A Response to Pastor Jim Garlow’s Article in Charisma News Regarding Donald Trump.

First off, let me state from the onset, I have never met Pastor Garlow. I have no knowledge of his political leanings or his theological beliefs. Due to his pastoral status and the tone of his article, I will give Pastor Garlow the benefit of the doubt and assume he loves the Lord and his country. That being said, I believe there are some troubling questions Pastor Garlow failed to address.

The article will be linked below for anyone who would like to read the writing that prompted this response.

All in all, I believe you could boil the premise of the Pastor Garlow’s article as follows: Hillary is evil, Trump is unknown, maybe possibly evil, but at least there is a chance he is not as evil as Hillary. This I will show is not only wishful thinking, but a gross misunderstanding and/or ignorance of Trump’s previous affiliations and political views.

Listen I empathize completely with those that do not like Donald Trump, but are going to vote for him anyway because they perceive (rightly so) that Hillary is probably the most corrupt person to ever run for president. I get it, trust me. It is a struggle I have every day. However, let us not conflate that argument with belief that Trump is better for the country or that Trump is something good. He is horrible, period.

I will address Pastor Garlow’s article point by point and give my reasoning as to why I believe he is mistaken overall, even though I concede some of his points have merit. Unfortunately, even if some individual points have some validity, as a whole they are insignificant and therefore irrelevant in regard to the risk analysis regarding this election.

Let’s begin….

Dr Garlow points are as follows:

Point # 1: “The Democratic and Republican party platforms are as different as night and day, in my opinion, as far apart as evil vs. good. The 51-page Democratic platform is the most leftist ever. (I don’t care for the “right vs. left” nomenclature. I am far more concerned with “right vs. wrong.”) The Democratic platform contains many points which are anti-biblical. (Time does not permit me here to identify what is meant by “anti-biblical,” which is covered in my new book Well Versed: Biblical Answers to Today’s Tough Issues.) It is thoroughly socialistic (a socialist is a communist without a gun). The 54-page GOP platform is one of the strongest GOP platforms ever. A biblically alert person could be comfortable with almost all of it. Party platforms are a big issue to me. Although some “blow off” party platforms, I do not. Nor do many people up and down the ballot who are running for office. This is a serious and very important item. I have a hard copy of both platforms in front of me now. Most people have never checked out what the party platforms say. They should. If a person is not drawn to the “top-of-the-ballot” candidate, they ought to at least consider voting for the candidate attached to the best party platform.

Pastor Garlow is correct in stating the GOP and Democratic platforms are night and day. He is also correct that the GOP platform is one of the most conservative platforms in its history. This is all true.

However, Pastor Garlow does not recall Donald Trump being questioned before his nomination about the possibility of changing the platform to include a softer anti-abortion stance, which he stated he wanted to include an exception for the “health” of the mother in the platform. This would have made it the most liberal platform in history. He is pushing an anti-trade agenda which is 100% anti-American and anti-conservative.

Also, I would like to remind Pastor Garlow that Ted Cruz and his delegates controlled much, if not most of the platform process (spearheaded by Mike Lee), due to his large amount of delegates and his strategic positioning of them on the delegation committee, he had direct influence over the platform.

Finally, Pastor Garlow should also note that a platform means little to nothing, especially during the last few election cycles. Yes, it does speak to the current belief or philosophy of the party, but it means nothing in terms of direction. For example, under President George W. Bush, our platform called for smaller government and less spending. President Bush became second only to Obama in spending and entitlements and exploded the size of government (Homeland Security, Patriot Act, Medicaid Part D, FEMA, etc..) and this that Bush has been a dye-in-the-wool Republican all of his life, whereas Donald Trump just became one after being a Democrat most of his life.

Point # 2: “Analogy #1: Both candidates are flawed. We all know that. But permit me an analogy: As a pastor, I would rather deal with a church attendee who is blatant and brash in his sinning than one who is devious, lying, cunning and deceptive. Both are problematic, but one is easier to deal with than the other. If I were a pastor bringing correction to a parishioner, I would prefer dealing with a “Trump-type” any day over a “Hillary-type.” The chances of making progress with the “Trump-type” are many times greater than the “Hillary-type.”

