I found the widespread description of this past presidential election as a choice between the lesser of two evils perplexing. From an issues standpoint, I considered nearly every presidential election in my voting lifetime to be such a choice. Why were people in such turmoil over this election and not the previous ones?
For many people, what set this past election apart from others was the realization that neither candidate had the personal integrity required to be president of the United States.
This election was different. In past elections we evaluated candidates mostly on the positions they held, not by their personal character. Perhaps in trying to make this election seem like those in days gone by, many Donald Trump supporters urged others to ignore personal character and to vote for him on the basis of his political platform. Some Christians implored us to vote for Trump and to pray for him hoping God will change him. One wonders if these Christians employ the same reasoning to champion the marriage of their son or daughter to an unbeliever.
The Lesser of Two Evils Fallacy
It shouldn’t be hard for Christians to see through the lesser of two evils fallacy, but evidently it is. Christians can ask themselves which of the following biblical truths become invalid so that they can justify a vote for the lesser of two evils:
- People groan under a wicked ruler. (Proverbs 29:2)
- You reap what you sow. (Job 4:7-8; Galatians 6:7-8)
- Have nothing to do with evil but instead expose it. (Proverbs 4:14-15; Ephesians 5:11)
- Do not seek political saviors. (Psalm 146:3; 118:8)
Perhaps the worst part of voting for the lesser of two evils is that it is often done in the name of good. One theologian even suggested it was a sin not to vote for Donald Trump! Of course, as you have probably heard more than once, a vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil.
If Christians truly believed that both major party candidates were evil (as evidenced by their proclamation that they voted for the lesser of two evils) and they falsely believed that to not vote for one candidate was in fact a vote for the other, then, in my opinion, they mislabeled their dilemma. The choice before them was not for the lesser of two evils because they could have voted for a third-party candidate or not voted at all. This election was instead, an opportunity for them to pick their poison.
A Look In the Mirror
American Evangelicalism is at a crossroads. Our Christian subculture has devolved to the point that we declare one evil to be good simply because we believe another evil is worse. Too often, we have jettisoned the notion that we seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness in favor of pragmatic and expedient solutions we believe will allow us to maintain our comfortable lifestyle.
The fact that our nation has come to the place it has, on the brink of moral and economic collapse, is an indictment against the American Church. Christian virtue remains, but it has been drowned in a sea of Christian accommodation of the culture. Up until now, we have averted persecution by avoiding spiritual warfare. Too few have been on the front lines and too many are non-combatants. The proof is in our lack of battle scars. We have looked too much like the world and therefore posed no threat to the powers of darkness. Collectively, our light has been engulfed by the darkness and we have become salt thrown out and trampled by men. It happened on our watch.
This election was a mirror held up to the Church so that we can see who we really are. I pray we will not go away and immediately forget what we look like.