Search this blog

NoteThe views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily 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.

Doug Wilson has paid me a double kindness. First, he's taken the time to interact substantively with this post where I posit a vote for Clinton appears to me to be the only way I can incrementally restrain the progress of evil in this election. Second, he's taken the time to state fairly that I am not in any way "endorsing" or "supporting" Clinton in that post, as some have consistently and erroneously repeated. I'm grateful, Doug, on both counts.

But I must confess I'm not persuaded by your post, as thoughtful as it was. I think I was most helpfully challenged when you contended that having not voted for several elections it would have been wiser for me to continue that course. That's something I've gone back and forth on and it was good to have someone push me in that direction once again. Thank you.

But as I said earlier, I wasn't persuaded by Doug's post. Here's why:

In My Estimation . . . 

Central to Doug's critique of my post is the notion that making estimates about probable outcomes is a faulty way to engage the political process.

Huh . . .

But estimating outcomes is what we all do all the time in voting behavior. Take a candidate who shares our deepest values and acts on them. We effectively estimate their future actions. We think past behavior indicates future performance, all those mutual fund warnings to the contrary be damned.

This stubborn, intractable habit of making estimates takes place even when we abstain from voting for candidates with undeniably bad character and deeds to match. In those cases, too, our abstention relies on estimating the likelihood that they will keep up their bad behavior and continue in bad character. So even when we abstain, we’re not solely considering character. We cast an eye toward an imagined future. We conclude, "I cannot comply with this evil person or position because," well, "...'estimated future evil.'"

So everyone makes estimates. But wait . . . there’s more.

When Doug injects slavery into the discussion with an odd paragraph or two--and to borrow from Mrs. Clinton, "they were odd"--guess what he does? He argues that gradual manumission of slaves would have been better than a violent Civil War claiming hundreds of thousands of lives. (I presume he means white lives matter because apparently black lives could continue being slaughtered in the evil of slavery until white folks decided slaves were obsolete farm equipment.) But on what basis does Mr. Wilson think this? Surprise, surprise: His estimate that the grand ol' South was gonna get 'round to freeing the slaves anyway . . . good Christian slaveholders they were and all. Mr. Wilson's reasoning rests on fantastically shoddy estimates more rosy about slavery than I am about Mrs. Clinton!

So you see, there’s a whole lot of lumber and sawdust clouding eyes in this entire line of reasoning.

Since Doug has his estimates, I’ll go on rejecting gradual anti-slavery proposals bizarrely offered 150 years after the War. And I’ll reject those proposals in part because I estimate that such curious ideas put us back on the path of saying "slavery was okay" when every Christian ought to be praising God for providentially ending this nation's original birth defect. The Lord not only ended the institution, He also banished a host of social ills and fallen thoughts that undergirded it. Christians should shout aloud with gladness that these things have ceased, not trot them out for reconsideration. If I can't beg off of debates about the election, Doug surely can't silence dissent to his ideas about slavery's end by pointing to my estimations while ignoring his own.

Now Back to the Election at Hand

We live--and always have--in a house with a busted roof and rotten flooring. We are taking on water from daily torrential rains and trying to keep our favorite fuzzy slippers dry while walking on mud floors. Doug wants us to pretend we can live in this condemned building unstained and inactive while the mold grows up on everything sitting still. He suggests we ready ourselves for bigger battles--which he's correct, surely will come--and sit this current skirmish out, enjoying the rain reflected in the moonlight through that gaping roof and the mud squishing between our earthen toes. Well, in the south Doug loves so much, we commend folks "with sense enough to come in out of the rain." To all others we offer our rather southern, "God bless your heart."


Collapsing Old House

You see, in the south, we know something about common sense, horse trading and all. And we know that if you live in a house with a busted roof, you can’t sit out enough pots and buckets to catch all the rain while you wait it out for a few years. You gotta hire a contractor and fix the roof, honey. Now, we also know that it’s better not to hire the fast talking, fancy dressed, over-promising, never licensed or bonded, pay me with cash before you see my work "contractor." That fella is from New York City and it doesn’t matter if he claims, "Only I can fix it." We know to keep our hands and our money in our pockets while we spit a rather sticky brown glob of tobacco juice on those pretty Gucci wing tips. We will fix our decaying house with a pinch of homespun wisdom and grit, thank you.

Now to be sure, this rotten electoral house of ours includes the stench of death. It’s a wonder we can live in this odor. Buried in our cellars and locked in our attics are the slaughtered-while-still-developing bodies of our babies. They were killed in the womb, before light could ever warm their wondrous faces. Their blood cries out against our house and our land--and the Lord God Almighty hears them!

But if we genuinely care about all of that, and I take it that every genuine Christian and person of awakened conscience does, then there are some hard questions us pro-lifers and those single-issue voters must face. There are some estimates to make in addition to the estimated number of children likely to be aborted.

First, we must ask, "Is there a meaningful difference between the candidates on abortion?" From where I sit, there’s none. Trump, who financially supported the murderous Clinton in her earlier campaigns, is no pro-life champion. Ending abortion is not even a meaningful part of his campaign, and, consequently, as head of the party, it’s no longer a meaningful part of the GOP platform.

So we move on to ask ourselves a second question: "But what about SCOTUS appointments? Won't that help?" I get why some people hold a flicker of hope that he just might appoint some judges that just might do something to reverse Roe. And I'm not in the habit of blowing out a man's candle when it's his desperate cling to light in a dark world. But, shoot. I just don't see it. You'd have to estimate that Trump would keep his word and stay the course. Okay. That's not really an estimate, is it? That's more like blind wishful thinking when the man changes his mind more times than Beyonce changes concert outfits. And like Beyonce, this emperor isn't wearing any clothes! But let's say you did estimate some constancy from the man on SCOTUS appointments. Then you'd have to assume Trump would appoint judges who respect the Constitution. But why would we assume that when he doesn't appear to even have read the dang on document or to respect it himself, when he doesn't respect competent sitting judges if they have Mexican heritage, and doesn't respect former POWs like John McCain or fallen soldiers like Mr. Khan who risk and give their lives protecting the U.S. and the Constitution? Friends, don't buy your picante sauce from New York City!

