The Lesser of Two Evils

Reflections (2)

Often we seem in life to be presented with what is commonly called “the lesser of two evils.”  Rahab, for example, was confronted with the choice between deceiving the Canaanites or exposing the Israeli spies.  She chose to deceive the Canaanites and is championed as a hero of faith because she had the discernment to choose the lesser of the two evils.

Are there, however, times in life when we must recognize that the lesser of the two evils is in fact too evil to choose.  In the current presidential debate, many of my friends have advocated that if it comes down to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, any good Christian would pull the trigger for Donald Trump because he is, they argue, the lesser of the two evils.  I am not thoroughly convinced, however, that he is a “lesser evil.”  And even if he is, is this lesser evil too evil for the Bible-believing Christian to cast an affirmative vote?

When David numbered the people, the Lord gave David a choice between three evils.  David’s response was candid – “I am in a great strait” (2 Samuel 24:14).  I know how he feels!  David, rather than choose, decided to let God decide and threw himself on the mercy of God, for indeed “his mercies are great.”

Several things I think are worthy of note.  First, being a republican is not synonymous with being righteous.  If these multiple republican debates have revealed anything, they have revealed that being G.O.P. is not synonymous with being AOK.  Many within the Republican Party have much to be ashamed of.  And my loyalties are to my Christ before they are to my party chairman.  I feel no remorse in leaving a party that may in fact have left me.

Second, philosophical bankruptcy and moral bankruptcy are both bankruptcy.  For a long time, evangelical leaders have decried the philosophical bankruptcy within the Democratic Party.  As abortion and gay rights were brought mainstream within the party, we cried, “Foul.”  And indeed, we should have.  But is the moral bankruptcy of a man who boasts of his sexual deviancy a whiter crime?  I think not.

Third, discretion is necessary when flip-flops are made for political advantage.  To be sure, everyone changes positions at some time in his or her life.  There is no virtue in being consistently wrong.  But when a person changes his or her position on an alarmingly frequent basis simply because polling data suggests it be done, what comfort do we have that these positions will be maintained throughout the course of a political term?  When a campaigner has no ideological base, we can assume that there will be no ideological base to govern the candidate once in office.

And finally, we vote for someone more than we vote against someone.  Many of my friends have said, “If you don’t vote for Trump, you are voting for Hillary.”  To be frank, I’m not buying it.  When I walk into the voting booth, the ballot asks me to cast a vote for someone.  It never asks be to cast a vote against anybody.  A vote for Trump is just that – a vote for Trump.  And I am not sure that my Christian conscience allows for that.

So what is a man to do?  Is he to abstain from voting for president?  Is he to vote for a lesser candidate outside of the two-party system that stands absolutely no chance?  Is he to write in a candidate’s name even though they are no longer on the ballot?  These are tough questions, and to be honest I have more questions than answers.  But this much I do know – if it comes down to the lesser of two evils, of the two frontrunners both are too evil for me.

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