Curt Smith: We are not electing a pastor, but a president

Curt SmithIn this political season, I’m frequently asked how I justify supporting President Donald Trump given my Christian commitments and devotion to civil public discourse. My answer is simple, though not all are satisfied with it: Trump is far from my ideal for a president, but he is right for the job. He is right on policy. He is right on personnel. He is right on the politics of our troubled times.

We elect presidents for several major reasons, and enacting policies that keep our nation safe, free and prosperous is at the top of the list. The president has and is doing this with a stronger military, energy independence, an all-government response to COVID, lower taxes, less regulation and vigorous support for religious liberty.

His economic record is especially impressive as we come out of this pandemic and work to jump-start economic growth.

The people Trump has brought into the government are impressive, too. Beginning with Mike Pence and Dan Coats and then adding three justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, who alone will shift the court back to its original job of interpreting laws as passed.

Just isolating on the courts, Trump’s faithfulness to nominate conservative, traditional candidates for the federal bench is a remarkable promise made and kept that will lessen culture-war tensions and restore respect for and adherence to the rule of law for a generation or more.

He has kept faith with the social conservatives on this key concern of rolling back abortion and strengthening religious liberty, appointing nearly a quarter of the approximately 800 active federal judges. Many of his appointees are appellate judges, the real workhorses of our national system. His recent nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court is his third, and her confirmation will cement a conservative majority on the highest court.

But often overlooked by Trump’s critics and supporters alike is that Trump is a fighter. Yes, he’s loud, coarse and sometimes crass. Trump reflects our broken politics. He is not the cause. Some will say I give him a pass on dishonesty or coarse language and behavior. I see those as the outcome of what has been happening in politics for many decades.

We have neither the time nor space here to review the past 50 years of political and presidential failures. But think Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Watergate, malaise, Monica Lewinsky, failed intelligence, Iran-Contra and, “You can keep your doctor.”

Suffice it to say America is a big, loud, unhappy family right now. Trump embodies that angst, but he is neither its cause nor its savior.

We are not electing a pastor in November, but a president. Yes, the presidency was once an example of moral authority. That has not been true of several recent inhabitants of the Oval Office. But neither do we often see such moral examples from Hollywood, Wall Street, the media, Congress or the courts.

The most important square yard of real estate in American politics is not in the Oval Office, nor the well of Congress where bills are introduced and debated, nor the chief justice’s chair in the Supreme Court where opinions are handed down.

No, the most important square yard in American politics is where the pastor, the priest, the rabbi or the imam stand to remind us we are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who cares for us and wants the best for us. That’s why we follow the Ten Commandments as a culture and a country. They guide us as we govern ourselves. It’s not because we believe our president is the embodiment of those virtues and behaviors. At least not anymore.•

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Smith is chairman of the Indiana Family Institute and author of “Deicide: Why Eliminating The Deity is Destroying America.” Send comments to ibjedit@ibj.com.


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8 thoughts on “Curt Smith: We are not electing a pastor, but a president

    1. Call it what it is – it’s a business deal. You give us our judges, we will look away and “both-sides” away everything else.

      When evangelical churches close up over the next generation thanks to the youth who have cleared out due to the hypocrisy of their elders, they’ll look back and realize it was a mistake to enter the political realm. If the only hope for Christian beliefs and morals is the American justice system, the church is lost.

  1. You forgot to mention his blatant racism and embracing of white supremacy. Is that a perk of having Donald Trump as president, or just one of those pesky things we should ignore as long as you get enough federal judges in return?

  2. So what you believe negates all the hate, the racism, the bigotry, the nepotism, the misogynistic behavior and the over 20,000 lies? I could go on, much further but with you it would be a waste of time.

    1. Yes it would, Mark; you’d be wasting your time. You believe everything the mainstream media puts out about Trump as they do the bidding of world globalists headed by George Soros, their ole mission being to take down America. Too bad your blinders are so heavy you can’t set them aside and see what’s going on before casting your vote against America by voting for “Joe and the Ho.”

    2. Sure beats the misinformation you’re consuming. Hope you’re enjoying getting played for tax cuts for the super-wealthy. “Saving America”, indeed.

      Trump has done more to harm America in 4 years than Putin could have ever hoped. But, hey, the Taliban are rooting for Trump to win!

  3. At the top of the list for electing presidents is keeping “our nation safe, free, and prosperous”. Let’s look at how the president is done. In terms of keeping us safe, we’ve had more deaths from COVID in Indiana (3500+) than all the people who died on 9/11. As far as keeping us prosperous, In Indiana, there are 40,000 fewer people working than when the president took office. And for freedom, we can’t even safely send our kids to school, get on an airplane, or do any number of other things that freedom brings. I agree that safety, freedom, and prosperity are what a president should ensure, and this one has failed miserably.

  4. Finally, an article that is honest about Trumps many accomplishments in a secular newspaper. I agree Trump is a jerk and every time he opens his mouth he confirms that. But I honestly believe, he is one of the few politicians who actually care about America.

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