Baloney. With all due respect to Pastor Garlow, this is a lie. If this is true, you need to do your research on Trump. They are both equally bad in this department. Yes, Hillary is the evil, cunning woman who is hiding all of her sins; while Donald Trump is the brash guy bragging about it to everyone and showing how cool he is because he does it. He wants you to admire him because of it.

You would really prefer to counsel a man who says he has never needed to ask God for forgiveness? In order to counsel as a pastor, there needs to be some humility and some understanding of the fact that we have sinned. He has shown none of that. At least Hillary plays at that game, just like Obama. Donald Trump has openly bragged, even not too long ago, about seducing married women and sleeping around while avoiding STD’s was “his personal vietnam.”

I may not be a pastor, but I could make the argument that Donald Trump would do more harm to the church than Hillary would because he would be bragging and leading others to do the same things he is.

I think this is a really bad analogy and should not be made by a pastor. They are both equally bad. 

Point #3: “Analogy #2: When my (late) wife’s remarkable and much loved oncologist said, “Don’t take Carol to that alternative (non FDA approved) treatment.” I asked, “Why not?” He said, “The unknown.” I said, “Doctor, your ‘known’ is much worse than the alternative treatment’s ‘unknown.'” I took her to that alternative treatment. One year later that same oncologist went to the alternative treatment doctor to see how it was that Carol had improved so much. While this alternative treatment did not ultimately save her life, it likely stretched two to three years of life to six years of life—by the admission of another one of her brilliant young oncologists who later said, “Without any medical training or scientific fact, you have put together a protocol of treatment that has moved her into the top fraction of 1 percent of survival rates of all patients with Carol’s particular cancer. Application of the analogy: Hillary’s “known” is considerably worse—many times over—than Trump’s “unknown.”

This is where I think the strength of the pro-Trump crowd lies. Though I disagree with the analogy per se, I do believe he gives some real food for thought. Also, his loss is tragic and I think it takes strength to use such an analogy after a loss of that magnitude.

I can see the reasoning behind his argument, and it can be somewhat persuasive. However, that does not mean it is true. It may or may not be, we do not know and that is the problem. This is a simplistic look at the future, without taking into account the real ramifications that can follow us if Trump is elected.

For example, Herbert Hoover was a Republican and a businessman. Due to his policies and perceived failures, we lost almost 20 years worth of presidential elections. For right or for wrong, the Great Depression was attributed to him, even though FDR made it worse and prolonged it. 

Also, we risk everyone lumping the conservative movement and the Republican Party with Trump and all of his outlandish, stupid, ignorant, and borderline racist rhetoric. He has ties to the alt-right which have direct ties to white nationalists, he has been endorsed by the KKK, etc.

To go to a more recent example, George W. Bush went into Iraq and Afghanistan and the economy collapsed during his last year in office. This directly led to the election of the most radical progressive president we have ever had in office, Barack Obama.

This is the problem with Pastor Garlow’s above analysis, we are hoping Trump will prolong the life of the nation; however, one could argue that the last two Republican Presidents have pushed us further into the arms of the progressive left and they are wholly more conservative than Donald Trump, who appeals to Bernie Sanders people. Let that sink in for a moment…

Point # 4: “Trump has lots of sins in his past (actually, we all do), and—in the present—says things he should not say. I make no attempt to defend any of the things he has said. There is no need to rehearse the wrong things he has said. We know what they are. He should not have thought or said them. But there is no need to rehash them here. So we won’t. But let’s turn to the other candidate. Although America has had some scandal-ridden candidates in its history, we have never seen any one major party candidate more constantly scandalous as Hillary (along with her husband). She seems to exceed all previous boundaries for wrongdoing. The scandals just don’t stop. In the same way we did not take time to list all of Trump’s misstatements, neither will we here rehash the seemingly continuous string of horrific scandals of the Clintons.”

I hate qualifiers. Too many Christians use it to feel like they are not judging. We as Christians know we are sinners, there is no need to say it before a criticism or judgment of others.

Yes, this is true. Hillary is the most corrupt and scandalous person to run for the presidency. Her scandals are literally without end. However, let us not make the mistake of believing Trump is any better. He has not been in “politics” for very long, though he has donated to many of them and been involved in the same circles.

For the sake of argument, how would we measure the differences in scandals between Hillary and Trump? Do we vote for the one with the lesser amount? If the Democrat were to have less, would we be obligated to vote for her or him?

