Another respected evangelical defects to Trump

Another respected evangelical defects to Trump August 1, 2016

Wayne Grudem, a Christian ethicist popular with conservative evangelicals, has endorsed Donald Trump for president.

As a professor who has taught Christian ethics for 39 years, I think their analysis is incorrect. Now that Trump has won the GOP nomination, I think voting for Trump is a morally good choice.

Grudem produced a long list of political and policy areas, then commented on how horrible Hillary Clinton would be and how great Donald Trump would be in each area.

He thinks he is thoughtfully answering fellow evangelicals’ reservations about Trump, such as, “Does character matter or not?” But for the Harvard-educated Grudem (a trained and respected Christian ethicist), Trump’s character is much better than Clinton’s, so it’s essentially a non-issue.

Grudem is especially well regarded among the subset of evangelicals who emphasize traditional gender roles and believe abortion and marriage are the key issues that animate evangelicals’ engagement with politics.

It is important to note that Grudem is not a hack or a no-name. Unlike many of Trump’s early clergy supporters who do not have legitimate ordinations or affiliations with respected organizations, Gruden is a consummate evangelical insider. In the primaries, he preferred Marco Rubio along with most principals of the Evangelical Public Policy Center and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Grudem shares more in common with evangelicals like Michael Cromartie, Michael Gerson, and Russell Moore than with Trump-supporting clergy like Paula White and Mark Burns. Grudem joins Eric Metaxas as a leader who #NeverTrump evangelicals like and respect but who nevertheless endorsed Trump.

Compared with other evangelical leaders I follow, I don’t know as much about Grudem’s political thinking. But his argument flows very easily and naturally from the political rhetoric that has echoed in evangelical churches and institutions for three decades.

When elections are a choice between the lesser of evils, it’s important to remember that this is not a figure of speech for conservative evangelicals. They really do think Clinton is evil. And Grudem points out that Trump may not be. Every evangelical who declines to vote for Trump in November puts Hillary Clinton a little closer to the Oval Office.

UPDATE: See this satirical take from Erick Erikson.

Image credit: Pixabay

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