“Values voters” are a key part of President Donald Trump’s political base, though the term is problematic in two ways, at least.
First, it implies that only certain citizens – generally, religious conservatives – vote based on their values. People who value democratic institutions, the rule of law, social justice, economic fairness and the obligation to care for the sick, poor and homeless clearly are inspired to vote by those values. However, they are unlikely to be drawn to Trump, who shows no enthusiasm for such measures of civic morality.
Second, the only value that seems to be absolute for those conventionally designated as values voters is the right to life; in other words, opposition to abortion. All other values appear to be negotiable, given that the candidate they favor does not live by any of the moral and ethical values that are central to Christianity and other faith traditions. Trump’s life has been a deep dive into the Seven Deadly Sins — pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth – and a few more.
Sadly, far too many evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics have been willing to look past Trump’s enormous and dangerous character flaws because he has given them a couple of pro-life Supreme Court justices and lots of empty rhetoric that he doesn’t actually believe. (In fact, according to his disgraced consigliere, Michael Cohen, Trump has a long history of supporting abortion rights.)
There are a growing number of evangelicals who are recognizing the discord between their faith and the truth about Trump. Jerushah Duford, niece of prominent pastor and Trump backer Franklin Graham, says that discord has made her a “homeless evangelical.”
Invoking the commission Christ gave his followers, Duford says, “Ultimately, Christians don’t need a candidate who will protect us, we need a candidate who will protect ‘the least of these.’ If we truly want to be faithful disciples, then we must love our neighbors in everything we do, including voting. That means working to reunite families at the border; stopping the virus that kills our neighbors; protecting the climate, health care, and democracy; and standing up to white supremacy.”
Duford is definitely not voting for Trump.
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