I believe this argument opens us up to a whole new can of worms. If Biden or Tim Kaine were running against Trump, we would be morally obligated to vote for them if that is the standard.

Point #5: ” Trump is slowly being surrounded by increasingly good people. From time to time, I receive encouraging calls regarding this. Can these good people impact Trump? We will see. In contrast, I see no reason for any encouragement regarding the people who surround Hillary.”

<Facepalm>. Oh, Pastor Garlow…you should not have brought this point up. I should note that it is interesting how no names are given on who those “good people” are.

Here, let me name a few for you Pastor Garlow, ready?

  • Corey Lewandowski-A man known in journalistic circles as bad-mouthed, hate-filled, vulgare, aggressive, and responsible for borderline sexual harassment of female reporters, not to mention the battery against Michelle Fields.
  • Chris Christie- A pro-choice (despite claiming to the contrary), anti-second amendment, brash, loud-mouthed bully who likes to put people down and disparage them.
  • Paul Manafort- A political “fixer” that helped derail President Reagan’s 1976 presidential bid. Oh, he also is being investigated by the F.B.I for his ties to Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the government that took over Crimea. He is known for his pro-Putin and pro-Russian views.
  • Steve Bannon- The former head of Breitbart news. Known in the industry as the worst human being of all time. He is a self-proclaimed “Leninist” and has stated that Breitbart is now a voice for the alt-right (white nationalists/socialists, the KKK, etc.).
  • Paula White- “Evangelist” extraordinaire. Borderline heretical, previous scandals with Benny Hinn, etc..
  • Ann Coulter- Vulgar, anti-immigrant, and hates anyone not white. She is one of the most deplorable people I have ever seen on television, and she is an adviser to the Trump campaign.
  • Katrina Pearson- Spokeswoman for the Trump campaign. She has said some of the most vile things I have ever heard and will defend literally anything Donald Trump says. She is evil. Seriously, look her up.
  • Bonus-Almost every other Spox for Trump, they all have similar stories,

Now, Pastor Garlow will argue that he has people such as Ben Carson, Jerry Falwell Jr., and Sarah Palin. First, the aforementioned have little power or sway with the Donald and second, almost all of the ones mentioned above have very high ranking positions inside the Trump campaign. By the way, the bad of the previous group significantly outweighs any slight good from the latter. Not to mention I do not hold Jerry Falwell Jr or Sarah Palin in high regard.

Point #6: “Trump is right on approximately 75 percent of the issues. I wish it was 100 percent. It is not. I am in hopes that those beginning to surround him can help him connect the dots on more issues. Hillary is wrong on 100 percent of the issues.”

This is true, but incomplete. He is 75% right on the issues, today. He did not hold many of these views even two years ago. He was pro-partial birth abortion (he donated to Planned Parenthood and says they do good work for women), He was anti-second Amendment, He donated to Democrats, he has called for universal healthcare (to the left of Obama by the way), he has stated he wants to hold newspapers “accountable,” etc..

So, you must decide which Donald Trump is for real Pastor Garlow.

Point #7: “This next issue might be one of the most important, but I suspect few will understand its significance. Trump opposes globalism. Hillary thrives on it. Globalism is far more than “geographical” or “eliminating national borders and boundaries.” It is spiritual and demonic at its core. Few—very few—understand this. This is quite likely one of the main reasons why Trump is hated. Do your homework on this one. Think “principalities and powers.” Serious. Extremely serious.”

First off, I definitely understand this point, but I do not know if Pastor Garlow does. I have studied progressivism in depth and their wanting to control the U.S. since Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt. This is a Trump talking point that very few have been able to define. I don’t understand why he is so vague on what globalism is, especially if he wants people to understand.

So what is globalism? Globalism is the push by progressives to move the whole world to be controlled by one body or as close as possible. This is a very rough definition, but the concept is solid. Globalists want U.N. or E.U. style governance for the whole world, especially the U.S.

Where many Trump people get the term wrong is they believe globalism pertains to trade with other nations. I’m not sure which one Pastor Garlow aligns with, but his vagueness is not a good sign.

No, it is not one of the main reasons Trump is hated. Trump has defined globalism as trade or “unfair” trade with other countries. In essence, any free-trader is a globalist by default. This is a stupid and economically ignorant position of most Trump supporters and I hope this is not Pastor Garlow’s view.

