In a first-ever position statement on a political candidate, the evangelical news-and-commentary website the Christian Post ran an editorial Feb. 29 urging Christians to back away from GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
“As the most popular evangelical news website in the United States and the world, we feel compelled by our moral responsibility to our readers to make clear that Donald Trump does not represent the interests of evangelicals and would be a dangerous leader for our country,” the article said.
The editorial, headlined “Donald Trump is a scam,” represents the view of the Christian Post editorial board. One of the writers is Richard Land, executive editor of the Christian Post and former head of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
Land, now president of Southern Evangelical Seminary near Charlotte, N.C., said anger among voters this election is unlike anything he has witnessed before.
“I understand people’s anger,” Land said. “There are numerous and compelling reasons to be righteously indignant with the Washington political establishment, Republican and Democrat, which too often behaves as if it is more concerned about its own self-preservation than it is about serving the hopes and the needs of the people who elected them to office.
“However, it must be said, before it is too late, that whatever the problems may be, Donald Trump is not the answer. I fear that the millions of Americans who are putting their trust in Mr. Trump will be bitterly disillusioned if he were to obtain the nation’s highest office.”
The editorial questioned Trump’s claim that he is a Christian, citing his own admission that he has never asked for forgiveness.
It calls Trump “a misogynist and philanderer” whose “preferred forms of communication are insults, obscenities and untruths.”
Trump’s apparent reluctance last weekend to disavow the Ku Klux Klan shows he is “unfit to be president,” the editorial board said. While he claims he would protect Christians, the Christian Post said Trump cannot be trusted to keep that promise after he is elected.
“Trump has been surrounded by controversy for decades because of his untruthfulness, questionable business practices, reported association with organized crime and abrupt changes in fundamental positions,” the editorial said. “Many of these controversies involve defrauding the working class and decisions that compromised American workers. He has taken a political position both pro and con on virtually every subject and major political party. This should give evangelicals great pause and concern about supporting such a mercurial and chameleon-like candidate. Past performance is the best predictor of future behavior.”
During his 25 years at the helm of the moral and public-policy arm of the nation’s second-largest faith group behind Roman Catholics, Land refrained from formally endorsing candidates until 2012, when he endorsed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and described President Obama’s re-election bid as the most important election facing the nation since Abraham Lincoln ran for president in 1860.
With the increasing likelihood of a November ballot pitting Trump against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, Land’s successor at the ERLC opined that while Christians have a moral obligation to exercise their right to vote, they cannot ethically adopt a “lesser of two evils” mindset in a race with two morally problematic choices.
Writing for Christianity Today, Moore, a former aide to Democratic Congressman Gene Taylor of Mississippi, said one way to solve the dilemma is to vote for a write-in candidate, not so much expecting to win but as a way to “participate in the process without endorsing moral evil.”
Robert Jeffress, a Fox News personality and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas who at a Trump campaign rally Feb. 26 described the candidate as a “true friend” to evangelical Christian, said the Bible has a word for Republicans who have vowed never to vote for Trump if he becomes the party nominee — “fools.”
“It is absolutely foolish to do anything that would allow Hillary Clinton to become the next president of the United States,” Jeffress said in an interview with the Christian Post reported March 2.
“”I believe any Christian who would sit at home and not vote for the Republican nominee … that person is being motivated by pride rather than principle, and I think it would be a shame for people to allow Hillary Clinton four or eight years in the White House,” Jeffress said.