Then there's a third question: "So what is a pro-lifer or single-issue voter to do when they have no candidate and they take the present evil seriously?" Mr. Wilson thinks I should have remained in the quiet, detached position of abstaining as I did in previous elections. But I can't help making estimates, otherwise known as calculated judgments, or to use a biblical phrase, "counting the costs." Now it seems to me a great many of those who say #NeverTrumpNeverHillary are, in a sense, making worried estimates about preserving their own "innocence" in all of this. And it seems to me that they're not only estimating the evil consequences that may come from voting, but also estimating their own righteousness for not voting. It's that latter estimation that I find particularly problematic in this election--if we take seriously the notion that either vote ends in a set of evil outcomes. For we can't wash our hands of the election and decree our own righteousness while standing by doing nothing as admitted evil makes its progress. I don't think Jesus will be very impressed with any of the ways His people stand by while identifiable wrong advances. It wasn't praised in the Pharisees and scribes, and I highly doubt it'll be praised among evanjellyfish either. Doug mentioned "other strategies" we have. I think he'd better serve the church writing about those strategies, because they seem preciously few nowadays.

But if this is "a battle enjoined" as Wilson put it, then there aren't going to be any "innocents," beloved. Who can lift up clean hands if they see murder practiced apace and don't at least try to slow it? You see, the estimates of this war include the lives of babies unborn--nearly 3 million in the next four years. But it also includes other costs we're bound to face: further erosion of constitutional authority, deeper divisions along ethnic lines, a return to Neanderthal attitudes toward women, restrictions of religious liberties, curtailing of civil rights, and a host of others. Count all the costs. You'll likely conclude you're warring against a king's army several times larger than your own. Offensive strikes will look silly and ill-conceived. You're down to defense. So put out your best defenses. Do what you must to hold the line as best you can. Clearly we aren't going to win the war with either candidate in the next four years. But can we limit or slow the damage? Is there a candidate against whom we have a stronger defense? I know that's gradualist thinking, but Doug is a gradualist with slavery so he ought to be one with abortion, too.

It's all really very simple. The oft cited "All that's needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" is spot on. Doing nothing is not an option. So estimating becomes necessary. We must read the prospectus and decide, despite the fine print, whether we think past performance tells us anything about future results. And for my part, I've taken the rather pedestrian position that we know how to play defense with a conventional politician (Clinton), but we've never seen the likes of candidate Trump who blows hard where he wills and changes directions before his breath has stilled.

I think we can at least restrain evil in this election, even if we can't positively foster the good. Those who would rather not dirty their hands and feign a position of innocence have to give an account for how they are trying to do at least that much--restraining what should be restrained even if they can't altogether defeat it. If a person can't do that, then they should probably ask the Lord to search their heart for ethical sinkholes.

As I've written elsewhere (see here, skip to the bottom if you like), knowing GOP and evangelical antipathy toward all things Clinton, and considering her utterly unoriginal, predictable, and conventional career, I estimate we can better oppose a "President Clinton" than a "President Trump," who is impervious to counsel or correction, has the emotional stability of a 2-year-old, and eviscerates any claims to moral high ground for anyone who actively supports or endorses him.

And Then There’s Chicago

Now I really should end this post here, but there's so much in Wilson's critique that needs answering. And I shouldn't end before making a brief comment on his use of Chicago and all the troubles there.

Doug, you really should consider going to Chicago and working on issues there. You seem to love evoking the carnage and suffering there, but I can't find a place where you demonstrate much compassion and investment. The shame game you seem to be running is tired. The more you talk about it the more you seem to politicize it rather than offer anything. I know good people there who live and work in the community you so easily use as the poster community for Black dysfunction. Like the woman who just picked me up from the airport. Her family moved to Chicago when she was 10, probably on the tail end of the Great Migration. They’ve been in Christian ministry in that city for 30 years. They live, work, worship, and serve there with great concern for the community. I don’t think your comments help people like this sister and her husband one bit.

Of course, do as you wish. But my counsel would be leave it alone until you get over some tone deafness and can communicate some Christian empathy in the proper conversations.

Now I'll Hush Up

So to conclude, we can no more live without making estimates than a fish can live without water. Indeed we swim in estimates--from how long our morning commute is likely to be, to how faithful a potential spouse is apt to behave, to whether it’s worth anyone's time to read a blog. Indeed, walking by faith may just be the biggest estimate of all, and yet the Lord requires we do so, contra the assertion that lacking crystal balls means we should have none at all.

View Comments


58 thoughts on “Always Get More Than One Estimate”

  1. Darius Teichroew says:

    A good response, thanks, but you badly misunderstood and misrepresented Doug’s mention of Chicago. It was merely as a number to represent the amount of black babies aborted… he could have just as easily used Dallas. Your response to his use of “Chicago” seems like you didn’t even read that portion of his post but rather responded to the title.

    1. Andrew says:

      A hearty “Amen!” here. Thabiti. Doug equivocated the number of black children killed from abortion to the number of people living in Chicago. He said nothing demeaning or humiliating about Chicago at all. In fact, I re-read the section which mentioned Chicago and it is VERY CLEAR that you didn’t read it. You should probably make it a habit to thoroughly read your opponent’s post before you comment on its contents.

      1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

        Hi Andrew and Darius,
        Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood Doug. Or, more likely, I’ve “heard” more than Doug has strictly written. And, yet, that’s part of my point. When Doug writes about African Americans, and when even in an analogous way leverages our pain for even worthy causes, he doesn’t sound to me like he’s crying with us all that much. He doesn’t sound to me, even by analogy or implication, like he’s actually suggesting co-beligerence on a real strategy to address the problem. Instead, it’s the now repeated refrain in our exchanges: “men like Thabiti need to fix this mess” and at least the insinuation that men like Thabiti can’t and shouldn’t talk about other things until we do. If I’m even half right, then that’s at least half patronizing. It’s offensive–unnecessarily and counter-productively–and the only way I know to serve him and us all is to say so.

        Now, having interacted fruitfully with Doug at some length at least once before, I suspect (1) he is less troubled by my replying to his use of Chicago as a foil than you guys are, and (2) he knows full well, as a man skilled with words, images, metaphor and illustration that evoking “Chicago” was more than your suggestion of simply using it as a numerical comparison. After all, if it were only that then his assertion that “men like Thabiti need to fix this” would be utterly meaningless. But men “like Thabiti” are not only gospel Christians but Black men who, the inference goes, are more responsible for this calamity than every Christian man. We Christians should all agree that the deeper motivation for fixing this should be the love of Christ that constrains us, not melanin content. If that’s true, then my challenge to Doug to speak and act differently falls squarely and rightly on his Christian shoulders as it does mine.

