Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Politics of Hate - or Love

I’ve been knee deep in democracy this week.

On Monday evening I drove into Philly for a televised debate between senatorial candidates Pat Toomey and Katie McGinty.

On Tuesday I had my photo taken for a WHYY story on how gerrymandering impacts Pennsylvania voters.

On Wednesday afternoon I took the Chester County poll worker training.

Thursday evening I went to a criminal justice conference co-hosted by our Chester County League of Women Voters to hear once again the tragic statistics about incarceration in our state, to hear stories from families affected by the intersections of abuse, addiction, mental illness and crime.

Saturday I timed for a debate between an incumbent state representative and a much younger local mayor eager to take his place.

I’ve had lots of interesting conversations.

One conversation stood out.

Arriving early for the debate Monday evening I walked around the corner to buy dinner at one of the food trucks parked along a side street.

Most of the trucks were closed for the day, but one was still lighted, counter still opened.

I placed my order then watched people hurrying by.

The sole worker reappeared at the window to make conversation while my quesadilla cooked on a griddle somewhere behind him.

“Are you a professor?”

“No. I’m here for the debate.”

“Will Hillary win?”

“Do you want her to?”

“If she doesn’t I’ll have to leave the country.”

The man was probably Middle Eastern. Probably in his forties.


“Listen.” He leaned on the counter. “I own this truck. I own 17 trucks. Here, other places in the city. I’ve been here thirteen years. I work hard.  But if Trump wins, I’ll sell it all. I’ll leave the country.”

Sometimes when I’m not sure what to say I simply wait.

So I waited.

“It’s because he hates. He hates immigrants. He hates women. He hates minorities. He hates gays.”

He disappeared to flip my quesadilla, then returned, leaning on the counter again.

“I hate HIM. He hates too much. Too much.”

Most of my week I spent rejoicing in the good will of reasonable people eager to see democracy work.

But I heard the pain in the voice of the man in the food truck. I’ve heard it other places: from African American friends stunned at the way colleagues speak of Barack Obama. From Hispanic friends wondering how many generations it will take before they’re accepted as “real Americans.”

We live in troubling times, with hate crimes on the rise and hate in our daily speech accepted in a way I’ve never seen.

It’s become almost accepted for reasonable people to call candidates things like “Shady Katy” or “Crooked Hillary.”

It’s become almost accepted to repeat unsubstantiated lies.

Mockery and false witness are early symptoms of hate. 

Scapegoating and violence are rarely far behind.

Yes, we live in a troubled time. But Christians have found themselves in troubled times before.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians in just such a time:
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality,or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. 
The city of Ephesus sat at the crossroads of trade routes that spanned the ancient world, a multicultural metropolis with flavors of Greece, Persia and Rome. Paul’s letter was written to urge unity in a church fractured by cultural difference and to address the hostility and self-interest that threatened spiritual growth and witness.

The words of Ephesians 5:2 are often repeated in our church as an offertory sentence: 
Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God.
 When I think of who we’re called to be as Christians, that sentence leaps out: we’re called to be people of sacrificial love, willing to offer our comfort, even our lives, for the sake of others, even our enemies.

It’s as dearly love children that we do that: as dearly loved children unafraid because we’re held so firmly in the care of our loving Father. As children embracing brothers and sisters who, like us, are held in God’s love: brothers and sisters from other countries, other races, other backgrounds, other political parties.

I listen for echoes of that love in the political discourse swirling around me.

What I’ve been hearing from those who claim to speak for God has been, far too often, mockery and false witness, misuse of prophecy, manipulative twisting of sound bites and bluster.

Judgment, anger, accusation.

And hate. Unguarded, unapologetic hate.

For almost a decade, Christians have been practicing hate.

It started with hatred of Barack Obama, spread to hate of his wife and daughters, picked up speed with Hillary Clinton’s announcement of candidacy.

Reasonable Republican candidates had no chance against a candidate so eager to pander to hate.

Beyond love, Paul says: 
among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed . . . Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking. . . Let no one deceive you with empty words . . . do not be partners with them. 
I wonder what Paul meant by “partners.”

Endorsers? Supporters? Surrogates? Defenders?

I hear Christian leaders excuse the actions of a candidate who embodies Paul’s concern: sexual immorality? Impurity? Greed? Obscenity? Foolish talk? Coarse joking? Empty words?

That passage ends:
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
If light includes truth, we are truly in trouble.

