To my fellow Anti-Trumpers
We are in a difficult spot.
I believe that we have two conflicting moral obligations regarding our President right now.
Moral Obligation Number 1
On the one hand, we have the moral obligation to do everything we can to prevent the re-election of Donald Trump. Each day we receive additional evidence which supports and explains this moral obligation.
Pro-Trump readers: It is ok if we disagree about this... Please keep reading!
Anti-Trump readers, I'm guessing I don't need to say much more... But you keep reading, too.
As I seek to fulfill moral obligation 1, I hope that Trump will self-destruct between now and November. I hope that he will misinterpret polls and the American People and lean into his racism and hate. This will, I hope, cost him his support and the election. But this brings me to the conflicting moral obligation.
Moral Obligation Number 2
On the other hand, we have a moral obligation to pray for President Trump and hope that his eyes will be opened and that his heart will be softened. We have a moral obligation to support the good things he is doing and to desire that those things succeed. Out of concern for our fellow human beings, we have a moral obligation to hope that he will change his tune on immigration issues, on Covid-19, and on issues of race relations in the U.S.
These moral obligations do not conflict in the strong sense. In other words, they are not like the scenarios that philosophers dream up in which you can only fulfill one obligation by breaking another. Instead, they conflict in the following sense: it is very hard, psychologically, to fulfill both obligations.
As I work to make sure that he loses in November, I find myself hoping that he will make things worse so that people will stop supporting him. However, this means that people will suffer as a result. Furthermore, these are the very people--the poor and marginalized in our society--that I'm seeking to help.
And as I pray for him each morning, I find that I'm praying for open eyes and a soft heart. These are the very things that could help the poor and marginalized. They are also the things that could help him win in November.
Like I said, we are in a tough spot.
Notice, however, that we are in a similar spot with respect to every non-believer. (I'm not meaning to make a claim about Trump's personal relationship with Jesus.)
We should pray that their sinful desires and actions will be undermined so that they cannot hurt themselves or others. At the same time, we recognize that those sinful desires and actions can be the very things that help them to recognize their need for God. When they are clearly faced with their own depravity and the way it has impacted others, they will see their need for a Savior. As C.S. Lewis puts it,
"We can rest contentedly in our sins and in our stupidities; and anyone who has watched gluttons shovelling down the most exquisite foods as if they did not know what they were eating, will admit that we can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. A bad man, happy, is a man without the least inkling that his actions do not 'answer', that they are not in accord with the laws of the universe."
The Problem of Pain. Chapter 6.
We want to help make the lives of non-believers better, but we also recognize that that may make them less likely to turn to God.
In the end, we must do everything we can to love them and seek their salvation, while also praying that God would do everything necessary for their salvation.
With our President, we must do everything we can to prevent his re-election, while also praying that God would do everything necessary for his repentance and redirection.