        Doug and I don’t feel we need to be defended from one another. We’ve fruitfully been challenged one by the other. In accepting those challenges we accept the possibility of growth. Those who watch us engage might benefit along with us if they refuse the impulse to defend us and join us in accepting the challenges.


        1. Darius Teichroew says:

          Thanks for the response, Thabiti. Based on Doug’s response today, it appears he agrees that you misunderstood his use of Chicago. I guess it’s a good reminder to us all to read what is actually on the page and not just what we think is going on in the mind of the writer. I know we all can do better at that. Take care.

  2. AAG says:

    We should not be surprised if we find ourselves hopelessly conflicted as the Body if we ever let a discussion become about how to “best use” the weapons and mechanisms of the World. Let us first acknowledge that our weapons are not of this World, and then thoughtfully engage in how to practice such an ethic. I appreciate my brother’s continued labor to avoid such a trap in his own position while looking compassionately and humbly at all options.

    First let me say that I have not determined at this time what God is calling me to do with my vote (or non-vote), so I advocate no candidate or outcome above another. In agreement to my Brother’s point about making estimations of future behavior, I have noticed the same thing. I would like to point out that most “pro-Trump” reasoning speaks with a finality and certainty (apparently ignoring unknowns) that amounts to a chess player who makes his first move and declares the game “won”. Many speak as if the Union will be ultimately “won” or “lost” in the next four years. This is an interesting “estimation”, and it concerns me how willing some claiming Christ are willing to call others “fool” over a discussion for which there is no Biblical “law”.

    The only compelling argument I have heard – and it IS compelling to me – is the SCOTUS argument for Trump. But again, it quickly loses its compelling nature when we consider that even a Constitutionalist position will only be of benefit for Biblically moral people and God’s glory UNTIL the people vote FOR abortion and further aberrant sexual deviation, etc. At that point, a Strict-Constructionist view within SCOTUS will not be helpful anymore. As a matter of fact, when the People vote against Biblical values – which the Bible, history, and common sense tells us will happen in the absence of a resurgence of Gospel preaching and a movement of the Holy Spirit in Revival – a Strict Constructionist view will be the the petard of our own making on which we will be hoist. The very Court that we cheered at its installation is likely to brush our objections aside (depending on how one views a Constitutionalist) because at that point some of the Amendments may be in conflict with others. For example, the Tenth may conflict with the First.

    SCOTUS recently unconstitutionally struck down Texas HB2 requiring adequate health and safety safeguards for abortion providers. So we can argue that appointing a Strict-Constructionist Court would’ve solved the problem based on a Tenth Amendment argument. That’s all well and good when SCOTUS is striking down votes of the people that align with Biblical values like Biblical (i.e. the only Real) marriage, or restrictions on infanticide. However, it fails to consider what happens when the vote of a depraved and unregenerate People who haven’t heard the Gospel doesn’t go as conservatively as Biblicists would like. So the “SCOTUS appointment” argument becomes a deal-breaker only if we think that the politicians are not currently representing the general will of the largely pagan and Godless culture that is degenerating into self-destruction for rejection of the saving grace of God. This is the saddest truth, and one that we should stand against with our lives and our voices – regardless of whom we vote for or don’t vote for. There is no King but Jesus.

    That said, I think that we must all prayerfully consider what God is calling us to do with regard to our duty to Caesar. Regardless of agreement or disagreement on any particular candidate I am pleased to see this conversation continuing here, and I applaud those who wish to continue it thoughtfully, humbly, and graciously. I believe that the only unBiblical positions of the faithful Believer in this case will be one that fails to treat a brother with compassion, one that makes a “law” regarding our duty to Caesar that does not exist in Scripture, or one that fails to proclaim the Gospel of the True King rather than condemn those who have not yet submitted to Christ. We must always put forth in word and deed the Gospel of the True King who died to set us free from the tyranny of the sins that lie within each one of us to the World that is always watching to see if our lives exemplify the repentance and grace and compassion we claim to represent.

    Soli Deo Gloria,

  3. Now it seems to me a great many of those who say #NeverTrumpNeverHillary are, in a sense, making worried estimates about preserving their own “innocence” in all of this. And it seems to me that they’re not only estimating the evil consequences that may come from voting, but also estimating their own righteousness for not voting.

    I’m one of those who will not vote for one of two equally evil choices. That doesn’t mean I won’t vote, it means I reject the choices presented. I plan on writing in a name or voting for some third party candidate. I’m not washing the blood from my hands, I hope (estimate?) that many others will join me and even if we don’t get a third candidate elected, we will send a message that there are enough of us who are willing and eager to join a third party that protects freedoms, including freedom of religion and the right to life. If we continue to chose one of the two choices presented us, we will remain in this moral, financial, freedom downward spiral.

    I don’t estimate that a third party will win this election, but no matter if it is Hillary or Trump, we will not win this election. I simply refuse to vote for a crooked Democrat narcissist who is a hawkish Republican, a sham Republican narcissist who is actually a Democrat, or a Libertarian who is not a libertarian. When presented with the choice to shoot my child or my wife, I choose neither. By voting the way I will, I am demanding change. I believe “change” is the impetus that drove both Sanders and Trump in the polls so I’m hoping it is the winds of change that will blow away two political parties that don’t appear all that different from each other in that they are only interested in being reelected. No. We need something more.

    Don’t vote for the more manageable evil, vote for a change. We the people have had it.

  4. Jason says:

    As much as you may enjoy performing linguistic gymnastics, no Christian (none) can justify voting for Mrs Clinton. If Trump is not worthy of a Christian’s vote (he is not, I will not vote for him), then she even more so. They are very much one and the same. Except she’s a (D) and I fear therein lies the rub.

    NEITHER should receive a Christian’s vote.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      I disagree.

      But if they’re equally unworthy, why is she “even less deserving” of a vote. The D you’re rubbing against may just be your own prejudice against the Ds. I don’t share that prejudice (though I’m not a democrat), nor do I share the easy assumption that the Rs then must be the “Christian” party. That second prejudice is how Rs have held evangelicals hostage for so long.

      No gymnastics. You’re just wrong in your prejudice. And your conscience is no guide or law for other Christians to obey. Your conscience is for you. Enjoy it. Leave others to enjoy theirs before their Lord.