Conservative columnist David Frum, once speechwriter for George W. Bush, has described the way Republicans and conservative “have found it impossible to protect things they hold dear—in large part because they have continued to fix all blame outward and elsewhere.”

On the question of truth, he says: 
Outright lying . . . happens more rarely than you think in politics, especially in high and visible offices like the presidency. Political scientists estimate that presidents keep about three-quarters of their campaign promises. When presidents break their word, the reason is far more likely to be congressional opposition than the president’s own flip-flopping. If politicians really did lie all the time, voters would not be so outraged on those occasions where a politician is indubitably caught in untruth—and yet voters are outraged. . . .
Donald Trump’s dishonesty, however, is qualitatively different than anything before seen from a major-party nominee. The stack of lies teeters so tall that one obscures another: lies about New Jersey Muslims celebrating 9/11, lies about his opposition to the Iraq and Afghanistan war, lies about his wealth, lies about the size of his crowds, lies about women he’s dated, lies about his donations to charity, lies about self-funding his campaign. “Whatever lie he’s telling, in that minute he believes it,” Senator Ted Cruz said of Trump in May 2016. "But the man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him.”
Another conservative columnist, David Brooks, has attempted to understand and explain Trump’s emotional landscape:
Trump seems to be denied all the pleasures that go with friendship and cooperation. Women could be sources of love and affection, but in his disordered state he can only hate and demean them. His attempts at intimacy are gruesome parodies, lunging at women as if they were pieces of meat.
Most of us derive a warm satisfaction when we feel our lives are aligned with ultimate values. But Trump lives in an alternative, amoral Howard Stern universe where he cannot enjoy the sweetness that altruism and community service can occasionally bring.
Bullies only experience peace when they are cruel. Their blood pressure drops the moment they beat the kid on the playground. 
Imagine you are Trump. You are trying to bluff your way through a debate. You’re running for an office you’re completely unqualified for. You are chasing some glimmer of validation that recedes ever further from view.
Your only rest comes when you are insulting somebody, when you are threatening to throw your opponent in jail, when you are looming over her menacingly like a mafioso thug on the precipice of a hit, when you are bellowing that she has “tremendous hate in her heart” when it is clear to everyone you are only projecting what is in your own.
Trump’s emotional makeup means he can hit only a few notes: fury and aggression. In some ways, his debate performances look like primate dominance displays — filled with chest beating and looming growls. But at least primates have bands to connect with, whereas Trump is so alone, if a tree fell in his emotional forest, it would not make a sound. 
I don’t hate Donald Trump.

I pray for him: for God's powerful grace to break through his disordered, overactive mind.

I don’t hate those who support him.

I pray for them: for deeper insight. Deeper wisdom. Deeper love.

I don’t support or endorse or hate any of Trump’s opponents. I pray for them as well, for Hillary Clinton, caught in a wearying spiral of compromise, conspiracy and confusion. For others, principled and unprincipled, wise and unwise. I pray for wisdom, strength, protection, rest.

As I pray, I grieve.

I grieve at the way hate cripples Congress, makes compromise impossible, creates suspicion, shatters the guardrails that safeguard democracy, leaves so many feeling fearful.

I grieve at the way reasonable discourse has been clouded by the fog of lies, at the way repetition of mocking untruths damages trust and destroys Christian witness.

I’ve often wondered how communities can spiral so quickly into holocaust or genocide, into inquisition and destruction.

I’ve caught a glimpse of unfettered hate and no longer wonder.

Instead, I pray.

And grieve.

And repeat, to myself and anyone who can hear: walk in the way of love.

This post is part of a continuing series on What's Your Platform
Beyond the Party Platform July 24, 2016
A Different Way July 31, 2016 
Election Fraud and Rigged Elections, August 10, 2016 
How Long Will the Land Lie Parched? August 21, 2016 
Walls, Welcome, Mercy, Law August 28, 2016
Workers and Their Wages, Sep 3, 2016 
Educating Ourselves On Education, Sep 10, 2016 
Let's Talk, Sep 17, 2016
The Language of the Unheard, Sep 24, 2016
Maintain Justice, October 9, 2016
Defending the Indefensible, October 16, 2016 
Plan Your Vote: Platforms, Parties, People, October 23, 2016 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Plan Your Vote: Platforms, Parties, People

I’ve been helping publicize Vote411, an online voter education tool provided by the League of Women Voters in many states, including Pennsylvania.

