‘Havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war!” Hillary is a murderer. Anyone who disagrees with me is a murderer. The penalty for murder is death. Death! Kill! (Wait, we’re Christians, what are we saying? Yes, but we’re humans, red of tooth and claw. Kill!)

    We can’t agree to disagree if I’m a murderer. I’m evil, by definition, I have no right to an opinion. I have no place among the elect of God. So, where do we go from here? Serious question, does anybody have an answer?

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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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