A Political Conversation

July 30, 2020

This is a conversation I recorded between two Christian friends leading up to the November elections. Jim and Derek thought it would be beneficial for people to see how Christians could sharply disagree regarding current political events and yet remain friends and respectful of each other’s views.

Derek: Okay, so here we are. Jim and Derek, two Christian brothers who have known each other for years. We have found that during these turbulent times we don’t agree on all the stuff that’s happening in our world politically. So how do we disagree respectfully? The world needs to see Christians operating in unity and love, even when we disagree. Jim, you come from a conservative pro-Trump standpoint, and I’m a “Never-Trumper”.  And just what are the reasons behind that? We’re gonna flesh those out.  Jim, a lot of these issues are near and dear to your heart.  You have worked in pro-life ministries.  I mean, some of these issues have been very prominent in your life—for instance, when you see Donald Trump signing pro-life legislation and electing pro-life judges and things like this. Tell me more.

Jim: So, as you mention, I am a guy who had an abortion with with his girlfriend when I was 28, before I knew the Lord (I came to know Jesus at the age of 37). I almost instantly realized what I had done for the first time in my life because everyone was pro-life who was a Christian, and I understood why because the Bible is very clear that we need to protect the innocent and defenseless, and they are the most defenseless people in the world when they’re in their mother’s womb. And so I was instantly pro-life and, by the grace of God, I felt instantly forgiven. That’s it.

Jim: So, when it comes to the life issue, I am all about extending grace first.  Grace and forgivenss are available through the Cross of Christ to anyone who has an abortion (or any other sin) in their past.  That’s the good news, right?  The gospel?  And, so I would love to see if we, as Christians, could extend some grace to President Trump.  No president ever has been more vilified and attacked by the media and social media and people in general.  He is attacked a million times a day and lambasted 365 days a year.  And, yes, President Trump is pro-life. And what I really appreciate about him it’s his conviction to stand when so many politicians would have been hedging. He said he would be pro-life. A lot of Christians didn’t believe it. They thought he just did that to get votes. But he’s been the most pro-life president we’ve ever had. Ever.  And life is the biggest issue to me. If you don’t get life right, well?

Jim: So to me life is the main issue. You call evil good like they do in New York when they legalized late-term abortion and then they light up the skyscrapers pink to celebrate that late-term abortion is now legal, that is sick to me.  So life is the big decision, and even if it’s just symbolic, he’s the first president ever to go to the March for Life in Washington, DC. The first president ever.  He spoke and that’s huge.

Derek: I appreciate what you have said and how you share your heart. This main issue—the pro-life issue—and how passionate you are about it resonates. And you know, as a Christian, I stand right there with you. It is my sense that there are not many people anywhere who like the idea of aborting babies. I mean, whether you’re left or right, I think that the issue for people who are pro-choice is that this is their decision and the government can’t legislate that for them. This is a very personal decision. It’s something that people languish over. But to have the government tell a person what they can do with their body or not, is their decision. The other issue is when people ONLY see pro-life issues concerning Christians, they believe that is incomplete.  There’s lot of other issues for lower-income mothers especially, like childcare, healthcare, tax breaks, and all of the other aspects of caring for the child once they are born.

Derek: My wife, who is third generation Latina, feels very personally about welfare reform. So she went to work for a welfare-to-work program. And we see people who are being tethered to welfare their whole lives long.  But to help them become independent, to help them find a good vocation, is really needed. So what I think a lot of people feel is that if we’re going to mandate that you have your baby, are we going to be there when you have the baby to support you with a job, with the childcare, with the health care, and these other services? Or are we going to say sink or swim?

Derek: I’ll just speak a little bit about Donald Trump.

Jim: Can I interject one thing, before with with the pro-choice? I would say I am a pro-choice-pro-life guy. And what I mean by that is, I think a woman can do whatever she wants with her body. But I don’t think she can touch the other body that’s inside her. So it’s not just what a woman does with her body, as her choice. Her choice was already made. (Now if you want to talk about rape and the 1% or the less than 1%, that’s fine) But her choice was made when she was in a life-creating act. Nine months prior to the baby being born, that was her choice. If she wants to be involved in life-creating and then end it, I would say absolutely intervene. Also, I think the church needs to be the church, and the government to be the government. The church needs to share grace for those who cross the border, the church needs to encourage their congregants to vote for life, support the local pregnancy center, support the local harmony house that has places for single moms who need help to raise them up!

