[I wrote this in early August, but shelved it until I’d cooled off some. Sometimes being timely isn’t worth it]
Conservative evangelical theologian Wayne Grudem wrote a terrible article called “why voting for Donald Trump is a morally good choice.”
In it, he whitewashed Trump’s misogyny and racism, including his refusal to denounce the KKK.
Grudem minimized the dangers of having such an egotistical, unstable bully at the command of the world’s most powerful military.
He raised the spectre of widespread persecution of Christians under a Clinton presidency, with no real evidence that this would happen, while ignoring the persecution of Muslims that Trump has promised.
Obviously, I disagree with Grudem. So do conservative theologians like the Southern Baptist Convention’s Al Mohler and Russel Moore, though perhaps for different reasons.
In fact, there had been a lot of pushback against Grudem from the Christian Right, which is encouraging.
This article sums up the general approach these articles have taken, assuming that Grudem is a generally good and wise man who has been misled by fears of who Clinton might appoint to the Supreme Court.
I want to take a more critical approach. Wayne Grudem and Donald Trump are a near-perfect match.
Torture: Donald Trump has advocated not only torturing trout suspects (without trial) just as his Republican predecessor, evangelical darling George W. Bush did, but even torturing their families if it helps get useful information.
Wayne Grudem called waterboarding and other Bush- era “enhanced interrogation” techniques a “moral responsibility” of government. Not only did he give his sanction to torture, so long as it was the kind that didn’t leave permanent scars, but he actually said “not to have used them would have been morally wrong…” (Politics According to the Bible, p 432, quoted in Christianity Today).
Christian supremacy: Donald Trump has shown open hostity toward Muslims, even the Muslim parents of a soldier killed in action.
And while few people actually believe Trump’s conveniently timed religious awakening (an awakening that has not led him to change any of his positions, apologize to anyone he has wronged or insulted, or divest himself of his strip clubs and casinos), it’s pretty clear which religious group he’s currying favor with.
Wayne Grudem’s examples of religious liberty in his endorsement all centered around Christians being allowed to deny God’s and services to people the disagree with (mostly gay people) Or limiting medical coverage for their female employees, Hobby Lobby style.
Grudem’s book on politics us called Politics According to the Bible, a title that is certainly ambitious, if not hubristic. Much of what he advocates is standard Christian Right “get this country back to God” soft theocracy.
It is safe to say that Trump’s hostility toward religious minorities is of no real concern to Grudem.
Misogyny, or at least male dominance. Trump has proven his misogyny over and again on the trail. And that’s leaving aside a history of adultery, objectification, rpe allegations, abd sexualizing his daughters on talk radio.
Grudem is one of the leading proponents of complementarianism, a theory in which the men lead and the women submit and support thrm. Men are spiritual and worldly leaders, protectors, and providers. Women are caretakers. They raise the children, support their husbands’ ministries and activities, and follow.
This aligns him with Trump, who proudly claimed to have taken little role in raising his children, other than bringing home a lot of money, and whose three wives have all set their careers aside for him.
Sure, Grudem is a moralistic man who’d never be involved with something as crass or sleazy as a strip club, who’d never say “grab ’em by the pussy“, but fundamentally, he and Trump are the same: authoritarians who believe in male dominance, force, torture, and the suppression of civil rights for unpopular minorities.
If you call that “good,” you know how to vote in November.
If not, you can be like Al Mohler and Russel Moore and vote third party, or you can be like Rachel Held Evans and Shannon Dingle and vote for Hillary Clinton.
But let’s not pretend that Wayne Grudem’s endorsement of Donald Trump was some weird, outlier mistake. The two are much more alike than they seem.