Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves: Trump Will Not Help The Pro-Life Movement

There is a delusion that has swept across Christendom in recent months.

The nomination of Donald Trump by the Republican Party is the epitome of the phrase, “Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.” If we vote for Trump, we compromise on numerous principles. If we don’t, Hillary Clinton is the only other realistic alternative.

Some pro-life Christians (as if there is another kind) are up in arms against those that refuse to vote for a despicable human being because he “isn’t her”. The case they make is that the singular reason as to why we should abandon our principles and vote for Donald Trump is because he will help the pro-life movement with his appointments to the Supreme Court.

It’s laughable.

First of all, what kind of position do we find ourselves in when we are voting only based on Supreme Court appointments? The Supreme Court should be an afterthought in our selection of a president. But the SCOTUS has been out of control for decades. It’s why abortion is federally legal in the first place. This entity that was created to check the other branches and be balanced by the other branches is now creating laws based on no substantial precedent in the Constitution it is supposed to uphold. Individuals can be fined if they don’t purchase health insurance and homosexuals can marry, and innocent humans can be ripped apart as long as they aren’t too old. There is already a serious problem that will not be solved by a wild-card candidate.

Accepting the importance of the Supreme Court, it’s still a desperate leap to think that Donald Trump will deliver.

Trump and his good friends, the Clintons
“We could lose the Court for decades.”

Let’s be real. The Court will not be lost when Hillary Clinton is elected president. The Court was lost on July 18 when Donald Trump became the Republican nominee. Relying on him to save the day is a desperate grasp at hope that is simply not there.

If it sounds like I’m being negative, you’re right.

There is nothing on Donald Trump’s shady record that is any indication that he will appoint pro-life justices.

“But he said he would.” Yes, and Hillary Clinton said she supports the second amendment. Both are pathological liars that will say anything to have power.

Let’s examine what Donald Trump has said about abortion and the abortion industry.

Trump was a frim abortion supporter until, as far as we know, 2011. He changed his mind and became “pro-life” because of stories from friends about the children they decided not to abort. I value these kinds of stories, but in and of themselves they aren’t enough. This is weak reasoning as to why someone is against abortion. What if those children turned out to be monsters? Anyone who has studied pro-life apologetics knows this is a functionalist view. If one’s support of abortion changes because of how people at risk of abortion turn out, then one is rooting the value of people in what they do rather than their inherent worth as human beings. To reiterate, these stories are important and are evidence to the pro-life case, but these alone do not supply a proper pro-life view. Human life is valuable for being human life. Period.

This past January, Trump muddied the waters of his pro-life stance by stating that he believed abortion should be banned at some point during pregnancy except for the cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother. (Life of the mother cases are extremely rare anymore due to modern medical technology.)

This should send up immediate red flags for pro-life individuals. No one denies the awful circumstances of rape and incest, or any other reasons for having an abortion. But circumstances do not change our value. A fetus at eight weeks’ gestation who was conceived in rape is equally as innocent and deserving of life as a fetus at eight weeks’ gestation who was conceived purposefully. The sins of a father should not forfeit the rights of the child.

This is not something I have to tell Christians. They know this. Yet somehow, some of them are voting for Donald Trump.

In February, when Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio finally opened fire on Trump in a legendary last stand, both went after him for his compliments towards Planned Parenthood. To Trump’s credit, he stood his ground in praise of the organization, saying, “…But millions and millions of women—cervical cancer, breast cancer—are helped by Planned Parenthood.” He did change his mind and said that they should be defunded, yet stuck to the myth that they do breast cancer screenings—after Cecile Richards had to state under oath that they do not. He is recklessly uninformed on this issue. But we are to trust him with it?
What if she was conceived in rape? Pro-life Trump supporters
are justifying her death by voting for someone who justifies
her death.

There have been several times that Trump has reiterated his “caveat” approach to abortion, such as this statement LESS THAN TWO MONTHS AGO:

“The primary responsibility of the federal government is to protect the rights of its citizens. Life is the most fundamental right. The federal government should not diminish this right by denying its’ protection. I am opposed to abortion except for rape, incest and life of the mother. I oppose the use of government funds to pay for abortions.”

Life is a fundamental right—unless there are tough circumstances surrounding a pregnancy. With Trump, there always seems to be a “but”, and not just the ones he’s groped without permission.

Or there was the interview with Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin that revealed even more:

Trump: I'm pro-life, but with the caveats. It's life of the mother, incest, and rape.

