Why Evangelicals Should Support Trump’s Conviction

Donald Trump has become the first president in history to be impeached twice. This doesn’t seem to bother most of my Trump-supporting Evangelical friends. Franklin Graham even compared the ten Republican representatives who voted for impeachment last week to Judas. Well, I have some advice Franklin Graham and other Evangelical Trumpers: you should support a vote to convict Trump, and not because he is guilty.

If you have followed this blog long enough you know I try to stay out of politics. I have described my attitude toward politics as an “engaged indifference.” I believe modern Christians put too much hope in politics and have been too willing to compromise their integrity and witness to grasp for political power. I believe Christians should partake in politics as with alcohol, in moderation.

But I am obviously not much of an influence. I watched Evangelicals, including friends and family, run after Trump like a dog in heat. Never mind that Trump openly mocked the disabled, paid off paramours, bragged about sexually assaulting women, supported white nationalists, and retaliated against anyone who crossed him. Evangelicals endorsed Trump because of what he promised to give them. It wasn’t about integrity or principle; it was about what Evangelicals could get from this candidate. With politics it always is. 

As a result, Evangelicals said to hell with their witness, just give us our piece of pork like every other interest group. And Evangelicals got what they wanted. Trump delivered on three Supreme Court justices, he moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and he protected churches. And let’s not be naive; Trump didn’t do it because he loves Jesus or Christians–in fact, he reportedly referred to Evangelical pastors laying hands on him and praying for him as “bulls**t“–Trump did it because he loves Donald Trump, and he wanted to stay in office.

So, now the transaction has been consummated. Evangelicals gave Trump their support and Trump gave Evangelicals their goodies. But then Trump lost the election and caused an insurrection. Now he’s been impeached a second time, and the Senate must decide whether to convict him. I do not think Trump is guilty of inciting insurrection. The legal definition of inciting insurrection requires intent, and while I think Trump’s speech on January 6, 2021 caused the insurrection, I do not think he intended it.

If I were a Senator my conscience would not allow me to vote to convict Trump, but then again my conscience did not allow me to vote for Trump in the first place, and this post is for those Evangelicals who did vote for him. And those Evangelicals should support conviction, not because it is the right thing to do, but because it is the politically expedient thing to do.

If Evangelicals support the conviction of Trump in the Senate they will at least be able to tell non-Christians that they drew the line somewhere, maybe not at making fun of the disabled, sexual assault, or white nationalism, but they drew it somewhere. Trump is no longer going to be President anyway; Evangelicals no longer have need of him, and now they have a chance to save some face, even if just a little, with the world they are supposed to be trying to reach for Jesus.

I know, I know…you want to be loyal to him because of what he did for Evangelicals, but what does politics have to do with principle? Your loyalty to Jesus didn’t keep you from voting for Trump twice and supporting him the last four years. You wanted to play politics; now it is time to play. Cut Trump loose. You saw what Trump did to Mike Pence the minute Pence showed a bit of conscience rather than do what Trump demanded.  Do you think Trump would treat you any differently if he thought it would benefit him? 

Welcome to the world of politics. Politics is the art of the possible. It is not possible to save Trump, and he can’t help you any longer. Time to save yourself and your witness. GS

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