A few days ago, I came across an article I wrote in April, 2016 titled, “Donald Trump Is Not Your Protector: A Warning To Conservative Christians.” Was I wrong to issue this warning? Hasn’t President Trump proven himself to be a friend and protector of conservative Christians?
Without a doubt, I want my warning to be wrong, since I’m far more concerned with our religious freedoms than with being right. In fact, as soon as it became clear that Trump would be the Republican candidate, I wrote an article titled, “Why I’m Actually Rooting for Donald Trump,” making clear that I hoped to be wrong in my many warnings.
That’s also why I voted for him on election day, albeit with trepidation: I was not only voting against Hillary Clinton, I was voting for Donald Trump, with the hope that my fellow-evangelicals who knew him and spoke well of him were right. I wanted my warnings to be wrong then, and I want them to be wrong now, for the good of the country and the world.
In the April, 2016 article, I wrote that, “when the rubber meets the road, [Trump] is anything but the defender of conservative Christians and their values.”
This was because: 1) the day before, on the Today show, he had said without hesitation that he wanted to change the Republican Platform on abortion, adding in three exceptions; 2) he had been critical of North Carolina’s HB2; and 3) he said that Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner would be free to use the ladies’ room in one of his buildings.
Since I didn’t trust his character or his track record or his promises (especially in contrast with the positions of Senator Ted Cruz, whom I had endorsed), I cautioned my fellow Christian conservatives against putting their trust in him.
Indeed, regarding Trump’s criticism of HB2, Cruz had said, “Donald Trump is no different from politically correct leftist elites. Today, he joined them in calling for grown men to be allowed to use little girls’ public restrooms. As the dad of young daughters, I dread what this will mean for our daughters - and for our sisters and our wives. It is a reckless policy that will endanger our loved ones.”
“Yet Donald stands up for this irresponsible policy while at the same time caving in on defending individual freedoms and religious liberty. He has succumbed to the Left's agenda, which is to force Americans to leave God out of public life while paying lip service to false tolerance.”
That’s why I closed my article with a strong warning: “. . . please don’t look to him to be a defender of conservative Christian values or a protector of religious freedoms."
“Barring dramatic divine intervention in his life, you will be sadly disappointed."
How wrong was I in penning these words? Or has there been, in fact, divine intervention in his life?
Obviously, there are many things I (and others) were concerned about, and I continue to have some of those concerns.
I sincerely wish that he would not launch twitter attacks against a good man like Jeff Sessions, his attorney general. I sincerely wish that he would not stoop to the name-calling of hostile journalists. I sincerely wish that he did not issue an executive order reinforcing President Obama’s transgender guidelines for federal employees. (The list could easily be multiplied.)
At the same time, it seems clear that President Trump greatly esteems the conservative Christian leaders who have become close to him, that he realizes that he was elected with the help of conservative evangelicals, that he wants to defend our liberties, and that he has become a strong pro-life ally. (Need I say more than “Neil Gorsuch”?) Could it be that he even has a growing fear of the Lord?
On my radio show this week, Dr. Richard Land, who has been to the White House with other evangelical leaders, told me that on a number of occasions, President Trump has prayed with Vice President Pence before making major decisions. This is a far cry from the Trump of just a year or two ago.
Lifesite News reported on April 28 that, “U.S. Vice President Mike Pence along with eight other members of President Trump’s cabinet are gathering every week to pray and to study the Bible.” Surely Trump knows of this, and I assume he has positive feelings about it, which also speaks well of him.
This means that, while we always make a mistake when we put our trust in a person – even the president of the United States – and while Trump’s shortcomings are there for the world to see, it does appear that God has been working in his life.
Was I wrong, then, about Donald Trump? The jury is still out, but there’s evidence that there has been “dramatic divine intervention” in his life, which is all the more reason for us to pray that God will get hold of him even more powerfully and profoundly in the days to come.
I, for one, am ready for more surprises.
Update: Within hours of my article being written, President Trump tweeted out the announcement that after consultation with his generals, transgender-identified individuals would not be allowed to serve in the military. This was not only a common-sense, pragmatic military decision but an important pushback against an overly aggressive, LGBT agenda, a decision that will draw praise from conservative Christians and wrath from LGBT activists.