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Eric Metaxas: Character still counts. 'Trump. Now more than ever'

The case for Christians to support President Trump

Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images

As a Christian, what do you see as the main argument for Donald Trump in 2020?

That he's not Joe Biden, or Kamala Harris (or whoever she picks for veep when the ref waves his arms signaling it's all over for Joe, which seems imminent). Any Americans who can fathom what will befall this country — and the world — if these principle-free career politicians are elected at this historic moment of crisis could not dream of voting for them. But because mainstream journalists have become proud traitors to their profession — and country — many voters are unaware of what's at stake.

But to answer your question more accurately, Christians believe we should be less concerned about ourselves than about others. We are never merely to think of our self-interest and “Christian issues," but rather to vote for the good of the entire country, and for the future of liberty around the world. So even when we speak of the egregious attacks on religious liberty by the Democrats, we are inevitably thinking of the larger issues of liberty for all Americans. Nonetheless, we might touch on the oft-cited issue of “character," which is of course important to all people of faith, and to Americans in general.

Which brings us to the baffling fact that despite claiming to be a “practicing Catholic," Joe Biden promises to do all he can to expand abortion into the ninth month of pregnancy. We should also remember that it was he who pushed President Obama to legalize same-sex marriage, long before this monumental redefinition of a millennia-old institution was accepted by the majority of Americans. Even more dramatically, Biden would force teaching unscientific transgender ideology to our youngest children, even advocating for 8-year-olds to have gender reassignment surgery if they choose — against their own parents' wishes. For anyone posing as a Catholic, this is an astonishing level of hypocrisy and indicates less someone of “character" than someone of unbridled — and frightening — political ambition.

Christians are commanded to care about the poor, so a robust economy and opportunity are inescapably vital issues. And Biden's demonstrated weakness in standing up to the aggressive cancel-culture socialists and Marxists in his party — to the point of selecting the most radically leftist of all 100 senators as his running mate — will promptly soccer-kick our economy toward Venezuela. This will further devastate the poorest urban communities that his party has claimed — and failed — to represent for five decades, and whose jobs have often gone to the illegal immigrants his party has welcomed with open arms. Nor has Biden done more than give cranky lip-service to law enforcement, despite violent mobs regularly destroying American cities, and harming the very black lives he claims to care about.

A lot of evangelicals cite Trump's tone as a barrier to voting for him. How do you respond?

This is what we call "straining at a gnat to swallow a camel." In other words it is either sheer pietistic lunacy, or it is self-deluding moral contortionism masquerading as a concern for civility. For context, it's worth recalling the “tone" — and “character" — of some much-praised Democratic presidents. LBJ was likely the most foul-mouthed, bullying, and unapologetic hayseed racist ever to occupy the highest office in the land; while his dashing patrician predecessor JFK routinely brought prostitutes into the White House, despite himself also posing as a “Catholic." FDR had a mistress throughout his presidency and with the press' help hid his inability to walk across a room for four terms. Obama only hid his cigarette addiction from voters, but repeatedly and brazenly lied that anyone who wished to keep their health insurance policies could do so, historically increasing government control over our lives. If smooth-talking deception is acceptable, perhaps the straight-talking and sometimes “harsh" Trump is not what we are looking for.

On this subject, we may recall that when running for president in 1988, Biden proudly reeled off a flurry of dramatic whoppers about his academic record, and when caught in these lies was forced to drop out. Which gets us back to the issue of “character." Biden's prolific and serial plagiarism in political speeches is so broadly established that it's never mentioned anymore, nor is it worth mentioning that he committed adultery with his current wife while she was married to another man. But it is worth mentioning the single most consequential and horrifying of Biden's character issues, that he has used his power as a U.S. Senator — since the Nixon administration — and then as VP to funnel millions of dollars in phony “jobs" and “business contracts" to his closest unqualified relatives, some percentage of whose profits appear to have magically snaked their way back to him without leaving any plausibly undeniable trail.

Even worse, he committed these sins with Russia, Ukraine, and China, who is unquestionably our most powerful political adversary, and whose atheist communist dictatorship evilly persecutes anyone of faith, including murdering many Muslim “political prisoners" for their organs, which they then sell at a huge profit to wealthy Saudis. (Ailing Saudi oil sheiks don't wish to use the organs of dirty non-Muslims, and are willing to pay top dollar for the hearts and lungs of young and healthy Uighyur Muslims.) China also generally oppresses it's 1.4 billion subjects with state-of-the-art technology sold to them — or simply stolen from us — under Biden's “watch".

But let's suppose against the dizzying evidence that all of this is merely “Russian disinformation," as if the Russians preferred Trump to Biden, which is inevitably a comedic proposition. Nonetheless, most people of faith would still greatly prefer a sometimes “harsh-toned" ace pilot in the cockpit to a below-average but polite one. The stakes for us all are simply too high.

Some have cited Trump's immigration policies to claim he's not truly pro-life. How do you respond?

I assume such claims are a combination of sophistry and ignorance, and so first of all I guffaw out loud, which is hard to do in a written medium — but some ideas are simply that funny. To those whose best argument is that this president is “racist," we must say that by ending the startling lunacy of “open-borders," Trump is doing the right thing for people on both sides of the border. The ugly facts are that the sadistic and criminal “coyotes" (N.B. not literal animals) make extraordinary profits by smuggling into our country vulnerable women, whom they usually rape, and children, whom they sometimes also rape and who, once in the U.S., they pretend are their own children, often selling both the women and children into sex trafficking. Democrats willingly ignore this concatenation of evils because it suits them politically, knowing most illegal immigrants — when given the chance — will vote for them. This self-serving cynicism is even uglier than the criminal horrors they ignore. Reading the situation correctly and taking action on it has certainly cost Trump politically, as real courage often does.

What issues has Trump championed that should make evangelicals want to choose him in 2020?

This too, is an issue principally of character. Trump in the last election claimed he would appoint “pro-life" justices to the Supreme Court — which no Republican had ever dared to say. Many sneered at this, saying that he would say anything to get elected and would never follow through on any such promises. But he did follow through, and beyond the wildest expectations of any pro-life voters, installing three pro-life justices in four years. He also spoke in person at the March for Life, something no president had the courage to do. So his stance on life is only one reason, it is deeply compelling and dispositive, just as standing against Slavery was in our last election of such unprecedented consequence. And of course some believe that standing against the murder of the unborn is itself alone an issue of “character," whether one claims to be a Catholic or not.

Doing what one promises is also a character issue. Many presidents emptily claimed they would put the U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, and shamefully did not. Trump did, despite the “nattering nabobs of negativism" who insisted it would bring about war in the Middle East. In fact, precisely the opposite that has happened. Trump has so dramatically increased peace between Israel and her neighbors that he has earned four Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

He has also creatively and courageously stood up to China, North Korea, and Iran, in the process dramatically reversing the craven and failed policies of the Obama/Biden administration, and putting these rogue nations on notice that America is not to be trifled with. These successes have utterly unhinged the ineffective bureaucrats in the State Department, who prefer presidents to rubber-stamp the antique and flatulent policies they recommend decade after decade.

At America's best moments, those suffering in totalitarian countries have gotten profound encouragement from our bold stand for freedom, and because of Trump's stance they do now. Those suffering in the Soviet gulag similarly drew inspiration when Reagan — also defying the fruitless advice of the Deep Statists — declared “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Such contrarian and often heroic wisdom is called “leadership", and in this hour we need it especially desperately. Putting it another way, we may recycle a political slogan from the year Joe Biden first won election to the Senate: “Trump. Now more than ever."

One last thing…
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