      1. Jason says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve previously said that you did not vote in 2012. Comparing Pres. Obama to Mrs. Clinton, you would find that Pres Obama holds even more abhorrent positions than her (or Trump for that matter). How can you justify voting against Donald Trump with a vote FOR Hillary but were unable to justify a vote against Pres. Obama with a vote FOR Romney?

        Would you say that Mitt Romney is as dishonorable a person and as dangerous to this nation as you claim Donald Trump to be? So much so that in 2012, you couldn’t bring yourself to justify a vote in opposition to the great evils of Pres Obama’s policies and beliefs? Do you believe there was ANY justification for believers to have voted for a man (Pres Obama) knowing his positions, one of which was him being opposed to providing care to babies who survived abortions and were born alive. How is it you could not bring yourself to vote against Pres Obama, knowing what he supports and wishes to impose on Christians?

        Not sure which prejudice to which you are referring. Please clarify your statement or retract.

        1. Jim S says:

          How else can a reader take, “Except she’s a (D) and I fear therein lies the rub. ” Why do you use “except” and “therein”?

  5. Eric Rasmusen says:

    While it’s true one may doubt Mr. Trump’s sincerity on abortion, it remains true that he has announced solidly that he is opposed to it, even saying he would punish mothers who hire someone to kill their babies, and he is running on a platform of opposition to abortion as the candidate of a party that has opposed abortion. And he has published a list of people he thinks that would make good Supreme Court judges who do seem pretty good. Mrs. Clinton, on the other, sincerely supports the most extreme pro-abortion position and her party supports abortion too. If you say Trump maybe isn’t against abortion, you should equally say he maybe isn’t against illegal immigration.

    Isn’t it slanderous to say Trump doesn’t respect judges of Mexican extraction? He did say that a Mexican-extraction judge presiding over a case in which Trump is involved should recuse himself because his parents were immigrants and he is a member of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association. That’s not a reason to recuse oneself, but it’s true that Trump probably won’t get a fair shake from that Obama appointee. That association purposes uses the leftwing, race-trumpetting words La Raza, and it endorses political candidates in local elections.

    1. Emily Little says:

      Eric, you are suggesting that it’s true that Trump couldn’t get a fair hearing from Judge Curiel because of (1) Judge Curiel’s ethnicity; (2) Judge Curiel’s affiliation with San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association; (3) Judge Curiel’s immigrant parents; and (4) Obama’s appointment. These comments reveal some pretty fundamental factual misunderstandings.

      First, Judge Curiel – a Federal judge in San Diego – is indeed part of San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association. SDLRA is a bar association for Latino/Latina lawyers (a bar association is a professional group for practicing attorneys who have passed the bar). This is a very common kind of bar association. For example, Lawyers Club is a local bar organization for women, the Philipino-American Lawyers of San Diego is a local bar association for Philipino Americans, etc. To say that SDLRA is a “race-baiting” organization totally misses the point. The purpose of these kinds of bar associations is usually to support a certain community (generally a small minority) and promote diversity in the bar and on the bench, etc. SDLRA’s stated purpose “is to advance the cause of equality, empowerment and justice for Latino attorneys and the Latino community in San Diego County through service and advocacy. We are dedicated to promoting diversity on both the bench and bar. We support law students with mentorship programs and scholarships.” There aren’t a ton of Latino/a attorneys in San Diego so this group exists to support them. End of story.

      If you care to read in detail, the SDLRA website specifically and in no uncertain terms explains the term “La Raza,” which they are using in a completely different way than you assume. Furthermore, some local female judges are part of Lawyers Club of San Diego. Are they automatically biased against male parties or otherwise unable to apply the law fairly in the cases that they hear? Then why would Judge Curiel”s Mexican heritage render him unable to make fair decisions in this Trump University case?

      Second, Judge Curiel actually has a well earned reputation as a good judge who is smart and fair. (I practice in San Diego where he is located, so I do know what I’m talking about.) Moreover, he is a badass former federal prosecutor. He actually had to be under federal protection while he was prosecuting the drug cartels! In fact, his appointment to the bench had a lot more to do with his prosecutor’s background than his politics. You don’t think he has respect for the rule of law such that he cannot separate his *possible* distaste for Trump’s foreign policy proposals from his factual and legal rulings on a case about Trump University?

      Third, Trump’s myopic and narcissistic “he ruled against me so he is a bad judge” take is the literally the opposite of what one would expect to hear from a presidential candidate in the United States. Plus, Trump’s frustration over the actual decisions is also wild. Judge Curiel’s finding that the playbooks were not trade secrets and therefore did not need to be sealed honestly sounds pretty uncontroversial from an outside perspective. And it is VERY difficult to win on summary judgment-if there is any potential, meaningful factual dispute, the judge has to (and should) deny the motion. If Trump’s attorneys did not explain those risks to him ahead of time, the problem is not with the judge. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I suggest reading further into the Trump University case and Judge Curiel’s rulings that were so frustrating to Trump before calling into question the judge’s integrity, especially when all you’ve got is the fact that he was an Obama appointee, of Mexican ethnicity and a member of a specialty bar association. Let’s be clear: Trump is publicly suggesting that a FEDERAL JUDGE is automatically biased against Trump University because the judge’s ethnicity makes him likely to oppose Trump’s foreign policy proposal. What?

      Fourth, and I’ll stop after this one, Trump’s open attack on a sitting judge–WHILE THE JUDGE IS PRESIDING OVER HIS CASE–should be unbelievably disturbing to you. Our political system only works because it has buy-in from the people. Our independent judiciary, imperfect as it may be, is an important part of our system of checks and balances and of our justice system. But judicial decisions are only meaningful if people trust in the system’s basic fairness, believe in the rule of law, and decide that judges have legitimate authority. Undermining Judge Curiel *and our basical legal system* over something this petty is a pretty ominous foreshadowing of things to come should Trump come to power.

  6. Doug says:

    Your comments about how American slavery was ended are very relevant. There’s a striking similarity to what was systemic resistance to abolition in the past, and the current systemic resistance to outlawing abortion. The enslaved African-Americans were disenfranchised and lacked the “vote,” yet the LORD was attentive to their prayers, and prayers on their behalf. Prayer is what mattered, not suffrage. It was wholly owing to the LORD answering these prayers that was effectual. As Americans, this should cause us to tremble. In the case of enslaved African-Americans, the answer came in the form of the collapse of our Constitutional government and the corresponding slaughter of over half a million white men from both North and South—”The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness.” Should we not expect similar action from Almighty God in our present situation?

