On Wednesday night I got to do something with my sons that I haven’t done in quite some time. I made them sit down and watch a man give a speech. I wanted them to see it because it was history in the making. By the time it was over, I was using the speech as an example of what it looks like when a man with a conscience stands for what he believes in, regardless of the consequences.
Ted Cruz was not my first choice for president. There are many issues where he and I disagree with one another. And Ted Cruz is no savior. No politician is. Our country needs another Great Awakening more than we need a great president. But with that being said, I was thankful that my sons got to see some integrity on display, at great cost, during the presidential election.
I know. I know. Ted Cruz committed to endorse the Republican nominee, whoever it may be. And for his failure to sing the praises of Donald Trump last night, a man who ridiculed Cruz’s wife and accused Cruz’s father of playing a part in the Kennedy assassination, there are some who are attacking Ted Cruz’s integrity.
I cannot speak for all Trump supporters so I’ll just speak for some of the ones who I have spoken to personally. They’ve spent the past year very well aware of Donald Trump’s morality issues. They know about his adultery. They know about his lying. They know about his support for killing the unborn, even in the late stages of the pregnancy. But when confronted on this, they say the same thing. “I’m not looking for a pastor in chief. I’m looking for a commander in chief.” Or, in other words, integrity doesn’t matter. Well, until Ted Cruz didn’t give the speech they were looking for on Wednesday night.
Again, Ted Cruz isn’t my savior. But if the worst thing you can tell me about him is that he didn’t keep his word to throw his support behind a tyrant in waiting, I’ll take it. Space and time would not permit me to list the transgressions of Donald Trump. And if I did, I’d be accused of judging Mr. Trump, otherwise known as King David. And who am I, a self-righteous Baptist preacher, to judge Mr. Trump’s heart? For many, it’s okay to judge the actions of another politician, just as long as it’s not their politician.
On Wednesday night, Ted Cruz, like him or not, stood by his convictions. That’s something that cannot be said of most other national politicians. Remember Bernie Sanders? It amused me on Wednesday night when all of the booing started. Perhaps you noticed what got the biggest reaction out of the crowd of Trump supporters. It was the part when Cruz told Americans to vote their conscience and when he said God bless America. At least for the crowd in attendance last night, talk of God and conscience can be quite convicting.
Pastors are supposed to be silent on these kind of issues. “Stick to the Bible,” they tell us. Well, I am. In the Bible, I don’t find talk of trade deals or the military industrial complex. But I do learn about the value of human life, something that Donald Trump has never supported right up until the time when he decided to become a Republican and run for president. I speak up because it troubles me that many believers will abandon the cause of the unborn simply to beat Hillary. And it troubles me that many believers will endorse a man who draws attention to the menstrual cycle of women who do not play nicely with him, mocks disabled reporters who are doing their job, and hates having blacks count his money because, “laziness is a trait in blacks.” All because they want to beat Hillary.
But Ted Cruz is the man with the integrity problem because he showed up to the pep rally without wearing the Trump jersey.
I am very concerned about what Donald Trump will do to the Church. I’m not talking about his policies but rather our reputation. How are we to take a stand for the life of the unborn with a straight face when it is revealed that we supported a man who was okay with pulling a six pound baby halfway out of the mother and ending the baby’s life? How will we be able to honestly minister to the non-whites in our community when it is revealed that we threw our support behind a man who calls them all lazy? How will our church leaders sincerely preach against the sins condemned in the Bible when those same church leaders condoned those same sins with their vote? How can we honestly obey Jesus and pray, “Deliver us from evil” when we embrace evil in the voting booth. All just to beat Hillary.
I get that every candidate, and every voter, myself included, has a problem with evil. We’re all evil to some degree. But some of us recognize our need for forgiveness. Others don’t. Instead, they celebrate their evil.
For all of our problems, God has given us a unique privilege in the United States. We get to vote for our leaders. I believe that this is a gift that requires wise stewardship. It is a gift for which we will all be held accountable (2 Corinthians 5:10). It bothers me that many in the Church seem okay with standing before a holy God with the excuse of, “Well, we had to beat Hillary.”
I tremble at our holy God’s response.
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20 (ESV)