I want to address the crisis of conscience that many conservative evangelicals face when wrestling with what to do with Donald Trump.
As a pastor, I have been party to countless conversations among fellow Christians about whether to support Mr. Trump, or not.
While I do not endorse candidates, I could easily vote for Mr. Trump this November without endorsing him, his behavior, his language or his “temperament”.
Let me explain.
To use the now cliché line in many faith circles, we are electing a Commander in Chief, not a Theologian in Chief. His words and behavior have left many conservatives thinking, “we want to support you Mr. Trump, but why must you make it so difficult?”
It is true we have some concerns.
At the same time, we must face the facts.
Mr. Trump has ignited a movement that most of us didn’t see coming. I certainly didn’t. He has been underestimated time and again and despite the establishment’s most ardent efforts to block his nomination, his core appeal resiliently overshadows his flaws.
After spending much of my morning yesterday with Mr. Trump in a small meeting in his office and in a larger meeting attended by 1000 of the nation’s most influential Christian leaders, I would vote for Donald Trump because he has convinced me he will fight for the issues that matter most to conservatives. And one thing is certain with Mr. Trump – for better or worse, he’s not afraid of a fight.
It’s Trump’s position on three key issues that encourage me. The first - and most important - is that of The Supreme Court. Trump’s campaign recently released a list of potential Supreme Court Nominees, all of which are judges who will uphold the constitution without attempting to legislate from the bench. I cannot overstate the importance of this. Any honest conservative should commend this list of nominees.
The second issue is the protection and sanctity of life. Now I know that candidate Trump has changed his position on this particular issue and many question his sincerity. But, I’m a pastor and I love it when someone changes their mind and comes over to the right side of an issue! I choose to believe Mr. Trump has truly converted to support life and will be a protector of the unborn.
And what is the alternative? Hillary Clinton is clearly in favor of legalized abortion. There is no choice here for me and millions of evangelical Christians. We will vote life every time. We will vote principle over personality, party, or our pocket books.
The last issue is that of Religious Liberty. Trump has brought greater voice to the concerns held by many Americans when it comes to our faith. With a great marketer’s instinct, he sums it up like this, “When I’m President, we’ll say Merry Christmas again.”
It’s an impressively simplistic - but effective - way of articulating a widely held conviction. As Christians, we believe the left’s agenda is to marginalize Christianity to the sidelines, diminishing our influence and many of the faith traditions we cherish.
Mr. Trump, to his credit, has made considerable efforts to include evangelicals in his campaign to lead the nation. He has spoken positively and persuasively of his desire to support Christian faith in America. We know he has stated many times that he is for us and not against us.
These are the reasons I could vote for Mr. Trump, and encourage others to do the same.
Actually, it’s not that difficult.
Donald Trump says he will support those issues that conservative evangelicals care about.
Hillary Clinton promises she won’t.
I know this as a fact: it is critical that Christian citizens prayerfully vote and participate in the election process. The future of our country depends upon it.
Dr. Jack Graham is a former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in metropolitan Dallas, one of the ten largest churches in America.