It’s Oct 2016 and the news about Donald Trump’s tape containing very disparaging comments about women and his apparent support of sexual molestation (he apparently thinks it’s OK because he’s a “star”) has been released and discussed among every media outlet. Hopefully as you read this you’re not asking “Which one?” (if so, it’s the Billy Bush one). As I sit here in my back yard, I have to ask myself: “If I voted for Mr. Trump in the election, how would I justify that to the young women (and young men) in our church youth group?”
I’m a Christian and I’m not certain about who to vote for because I really can’t stomach the thought of either of the candidates being our leader. I don’t identify with any political party and try my best to live my life following the example put forward by Jesus. None of the political parties that I’ve seen thus far come close to pushing those ideals so I don’t affiliate with any of them. I work with young men and women on a regular basis at our church’s youth group and doing so eventually involves the message of every person being precious and of worth in the eyes of the Lord. We aim to help the youth learn how to live a life loving God and loving others. When I hear the disturbing and disgusting opinions of Mr. Trump, that goes completely against what we are teaching and what we believe. Women are not things that are there for any man to impose his will upon should the urge strike him. That’s what Mr. Trump was bragging about doing. That is the exact opposite of what is taught about extending the love of Christ to others. He simply states that what was on tape is locker room talk between a couple of guys. He issued an apology video to Twitter but it is heavily scripted and includes an attack on a former president who is not even running against him. He refers to the whole video scandal as a distraction from what matters in this election. To me, character matters more than anything else. Character is often said to be what you do when you think no one is watching. That is exactly what was exposed on the video. It is a peek into his character. Nothing to see here, move along… Even if it is locker room talk, we as a society should be working to make that kind of talk (and behavior) disappear from society. If this is pervasive in male locker rooms across the country, then we as men are failing miserably in training up the next generation of men.
That brings me to my question: “How can any youth worker in a Christian church justify voting for such a person?” How do you go to the young women (and young men) that you work with and tell them that you voted for such a person because it was for the greater good of the country? How do you justify that? Are we seriously saying: “You’re a valuable and precious child of God and no one should tell you otherwise unless there are Supreme Court seats on the line. If so, then there’s some wiggle room.”
With every passing moment, as I think about what Mr. Trump has said and done throughout this entire campaign season and the character examples from the last few decades, the idea of voting for him disgusts me more and more.