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Trembling, we should. And trembling, we should rejoice in His inviolable holiness and righteous judgment. That, too, it seems to me is part of the cost we’re facing.

    2. Dan says:

      Do not forget that the answer also involved the slow and horrific deaths of over a million African-Americans to starvation and disease during and following the war.

  7. Shannon says:

    Yowzers. Did you even read Wilson’s article?

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Yes I did. A couple of times.

  8. Mike Bragg says:

    Yes, gradial manumission would have been a better option than war. But our southern slavery governments had outlawed manumission. A man could turn his horses out to live or die free but not the humans he owned as chattel. The south started hostilities in fear of a potential threat to that peculiar institution.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Well said.

  9. Nick says:

    Thabiti. Thank you for your thoughtful wading into very messy and difficult waters. I’m a conservative who has had a lot of bitterness toward my Christian friends who have chosen to vote for Democrats. Your original article didn’t necessarily persuade me, but it did incline me to be more charitable toward them as brothers in Christ, and to try and assume the best and desire to at least reach out and hear them out. I’ve also really appreciated your interactions with Doug Wilson now, and in the past. One question: I’ve followed the arguments of you, Wilson, and also Wayne Grudem (3 men I greatly respect) in regards to this issue. And all 3 of you have landed on different conclusions. All 3 of you are men who study and teach the Bible for a living and seek to shepherd God’s people. And you’ve all written some very strong and passionate words about this. As someone who also works in ministry, this all can be a bit overwhelming to me. It’s easy to conclude something like, “If these 3 guys who I deeply respect and admire can land on such different conclusions about who to vote for, is there any hope for me to actually make heads or tails of this? What should I communicate to those under me who ask me what to do? Is the Bible really so unclear?” Any encouragements and advice you have in this regard would be appreciated.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hey Nick,

      Thanks for the encouragement, for tuning into the discussion, and for asking a really important question.

      My short answer is: Yes! You most definitely can make heads or tails of things–if by “heads or tails” we mean land on your own position with the full assurance of a good conscience. You can do that and you don’t need a great deal more than your own Bible.

      Part of the difficulty lies in the version of political “easy believism” that’s afflicted the evangelical church. For decades evangelical Christians have been told that single issue voting on abortion is the cardinal political doctrine and an easy proxy for Christian political positions is the GOP. That easy believism has come crashing down pretty hard and it leaves us with a messier, more tangled reality–which is the reality that’s been there all along–we have to think our way through hard and sometimes competing issues. I, for one, think that’s a great thing and will actually strengthen the church, even if it unsettles her at first.

      One of the reasons this is a good thing is it hopefully leads us to rediscover a biblical view of conscience. We don’t all have the same conscience and we’re not required to live by anyone’s conscience other than our own. Now that’s not to say every conscience is well formed and biblical. But it is to say your conscience shouldn’t be bound by another person’s conscience. That means, within the parameters of biblical teaching, we have an incredible amount of liberty and we should be incredibly patient with one another when we differ in matters of conscience. May the Lord give us that grace.

      But be encouraged. Sounds like you’re already picking your way through it all. Keep reading, questioning, thinking, rethinking, etc. The Lord will give you more grace.


      1. Jeff says:

        Pastor Thabiti, Thank you for this reply. I have learned so much from you and admire you so much in many ways, your knowlege, your commitment to Christ, and your leading the way in the battle for darkness. I was going to post on probabilities of something happening, and based on statements of actions is one more probable then another. i.e is there a slightly greater probability that Trump would appoint conservative Supreme court justices than Hillary based on actions and statements of Trump and the Republican party and their counterparts. But I think the issue is more what is Christianity, is it a way of living, a way of thinking, a way of making moral decisions? I agree with both you and Nick that the important thing is to try to make moral decisions based on the information we have. You, Wayne Grudem, and apparently Doug Wilson are giving us templates to do so. I confess I was unable to find Mr. Wilson’s blog, so I feel like I am listening to only one part of a conversation.
        I had an old poster in college which said that Happiness is found along the road not at the end of the journey. If we are trying to live our lives and be obedient in all things, and glorify God by our actions we are probably on the right road, even if we end up in slightly different points. You have emphasized this in your blogs and empahsized thinking things through and trying to make good moral decisions as primary, even if we come up with slightly different conclusions. Thank you for this.

        Acts 21:14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of “the Way”, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,

        2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

        Matthew 7:21-14 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock

        People will try to tell Jesus about things they have done for Him, but he says that it is most important that there be a walk with Him, and the fruit will follow.

        Thank you for the constant focus in your life that there is a far greater King than who lives in the White House and all you do for putting his Kingdom and righteousness first, and bringing the light of that Kingdom into the darkness. This is the true campaign that goes on every day.

  10. Todd Waldron says:

    On the outset, I don’t support Trump and I have not decided which ‘last resort’ voting path I will take given the current choices. I don’t want to get distracted by all the peripheral arguments against your position, but more so focus on the foundation of your argument. I’m by no means a one-issue voter, and I would defer to Grudem’s comments which include a host of other issues that should be considered. This isn’t the only issue at stake by any means, but it is foundation to your logical consideration that you’ve laid out, so it needs to be addressed first and foremost. Additionally, I won’t focus on the ‘no vote’ argument, not because I don’t think it’s valid, but because the important part to me is you’re reasoning after you’ve decided to vote. I post this with the utmost respect for your openness, position and dialogue. Thank you for your willingness to take a stance and discuss.

    I have an extremely difficult time coming to the same conclusion as you on the issue of abortion, that it’s a “push” between these two candidates. Since this is clearly foundational to your argument and a precursor to the remainder of your thought process, I hope you can help me think deeper on this issue, but here is my logical thought process.

    You are targeting Trump as the Wolf, but you are choosing the Wolf in Sheep’s clothing. Just because Hillary is more effectively able to manage and manipulate her flip flopping on issues, and changing with the wind morality does not make her any less likely to continue to do so. That combined with the fact that she is already on the wrong side of the matter (from a Christian worldview) on many issues. Unless you’re banking on her flipping on to the Pro-Life movement, I don’t see how you can honestly say that she is a “push” on abortion with Trump. Any glimmer of hope that he will do what he says, puts him leaps and bounds ahead of her on the issue. She’s going backward, he MIGHT go forward, possibly stand still, and the least likely is he goes backward (on her train).