Derek: Gotcha!  Now regarding Trump, I think one of the reasons why I am anti-Trump is that when I have this privilege of having a vote, it’s extending to me a trust. I am spending a measure of faith in a person and truly character does count. I’m putting trust in a person in their integrity and their character to carry on a very important task. I think this is an important thing that established a lot of people as anti-Trump because they’re anti-demagogue. They see this greedy, lustful, corrupt, all about money, his own name, and not a person of character, and not really a trustworthy person—perhaps even a sociopath, a person who’s not capable of true empathy who doesn’t really understand other people. Recently, when he was interviewed and asked if he needs forgiveness from God and he says, “No.” He says, “I don’t think I’ve ever done anything wrong.”  Such a person scares a lot of people, including me.

Derek: Now we spoke earlier so let’s talk about the Biblical standard for liberalism and conservatism.

Jim: Sure. Hopefully this conversation will move the ball forward a little bit when it comes to political views, and conservative Christian or conservative Republican viewpoints. And I have no problem voting for Trump again as this (pro-life) is the biggest issue.

Jim: The other things that I see from a conservative standpoint that are very clear Biblically are first, marriage as designed for a man and a woman. Second, there are two genders, there aren’t 47 genders, there’s male and female. And support for Israel. I see those very clearly. God says (speaking of the nation of Israel), “I will bless those who bless you. I will curse those who curse you.” The Republican Party blesses Israel, and I can assure you that Israel wants President Trump to be reelected.  Religious liberty is another issue.  You know that four years ago the Democrats wanted to take God’s name out of their convention. And that’s the tip of the iceberg that they want. To me, liberal policy and the Democrats have been so far far left that, ultimately, they want government to be God.

Jim: Republicans are for less government and more religious liberty and not just for us to be Christians, but Muslims to be Muslims and Jews to be Jews and the atheist has the right to do that too. And that is supported, frankly, by the Republican party right now. But it’s going to get worse by the Democratic Party. So those are the issues that I think are very clear Biblically.

Derek: Well, for Biblical justification as a “never-Trumper”, the fruits of the Holy Spirit is where I would start. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.  These are hoped-for virtues for living, but we don’t see those much in Donald Trump.  Maybe a different set of values, like combative, rude, ambitious, etc. These days, even in the church, it’s fighting time.  For instance, with the COVID-prompted closure of the churches, what I see happening is a motivation to care for other people. If this is an airborne disease and we can stop the spread of this disease to others by not gathering inside enclosed spaces with lots of different people singing and things like that, that will help. That’s one thing that infectious disease experts all over agree on. They are not targeting churches per se. They’re targeting professional sports,  concerts, etc. the gathering of people in close spaces.  They recognize it is dangerous no matter who you are. So when I see Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, making these edicts about gatherings? It’s not targeting churches, per se, it is targeting gatherings, period.

Derek: Jesus taught on the two greatest commandments… Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.  The young man who was questioning Jesus wanted to justify himself, and said, “Who is my neighbor?” And then Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. The story is about a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan who all encounter a broken, injured man.  The first two ignore the man, but the hated, despised Samaritan cares for him and bandages his wounds.  Jesus asks who was a neighbor to the injured man? The one who showed compassion!

Derek: And so I think that’s the heart of what we’re seeing right now in the response to the racial tension—that there are a lot of evangelical Christians who say, “it’s this liberal agenda! or that Black people are somehow to blame, once again, for this trouble, but we’ve got a person who’s hurting, injured and broken by the side of the road, and we’re not expressing compassion.

Jim: I would suggest that President Trump has done more in his three years for the black community than President Obama did for eight years or Joe Biden did for eight years. And he’s the one bringing about police reform. He’s the one that has black unemployment to the lowest level in years. But, yeah, you got to start with the conversation and with compassion.

Jim: The Church of course needs to look at itself, but that doesn’t justify Antifa. That doesn’t justify the riots and the looting and I know you agree with that, but it’s like…

Derek: so I would just push back a little on that. We see this “Yeah, yeah, BUT white lives matter too” response. Of course, all lives matter. But we’re having a conversation about black lives matter right now. And this is where it’s time to just listen, man. Not run off to the places where we’re comfortable with the status quo with whites in the privileged position. Let’s listen to the ones who are hurting.  Let’s be in solidarity with the hurting.

Derek: When it comes to Trump, man, some of the sound bites and the ways that he reacts to racism and white supremacy, wow.  He could say something on script one day and then tweet something that night seemingly justifying the exact opposite thing so when I look at the man’s character, there’s not a lot for me to trust in.

Derek: Some of these policies, Jim, I’m right there with you.  Some of the things that he signed into legislation for pro-life and for historically black colleges and universities, etc. These are great and I am really grateful for some of these as a Christian but I think why can’t we produce somebody better than him!?

Jim: I agree with you, like, why don’t you just give us your Twitter accounts? Like, give Pence veto power over your tweets? No, don’t send that out, Donald. So I agree with you on that. On many of his things that he says.