Halperin: Say a woman is pregnant, and it's not in any of those exception categories and she chooses to have an abortion.
She is at eight weeks gestation. Is she young enough to legally
kill, Mr. Trump? What say you, pro-life Trump supporters?

Trump: It depends when.

Halperin: Let's say, early in her pregnancy.

Trump: Mark, it's very simple. Pro-life.

Not only does Trump refuse to budge on what is already a publicly pro-choice stance, he then gives up more ground by stating an ambiguous, “It depends when,” implying to any person—save those who have not already committed to him out of a delusional hope—that he does support abortion in other circumstances at least some of the time. Then, he digs a deeper hole by refusing to even answer the question about abortion early in a pregnancy.

This sounds like a man who is trying to win over Christian voters by acting like something he’s not. And by God if it isn’t working!

We’re too busy making excuses for his behavior and beliefs to bother to realize he isn’t going to do a blessed thing to help the pro-life movement. Or are we just clinging to a hope that isn’t there?

Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, a registered Democrat, said “women have to be able to choose” abortion, “because they're the...ones that are going to decide to bring up that child or not.”

What’s the significance of Flynn’s statement? Trump was considering him as his running mate.

Even in the final debate, Trump danced around a simple and pointed question posed by moderator Chris Wallace: Do you want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade?
Another institution I lost my remaining respect for

“If that would happen because I am pro-life, and I will be appointing pro-life judges, I would think that that will go back to the individual states.”

The fact that Trump has to reiterate “I am pro-life” is telling.

Dissatisfied with this lack of response, Wallace asked again.

“If we put another two or perhaps three justices on that’s really what’s going to be—that will happen. It’ll happen automatically in my opinion because I am putting pro-life justices on the court,” Trump replied.

As The New York Times’ Anna North said:

“Donald Trump is generally only too willing to opine on topics about which he knows nothing. But there’s one topic on which he is uncharacteristically muckle-mouthed: abortion.”

Does it not alarm us that a man who never fails to offer his opinion, regardless of how half-baked it is, tip-toes around abortion? Even the question about the very reason we are supposed to throw out our convictions to vote for Trump—the future of the Supreme Court—goes unanswered!

It is completely ridiculous to vote for Trump with the expectation that he will deliver quality Supreme Court appointments. The Bible says in Matthew 7, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” How quickly we abandon such lessons to grope for a savior in the presidential election.

A vote for Donald Trump does not help the pro-life movement in the slightest. I’m not going to sugar-coat this: either way, we will have new pro-abortion Supreme Court justices.

Honestly, I’m disgusted by the number of Christians who have believed a lie—rather, created the lie—and are willing to vote for a pro-choice candidate. People and organizations are losing their credibility as followers of Christ. You all tell me that voting for Hillary Clinton is voting for legalized abortion. The facts are in, people: Donald Trump supports abortion. YOU are voting for legalized abortion by voting for Trump. You can't suddenly change the rules of the game to suit you.

The fact that we are so easily ready to abandon our convictions in the name of stopping Hillary Clinton means that she has already won. She doesn't have to take away our rights to practice our beliefs. We're already sacrificing them. This is exactly what she wants, and she hasn't had to do any of the work.

The presidency is lost. The Supreme Court is lost. But our mission to change minds about abortion and evangelize our culture does not have to be. Yet those, too, are being lost in a futile attempt to gain the first two. Who will take a Christian seriously who votes for a man such as Donald Trump? Who will take the pro-life movement seriously when so many choose to vote for a pro-choice presidential candidate?

I won’t, and I fall into both categories. Imagine how it all looks to those on the outside.

If we’re damned already, we might as well stick to our principles. They’re all we have left.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sick of the Two-Party System? Stop Voting for It.

I hear it pretty regularly. There are problems with a “two-party system”. Not enough choices. Not matched up closely enough with individual ideals.

I get it. And I largely agree. Obviously, look no further than the current presidential election to see that a two-party system has major flaws.

But do you know who is to blame? You.

That’s right, you. There is some sort of mania that American society suffers from that makes them think the two-party system is set in stone. I hate to break it to you, but there is nothing that is holding us back from having more political parties. Sure, there are the local laws about having the same number of Republicans and Democrats on a committee or in a polling place, but it’s not like those are huge barriers. No, the biggest barrier to having more competitive political parties is us.

Jill Stein (left) of the Green Party and Gary Johnson (right) of
the Libertarian Party
See, the Constitution says nothing at all about political parties, much less how many there have to be. James Madison, in Federalist #10, said that political parties are virtually unavoidable due to the differing beliefs of people. He and the other Federalists thought that such factions were dangerous, and therefore believed that the best way to avoid abuse of power and corruption was to have many political parties. That way, each one would be too weak to have the ability to crush the other parties.

