Torn. This is the only word I can muster to describe how I feel and what I think about this election and the witness of evangelicals in the midst of it. I am not torn between two candidates, between the Church and politics, or between logic and conscience. I am torn between heartbreak and gospel hope.
At the root of my heartbreak is an inconsistency about what it means to be pro-life.
As evangelicals, we have vocally proclaimed the importance and value of life in the womb and contested the legalization of abortion. We have promoted traditional marriage to be fundamental for human flourishing in a culture that is becoming increasingly confused about sex and marriage. We have expressed grave concern about the impacts of pornography on men, women and future generations.
Unfortunately, we have also at times abandoned pastors and their families when pornography addiction is exposed. We have proudly cast out our homosexual sons and turned them over to their reprobate lifestyles, but quietly swept the adultery of deacons under the rug. We have promoted moralism over salvation. We have allowed biblically unqualified men and women to hold positions of leadership and authority in the church, confusing an already confused generation.
Now, we face a presidential election where our inconsistencies are coming to full light.
On the left, Hillary Clinton has long since promoted ideas about sex and feminism that are opposed to the biblical beliefs of evangelical Christians. However, on the right, Donald Trump’s rhetoric against women has spurned a conversation on the left I never thought I would hear in this election.
First Lady Michelle Obama recently gave an impassioned speech about the abusive rhetoric Donald Trump has used against women. In her speech she drew clear distinct lines between masculinity and femininity, manhood and womanhood, and she called on men specifically to consider not just how Trump’s rhetoric impacts women, but also how it impacts future generations of men.
Her words are the new shot heard around the world.
If all of this is painful to us as grown women, what do you think this is doing to our children? What message are our little girls hearing about who they should look like, how they should act? What lessons are they learning about their value as professionals, as human beings, about their dreams and aspirations? And how is this affecting men and boys in this country? Because I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this. And I know that my family is not unusual. And to dismiss this as everyday locker-room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere.
The men that you and I know don’t treat women this way. They are loving fathers who are sickened by the thought of their daughters being exposed to this kind of vicious language about women. They are husbands and brothers and sons who don’t tolerate women being treated and demeaned and disrespected. And like us, these men are worried about the impact this election is having on our boys who are looking for role models of what it means to be a man.
Progressives like Michelle Obama have pushed homosexuality, transgenderism and feminism in our culture, but even they recognize there is something inherently wrong with language that demoralizes women. I agree with Michelle Obama that this “it’s just locker room talk” jargon is damaging to our future generations.
However, while the First Lady and I can agree on this, I would point out that we didn’t end up here overnight. Our pornographic, sex-crazed culture has not promoted the respect and honor of women, children and even men. Continuing down the path of confusing gender roles and identity will not help our boys find role models “of what it means to be a man.”
Christians, we cannot miss this opportunity. This is a pro-life issue. Misogyny is unbiblical and worthy of the same condemnation as abortion (Matthew 5:28 and Mark 7:20-23). All human life is valuable in the sight of God Almighty.
How can we condemn issues of feminism, transgenderism, homosexuality or pornography and at the same time defend rhetoric that objectifies, demeans and harms women? Truth be told, we can’t. This is a case of pro-life hypocrisy.
Most of us haven’t thought about anti-women rhetoric in pro-life terms before. Perhaps that’s because our understanding of being pro-life is entirely too narrow, unbiblically narrow. When we claim to be pro-life, we must promote and defend all human life, even if doing so comes with a political price tag. Our faith is supposed to influence our politics, not the other way around.
But Donald Trump’s rhetoric has given the church a clear opportunity to proclaim boldly, liberals and conservatives alike, that blatant misogynistic talk is deplorable, and that silently allowing such talk is apathetic sin. Not only that, as Christians we can clearly examine the road that leads a society to devaluing and objectifying women — one such road paved by sexual revolutions and silent Christians.
But if we cling to our pro-life inconsistencies, we’ll miss this opportunity.
As an evangelical woman, I have felt heartbreak for my brothers and sisters who have outright defended Mr. Trump’s words, character and lifestyle. As an evangelical woman, I have felt heartbreak for my brothers and sisters who have outright defended Mrs. Clinton’s words, character and lifestyle.
And I’ve felt heartbreak for my brothers and sisters who are silently watching all of this unfold. Why? Because oppression is the natural companion to silence. We should speak up, not to defend immoral, corrupt character and behavior, but to condemn such as qualities unsuitable, unrepresentative, and unable to qualify one for the office of President of the United States. For those brothers and sisters who have spoken up with courage and boldness, I am grateful.
Earlier, I mentioned that I was torn between heartbreak and gospel hope. And while I do mourn our pro-life inconsistencies, I do cling to gospel hope. In fact, my hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the witness of His Church grows.
As the church, we can let the gospel influence how we holistically value life and how we cast our ballots. And we can leverage this opportunity for gospel impact, showing the world that we value all of life, from womb to tomb.
So then, let us “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” making the most of every opportunity” (Matt. 10:16).