Jim: But I will say, first and foremost, I’m most concerned about the policies. When we talk about the man, again, Dr. Dobson says he led him to Christ a few years ago. If that’s true, I don’t know. But I do know that our journey is not a straight line and we don’t go from being a complete narcissist and womanizer to Mother Teresa in a day. That’s a long journey. And it’s a harder journey when you’re in the spotlight. I was sold out from day one when I when I knew Jesus but some people just takes longer.  What I have seen with President Trump is I’ve seen some humility when he’s prayed for. And he seems to humbly bow once the prayer starts and I don’t think that that’s a photo op. I see him as he’s going to Air Force One. He’s a military guy. He stops everything to salute. He’s very respectful. I think that’s a sincere heart. And yeah, he says some really stupid things. Can’t we do better? Yeah, I can’t wait for Nikki Haley to be president. That would be awesome. But Joe Biden is not better.

Derek: My vote would be with Biden, as a Christian. And the reason is, because I see the man having EQ, emotional intelligence. He just understands people. I just don’t think Donald Trump understands people. I think that it’s a human business at the end of the day, it’s caring for people, and it’s competent leadership. You know, it’s discouraging when you see the most professional, most qualified members of Donald Trump’s cabinet leave by the droves saying this man is incompetent. He can’t read. He can’t listen, and can’t understand a daily memo. He doesn’t understand any of the issues. Remember, Jim, these are cabinet members who were committed to Donald Trump, they want to be there and work on that team and support the man, but this is an absolute train wreck. We were talking Rex Tillerson to John Bolton to James Mattis to John Kelly, that’s pretty discouraging. Have you ever seen members of other cabinets, other persons come out and write this kind of stuff about the commander in chief?

Jim: I think at his core, he’s a fighter. I’m just saying that’s who he is. He loves to fight. And if he hired someone and then thought, I shouldn’t have hired that guy, well, it’s not gonna end well because he lacks compassion like you say.  Also, I don’t trust John Bolton’s book. But his current Secretary of State is a believer with strong Biblical values. And he has surrounded himself with a lot of seemingly great godly people. So I’m encouraged by that. Are those leaders in Biden’s cabinet? Doubtful.

Derek: This has been great, John. This next election we pray God’s will be done and that in voting we would be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Just give us a final word, John.

Jim: Well, one last thing about President Trump that I find is they say you’ll know a tree by its fruit. His kids seem great. They seem hard working, well spoken, successful. They’ve all made something of themselves. And they seem to love their dad.  And, that is actually a little surprising.  I mean the world is filled with children, particularly children from uber-wealthy families who actually despise their dads.  And Melania seems like she has so much grace. I mean, she gets slammed all the time too. Maybe It’s just this exterior of President Trump’s that is so crass. Maybe it’s for a time such as this. Maybe if his exterior wasn’t so tough, he wouldn’t succeed.

Jim: I don’t think Biden will ever become pro-life as there’s no way the left would let him do that. I don’t think he has the conviction to do that. He certainly didn’t do anything as Vice President for eight years that would help further that. In fact, the other day we learned Nancy Pelosi’s gonna ramp up the support for Planned Parenthood, which is their number one priority.  Government-funded abortions is where Planned Parenthood makes all their money and that’s one of the first thing within 100 days Biden said he’s gonna get back as part of Obamacare.  Obamacare could even make churches pay for abortion insurance, so I think you’re really pie in the sky thinking otherwise.

Derek Prayer: Jesus, thank you so much that we get to talk about these issues and, Lord, we’ve cut to the heart of love. Just hearing John’s heartbeat and that you know all about this issue that is so important to him and to you, God.  We want to love our neighbors as ourselves. We want to demonstrate love and compassion, Lord, as your hands and feet, to do right by you. We pray for President Trump, Lord God, that you would help him and help his cabinet. We pray for all those who are in positions of leadership during this pandemic, all through this crazy year of 2020. Help President Trump with grace and wisdom.  We pray, Lord God, for those who are in other leadership positions. We pray for Gavin Newsom. We pray for people who understand infectious disease much better than Donald Trump or Jim or me, God. We pray that they would get understanding of this disease and how it’s passed along how, Jesus, and make real, quality decisions that we can implement in this country. Your hand is still very much involved in the affairs of men. Yes, we are hopeless without you, Jesus.

Jim Prayer: Father, I just agree with those prayers and I just really thought the year 2020 would be the year of perfect vision and, maybe we’re correctly seeing all the chaos. I just pray for your outpouring Lord. If indeed President Trump already knows you, I pray he would grow up and we’ll know a tree by its fruit. I pray that he would grow in joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, Lord God. I pray for all the pastors who have a decision to make whether to open or close and follow the edict or not, that they would just seek you out. Yeah. And that you would speak to them. And whatever decision they make be made with grace and peace. We love you. And we thank You, Jesus, Amen.

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