On Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, popular Bible teacher and speaker Beth Moore broke her silence on political issues and posted a series of tweets that sent waves through the evangelical community. Moore’s tweet-sized messages called out Christian leaders who have turned a blind eye to the plight of women who have been objectified, sexually abused and sexually harassed.
But is it as helpful as it looks (to some people, at least?) Not really.
This is an election. We get to choose between two or more candidates. None of those candidates (yeah, I’ve heard the Evan McMullin crowd) is a really “proper” choice for Evangelicals. And nobody in real Christianity is really happy with someone who reaches for what he shouldn’t.
But by calling out Donald Trump on this, Beth Moore is doing two things that really aren’t correct.
The first is legitimizing Hillary Clinton. For reasons that long predate this election, I don’t think she’s suitable for such support. I should also mention that the recent email eruption over Huma Abedin’s computer is just a reminder that Hillary Clinton has serious problems of her own.
The second is that it puts her (Moore) in a classic no-win position. If Trump wins, she’s on the losing side, and Evangelicals are too busy running a popularity contest to want to be there. If Hillary wins, she’s going to eventually have to explain the bad consequences of an inevitable kulturkampf which is coming in a Clinton presidency, or that the neocons are mostly behind her because they think she’ll get us into another war.
Beyond that, both Moores (Beth and Russell) and the Trump cheerleaders are both working under the same shared assumptions. They both think that politics is a legitimate, transparent process which Christians can take part in without danger of moral hazard or having to settle for “second best.” That’s never been the case and certainly isn’t now.
There’s a movement to repeal LBJ’s prohibition of our ministers endorsing candidates from the pulpit. There’s also a movement for our ministers to actually run for office in a big way. But honestly Evangelical leadership, with few exceptions, has shown itself too naïve to constructively engage in politics. Leave it to the laity; they have to make hard choices all week.