British statesman Enoch Powell began his most famous speech with this observation: "The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils." I thought of Powell's cogent dictum often over the last week or so, as Rod Dreher (and others) have been loudly insisting that Trump's moral failings prevent Christians from voting for him, and even implying that supporting Trump somehow represents a betrayal of Christianity. Even more recently, Dreher has tweeted, "By the time this thing is over, Trump will have indelibly stained everyone who stood with him. Christians, please think hard about this." Since tens of millions of American Christians of all denominations will in fact end up voting for Trump, that's an awful lot of indelible stain to go around.
Of course, virtually no one will be voting for Trump because of his moral failings. Those failings are an embarrassment to his supporters and a source of joy to his detractors. Not even Trump is defending those failings. (I discussed those failings here.) He has apologized forthrightly for his comments on the Access Hollywood tape, and denied that he behaved badly toward the women who have come forth on the eve of the election to accuse him of unwanted kissing and groping. And, at this early stage, it seems that Trump's denial is more believable than some of the accusations, including the claim that Trump groped a woman like an "octopus" in a first class cabin three decades ago.
Since Trump's boorishness is not the basis for his support among Christians, the question is whether there are reasons that would justify Christians deciding to vote for Trump. The answer to that question is an emphatic yes, since there are clear differences between Trump and the only other person running with a chance of being elected president on November 8, Hillary Clinton. There are in fact numerous differences on important issues between Trump and Clinton, but two are particularly relevant in considering Dreher's fulminations against Trump: religious liberty, which Dreher believes is imperiled by the Democrats, and the prospect of yet more American intervention in the Mideast, opposition to which is the raison d'être of the American Conservative, the magazine for which Dreher writes.
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