This will be the first general election with statewide Vote411. PA has the largest state legislature in the country and one of the most convoluted and layered governments, with school districts twisting in and out of townships, state senate districts weaving in and out of counties. Finding information about the ballot has always been difficult. Learning about down-ballot candidates has been nearly impossible.

Vote411 makes it easier: go to the website, enter your address, then click on the green bar that says "Get personalized information on candidates and issues." 

You'll get a personalized ballot with a list of races.  Click on any of those and you’ll see the candidates for office. If they’ve responded (and far more than half have done so) you can see links to their campaign websites, brief bios plus answers to three questions we asked them to answer. For races with more than two candidates, choose two to compare.

In addition to the presidential race, my ballot will include candidates for congressional representative, state attorney general, auditor general and treasurer, plus state senator and representative.

Two of those positions, state attorney general and state treasurer, are open because both incumbents resigned in disgrace mid-term.

Former Attorney General Kathleen Kane was elected in 2012 and quickly found herself embroiled in controversy about lewd and racist emails exchanged between prosecutors and judges, an investigation shut down for political purposes, information leaked from a grand jury investigation. She will be sentenced Monday for perjury and criminal conspiracy and could face up to 14 years in prison.

Ex-treasurer Rob McCord resigned in early 2015 as he pled guilty to two charges of extortion. In his 2014 run for governor, he demanded campaign contributions from two firms with large contracts with the state, letting them know that if they didn’t support him, they’d lose the contracts. While the charges each carry a potential 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine, he has yet to be sentenced. Some sources suggest an ongoing bribery investigation of at least one firm involved.

Both are Democrats but read through the Wikipedia list of federal politicians convicted of crime and set aside any illusion that one party is cleaner than the other.

Many in Pennsylvania, many across the country, prefer to vote straight party ticket. It’s certainly easier than trying to assess candidates.

And many are arguing, especially in this election, that the party platform matters more than the person or the individual candidate’s own reputation, experience or positions.

That’s the argument being put forward by Republicans called to question for support of Donald Trump. You may not like him as a candidate, but vote the platform.

Here’s a much-circulated sample from Charisma News:
The Democratic and Republican party platforms are as different as night and day, in my opinion, as far apart as evil vs. good. The 51-page Democratic platform is the most leftist ever. (I don't care for the "right vs. left" nomenclature. I am far more concerned with "right vs. wrong.") The Democratic platform contains many points which are anti-biblical. . . .The 54-page GOP platform is one of the strongest GOP platforms ever. A biblically alert person could be comfortable with almost all of it.
Set aside if you can the strange idea that experience and character don’t matter for any position that requires a high level of public trust and ability to listen, negotiate and lead.
I confess, I can’t set that aside.

But focus for a minute on the claim that one party’s platform is “anti-biblical” or "evil" while the other is  “right” or "good."

I consider myself a “biblically alert person” and I’ve read both platforms – start to finish.

Give it a try: 
Republican Party Platform
Democratic Party Platform
There are parts of both platforms I agree with.

Parts of both that make me wince.

Parts of both that misrepresent the other side.

Parts of both that stake out extreme positions antithetical to common sense, common good and constitutional precedent.

If I had to put percentages on those parts I’d have to say the Democratic platform, on the whole, is more honest, more charitable and more likely to accomplish the goals we all share: healthy families, safe country, an economy that provides adequate health care, good schools and decent jobs for all who want them.

I spent some time looking for a simple chart that would illuminate difference between the parties and finally gave up. The issues of concern to me don’t always make it onto charts.

And simplification of party stances inevitably misrepresents them. 

Yes, Republicans want to build a wall. No, Democrats are not for “unprotected borders.”

Yes, Republicans want religious marriage norms enforced. Democrats disagree, but they're not "against" religion, not trying to silence Christian witness or close down churches. Here's what the platform says (in part) about "Faith and Service" (19): 
Democrats know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith in many forms and the countless acts of justice, mercy, and tolerance it inspires. We believe in lifting up and valuing the good work of people of faith and religious organizations and finding ways to support that work where possible. 
I could go on: about environmental regulation, trade, health care for women, effective school policy, the role of unions.

Abortion and contraception: I had planned a new post on abortion, but saw two that said everything I wanted to say and more: one by Rachel Held Evans on a pro-life rationale for voting for Hillary Clinton; the other, by Rachel Marie Stone, on "the birth control argument we shouldn't be having." 

