A Look in the Fun-House Mirror
Guest blogger Nick Rodriguez, with an assist from host and pastor Thabiti Anyabwile, uncorked a bottle of self-righteous indignation and blind, frothing rage for the remnants of the Religious Right last week over at The Gospel Coalition when he wrote a short column that not only argued in favor of voting Clinton over Trump but also urged evangelical leaders and pastors to enact a quasi-“get out the vote” movement on her behalf. Rodriguez’s argument, which I shan’t reiterate at length, essentially boils down to two basic ideas: 1) that Hillary is a known, controllable evil rather than the unknown and potentially uniquely-unhinged evil that is Trump and 2) that Trump’s consistent race-baiting and aggrandizing tactics threaten the split church and the country along racial and cultural fault-lines in such a way that could fan to flame the ever-glowing embers of racial tension and violence in America.
Predictably, many who disagree with Mr. Rodriguez couldn’t simply say, “I disagree” or “I think you are wrong,” or even “There is a good deal of dangerous error in this post, sir.” Instead they displayed a kind of blind allegiance to a political party and it’s now-defunct “conservative principles” by questioning everything from the author’s salvation, to his intelligence, to his true motives, and beyond (Thabiti’s also). Many pointed to his status as a “life-long Democrat” as proof that he can’t be trusted (never mind the fact that I know aged and wise conservative Christians who also, more or less, could be defined similarly). Even more grating is that among these voices you will find those who ask us #NeverTrumpers to soften our tone when speaking about or against Christian’s voting for Trump, but then they see no need to extend the same charity to those who, God forbid!, see voting for Hillary as a necessary measure to impeded a greater evil (Trump).
It would seem they do not care to study their own reflection, lest what they think to be a fun-house mirror turns out to be more accurate than they would hope.
I vehemently disagree with Mr. Rodriguez’s conclusion even though I find myself more or less embracing the two secondary prongs of the trident he plunged into the “Moral Majority’s” corrupted underbelly. Trump does, I think, project to be a peculiar kind of evil that America hasn’t had sitting in power for some, if ever. But my agreement with that fact does not lead me to embrace the article’s central point of voting for Hillary by extension. Hillary may be a more known or predictable evil, but she’s still beyond the pale in that category. My take is much more aligned with that of Jared Wilson, who also blogged on the subject over at The Gospel Coalition. My conscience forbids from voting for either because I see each candidate as excessively vile, just not necessarily equally or comparably so.
There are many types and forms of evil. Trump and Clinton just embody two distinct flavors of the same immoral poison. Swallowing one to condemn the other is hazardous to your health either way you go.
By the time Election Day is over I will no doubt have many friends who will have pulled the proverbial lever for Trump, and probably a few who pulled it for the Clinton. I will continue to be friends with both groups and love both groups. But I would hope they could set aside their political-party glasses long enough to see each other clearly and compassionately and realize they’re more alike than they would think.
And, for the record, I’ll try and so the same.