For a man of such intellectual heft, I'm disappointed to see such a shallow argument from Dennis Prager on the evangelical defense of Trump. His argument boils down to this:
Evangelicals realize that the moral good of defeating the Left is of surpassing importance. It can feel good to oppose the president, but religious supporters of the president are more interested in doing good than feeling good.
In fact, I hear that a lot from evangelical supporters of the President who give him a pass on everything. And to be clear, I think it is possible to support the President as an evangelical without cheerleading him. Prager's defense seems to be directed at those who ignore the President's low character and behavior because of the advancement of public policy.
The problem, however, is that Prager is layering politics on top of faith and conforming faith to politics. Where does the "moral good" come from to defeat the left? Is it from God? If so, then God sets parameters for our behavior knowing that people of faith will not succeed against the world without God. As Psalm 73 notes, the things of this world are going to thrive while it looks like the people of God are not thriving. But it is an act of mercy on God's part because the things of this world will never have it better than now and the people of God will never have it worse. More so, the New Testament tells Christians that they are to shun those who claim to be Christian, as the President does, but who are unrepentant of their bad behavior.
So where does the moral good come from? The people of God are commanded to glorify Him. How does giving a pass to affairs with porn stars glorify God? And again, as Trump calls himself a Christian, how does this all reconcile with 1 Corinthians 5, which commands Christians to shun those Christians who engage in such behavior without repenting?
By muddying up the waters between faith and politics Dennis thinks he has a winning argument, but God's people are called to be set apart. We can engage in politics, but we are not to so separate our faith from our politics that we think we can sin on Saturday so long as we don't on Sunday.
Religious Christians and Jews who support Trump understand that the character of a public leader is quite often less important than his policies. This is so obvious that only the naïve think otherwise.
Dennis sets up a binary choice. One must vote for A or vote for B. But I think God calls us to rely on him, not on political leaders. When confronted by two immoral people, Christians can opt out. We do not have to defend one immorality because of his policy positions. We are, after all, just passing through home to eternity.
Ultimately, we must decide if we are Christians first or Americans first. And if we are Christians first we must recognize there are some times and some ways in which we cannot engage in politics. That may seem like we have a hand tied behind our back against a world willing to cheat, but then this life is the best the world has. We have an eternity with God. A politician's policies are temporary. We have to worry about the eternality of the soul. Dennis seems to think the short term gains of political policy can be had, at any cost, without a cost to the soul. I think he is wrong and I think his argument allows conservatives a blank check of bad behavior to beat the left, which I think flies in the face of authentic Christianity. Should we support someone who steals to beat the left? What about someone who cheats? What about someone who lies? What about someone who murders? If not, why not? But isn't it all about his policies and beating the left?
Like Evangelicals, I look to the Bible for moral instruction. I also look for wisdom. And in that book, God chooses, of all people, a prostitute (Rahab) to enable the Israelites to enter the Promised Land. There’s a lesson there.
There is a lesson there. For Dennis and those who give the President a pass on all his moral faults, the lesson is that no matter how awful a person's character, if his policies are right he is worthy of support. That is precisely the opposite of the Biblical lesson of Rahab.
Rahab prostituted herself in Jericho, but when the Israelites approached she trusted in the Lord and called upon His name. She went from sin to salvation by faith. In other words, Rahab showed herself to actually have high character despite her profession in Jericho. God uses the fallen, but the fallen repent. Rahab repented. David repented. Peter repented. Paul repented.
Donald Trump has not. What he has done is caused a lot of evangelicals to embrace moral relativism, trading truth for lies, and allowed people who once said character matters to say it no longer does. For Dennis Prager and evangelical defenders of Trump, relationships are now transactional, which is not Godly and not reflective of the faith.
There are defenses of evangelicals voting for President Trump. There are no defenses of evangelicals defending the President's sins. And any evangelical who equates advancing the Kingdom with beating the left risks losing the kingdom.