Conservatives don't own the pro-life agenda,
Matthew Anselmo, 2015
Both make the point that there are far better ways to prevent abortion than through punitive laws or a politicized Supreme Court. Honest sex education, accessible, affordable contraception and policies that improve the lives of working mothers all do far more to reduce abortion than passing laws or calling women “baby killers.” 

The Affordable Care Act, which mandated coverage of contraceptives and made health care more accessible, has sent abortion rates to the lowest since Roe v. Wade.

It would be healthy and helpful to have real dialogue about the party platforms, the world views they represent and the best way to move toward solutions that work for all of us.

That doesn’t happen. 

And won’t so long as both sides view themselves as sole owners of truth and right.

Which brings me back to individual candidate and their own stated positions.

Some candidates see beyond the simplistic “we’re right, they’re wrong” approach and exhibit exemplary wisdom and courage in how they describe real problems and offer informed decisions. 

I know a few of them. They aren’t on my ballot.

Most of the candidates on my ballot do exactly what their parties tell them to. Every time. No matter what their constituents want. No matter what reason, or conscience, or common sense would suggest.

My current state representative is an example. A major high-pressure pipeline has been imposed on our county, our township, our neighborhood, without due process, without real recourse. Our representative is silent. Her party gave the state away to the shale gas industry years ago and any word of objection is forbidden. I've voted for her in the past. This year? I'm considering other options.

Another candidate on the ballot has happily endorsed his party’s unconstitutional attempts to obstruct voting rights and has cheerfully helped push back regulations designed to protect Pennsylvania’s water and air. As attorney general, would he protect the rights of citizens? Unlikely.

I will not be voting either party platform this election.

Instead, I’ll be doing the hard, time consuming work of being an informed, attentive citizen.

I’ll learn what I can about the character of candidates and where they stand on positions I care about.

I’ll start with Vote411, then spend time on the candidates’ own websites.

If they haven’t bothered to tell me what they think, I’ll likely cross them off my list.

If I’m still not sure, I’ll look for articles, interviews or debates to get a broader feel for background and motivation.

I'll also check in with On the Issues, which catalogs votes and statements made by presidential and congressional candidates. 

In situations where I find both candidates equally weak, but not totally unacceptable, I’ll vote against the gerrymandered expectation.  In other words: since the district lines were drawn to ensure an easy win for my incumbent Republicans, I’ll vote Democrat in protest.

In situations where both major party candidates are equally objectionable, I’ll vote third party, as a statement against the lack of honest choice.

Sometimes I vote for women and minority candidates – just because so many vote against them, every time.

If I have to, I’ll write in a name.

Maybe my own.

What I won’t do is believe the lies that abound in every election cycle, but much much more in this one.

There are as many flying around us as leaves sailing through my yard, burying everything under their weight.

There are ways to find the truth.

To quote an impassioned Facebook post I applauded just a day ago:, and are three nonpartisan sites I'm finding helpful in untangling, debunking and confirming stories I come across. . . .
Of course, even these resources, which I've seen point out false information on both sides, have been accused of being biased. But accusations of bias in the media don't let us off the hook. We can't just say, "news sources are biased," and use that as justification for picking and choosing whatever stories back up our preconceived ideas. This means not just getting our news from one source but cross-checking what we read or hear with multiple resources. It means being very cautious when it comes to sources of information on the fringe that might not be subject to the same scrutiny as mainstream news sources. It means questioning our knee-jerk reactions and challenging ourselves to dig deeper in trying to understand the dynamics at play. And it means doing some honest soul-searching so we can make a decision we won't be ashamed of in the future. 
I’ve had friends and family ask me to watch and read sources that have obvious, flagrant lies.

If you’re not sure it’s true, don’t repeat it.

Don’t repost it.

Don’t vote it.

And don’t try to scare me: the sky is not falling.

There is one Savior and I promise you: he doesn’t bully, demean, or lie to get his way.

Elections do matter.

As do candidates and character.


Maybe not so much.

This post is part of a continuing series on What's Your Platform 
Beyond the Party Platform July 24, 2016
A Different Way July 31, 2016 
Election Fraud and Rigged Elections, August 10, 2016 
How Long Will the Land Lie Parched? August 21, 2016 
Walls, Welcome, Mercy, Law August 28, 2016
Workers and Their Wages, Sep 3, 2016 
Educating Ourselves On Education, Sep 10, 2016 
Let's Talk, Sep 17, 2016
The Language of the Unheard, Sep 24, 2016
Maintain Justice, October 9, 2016
Defending the Indefensible, October 16, 2016 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Defending the Indefensible

I've been struggling this week with a bad case of anger.

