The national election, November 8, is almost upon us. If you watched the debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Monday night perhaps you were able to come to a clearer understanding of which candidate is more capable of guiding our country for the next four or possibly eight years.
Many Americans are not greatly impressed with either candidate and are at a loss as to how they should cast their ballot. Although Trump claims to be a Presbyterian and Clinton claims to be a Methodist, there seems to be little evidence of faith in either one.
America – the National Catholic Review published an article about Clinton’s faith titled, “The Private Faith Life of Hillary Clinton – A lifelong Methodist who has learned to keep her personal beliefs hidden.” The whole idea of a hidden faith is contrary to the Bible. Jesus warned against “putting your light under a bushel” (Matthew 5: 15-16).
The article explains that Clinton attended First United Methodist Church in Park Ridge, IL, a white, upper-middle-class suburb of Chicago, where she took a liking to the church’s youth pastor, Don Jones.
The writer of the article, Michael O’Loughlin, explained, “Jones shook things up at First United, focusing on Methodism’s social justice tradition, perhaps at the expense of the faith’s emphasis on personal salvation. Mr. Jones brought the young people to Methodist churches in dicey sections of Chicago in order to expose them to how their peers lived, in sharp contrast to their own lives in Park Ridge He pushed them to question their faith, once arranging a debate with an atheist about the existence of God. He took them to Jewish synagogues to introduce them to different religions.”
Hillary Clinton remained close to Jones until his death in 2009 and explained he had “helped guide on a spiritual and political journey of over 40 years.” She is and will likely always be a social-justice-focused Methodist.
Matthew Schmitz has written an article on Donald Trump titled, "Donald Trump, Man of Faith" in which he reports that Trump “was baptized and confirmed at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, in New York City. His parents raised him in the austerities typical of devout low-church Protestants."
Schmitz continued, “As a result, he (Trump) does not gamble, smoke, or imbibe – even when the stimulant is caffeine. In his late twenties, Trump began attending Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue ... and heard the sermons of Norman Vincent Peale, a man whose philosophy would become Trump’s own.”
I have heard it said that if you find Paul appealing you will find Peale appalling. While that may be true, Jerry Falwell, Jr. said, “Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the Great Commission.”
Four years ago I wrote an editorial titled, “Choosing the lesser of two evils” and stated, “I believe that each one of us should exercise our right to vote and base our vote on biblical values. However, as America drifts farther and farther away from its spiritual moorings, discerning the values of the presidential candidates becomes more challenging with each election year."
John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court and the first president of the Continental Congress, said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
So, what is one to do when there doesn’t seem to be a clear choice between the two candidates? I think the answer may be in the political platforms of the two parties.
Fortunately Decision magazine, a publication of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has developed a fair and balanced summary of the platforms of the two parties. The Christian Index requested and was granted permission to publish the platforms for our readers. Please read the platforms carefully here or click the image below. Let the Holy Spirit guide you to vote for the candidate/platform that most clearly represents your Christian values.
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