    You argue that Trump failing to make abortion a campaigning issue one of your concerns. Hillary HAS made the abortion movement an extremely big part of her campaign. Isn’t no Pro-life push from the Presidency, much better than a strong Pro-Choice push from the Presidency? So if you’re going to use the “part of the campaign” argument on 1-side, you must account for it on the other.

    SCOTUS – “some people have a flicker of hope”? “Blind, wishful thinking”??- “Changes his outfit more than Beyonce changes concert clothes?” Your flippancy on this pivotal point is extremely concerning. You seem to be attempting to cover your lack of supporting logic, with sappy humor and criticism in an attempt to make people feel dumb. This is a poor tactic in my opinion and very representative of typical political debate.

    Regarding the constitutional judges, the list he has presented is a clear representation of constitutional judges. Did he stick strongly to his VP candidate list? Yes. So what reasons do we have to believe that he won’t stick to his SC justice list? Because he’s flipped on abortion once? Because he’s made erratic comments and back tracked? These are in no way sign posts of a complete 180 degree turn on his justice nominees. At this point, I’m pretty sure his hatred for Hillary would lead him to whatever path would be most against where she stands. His flippant and disrespectful comments regarding McCain, Khan, etc. is in no way an indicator of a complete 180. These hold no weight in the logical consideration of if he will appoint a judge that respects the constitution or not.

    I would be willing to bet (if I was a betting man), that if you were a betting man, you would NOT bet against Trump appointing a Constitutional Justice. If you would, I’d gladly take that bet…..if I was a betting man… :)

    “Slow the damage” – do you honestly attribute attempting to slow the damage of abortion to a Clinton presidency. Even if Trumps does a 180 as you estimate, the damage and negative progression of the pro-life movement will be no more accelerated than a Clinton presidency. Trump has NONE of the Pro-Choice supporters on his side, which that in and of itself would slow his ability to progress this movement. Hillary is deeply committed to any and every bit of the destruction of human fetuses.

    Even if Trump flips to Pro-Choice, we’re no worse off than a Hillary presidency. Same SCOTUS. Same POTUS stance. However, there would be less momentum, since Trump has no allies on that side. Hillary will have a much more accelerated Pro-Choice push as she has the momentum and backing already. They may end as a “push”, but as it currently stands there is a chance (way more likely chance than you make it out to be) that Trump does what he currently says. This in no way results in a push between the two candidates.

    To me it seems you have come to a pre-determined conclusion and you are attempting to fill in the logical blanks to match that conclusion. You know what the hot button topic is and you’re doing your best to brush that topic aside as inconsequential. I’d have more respect for the conclusion if you outright said even if Trump holds true to his pro-life stance (SCOTUS and all), I’d still want (using want loosely as you’ve rightfully said you by no means want, nor support) a Hillary Presidency over a Trump one. If that statement is not true, than I would call you a betting man. And you are going All-in on a Trump 180 flip on two major issues, based on extremely weak indicators and chances of a flip.

    1. john mosher says:

      Well said.

  11. Danny says:

    Hi Thabiti,
    Thank you for your courage and thoughtfulness in dealing with controversial subjects. Keep up the good work.
    My hope in this election is that Christians and others WILL vote, and vote third party or write-in candidates in historically large numbers. Granted, this will not change who gets elected in November, and I do agree with you that since we cannot advance good we should try to restrain evil. But something I think you may be overlooking is the idea that the amount a person wins the election by does matter. Now, I’m not a political science expert, and the amount that it matters is kind of fuzzy (as you pointed out, we are all dealing with estimates here). But the idea is that if they win with a significant enough portion of the vote they can be considered to have a “mandate”; that their agenda is the will of the people and they have a certain amount of influence and momentum stemming from that. If Christians in general follow your lead, then not only will Hillary win but she will win with political capital in her pocket that she wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise. My plan is to vote for a minor candidate not because I can’t vote for the “lesser of two evils,” but in the hope that a large enough number of people raising their voice in dissent in such a way will weaken whichever candidate wins. And that is how I hope to restrain evil.

  12. Christopher Casey says:

    I’m in the NeverTrumpNeverHillary camp based on my estimation of the evil to come from either of them. How do you choose between Sennacherib and Jezebel?
    I get your tactical approach of going Hilary because we know how to fight her, but why not On elect Trump for the damage he’ll do to the establishment and use that damage to launch an offensive?

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Because I’m not a revolutionary or anarchist. They almost never lead to progress.

  13. Ryan P says:

    Hey Pastor Thabiti,
    I have two questions that I hope that you will consider soberly and answer sincerely: 1) do you believe that abortion is murder, and more specifically it is a human sacrifice which exploits the most marginalized, dehumanized, voiceless, and vulnerable human beings in the entire world? 2) Further, do you believe that abortion is the West’s (not that the practice isn’t ancient and worldwide) greatest indicator that we are speeding into an idolatrous and suicidal voyage into utter destruction?

    BTW, I believe that both you, and Pastor Doug are being inconsistent regarding top down legislation and instrumentalism vs. abolition regarding slavery and abortion.

    Take care.

    1. Emily Little says:

      He’s answered the first question in the affirmative ad nauseum. What is your point?

      1. Ryan P says:

        Could you please quote the statements that you are referring to? Take care.

  14. BJ says:

    Pastor Thabiti,

    Evangelical Christians do not have a viable voice in national politics. Now that we have two candidates that who are extremely problematic for us, is it really problematic for us to vote our conscience? You conclude that “I think we can at least restrain evil in this election, even if we can’t positively foster the good.” You argue that we can do this by voting for Clinton! I know you have thought this through, but if one reaches a conclusion that is so patently absurd, it is only proper to stop and re-evaluate. Voting Clinton is the direct opposite of restraining evil. It is voting to empower it. I would say the same about voting for Trump, if that had been your conclusion. I was raised by and live with rural, blue-collar union focused democrats who are generally socially conservative and Christians. This is not a bias against democrats or Clinton. It is a clear-eyes view of the world and all its ugly reality for biblical Christians. Your differences with Pastor Wilson are rooted in which issue is more evil? Bottom line.