I’ve been taking deep breaths.

Sitting outside, staring at the sky.

Praying. Reading the psalms.

Reading and rereading the psalms.

I’m normally fairly good at deflecting anger.

Good at putting it in a cupboard somewhere in my mind and locking the door until I have time to process.

Good at turning the other cheek, smiling a little more brightly.
Shaking it off.

Letting it go.

This week?

Not so much.

Did I mention it was International Day of the Girl on Tuesday?

It was the day the UN invites us to think about girls around the globe. The hazards they face. The struggle to learn, to grow, to thrive, to live.

I was planning to post this week about abortion. Did you know that the leading cause of death for girls 15 to 19 – worldwide –is suicide?

Until 2015 the leading cause of death was pregnancy. That’s still the case in developing countries, but globally it’s tilted toward suicide.

There’s a sad story there.

A story about a world that sees girls’ bodies as objects to be used while stepping down hard on the dreams and sorrows inside.

Somehow the Day of the Girl and Michelle Obama’s celebration of the accompanying Let Girls Learn campaign were drowned out in the media storm surrounding Donald Trump’s odious tape.

And the attendant swirl of denouncement, defense, endorsement, unendorsement.

And the recurrent theme of women stepping forward to say things they'd said before but no one seemed to hear, or things they never said because they feared no one would listen.

I’m not surprised at all by Donald Trump.

Anyone who has spent a few honest hours trying to understand him should know that his character was formed by a father who trained him to “be a killer, be a king.” He spent his formative years in a military academy where he devoured Playboy and bragged about his conquests, then was mentored by Roy Cohn, a man who spent his career destroying the lives of friend and foe alike. 

Despite assertions that he's changed, converted, adopted Christian values, his rude remarks to others and boasts about his own wealth and power are consistent with troubling stories about him dating back decades. 

The Choice 2016: Frontline investigates what has
 shaped Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton 
Nothing Donald Trump does could surprise me.

What surprises me, angers me, grieves me to the core is the support and defense he continues to receive from people I have respected.

“It’s just words. He never did those things.”

“He’s apologized. Move on.”

“It’s just how men are. It’s no big deal.”

“Hillary’s no saint.”

You want to understand rape culture? There it is. Normalized, excused, condoned, deflected.

Maybe I spent too many years as a camp counselor, listening to girls share their grief and sorrow.

Or as a Girl Scout leader. 

Youth minister.

Or as a sister, neighbor, friend.

I have heard too many stories. Seen too much hurt.

Felt some of my own.

The teacher who focused sexual attention on a new senior girl every year and everyone knew and no one did a thing.

The boss who draped his arm around his girl cashiers, dangling his hand wherever it wanted to land, blowing cigar smoke in their faces.

The girls who lived in houses with men who stopped by their beds when the house was quiet.

The girl whose father and brothers touched and talked about her in public the way Trump touches and talks about Ivanka.

The women struggling to build careers in offices where the only avenue forward took a detour through the bedroom.

No big deal?

Everyone does it?


Good men are appalled.

Decent men recoil.

I watched the debate Sunday evening and was struck, as were many, by the way Trump paced the stage while Hillary Clinton was talking. He threatened her with jail, interrupted her repeatedly and stood behind her, grimacing, while she spoke.

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone as boastful as Trump.

Or as willing to lie about everyone and everything.

Or as deliberately, intentionally menacing.

His behavior – even on stage, even during a presidential debate – reminds me of all the times and ways girls I love, women I respect have been shut down, scared into silence.




For women and girls, it’s often lose-lose.

Speak in a soft voice when you’re trying to lead?

You clearly don’t have what it takes to be up front, to command attention, to be in charge.

Speak firmly and clearly in a no-nonsense voice?

You’re too masculine. Or too harsh. Too "strident." Have you ever heard a man called "strident"?

What if you disstance yourself from a husband who betrays and wounds you?

You clearly don’t respect marriage. You don’t understand forgiveness.

But if you defend and look for ways to preserve your marriage despite lies and infidelity?

You make yourself responsible for the very sins that harmed you. Tarred with the same fat, slimy brush.

As I said, I’ve been reading the Psalms.