Point #8: “Not voting is not a viable option, contrary to what the “purists” claim. It is not my intention to begin a war of the issue. I know that some radically disagree with this. My view? They have the right to be wrong.”

I cannot blame Pastor Garlow here, though I believe he is wrong.I used to hold this same view, until I realized my perception was wrong.

I agree that as citizens, it is our duty to vote. However, my vote must be earned as well. We have given our votes so freely always choosing the “lesser of two evils,” that we have conditioned the Parties to give us two evil choices. How far are we willing to continue voting for such candidates before we violate God’s word?  Is it unfeasible to believe that the next election cycle both candidates may be openly pro-abortion? Then what? Do we choose the one that is best on economics or other social issues or is there a line we will not cross?

We have no obligation to vote for a presidential candidate, our job is to vote our conscience. As Christians, it is my opinion that our responsibility is to vote for someone who does not directly violate God’s word and is the closest to it.

Point #9: “Voting for a third party candidate is—regardless of what is said—a complete “throw-away.” No third party candidate will be elected, or even come remotely close to being elected. And yes, that matters to me. And for the record, the Libertarian ticket—Johnson and Weld—is nearly as bad on many issues as Hillary. When I listen to them, I am stunned people of their ability have ever made it to elective office.”

Again, I used to hold this view. I have changed much since then and my understanding has widened to see a bigger picture. First, this completely ignores the electoral college. If a Republican in California votes, it carries little to no weight.

I completely agree with his analysis on Gary Johnson and Weld, they are awful and in some cases worse than Trump. I could not vote for them either.

However, the reason to vote for a third party candidate, if a viable one presented itself, is not to win. It is a protest vote that shows the mood of the country and shows the establishment/politicians how far off they have taken us from the proper course.

Can you imagine if Johnson got 30% of the vote (impossible, I know) and Hillary and Trump got a slightly higher percentage? Even if Hillary or Trump won, it would be a repudiation of them and of their policies. They would not have a mandate or ability to claim one, thus crippling them politically.

Point #10: “Trump has moved pro-life. Hillary is pro-baby killing, and prides herself on that, and honors the organization—Planned Parenthood—that actually traffics human parts from dead babies whom they have killed. This is below anything we have seen since Nazi Germany. The gall of Hillary! The Clintons have evaded justice for decades and likely will continue to. But they will someday stand before the Great White Throne. They will have to give account of their support of the ripping babies to shreds in the womb. For the record, those who vote for those who support the genocide of pre-borns will also have to give an account.”

Yes and no. He has changed his position during the last three years. If he were running as a Democrat, no Republican would believe him.

Also, he donated to Planned Parenthood. Don’t give me that “he is a businessman” baloney. There is no good business reason to give to an organization that murders innocent children if you are anti-abortion. Sorry.

Yes, Hillary honors Planned Parenthood, so has Trump. Everyone knows she has ties to them and admires Margaret Sanger. However, Trump also has had much praise for them before he ran for President. Why should he get the benefit of the doubt? It seems like a political calculation and less of a change of heart. Again, the burden of proof is on Trump, not me.

I believe Pastor Garlow was not honest here and overlooked a lot of Trump’s past with abortion and Planned Parenthood.

Point # 11: “Trump wants to defend the nation (which is the purpose of government). Hillary has a horrific track record as Secretary of State, and due to hundreds of millions of dollars given to her and her husband’s foundation, she is beholden to those who want us dead.”

Agreed. Nothing to debate here.

Point #12: “Hillary claims “everything is fine” in America. This defies every single fact, but facts have never been an interest of Hillary’s. Trump understands that it is 11:59 p.m. on the “cultural clock.” America is near the end—morally, economically, militarily and, sadly, spiritually. There are very clear identifiable indicators—measurable ones—that America is no longer the world’s leading power. That day is over. Hillary will hasten the final destruction. Trump could either slow that down—or possibly, with God’s help—reverse it. Maybe.”

I agree here with Pastor Garlow’s analysis of Hillary, but I disagree with his analysis of Trump. Just because Trump says something, does not mean he understands it.

For example, a few years ago he claimed Obama was a great president and called Hillary Clinton a successful Secretary of State. He may see some of the things wrong in America and has people around him that identify the rest. This may be a good thing, but that does not mean that he really understands the urgency of the matter.

However, we can agree that Hillary believes everything is awesome and that is a troubling sentiment in itself. 

