Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Norman Geisler on Why He's Supporting Trump and not Changing His Mind
He’s certainly changed his views over the years, so how can you trust his stance on issues of evangelical concern (e.g. abortion, same-sex marriage) once he is elected?
This question seems to suppose that it is wrong to change your view, even when you are wrong. By this logic the Supreme Court should never have changed its view in the Dred Scott decision (1857) when it pronounced Blacks not to be regarded as “persons” under the Constitution. It is always right to admit when you are wrong. It is a sign of maturity that we should admire in a leader. Of course, we have no guarantee that candidates won’t change their views after the election. But there is less chance that Hillary will change her views and become a pro-life supporter than that Trump will become pro-abortion after he is elected. So, if you want to save unborn lives, your odds are much better with Trump.
I think most people would agree he’s said some offensive things about certain groups and people, with many expressing concern about how he speaks of or treats minorities, the handicapped, women, and others. How can evangelicals support someone who speaks this way of people made in the image of God?
Whether we like it or not, when we vote for president we are not voting for Pastor-in-Chief. Rather, we are voting for Commander-in-Chief. The qualifications for the two jobs are different. Further, Trump has expressed regret for offensive things he has said. Hillary has not shown regret for the numerous lies she has told—many of which the FBI has reported. Also, we must remind ourselves that we are all fallen creatures in a fallen world. We don’t have any perfect candidates. So we must choose among imperfect ones. Finally, we have aborted nearly 60 million unborn human beings under Roe v. Wade since 1973—a decision that Hillary ardently supports. Reportedly, Hitler only killed about 12 million people. So when Hillary supporters point to Trump’s flaws, do we not have a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black!
His personal character has received a lot of attention. How can Evangelicals support a candidate who has, for example, boasted about his sexual conquests, or has engaged in lots of other activities that evangelicals find offensive. If it mattered for Bill Clinton, should it not matter now?
All the candidates engage in offensive activities, some more than others. Most evangelicals would not vote for any of them to be pastor of their church. But we are not voting for a pastor but for a politician. Many evangelicals envision an ideal candidate who is superior to the ones we have. The problem is that we do not have the choice to vote for this ideal candidate but only for the real ones that are on the ticket. In an ideal world this would not happen, but we do not live in an ideal world but in a real one—a real fallen world. And in such a world we can only choose the best one available, not the best one conceivable. An as an evangelical Christian living in this real fallen world, it looks to me that Trump, as imperfect as he may be, comes closer to what we need in America now than Hillary Rodham Clinton.
For reluctant conservatives who were looking for someone more to the right of center, we must remember that conservatism does not equal Christianity. Likewise, neither does liberalism equal Christianity. But when I am sick, I choose the most competent doctor who may or may not be the most Christian doctor. Likewise, the most competent political leader may not be the most Christian one.