And that’s exactly what we haven’t done.

For a while, there were sometimes three or four major parties. But after the Whigs fell apart, it’s basically been Democrats and Republicans. And it’s been that way for so long that citizens think those are the only choices, and throw around all the balderdash that a third-party vote is a vote for the “other guy”. Let’s do some quick math:

Let’s say I vote for Donald Trump. This is what that looks like in terms of net votes:

Donald Trump – 1   Hillary Clinton – 0

Now let’s say I vote for Clinton (and am subsequently institutionalized):

Donald Trump – 0   Hillary Clinton – 1

So far, the vote for one candidate means that there is a vote for that candidate, and not a vote for the other candidate. So far, so good. But now let’s say I vote for Evan McMullin, an independent that is very competitive in his home state of Utah:

Donald Trump – 0   Hillary Clinton – 0   Evan McMullin – 1

So what I’m told is that a vote for McMullin is a vote for Clinton. But it seems like that the “1” is by McMullin’s name, not Clinton’s. It seems like I’ve been lied to. See, with the second one, I give Hillary Clinton a net of one vote over Trump. In the third, there is no net vote of Clinton over Trump because I didn’t vote for Clinton.

So enough of the awful math skills, please.

People have been so conditioned to an either/or mentality that they can’t bear the thought of voting for anyone else. Now, I sympathize with those that abhor Donald Trump but think that voting for him is the best we can do. I’ve debated it. In 2012, I was six months too young to vote, but I would have voted for Mitt Romney. I’m not a big fan of his, but he was good enough in comparison to Barack Obama that I would have decided to vote for him anyway.

I’ve never been 100% against Trump. I largely agree with him on immigration as well as other issues, and I do believe he is a better option than Clinton.

But good enough? I can’t say that. There are too many things wrong even with Trump. When I see two people unfit for a position, my tendency is not to try and choose the least worst. It’s to look elsewhere.

So if I’m dissatisfied with both the Republican and Democratic candidates, should I feel obligated to vote for one of them anyway? I’d say no.
Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party

I realize the fact that even Gary Johnson would be a longshot to win the presidential race, and he would have to win at least one state. Jill Stein is even lower, and Darrell Castle lower still. So yes, I understand that the president in 2017 will almost certainly be Trump or Clinton. But that is beside the point.

The point is that I refuse to justify the Republican Party’s bad judgment by voting for its candidate. I’m not going to vote for a ticket simply because it is the Party’s nominee. I don’t care if I am a registered Republican. If the Trump Train is chugging full speed over a cliff, I’m jumping off and taking my chances.

A vote for a third-party candidate voices our dissatisfaction with the two candidates we have been handed. It sends a message. That’s why I am encouraging dissatisfied voters to still vote rather than refuse to vote. A large number of votes towards smaller parties will tell Republicans and Democrats that we won’t cave to their terrible choices.

And maybe, just maybe, in the future there will continue to be more people that support third parties that align with their ideals. And maybe, just maybe, other parties will begin to compete with the big two.

But that will never happen unless we take the first step of voting for people that have “no chance”. Competitive parties aren’t developed overnight.
Evan McCullin and vice-presidential nominee Mindy Finn

So my encouragement to those of you that are dissatisfied with the options before you—as I know many of you are—is to find a candidate that actually aligns with your beliefs and would not make a mockery of the office, and vote for him or her. Then sit back and watch the major parties squirm. Your vote is very important, not a “throw-away”. Don’t be bullied by people who agreed with you three months ago but now consider you illogical. Stand your ground despite those caving around you.

If I stick to my principles, I cannot in good conscience vote for Trump, and certainly not Clinton. I’ve been asked how as a Christian I cannot vote for Trump to stop Clinton. I would counter: how can someone as a Christian compromise on so many principles in the name of preventing someone else from winning the election? I answer to God for how I vote, and one day I would have to explain to Him why I voted for a pro-choice Planned Parenthood admirer that boasts about extramarital affairs and sexual assaults while childishly hiding behind supporters to defend his degrading comments about women and Twitter arguments with gold-star parents. I don’t think “well he’s better than her” will cut it on that day. I’d rather fight a “losing battle” than choose an evil side. If you can stomach voting for Trump, I won’t think less of you, but don’t go criticizing Christians that can’t. We are losing our credibility by defending indefensible things and excusing the behavior of a man simply because we’ve made up our minds that we have to vote for him because he’s not someone else.

There are other options.