Grudem’s Poor Pragmatism

Wayne Grudem's endorsement of Donald Trump abandons more than Christian witness.

I admit to posting this in large part to get the travesty that is a picture of Donald Trump holding a Bible off of the top page. I don’t have enough time to write anything terribly stimulating. But a few thoughts on the recent Wayne Grudem endorsement of Trump are in order:

The funny thing is, I actually agree with more of Grudem’s logic than most will. I think it is all right to vote the lesser of two evils (though Grudem has gone so far as to call Trump a “good candidate with flaws” which to my mind is rather like calling the Exxon Valdez a “good ship with holes.”) However, I also reject the easy “virtue requires that you reject pragmatism” sort of posturing that you get from some younger evangelicals. I also agree with Grudem on all the bad things a Clinton presidency would likely effect and how Christians ought to muster against them in politics and in public. I disagree with his critics that questions of character always override considerations of policy. But Grudem is dead wrong anyway, and it should not be too hard to see how.

The best response to both Grudem and his critics is: we do not live in the Roman empire. We have something really unusual in human history: a widely respected constitution that guarantees our participation in the political process and the ability to affect with our votes a system rather than a person. Grudem’s argument against Hillary and liberals generally is that they hew to no principle but gain power so that they can give their constituents whatever they want and appoint the judges they want, and he’s right. But Grudem’s argument for Trump is that he is the guy who will give us whatever we want and appoint the judges we want. That doesn’t sound like a return to respect for the Constitution to me. It sounds like the logic of the left liberal agenda. He (rightly) criticizes Obama for his executive orders. Does he really think that Trump will not lodge his own executive orders? To Grudem’s critics who say that we should not be involved in the political process because Paul didn’t seem to mention anything about it, I would just point out that Paul wasn’t commenting on a representative, non-despotic form of government in which Christians are allowed to speak out and vote. It seems Christians nowadays either want to vote for a messiah or none at all.

Grudem also doesn’t seem think a Trump presidency would cost the nation anything. But among many very probable calamities, it will clearly will cost conservatives the ability to vote their principles. If conservatives really do believe in small government, restraint, and suspicion of power in any one person’s hands then how can any of them think that elevating a man like Trump–whose only governing philosophy is “get power; use it”–will do anything to get our country back to those first principles?

It leaves me flabbergasted that Grudem and a lot of elder religious conservatives cannot see that politics is a long game despite having been around a lot longer than I have. I am dismayed at how many elder folks are content to toss out the soul of their party, and maybe the country as a whole, for 4-8 years of maybe getting some things that we want. I even feel a little offended, since young conservatives like me will be left with the aftermath. See, if Trump wins, then his principles and strategy will supplant those old-fashioned ideas (small government, restraint, etc.) that once guided Republican policy and conservatives will be left without a party. Then we will have two big government parties dueling over who gets to be Caesar. That is not a nation I want to live in and I’m willing to see my preferred party lose a cycle than give up on its ideals for favors, patronage, and a lot of bread and circus.

The bottom line is this: if the Republican Party didn’t want another 30 years of Roe v. Wade then they shouldn’t have let an unelectable madman assume the throne. The most important thing for conservatives to do is to ensure that we will have the future possibility of contending for our ideals. If we support Trump then that means we are playing the other side’s game, and that, to my mind is the only way to lose it all.

3 Responses to “Grudem’s Poor Pragmatism”

  1. Michael Snow

    ‘…like calling the Exxon Valdez a “good ship with holes.”’ It was a good ship. It hit a reef because of pilot error. This illustrates the confused thinking of this piece.
    And then there is this sickening elitist line: ” if the Republican Party didn’t want another 30 years of Roe v. Wade then they shouldn’t have let an unelectable madman assume the throne.”
    So, throw the babies under the bus and follow these elitist Pharisees as they clean the outside of the cup while leading us over a cliff.

  2. Laurence Coventry

    It’s much too late for hand ringing over Trump’s demagogic instincts. Even Ted Cruz knows there is no other game in town. At least Trump has paid lip service to Christan values and may honour some of them. To vote for Hillary is to vote for a tsunami of constitutional dismemberment, with left wing activist judges making the law for decades ahead. It is to vote for the maximum increase in mass assasination called women’s health

  3. Julie Wahtola

    This is not an election for the next four years. As many as three Supreme Court justices will be nominated by the next president. Trump’s list will honor and restore adherence to the Constitution. Hillary’s progressive “legislate from the bench” justices will make up rights that totally disregard the Constitution (as in Roe vs Wade and same-sex “marriage’). If you preach the Bible from the pulpit, it will be labeled hate speech; and you will have to decide whether to follow God or go to jail.


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