Benjamin Franklin said instead of cursing the darkness, you should light a candle. This piece is intended to be my light to the Republican National Convention I had the honor of attending as an alternate delegate (more about my write-in campaign in my piece on TheBlaze).
First, a little background on me – I’m 29 years old and did not know anyone at the convention prior to my departure for Cleveland – definitely an outsider. While this is exactly what I wanted – to do everything in my power as a citizen to get my vote to count – I have to admit it was intimidating. I also have to admit that while I will forever cherish this opportunity to witness history, I came home horrified at what I witnessed.
During my time in Cleveland, a congressman stood behind a podium at one of the events I attended and stated that he and other Republican congressmen were tired of losing, and that we all needed to come together to rally around Donald Trump to win. My question is – what values are the Republican Party willing to sacrifice for a White House win? Based on my experience at the Republican National Convention, the answer is alarming.
The Republican Party has embraced loyalty, but in the wrong way. I was told several times by several people that the problem with Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. John Kasich and the entire Bush Family is their failure to be loyal to the party – in one convention attendee’s words – “this is about loyalty, not principles.” In another’s words – “after all the party has given to each of them, they need to do what they’re supposed to do (endorse Donald Trump).” With all due respect, I disagree.
Loyalty is a wonderful value, but it’s meant for God – you know, that guy that created you and me and this beautiful world we live in. That guy whose name Trump didn’t mention ONCE in his speech. That’s right – instead of closing with “God bless America” he closed with a series of “We will…” statements. I hate to say it, but we won’t be doing anything without God’s help. It’s time we return our loyalty to Him and the values that He’s inspired – the platform of the Republican Party.
When Peter Thiel entered the stage to speak, everyone cheered. When he announced he’s proud to be gay, everyone stood and cheered, and I sat in my chair completely perplexed. We are supposed to be the party that supports marriage between a man and a woman. I support that definition of marriage. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have him speak, I’m just wondering why it felt like everyone but me was standing and cheering. Have we forgotten what the Bible says in Romans about approving of sin?
I know conservatives are often portrayed as gay-hating homophobics, but the reality is, we aren’t in favor of any sort of discrimination or violence against this group of people (or any group of people!). Christians believe in hating the sin, not the sinner. Hence why cheering for Trump’s statement about protecting the LGBT community from violence is totally valid.
I didn’t hear “pro-life” from Trump’s mouth once. I barely heard anyone discuss the issue of life throughout the entire convention. I spent the majority of my college career focusing on this issue. I wrote controversial papers about why abortion should be illegal. I was so proud to be a College Republican because I knew Republicans were staunch pro-lifers.
What happened? Are we becoming silent on the issue of life because it’s not popular? Are we abandoning our stance on life because we aren’t sure we’ve chosen a candidate that is pro-life? Regardless, not mentioning life is a problem. Our nation is killing its children and we can’t afford to be silent.
The word freedom was almost completely absent from Trump’s speech. He said it once.
He did say that he alone can fix it. I thought being a Republican meant that we didn’t want a president to fix it, rather we wanted a president to give us the power in our own states and local government to fix things in our community. Needless to say, I was confused at the cheering for this authoritarian statement.
Freedom of Religion
Another theme absent from Trump’s convention speech was religion. Oh wait – he did mention the evangelical community and the importance of being able to speak your mind from the pulpit. But what about the importance of being able to “speak your mind” and pray outside of the church? No mention of freedom of religion, or the importance of freedom of religion, prayer, etc. Are we giving up on religion? I hope not – if we don’t stand up for freedom or religion, who will? For Christians, we know the Bible states it’s a sin not to pray – so it seems to me this is another issue we can’t afford to be silent on.
At the convention, our party was either corrupt or completely silent on loyalty, marriage, life, freedom and prayer. I witnessed my political party conforming to the pattern of this world right before my eyes, which Romans specifically warns against.
At the conclusion of both conventions, it seems the choice we have to make is the lesser of two evils. But remember, the lesser of the two evils is still evil. Yes, barring an unforeseen circumstance, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be elected on Election Day. As Christians, we should be praying for both of them. That doesn’t mean we need to vote for either of them. I know what you’re thinking – how can we go to the polls and not place a vote for president?! That’s an insane suggestion, especially considering the Supreme Court appointment.
But you see, we’re completely missing the point. Regardless of who is elected president, or who is appointed to the Supreme Court, our leader is God. That remains consistent. Furthermore, the Bible gives us a clear answer on what kind of people we should elect in Exodus:
“Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.”
Are you confident that Trump is an able man who fears God? A man of truth that hates dishonest gain? Furthermore, are you confident that he will represent our values? Confident enough to support him with your vote? If your conscience leaves you with doubts, I encourage you to give it thought and prayer. Fortunately, the presidency isn’t the only vote we make on Election Day.
For those who may not identify with the Christian faith, let me share closing thoughts from Samuel Adams, one of our founding fathers. All the way back in 1780, Adams saw the danger in voting for the wrong people to lead our country. “If ever time should come when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
Fellow patriots, that time is now. So, I ask you – what values are you willing to sacrifice for a White House win?