Point #13: “Trump will address the massive government spending. Hillary will expand it above the existing unsustainable debt the U.S. currently is carrying (almost $20 trillion plus unfunded liabilities to Social Security, etc).”

There is absolutely zero evidence for this. None. Why? Because Trump states he will fix our trade deficits with China and Mexico?

This is purely wishful thinking and it is assuming Trump sticks to some of his economic plan. He has changed position so many times on the minimum wage, immigration, abortion, and other issues that there is no telling what he really believes.

If he implements some of the policies he espouses, it would cause a trade war and probably lead us into another recession or God-forbid, depression.

Point# 14:  “Trump will expose—and I pray, bring down—”the systemic evil” (crony, deceitful, misuse of capitalism) that reigns among many high-dollar lobbyists. Hillary thrives because of them.”

Yea, sure he will. He has used this system his whole life to make his billions. He is not going to tear it down, sorry to break it to you Pastor Garlow. He is a corporatist and crony-capitalist through and through. He is just as bad as most of the Republican Party, just more liberal and brash.

Point #15: “Trump will stop the massive overreach of government. Hillary will extend it.”

Based on what? What is your evidence? If Bush didn’t do it and he was far more conservative than Trump, what makes you think Trump will?

He is pro-big government: He has called for universal healthcare, a hike in the minimum wage, tariffs,  broader libel laws against newspapers, “infrastructure” spending (aka stimulus), etc.. How is this different than Hillary?

Point #16: “Freedoms come in “threes.” Political freedom, economic freedom and religious liberty coexist together. Take one away and the other two will eventually disappear. One cannot exist without the other two. The genius of America is that it had all three, until recently. Trump fully grasps the loss of religious liberty. I have heard him speak on it in person on several occasions. He knows that economic and political freedoms are evaporating. He will reverse that. Hillary will decimate all three.”

Just because he pays lip service does not mean he understands the problem. Where has he been during the North Carolina debate on transgender bathrooms? The governor has remained strong despite all of the opposition and Trump threw him under the bus.Where has he been in regards to the boycott on Target? Nowhere to be found. He openly stated Bruce (aka Caitlyn) Jenner could use the womans bathroom at Trump Tower. Again, stating little platitudes about religious freedom does not mean he gets it. He is being a politician and politically correct I might add as well.

At best, he acknowledges some problem. At worst, he is being a full-blown politician and Christians are too stupid to see it.

Point #17: “Every rational person knows the Supreme Court appointments are paramount. Trump has listed 11 superb potential nominees. Hillary’s appointments would snuff out the tiny vestige of the three freedoms that are left (mentioned in the statement above).”

Yes, the Supreme Court is vitally important. I have written extensively about it.

Trump’s list was great, but he flip-flopped on that too that same week. No one knows what he will do or even  if he is willing to expend precious political capital to win that fight, instead on focusing on his “sexier” issues such as trade and immigration. Do you think he will have enough political capital to build a wall and place an originalist on the Supreme Court? No way, sorry not gonna happen.

Point #18: “I make no excuse for wrongdoing or wrongful, hurtful words from either candidate. Candidly, I want King Jesus. He rules in my heart. And yours too, I suspect. And I want Him to rule here—now. But that day is not fully manifested—yet. In the meantime, we prayerfully, carefully navigate this challenging election season, with great concern that above all, we honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in every arena of our lives, including the voting booth. That is my hope. I believe it is yours as well.”

100% in agreement. I could not agree with him more and wish Pastor Garlow the best of luck with one last piece of advice. I have seen many people whom I greatly admire back Trump only to have to violate every principle they have ever held in order to carry water for the man and defend him. Please, do not allow yourself to be enticed by the fear of this election only to get into bed with a man that ends up not being what you hoped and forever ruining your reputation and leading you away from the Scriptures. 

In conclusion, Trump has some very troubling past views and deeds that Christians should not ignore or justify. If we are going to call out Hillary, we need to do the same for our side, even more so. “By their deeds you shall know them.”

Integrity is key and I will not lose it for any man, God help me.

 God bless you, Pastor.

YHC

Link to article:

http://www.charismanews.com/politics/opinion/59206-if-you-re-on-the-fence-about-your-vote-this-pastor-clarifies-how-the-very-future-of-america-is-at-stake

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