Robbie George calls for charity among conservatives currently divided

Dr. Robbie George of Princeton University is regarded by many as the leading intellectual of conservatism. In a Facebook post today, he calls for charity among conservatives who are currently divided over how to vote in the 2016 presidential election. George writes:

Lincoln famously said: “With malice towards none, with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.”

Friends, we are in a terrible fix here. And it is putting some of us at each other’s throats. it must not be permitted to do that. Donald Trump is dreadful. Hillary Clinton is horrible. One called for the killing of the innocent family members of terrorists. The other promises to protect the killing of unborn babies up to the point of birth. One shamefully denies that John McCain is a war hero. The other shamelessly lies to grieving families about the circumstances of their loved ones’ murders in Benghazi. Neither of the two is fit to be president. Either would be a disaster.

Faced with this appalling choice, some good people find it obvious that Donald Trump, vile though he may be, is the lesser evil. Others find it no less obvious that Hillary Clinton, odious as she is, is the lesser evil. For some of us, it just isn’t obvious which of these two scoundrels would do greater harm in the long run. But this is where charity is required. There is no point in getting angry at people for whom what is obvious to oneself in these appalling circumstances is not obvious. Every single one of us needs to do his or her best to think this thing through carefully and then follow the dictates of conscience, acknowledging and appreciating the fact that conscience might lead other reasonable people of goodwill to a different conclusion.

Whatever happens, whichever of these people is elected, those of us who believe in limited government, constitutional fidelity and the Rule of law, flourishing institutions of civil society, traditional principles of morality, and the like are going to have profoundly important work to do. And we will need to do it together. Let us not break the cords that bind us together in friendship and conviction.

Hear, hear. And I would add that many of us evangelical Christians would do well to hear George’s call for charity. Perhaps there are some “evangelicals” who have defended or minimized the character flaws of the GOP nominee. I think that is inexcusable. But that certainly is not the attitude of every evangelical who may be deciding to cast a reluctant, regretful vote for the GOP nominee. Many of them are simply trying to do “damage control” in light of two bad alternatives. I disagree with that, but I understand that.

I have many friends and loved ones who are going to cast a mournful vote for the GOP nominee. They care about the unborn and religious liberty just as much as I do. They have no illusions about what the GOP nominee is. They do not wish to endorse his character, and they aren’t making a public discrediting defense of the indefensible. They too are dismayed about the alternatives before them. But they are making a prudential judgment about the best way to do damage control with their vote. As I said, I disagree with them, but I understand and respect them.

I also wish them to know that the last thing I want is to be divided from them on the other side of this election. The GOP nominee has presided over the most divisive campaign I have ever seen. If he somehow were to achieve a lasting division among Christians who should otherwise be together, his rout would indeed be complete. I for one have no interest in letting him achieve that.

5 Responses to Robbie George calls for charity among conservatives currently divided

  1. Cindy Young October 20, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Dear Denny, I honestly cannot vote for either candidate. I usually vote. I will certainly be contemplating this post as I try to make myself vote this year.hopelessly lost this election.

    • Lynn Burgess October 27, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

      Cindy: Please vote even if you do not vote for president. The down ballot elections are hugely important at the national, state, and local levels.

  2. Judd Rumley October 20, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

    Thanks Denny!

  3. Ian Shaw October 21, 2016 at 10:02 am #

    I guess my real issue is with Christians using the lesser of two evils thinking in deciding to vote for Trump.

    Good piece I caught the other day-
    “I wonder whether Christians have any business resorting to lesser evil calculations. Would God authorize us to choose evil at all? Those without hope have been conditioned to think that a life without a vote is hardly worth living. But are Christians so obligated to participate in national elections that we must do so even if we believe that both viable candidates represent evil in one form or another?”

    “Scripture takes a fairly strong stance against evil. Jesus, Peter and Paul make clear that God is against and will condemn those who do evil. Paul goes so far as to consider it slander to accuse someone of doing evil that good may come of it (Rom 3:8). Since Christ died to set us free from this present evil age, we must abstain from all evil and may not use our freedom as a cloak for doing evil.

    The New Testament witness is clear that God’s people should have nothing to do with evil. Though they are willing to suffer from the evil of others, Jesus and His followers never chose evil for the sake of the common good — not even for the Gospel”

    Just food for thought.

  4. Christiane Smith October 21, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

    there is the idea out there that Trump will take his hard-core supporters and they will form the base of those who will support a new media outlet that he designs and rules over, possibly a radio outlet or a Trump tv channel

    it’s all talk …. but if it were to happen, I can see the divisions among Republicans continuing and possibly growing more pronounced

    The forces that drove so many into the Trump camp are still out there: the discontent, the fear, the hatred for government control, the harboring of old prejudices filled with anger . . . . those forces will not ‘fade away’, no

    They found voice within a party that never really accepted their leader. How will they now re-emerge to fight another day? In what form? And to what end?

    I wish healing for the Republican Party, but I don’t recognize it anymore as the same party it was even thirty years ago, when it provided a balance to another great party so that the two parties offered choices to the people and also worked together for the good of the country, when possible.

    What form will the emerging Republican Party take? I hope for something that works FOR the sake of our country and for a decency and honorable platform that contributes to and helps build a strong two-party system.

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