I boldly told people that this day would never happen.
- Republicans would come to their senses and nominate someone other than Donald Trump.
- The nation would never elect a man like Donald Trump president.
I was fearful that by nominating Donald Trump as its nominee the GOP was guaranteeing that I would have to utter 3 words I never wanted to have to say, “President Hillary Clinton.”
I was wrong about all of that. In a few moments, Donald Trump will appear at the Capitol and be sworn in as the President of the United States. By the time you read this, it will be a done deal. Barack Obama will be a private citizen, a past president, and the Commander in Chief will be Nancy Pelosi’s worst nightmare.
I opposed his candidacy with more force than I have ever applied to any political activity in my life. I’m politically interested but I’ve never devoted the kind of passion to something as I have to the Trump candidacy. I do not regret opposing Donald Trump’s candidacy with passion and force. I believe it was an act of conscience and conviction – a patriotic act. I regret the rhetorical skirmishes that sometimes escalated and I regret sometimes not making it clear that I distinguished between those who passionately supported Trump and those who simply voted for him as an option to the “President Hillary” we all found too awful to countenance. I’m thankful that he defeated Clinton but I still have serious misgivings about both the man Donald Trump and about the mixing of politics and faith by many Christian leaders.
At this point, it is water under the bridge. I advocated and I lost. Losing an election doesn’t make my position wrong and winning wouldn’t have validated it. I said what I said out of my beliefs based on my convictions and not a thing has changed, except the occupant of the Oval Office. As adherents to a faith that has prospered for millennia in underground gatherings in the fires of persecution, we certainly do not believe that right and wrong are determined by public opinion polls or elections.
I am ambivalent to the core about the new president.
- I still have serious reservations about the character of the man who now becomes one of the most powerful men in the world.
- I am thrilled beyond words that Hillary is not being inaugurated today. I believe I might be reconsidering my lifelong abstinence from beverage alcohol if that were the case!
- I am happy about some of the appointments that Trump has made and deeply disturbed about others. Choosing Mike Pence was a good start. Choosing Steve Bannon was bottom of the barrel. A couple of his national security nominees have ties to Russia that ought to make us nervous. Ambivalence rules.
- By and large, at least in those places where it matters most, appointments have reflected pro-life values.
- I wish someone would take the new president’s phone away from him. Much of the time when I am embarrassed or offended by him, it is because he tweets things that are inappropriate, embarrassing, crude or thin-skinned. Representative John Lewis is a hero of the Civil Rights movement and attacking him as he did this week was not presidential. President Trump will have to learn how to handle criticism an even insult without snapping back with Twitter insults. He will now have bigger fish to fry.
I would like nothing more than to come to believe, by the 2020 election cycle, that I was wrong about Donald Trump.
I have no idea where the nation will go from here. Some see Trump’s election as the divine hand of salvation in America (I’m not making this up – people actually think that!) while on the other side the left sees him as evil and the destroyer of all things good. Time will tell. Donald Trump was elected and only history will say whether that was a good thing or bad.
I will say the following:
It is for Americans now to pray for Donald Trump and to support him in his work. That is the way democracy works. We cannot be like the petty leftists of academia and the snowflake generation who are acting the fool. I am #NeverTrump but the country said something different. I was #NeverObama for the last 8 years, much more than I was NeverTrump. I lived through it. You never heard me joining in the fake news nonsense about his birth certificate or about “Obama is a Muslim.” I disagreed with him and challenged him. But there is a respect and honor due the president, especially from Christians. Many Christians sinned against Barack Obama and I do not plan to sin against Donald Trump.
On the other hand, as an American and as a Christian, my highest loyalty is to God, to the gospel of Christ, and to truth. If Donald Trump does things that are wrong or leads in ways that are wrong, I will not be afraid to speak against his actions or policies. The church has not been called to seek access to the halls of power, but to seek to bring the halls of power to Christ. American Christianity must never allow its gospel mandate to become subservient to political access and national prominence.
I will continue to join with others in calling on the spiritual conscience of American Christians to put the Kingdom ahead of the nation. I take a back seat to no one in patriotism, but I was redeemed to be part of the company of the redeemed making Christ’s name known in the world, and my patriotism must always be suborned to that purpose.
One thing, fellow-believers, I would say. It is time to lay down the weapons of warfare. I will never change my mind on Trump’s past or his qualifications for elections. But perhaps he can become more than his past would promise. I hope so. If he makes one, or two, or three, Supreme Court nominations in the vein of Scalia and Thomas, then I will be a happy man. If he brings security (I’d guarantee he’ll never build that wall, but I’m tired of making bold pronouncements) to the border and confronts Islamic terrorism and deals with Obamacare and does a few of the necessary things to build our economy, I will be happy.
If he leaves behind his immorality, shows evidence that his treatment of women has changed, and that perhaps the responsibilities of the office have raised his character, I will support him. His past was the main issue with me for this election, but now that he has been elected it will be his performance that matters, not his past. Will he act with moral integrity and decency that he has not displayed in the past? Will he lead well? Will he keep his promises? If he does, this #NeverTrumper will be willing to change his tune. When you elect a man the first time, you look at his past and his character. From that point on, you look at his record in office. I will be watching.
It is a supposed ancient curse, “May you live in interesting times.” We certainly do. The years of the Trump administration are not going to be boring. Not only are the enemies of the gospel real, so also are the enemies of America.
One thing I have learned. Whatever America is becoming, it is something I don’t understand and cannot predict.
We need President Trump to do better than I’ve ever believed he will do! So, I guess we are all hoping I am wrong again. Right?