    Rather than aching over whether to cut off our right ear or our left, shouldn’t we perhaps re-assess how we might influence the culture in ways other than tying our influence solely to politics? And in doing so, refuse to cast a vote for who will be doing the cutting?

    Under His Mercy,

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi BJ,

      Thanks for joining the conversation. To your last paragraph, “yes.” I’m certainly not arguing that voting is our main or even most effective strategy. But it is one we have to individually steward. So, for me, this conversation about voting is a rather narrow one in the scope of things. So, yes, let’s do a lot of other more important things.

      To your first paragraph, you’re misrepresenting my position. I am not saying I’d vote for Hillary Clinton because she would slow the tragedy. I’m saying I’d vote for her because we (evangelicals, conservatives, GOP opponents, people of good conscience) know how to slow her. The difference is massive and strategically critical when you remember that no one has been able to stop Trump and he would be weakening our defense while doing nothing for our cause.


      1. Todd Waldron says:


        No one has been able to stop Hillary either. She has the same momentum even through significant issues and scandals. Difference is, she will get the backing of her supporters no matter what. While Trump’s side has maintained (grown) support up until this point, if he flips as radically as you are suggesting, ALL (at least the great majority) of that support will be gone. That leaves him with nothing, which would be much easier to “slow (him)”.

        Hillary’s momentum is riding the cultural progressive bus, driven by a phantom morality, which is ever evolving. As more people pile on the bus (ie. voters), it only fuels the bus and adds momentum. It doesn’t matter if those voters don’t “support” Hillary or even if they think she’s evil. The perception is that she is increasing support, which is translated into a perceived support of the issues she is pushing for. People on the bus will only be increasingly reassured that they are on “the right side of history”. The more people that vote for Hillary, the more Chrisitans will be marginalized and accused of being biggots and hateful people. That, my friend, is a momentum that has already proven extremely difficult to slow. And it will only get worse, if all Christians take your advice and vote for Hillary.

        Again, the candidates head to head are in no way equal on abortion. And if Trump flips on this issue, he will not only be much easier to “slow”, he’ll be dead in his tracks with no support what so ever. As we all get run over by the Hillary bus, it would be a shame to see you on it….no matter how badly you’re trying to fight your off.

      2. BJ says:


        Thank you much for the response. We still do disagree, but as long as we both agree that politics is not our main strategy for cultural influence, we can disagree here amenably. Blessings to you.

        Under His Mercy,

        1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

          And blessings to you, BJ!

  15. steve windon says:


    Let me first say how much I respect you brother and how grateful I am for your gentle, faithful exposition of the Word. That said, I cannot agree with your decision to vote for anyone who is ultimately in favor of killing babies. I frankly wish you’d come out for a demonstrably pro-life candidate, but that doesn’t mean I wish you ill – I’m in the “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity” camp and trust me, when I say that my vote is one of the “non-essentials”. God will still be sovereign – He will still be in control and unremarkably unsurprised no matter how this election turns out! I figure if we spent as much time praying for and reaching the lost as we have spent on the absolute frivolity of this blip in eternity called an election cycle… I hope you understand and am looking forward to seeing you again at 9Marks at SEBTS!

  16. Patrick Lacson says:


    I have been following your ministry for a long time and encouraged by you greatly. As others have said we have three godly men divided (Grudem,Wilson, and Anyabwile).

    My question is this: who among the conservative evangelicals holds your view to vote for Clinton?

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      No idea. Haven’t been polling. I suspect very few. The question you then have to ask is, “Are there reasons beyond a pure stance on abortion that explain why they don’t?”


      1. Patrick Lacson says:

        Grudem is voting for Trump not for abortion alone. To do so would be (in his words), reductionistic. He is voting for a host of other issues that are beyond abortion. I agree with Grudem that I cannot vote on a single-issue litmus test. This is why I cannot vote for either Trump or Hillary because of a long list of their moral failures and leadership shortcomings.

        I suspect you are in the great minority because the predictable evil of Hillary is not a compelling positive argument. If I vote for Trump I can never cry foul on any elected politician for their moral failures. I sought for Bill Clinton’s impeachment for his moral failure and for me to now approve Trump would be utterly inconsistent. I have to reject both otherwise I fall into the trap of situational ethics.

        I like hearing your arguments Thabiti, I just want to see others who are persuaded in the same direction for some parallel thoughts as yours.

      2. Todd Waldron says:

        Absolutely, to think otherwise is in no way considering all of the issues at stake. You are arguing people are making this a one-issue vote, but you are the one who continues to bring it back to this one issue. And on that issue, your logic is not sound.

        1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

          Actually, since my very first post on this election, I’ve been answering the “what about abortion” question and it’s variant, “what about SCOTUS appointments” nearly every day. I’m not making this a single-issue thing. I’m replying to the frequent charge that it is. Just as I did in the comment above. It’s because of the wider scope of issues that I find Trump entirely unsuitable.

          1. Todd Waldron says:

            I was responding to your comment where you just stated, ” The question you then have to ask is, “Are there reasons beyond a pure stance on abortion that explain why they don’t?”

            Just because people on here continue to bring up that issue should not lead you to believe that it is a one issue vote. It obviously is the most important issue, but there are many others that need to be included in your decision making process and argument. Based on your writings, it is clear you haven’t deeply considered any of the reasons past abortion and racism. You mention none of the other “political” issues besides these, along with your concern that Trump will take over the world and in some miraculous way demolish the democratic system and become a communist dictator. There is no mention of the marginalization of Christians and reduction of Christian Liberty. At the rate of this evolution, we could see a drastically different world in a 4-year period of time that must way heavily on our decision making process. You take a giant leap that a Trump presidency would become a 1950’s America, but is there any consideration a Hillary becomes the same America only with the discrimination targeted towards Christians?

            The reason I come back to abortion mainly is because you have made it clear that it is your first consideration in your logical waterfall. (‘If push on abortion, then look to racism and predictability’). I highly doubt you would wager your house on a Trump flip flop on abortion and other major issues. Understanding you would never bet, makes this a hypothtical, but the point is the odds are no where near the level you make them out to be with your condescending tone and rhetoric?

