I was among a group of hundreds of Christian leaders asked to attend a private event in New York City Tuesday billed as a “Conversation with Donald Trump.” I’m glad I did.
It’s no secret that I enthusiastically endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz during the primary campaign and have been an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump’s. While I maintain many of my original reservations, after Tuesday’s meeting, and as I told CBN News in an interview immediately following the event, I can now count myself among other Christian leaders in attendance who have moved from the “Never Trump” camp, to the “Maybe Trump” category.
For better or worse, this election has come down to two people: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Anyone who thinks that some third-party candidate or parliamentary shenanigans at the GOP Convention in Cleveland will change this reality are fooling themselves. Either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.
I believe that if Hillary Clinton is elected, America is done, the U.S. Constitution is toast, and she will finish what Obama began – the “fundamental transformation” of America into a godless, neo-Marxist Third World banana republic. We’ve had decades of the Clintons to establish beyond any reasonable doubt that this woman is not only the most corrupt elitist to ever seek the presidency, she’s an evil ideologue hell-bent on the abolition of individual liberties and religious freedom. While Great Britain just voted to reclaim its national sovereignty, a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to completely relinquish our own.
Which leaves us Donald Trump.
While in many ways Mr. Trump remains a wild card and though I do remain skeptical, I saw a different side to him during Tuesday’s meeting. I appreciated, for instance, that he displayed a level of genuine humility, I believe, and a sincere willingness to listen and understand both our concerns about him and his past, as well as our concerns about America’s future.
Mr. Trump was clearly out of his comfort zone, the business world, yet had the mettle to answer tough questions in a room with nearly 1,000 highly dubious evangelical and Catholic leaders. The vast majority of his answers, if he honors the promises made, were extremely encouraging.
He pledged, for instance, to always appoint strict constructionist, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-religious liberty judges and justices, and further promised to do away with the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which, as most credible legal scholars agree, unconstitutionally muzzles pastors from the pulpit on issues relating to politics and political candidates. “I will tell you, folks, I watched fear in the hearts of brave, incredible people,” he said of pastors he’s met with on the issue.
Furthermore, Mr. Trump gave the strongest indication yet that he intends to be an unwavering ally to Israel. “Obama has forsaken Israel in favor of Iran,” he said to thunderous applause. “I can’t imagine that Bibi [Netanyahu] likes Obama so much,” he added, noting that Obama “gave [nuclear weapons] to Iran, which is now a major power.”
Still, while I appreciated his tone and willingness to leave his element to meet with many who, like myself, have been vocal critics, I yet remain concerned that Mr. Trump clearly was not comfortable giving a direct answer on questions concerning the radical LGBT agenda. He did say he will appoint staunchly conservative, strict constructionist judges and justices, which was encouraging, but clearly dodged questions on whether, as president, he will exercise his own legal authority to protect our wives and daughters from men in bathrooms and showers, as well as whether he will ensure that Christians are not forced to violate their conscience and participate in homosexual “marriage” rituals against their will.
His roundabout reaction to these questions was to punt to the Supreme Court, which tells me he still needs education on the false notion of judicial supremacy and can gain a better grasp on the separation of powers. “On [‘LGBT’ activism vs. religious liberty] judges are going to decide,” he said. “If they’re my [conservative] judges, you know how they’ll decide.”
On the Supreme Court, Mr. Trump offered additional good news, saying that he’s looked for guidance from the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, and that these well-respected think tanks have set “the gold standard” on judicial appointments. He noted that they helped him list 11 judges with the judicial temperament we can expect from any of his potential nominees to the high court, adding, “I will name four or five more, too, and soon.”
As to our nation’s desperate need for another great awakening, Trump insisted, “We gotta spiritize this country.”
I and others in attendance wholeheartedly agree. I write about it in my new book, “Hating Jesus: The American Left’s War on Christianity.” We must humbly seek God’s wisdom in all we do and say, including in how we vote. We must covet the Holy Spirit’s discernment and ask that, as we, a nation founded on His principles and to His glory and Honor, endeavor to elect our next chief executive, that He might direct our paths, and that His will might be done on this earth, as it is in heaven.
As my friend Larry Tomczak, who was also in attendance, noted of our “conversation” with Mr. Trump, “Franklin Graham encouraged us to look at biblical leaders like Abraham, Moses, David and the apostles to recognize all of them had major flaws. ‘None were perfect – only One is perfect, Jesus, and He’s not running for president.’”
I can’t know what God’s doing here.
None of us can.
If he’s planning to use Donald Trump as our next president – as our King Cyrus – then the last thing I want is to stand in His way.
Should you vote for Donald Trump? I don’t have the answer. Pray about it.
That’s what I’m doing.
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is author of “Hating Jesus: The American Left’s War on Christianity,” a columnist, a cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).