- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

If the election were to be held today, the evangelical vote would be at least 20 percentage points lower than that of evangelicals for the Republican candidate in each of the last five elections, a recent poll by Barna Group, a Christian pollster, shows.

That’s not great news for Donald Trump, who needs this voting bloc turnout in November to have any shot at the White House.

Christian conservatives — especially women — are stuck between a rock and a hard place this election cycle.

On one hand, you have Hillary Clinton, whose top staff mocked the religious right as “severely backwards,” and is running on the most progressive platform in Democratic history, which includes taxpayer funding for abortion.

Her husband is a well-known philander, who was impeached for lying about taking advantage of an intern while in the White House. He was disbarred from practicing law and had to pay an $850,000 settlement to another woman in a sexual assault lawsuit. Mrs. Clinton enabled the behavior by managing his “bimbo interruptions,” smearing his accusers’ reputations in an attempt to discredit them.

On the other hand, you have Mr. Trump, whose lewd comments and objectification of women, is blatantly immoral.

On Thursday, The New York Times reported two women complained of unwanted touching or kissing from Mr. Trump, one from 2005 and another from more than “three decades ago.”

Mr. Trump flatly denies the allegations, and the timing of them are suspicious, given we’re 26 days from the general election. The New York Times has been no friend to Mr. Trump, even arguing the need to dump journalistic neutrality to ensure he doesn’t win the White House.

This is where the hard decisions need to be made — there will likely be more allegations, more tapes, more sources questioned and political motives evaluated. It’s sure becoming hard to tell this cycle what’s up, down, right or left with any firm clarity.

That’s why, according to pollster Barna, more than 4 out of 10 evangelicals said that they refuse to vote for either of the candidates.

“Nearly 3 out of 10 are presently undecided, making them the largest block of undecided votes still up for grabs,” George Barna told Christianity Today. “One out of 8 evangelicals plan to protest the quality of the major party candidates by voting for a third-party or independent candidate.”

While 94 percent of Evangelical pastors believe American Christians have a biblical responsibility to vote, 63 percent don’t feel they’re obligated to vote for someone who has a reasonable chance of winning.

This is where I differ — I think that’s taking the easy road out.

It’s been said before, but I will say it again, either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump will win the White House. This election cycle is a choice between two flawed candidates, and it’s not wrong, or immoral to pick the lesser of the two, it’s simply pragmatic. To vote for someone who doesn’t have a reasonable chance of winning is to deny the reality we’re living in — it’s to sell out the rest of the country in order to feel good about yourself.

The main reason why I continue to support Mr. Trump is based on a strategic calculation: That the Supreme Court is too valuable to lose, and Mrs. Clinton’s secular agenda will only hasten this country’s cultural demise.

Even in denouncing Mr. Trump’s morality, Andy Crouch, the executive editor of Christian periodical Christianity Today, wrote “The Democratic nominee has pursued unaccountable power through secrecy.” He continued, articulating Mrs. Clinton’s policy positions as “manifestly incompatible,” with the church’s position on life, and “demonstrably hostile,” to Christian values.”

I’m sticking with Mr. Trump not because of his character, but because, if anything else, I hope he can at least cork the political and cultural decay that has swept the nation (I believe Mrs. Clinton will accelerate it).

I find Mrs. Clinton’s support of partial birth abortion criminal, her hunt for power immoral, and her secrecy and lies corrupt. I believe her greatest accomplishment has been avoiding responsibility and accountability for the numerous scandals she’s endured in her public life — all of which have been self-inflicted.

Mr. Trump is not perfect. He will never be my moral guide or compass. He’s a sinner, but so am I, and we’re all worthy of redemption. Mr. Trump has adopted the Republican platform, named 20 conservative Supreme Court justices, and picked a fine man in Mike Pence as his running mate.

I’m more concerned with America’s future than Mr. Trump’s past.

Every day I pray for our great nation, and all I can ask of you, is to do the same.

Kelly Riddell is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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