            It is clear you are a master of circular arguments and diversion tactics and/or are just too overwhelmed with the great multitude of comments around these posts. I’m guessing it’s a combination of both. Until we’re able to move the discussion forward and deeper, the discussion will all be for not. The conversation continues to get sucked into the ditch on issues such as slavery, Chicagos, and emotional, flippant comments. My sincere hope and prayer is that you continue to consider the multitude of issues at stake, and the apparent gaps in your logical reasoning.

            God Bless,


      3. Steve says:

        But doesn’t the pure pro-life position inform all others. In other words, do SCOTUS, taxes, race relations , war, terrorism etc. matter if we as a nation and we especially as the Church cannot protect the most innocent of life or life physically imperfect or life at the end? I think it is not merely one question or position, it is the overarching question!

  17. Ellen Nicholas says:

    For whatever it’s worth, if a person votes for a candidate who openly states that she cannot think of a single moment during pregnancy that a woman should not have the right to “choose” – that means in labor, on the way to the hospital – if a person votes for that kind of pro-abortion candidate, they have zero credibility with which to speak of pro-life *anything.*

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Thank you for setting yourself up as the credibility police on who is pro-life. We’ve always needed one of those.

      1. Michael Tomko says:

        Pastor try actually addressing his comment. Your unwillingness to do so suggest you know the utter weakness of your position

        1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

          Uh… I did address his comment. I dismissed it just the way he dismissed everyone who’d dare vote Clinton. It’s about all the comment it deserved. Whether my position is utterly weak it is because the logic is fallacious, not because someone dares police the consciences of others.

          Grace to you,

          1. Ellen Nicholas says:

            Ummm “he” is a “she” and I doubt anybody needs a “police” to discover whether or not Clinton is pro-abortion. She is. And she will be placing the next SCOTUS and we *know* what that will look like.

            1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

              My sincere apologies for calling you a “he.”

  18. Joseph Hession says:

    Pastor Thabiti,
    I am not a Trump supporter, and living in Massachusetts, the outcome of all of our state delegates is already known, so I can afford to not vote for someone that does not pass my threshold for a viable President. That aside, I wanted to point out that you are, in my opinion, have objectively mis-weighed the evil of the two candidates. Assuming that the “lesser of two evils” vote is a viable Christian option for the moment (I think both voting and abstaining can ultimately be done with a clean conscience). As to Hillary’s evil, her time as secretary of state alone should be enough to resoundingly disqualify her. Her willful refusal to follow the laws regarding secure communication for classified material is treason. Her foundation’s collusion with certain African dictators in exchange for cash to exploit the natural resources in their countries is abominable. Her repeated lying under oath is perjury. Any one of these would require impeachment of any sitting president. In contrast, as bad as Trump is, he would almost certainly fill any Supreme Court and federal judge vacancies with people who have a modicum of respect for the rule of law. And he has already demonstrated some of the kinds of people that will fill his cabinet with his VP pick.

    I really fail to see how anyone can equate, much less estimate that Hillary will do less evil to our nation.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Joseph,

      Thanks for joining the discussion. Let me leave off trying to tip the scales if “objective evil” in one way or the other. Reasonable people can have an endless debate about that.

      Instead, I’d like to simply say that your last sentence does not represent my position accurately. I am not arguing that Clinton will do less evil to our nation. I’m betting that we, the people, are better able to stop Clinton than we are Trump. There’s a world of difference between that and merely saying Clinton is a “better or lesser evil.”

      Grace to you,

  19. Michael Tomko says:

    She has promised to repeal the Hyde amendment and repeal the restrictions of using tax money to promote abortion via the UN. And you call this restraining evil. Id like to hear your definition of evil. Maybe not if the logic is as twisted as your promoting of Clinton is.

  20. Michael Tomko says:

    We haven’t been able to restrain Obama’s evil what makes you think Clinton will be more manageable

  21. zsmcdonald says:

    Again pastor, not voting does not equal silence. What is your reasoning behind this? Voting is in fact speaking, and it says a whole lot that I don’t think I would need to educate anyone on. But, refusing to vote because both candidates are wicked does not make one silent, indifferent or otherwise. In fact, refusing to participate in the wickedness of selecting of a wicked tyrant to rule over our country is in fact saying something. Not to mention the fact that we could instead participate in local politics, pushing to abolish abortion in our given county or states, fight for the rights of our neighbors, etc. etc. etc. You have simplified being politically active to casting a vote which is nonsensical.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Again, I did not say “not voting equals silence.” That’s never been my position. I have no reasoning behind it because it’s not m position. I have made no such oversimplification. The post simply makes the point that in some way we have a moral responsibility to restrain evil. I take that to be manifestly evident to all. Voting is one way we can attempt that–but there are plenty of others and most all of those are better.

      Again, my point is simply that we have a responsibility to restrain evil. On the narrow matter of voting, which is but one way of doing so, I’ve laid out my reason for voting as I think I might at this point.

      Grace to you,

  22. Caleb says:

    I am in shock and tears that a man of such deep wisdom and solid gospel truth could even fathom voting for Hillary Clinton. You will not restrain her evil one iota. I am not voting for either Trump nor Clinton. No way I could vote for them when giving either one a vote would put me in the group that has to one day admit as they watch religious liberty erode and innocent blood shed, “I helped to bring this terror on my own land.” Unspeakable.

  23. Brendt Wayne Waters says:

    The idea that the South would’ve gotten around to abolition without the need for the Civil War surpasses anything I’ve ever heard in ridiculousness — even from Donald Trump.

    I’m glad that you can gain from Wilson, but I’ll be honest, with statements like that, I have no idea how.

    1. Jim S says:

      I would very much like to dialogue with Douglas Wilson about his concept of gradual manumission. I think, at the core, he is reading his own character into that of the slaveholders. I think that is the core of his error. While there certainly were instances of slaveholders who took active steps to free slaves (e.g. George Washington), the majority of the slaveholding movement had become more and more determined to not just preserve, but expand slavery. That is a matter of historical record; a series of slavery limiting compromises that were repealed by legislative action by the legislature or by the Supreme Court. On the small scale, Robert E. Lee disobeyed the provisions of his father-in-law’s will, which freed his slaves after a short time. The court forced him to obey the provisions of the will (belatedly). During the Civil War, free blacks were enslaved if captured. Clearly the appetite was for enslaving not freeing, gradually or otherwise. How’s that for a long version of, “I almost entirely agree with you”?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Search this blog


Thabiti Anyabwile photo

Thabiti Anyabwile

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

Thabiti Anyabwile's Books