Yesterday, GOP activist David Barton delivered a speech to the Dallas Eagle Forum. In it, he said that Christian have a responsibility to vote for Donald Trump (see the Right Wing Watch segment). Barton is now downplaying Trump’s failings by saying the character of the leaders is not important, the person’s policies are what is important. Watch this video on that point. He says, “Righteousness is the public policies you have” as opposed to the leaders who may or may not be righteous.
This is a switch for Barton who has always advised his audiences to vote for people of good character.
God ordained the institutions of civil government and it’s the Bible that provides us with clear guidance about electing God-fearing leaders of moral character and wise judgment. In fact, it’s our duty as Christians to elect such leaders, for Proverbs 29:2 tells us that “When the RIGHTEOUS rule, the people rejoice. But when the WICKED rule, the people groan.” Or, to put it simply, when people of faith elect God-honoring representatives and government, all of America benefits. As Christians, we must take this to heart and vote in the coming elections.
On his website, Barton provides numerous admonitions from early Americans to vote for people of high moral character. For instance, Barton’s citation of Noah Webster is on point.
In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate – look to his character. . . . When a citizen gives his suffrage to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor, he betrays the interest of his country.
[Noah Webster, Letters to a Young Gentleman Commencing His Education to which is subjoined a Brief History of the United States (New Haven: S. Converse, 1823), pp. 18, 19.]
When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, “just men who will rule in the fear of God.” The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be sqandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.
[Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), pp. 336-337]
I like the Webster quote where he says, “let principle be your guide.” To paraphrase Webster, I do not support Trump or Clinton because I don’t want to betray the interest of my country. If we neglect principle, corrupt people will be placed in power. Given the available choices, I think we are about to test that theory.
In my opinion, if Barton, Metaxas, Jeremiah, and Graham and their compadres really believed their principles, they would be getting behind a third party candidate with a mighty effort to throw the election into the House of Representatives. If there was ever an election when the Christian right could have delivered a message that the GOP has taken it for granted, this one is it.