The word that’s been speaking to me is “vile.”

On Tuesday, angry and grieving, I found myself in Psalm 12: 
Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.Everyone lies to their neighbor;they flatter with their lipsbut harbor deception in their hearts.. . . You, Lord, will keep the needy safeand will protect us forever from the wicked,who freely strut aboutwhen what is vile is honored by the human race. 
I’ve been troubled this week by the image of Trump, freely strutting about, rousing his followers to cheers and chants, bragging about assault then saying it’s all lies, honored and endorsed by those who should know better.

It’s alarming to see, still, men and women who claim to be followers of Christ trying to link their cause to that of Donald Trump.

Psalm 101:3 says: 
I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it. 
Last week a group of evangelical leaders launched an open letter and petition making clear that they want no part in Trump or his campaign. It says, in part: 
Mr. Trump has fueled white American nationalism with xenophobic appeals and religious intolerance at the expense of gospel values, democratic principles, and important international relationships. He mocks women and the sanctity of marriage vows, disregards facts and the accountability to truth, and worships wealth and shameful materialism, while taking our weakening culture of civility to nearly unprecedented levels with continuing personal attacks on others, including attacking a federal judge based purely on his Mexican heritage, mocking a disabled reporter, and humiliating a beauty pageant winner for her weight and Latina ethnicity—to give just a few examples.
Because we believe that racial bigotry has been a cornerstone of this campaign, it is a foundational matter of the gospel for us in this election, and not just another issue. This is not just a social problem, but a fundamental wrong. Racism is America's original sin. Its brazen use to win elections threatens to reverse real progress on racial equity and set America back. 
Donald Trump's campaign is the most recent and extreme version of a history of racialized politics that has been pursued and about which white evangelicals, in particular, have been silent. The silence in previous times has set the environment for what we now see.
For this reason, we cannot ignore this bigotry, set it aside, just focus on other issues, or forget the things Mr. Trump has consistently said and done. No matter what other issues we also care about, we have to make it publicly clear that Mr. Trump’s racial and religious bigotry and treatment of women is morally unacceptable to us as evangelical Christians, as we attempt to model Jesus’ command to “love your neighbors as yourself.”
Whether we support Mr. Trump’s political opponent is not the question here. Hillary Clinton is both supported and distrusted by a variety of Christian voters. We, undersigned evangelicals, simply will not tolerate the racial, religious, and gender bigotry that Donald Trump has consistently and deliberately fueled, no matter how else we choose to vote or not to vote.
 A group of 700 evangelical women leaders signed their own short letter expressing concern:
As Christian women we are appalled by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's recorded remarks that disparage women and condone sexual assault. Such language cannot be dismissed as “locker room talk.” Mr. Trump must offer public contrition that fully acknowledges the seriousness and depravity of his actions. 
The sin of misogyny has caused many of us to experience sexual assault or sexually abusive language that threatened our safety, dignity and well-being. Christian leaders cannot condone such violent speech about women as a minor mistake or an innocent attempt to be “macho." 
Even now, there are still many who embarrass themselves and the name of Christ by defending the indefensible, still insisting that a man unable to keep a contract, respect an opponent or speak the truth would be a suitable leader.

I understand concerns about Hillary Clinton. I am not endorsing her or singing her praises.

I am also not claiming God has appointed her as savior of our nation. Not promoting prophecies that she’s our only hope. 

Any who make those claims for Donald Trump need to read through the many many Old Testament passages warning about false prophets, warning that God’s people delude themselves when they align themselves with political power then prophecy God’s approval. 

There are no sinless candidates in this election.

No pure party. 

No one free of baggage.

But that doesn’t excuse our inability to discern.

Or the tragic damage to the name of Christ when linked with Donald Trump's.

One more passage from my study of the word "vile", from Ezekiel 16:49-51. Make of it what you will:

Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.

This post is part of a continuing series on What's Your Platform 
Beyond the Party Platform July 24, 2016
A Different Way July 31, 2016 
Election Fraud and Rigged Elections, August 10, 2016 
How Long Will the Land Lie Parched? August 21, 2016 
Walls, Welcome, Mercy, Law August 28, 2016
Workers and Their Wages, Sep 3, 2016 
Educating Ourselves On Education, Sep 10, 2016 
Let's Talk, Sep 17, 2016
The Language of the Unheard, Sep 24, 2016
Maintain Justice, October 9, 2016