By the choice that many professing Christians have made in this year’s Republican presidential primaries, I believe that they have forfeited irrecoverably for all believers something of priceless value. The true cost of this forfeiture will be seen in numerous ways in the years to come.
Inability to Say Credibly That Moral Character Matters for Any Leader Outside of a Church Context
Espousing the view that they were voting for a President and not a pastor, many Christians voted for a candidate in this year’s elections whose life history has differed markedly from that of the other choices that were available to them. They did so for various reasons.
By their doing so, have we not forfeited the ability to demand good moral character of any leader outside of a church context?
Resulting from what has happened in this year’s election, it seems inescapable that believers can no longer credibly insist that moral character would matter in any of the following situations:
I. A married high school football coach is found out to have had multiple affairs with women, both married and unmarried. He did not do anything illegal in these affairs. Because the team has played at a stellar level for several years in a row, on what grounds will the parents or members of the community demand his resignation?
II. An older superstar athlete who is the top performer on a championship professional sports team has multiple affairs with young college-aged women. All the relationships were by mutual consent. How will the league deny him the MVP award for that year?
III. A young, attractive female college professor has cheated on her husband repeatedly with multiple older colleagues and boasts about her trysts on social media. Her infidelity does not appear to have affected her fulfilling her job requirements in any measurable way. In fact, her students have consistently given her very high evaluations. She is now up for tenure. On what basis will you as a tenured Christian faculty member in a secular university argue that she should not be given tenure?
IV. An unmarried job applicant fills out an application for a managerial position with your company. Going to his Facebook page, you see that he has openly lived a life of going from one conquest to another. You also find out that he has for years shared many steamy tweets on Twitter about the people with whom he has had intimate relations. In every case, what he did was perfectly legal, according to the laws of your country. The applicant is the best-qualified person who has applied for the position and meets the requirements for the position. As a Christian executive in your secular company, what ability will you now have to urge your colleagues to reject this applicant because of how he has lived his life?
V. Your middle-school age child is a budding top cellist. You find a highly regarded non-Christian cello teacher in your community and are very pleased with your child’s progress under the teacher. Later, you discover that the teacher had a secret six-month fling with a colleague’s husband two years ago and that the teacher married someone else a year ago who had had multiple wives and left his most recent wife to marry your child’s teacher.
Your child does not know anything about her teacher’s personal life until a friend’s mom tells her about it. How will you as a Christian parent explain to your child that you are going to make her change to another teacher when she really likes her teacher and has progressed greatly under that teacher? What credibility will you have with your child when your child knows whom you voted for in this year’s elections when you could have voted for any number of other candidates who had a very different history from the candidate for whom you voted?
Regardless of how this year’s elections turn out, do these scenarios not show that we as believers have now lost irrecoverably something of priceless value because of what has already taken place in this year’s elections?