This article was first written in November of 2016 as an immediate response to the results of the election. It has been broken up into two sections, the “negative” and the “positive.” Beyond that, it has been slightly edited for grammar, but remains largely unchanged. The opinions and view expressed herein may have changed, altered, or been better informed since. I am leaving this article the way it is a matter of transparency. If you have a problem with it, please, let me know. I hope to be open to any and all reasonable objections and criticism.
I love paradoxes, if you haven’t already noticed. One such is the idea that we should be both unhappy and happy that Donald Trump got elected. This is largely a relative issue, relative in that in comparison to his opponent, Hillary Clinton, he actually was the superior option.
Crazy, I know.
While I stand by my former statements, there are realities that made this election one in which it needed to be Trump and not Clinton. While the pride of Trump’s blatant unrepentance, the moral ramifications of his former and current life and the long term damage they will do, and the prospects for religious liberty and representative democracy under Trump’s policies are alarming, there are deeper human issues at play here.
First, the right of the unborn to not be terminated without medical necessity should not be infringed upon. A lot of cliches and a lot of very angry things can be said here, but perhaps walking through the logic of good pro-life thinking might clear up some things. Pro-life is not the notion that women do not have autonomy over their bodies. It’s the notion that no one has autonomy over their bodies. Autonomy is island-like, sovereign-nation style control over one’s body that allows one to make decisions that may or may not aid or contradict the decisions of another’s. Anyone else is not the chief think to be considered in an autonomous being. That being can consider others, or not. They are autonomous. Autonomous literally means, from the Greek, “a law unto oneself.” This idea of biological autonomy does indeed appear to be true, I grant. After all, no one can make you eat healthy, or vice versa, right? Isn’t that your choice? Indeed, it is, and in that sense one is biologically autonomous.But, just because we have some measure of choice over our bodies and what we put in them, we do not have a choice over what we do with them. An example of this principle that I heard once went like this; it’s often said, “I can do whatever I want with my body.” I would like for a proponent of that statement to go riding down main street on a motorcycle stark naked. They would be arrested. It is not absolutely true that you can do whatever you want with your body. Also consider the notion of trying to wield autonomy over someone else’s body. In the past we’ve equated this with rape and domestic violence, just to put that in perspective. For the logical pro-lifer, the fetus is indeed a human being. This is actually a scientific viewpoint, since virtually any science textbook that is worth consideration in high schools or universities says that when a spermatozoa fertilizes an egg, that fertilized egg becomes a separate genetic and biological being at that point, with D.N.A. separate from that of both the mother’s and the father’s. In common discourse, when a homo sapien sperm fertilizes a homo sapien egg, the separate being becomes a separate homo sapien. This is generally called a person.
But, theologically as well the pro-life position is the most viable. The idea of a creator logically leads to the notion of intentionality in life. The bible reflects this notion when the prophet Jeremiah was told by Yahweh that “I formed you in your mother’s womb,” and when the psalmist David wrote that God had “knit me together in my mother’s womb.” But just in general, an all-powerful creator god, barring Deism, always implies divine intentionality, especially in human birth. Of course it is God’s will that some do not live, and I cannot answer as to why that is.
Even if we do not ascribe to a theological worldview, however, abortion is a huge issue. If that fetus is indeed a separate human being, then killing it is ending the life of another human being without due cause, provocation, or legal reason. This is often referred to in legal terms as murder. I do not want to live in a country where murder is systematized, subsidized, and stream-lined. That society will never flourish no matter it appears to have, because it will be undermining what it means to be human. We want to talk about racial reconciliation, helping the refugees, creating prosperity in economically depressed places? We do not start by permitting the murder of literally the most defenseless people in our midst. Want to defend the rights of the defenseless? Take up the cause of the unborn.
Second, there is the issue of marriage, an equally hot-button issue. Most likely because the interested parties can articulate their thoughts because they were born, but I digress. How, one might ask, is this a human issue? Marriage is the building block of any society. Humans make more humans by having sex. While that process works in or out of marriage, the best and safest place for sexual intimacy and the raising of children in the family. It is naturally and tailor-made for raising people. In every good family at least three out of the four ideas for the word “love” in the Greek are operating. Storge is the love of family or of kindred, shared in the home or among a community/nation. Eros is sexually appropriate love, in the family between mother and father (as opposed to porneia, which is where we get our word pornography from, which means illicit relations). Phileo is the love of brotherhood or camaraderie, shared between siblings. In the minority of cases, as well, agape is active in the family, as the love of the parents for the children is a mirror image of the great love of God for His children in Christ. Divorce has been running rampant in this country for far too long and has been doing much hard work at undermining and destroying that notion of family already discussed. To further re-define marriage as between any two consenting adults regardless of gender is to put the final nail in the coffin of marriage as an institution. Already, many young nominally Christian people live and have sex together, justified by the fact that they are “going to get married.” Here in southern West Virginia, we say that if it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. If you’re going to act, feel, and look married, why not get married? And if you can’t, then why do the former things? That notion is extremely deadly to the very delicate thing that is marriage, because it does away with any preciousness, any special-ness, any momentousness. It simply becomes a sex driven, organic-feeling passion pit with vague levels of commitment more often understood than actually articulated. I mention divorce, pre-marital sex, and cohabitation because I am not ignorant to the many threats to marriage that exist. I am doing my best and praying that I can make a difference in these matters. But same sex marriage is one that has entered into the public sphere and the the damage that has been done to marriage needs to begin healing. A lack of solid families leads to a lack of solid identity. A lack of solid identity leads to a lack of solid hold on reality. A lack of solid hold on reality could have as many devastating effects as there are people, both inter-personally and intra-personally, in the hidden places of the psyche that is so damaged by the identity crises that seems to characterize our entire generation.
President Trump has at least nominally stated that these two things are key goals for him. Some have lampooned evangelicals this election cycle by saying that these two issue are "the only two we care about." And while it is true that perhaps there are many evangelicals who hold to these ideals as a matter of culture or tradition and not faith, and not coherently, it is equally true that these are the most foundational issues facing our society. Think of it in terms of the questions that are at play here; is it okay to terminate a human life because of the choice of another human without the consent or the opinion of the person in question, based on no fault of the subject's? And, furthermore, if people are made in families of opposite sex parents, doesn't it naturally follow that it should be the same partnership to raise them?
There are a lot of things on both sides that I didn’t mention here, but I think these few statements can help begin to shed light on why some people both desired to see Trump in the White House and why some hated, and still hate, the idea vehemently. Ultimately, time will tell, and God will have His way. No one and nothing has been able to stop Him yet.