The Bible and the Ballot: Evangelicals weigh in on the two main presidential candidates


Imogené Wofford, Entertainment Editor

This election year we have two clowns running the most important race that can be ran – the race to be the president of the United States. These two candidates are raising moral, controversial questions that have people of faith concerned with who they should vote for.

“The evangelicals that have talked to me tell me that they are confused,” Joe Schmidt, director of the Baptist Student Ministry, said. “I think the majority of the evangelicals are probably supporting Trump because evangelicals have traditionally been anti-abortion and they’re not pro same-sex marriage, and the Democratic platform is clearly both of those.

“Those are two hot button topics for most evangelicals; and so most evangelicals, I think, are leaning more towards Trump,” Schmidt continued. “But, I also know that there are many evangelicals that are not going to vote for Trump because they see him as being unchristlike in his words and actions. He seems very anti-women and not very sympathetic towards immigrants—it’s not that they’re anti-immigrant, but they’re anti-illegal immigration and that targets worry sometimes.

“But, there are a lot of evangelicals that feel that we’re supposed to reach out to the world [and do good] and that would include immigrants, so there’s not a consensus; I don’t think among evangelicals about that issue,” Schmidt said. “It seems like there’s not a strong consensus among evangelicals about either of the two main candidates because they both have things that most evangelicals are against.”

It’s a battle of choosing the worse of the two evils with Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton and her email drama, or Republican Nominee Donald Trump with his objectifying women hullabaloo.

“I’ve heard more talk among evangelicals about voting third party than I’ve ever heard before; so that’s why I say confusion would be the one word description of where evangelicals are at in this election,” he said.

Evangelicals are those who believe that people need to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that Jesus is supposed to be the one in control of their life, and that this is worked out through a personal relationship and a daily walk, or action, with God.

“Probably, the biggest reason I think evangelicals will end up leaning towards Trump is looking at the Supreme Court nominees that are likely to happen in the next four years; and realizing that the democratic platform is for revisionist judges on the Supreme Court, or activist judges who believe that it’s okay for the courts to legislate and enact things by judicial decrees, as opposed to strict constitutionalist judges. I think that one issue, more than anything else, will cause the evangelicals—who do vote for Trump—to vote for Trump,” he said.

Christians that don’t identify themselves as evangelical are more sacramental. They believe that salvation is found through membership at the church and observing the sacraments. They place most of their emphasis on living a God honoring life, showing people God’s love through their actions, and hoping that through that people see that the need to be a member of the church.

“As a pastor and a person of faith, I believe that everyone is created in the image of God, that everyone is a sacred child of God, and that God created Adam and Eve to be equal partners; so women are just as important as males, there’s no discrimination—according to how I understand—the word of God. Everyone should be treated as equal creations of God because we’re all his children; so any language or actions that degrade someone based on gender or any classification, I think is totally against the will of God,” Rev. Brian Dierolf, associate pastor at First United Methodist Church-Commerce and campus minister at the Wesleyan, said.

Rev. Dierolf cannot advocate who to vote for, or who not to vote for.

“As a campus pastor, I strongly encourage students to vote and I strongly encourage them to have their faith and beliefs to influence who the vote for,” he said. “I don’t label myself as an evangelical. There are some United Methodists who would, but I don’t think I fit that category. I’m evangelistic but evangelical usually means more conservative theologically, and I’m very progressive theologically.

“I think it is our responsibility as citizens to have an informed vote and to educate ourselves as to where all the candidates, not just the two major part candidates, fall on issues that are important to us, especially issues that relate to our faith,” Dierolf said. “I would encourage all people of faith, not just Christians, to study their own faith tradition and their core values, and find a candidate who best represents those—not just what a candidate may say, but the history of the candidates and how they have stood for things in the past, and what they’re saying are their hopes for the future.

“It’s important to be educated on the Libertarian and the Green party as well, whereas most of the media attention is on the Republican and Democratic party; there are other options,” Dierolf continued. “If faith is really important to you when voting for candidates, [you] should really research the different candidates and how much they do that in their own lives, and how it’s lived out,” Rev. Dierolf said.

“I think both of the candidates are really crappy, it’s just a matter of praying for whoever gets in office,” Kerry Wilson, student and opinion editor for The East Texan said, because whoever does get in office will need prayer to lead this country and to interact with other countries for the benefit of our country.

“They aren’t the best candidates but we have to work with what we have,” Wilson said. “Also, there are two other candidates that I just recently found out about, and I don’t know anything about them; so I feel like I need to do my research on them, and find out what their values, morals and beliefs are.

“I don’t like certain things that Hillary has done, and I definitely don’t like the things Donald Trump has done; so I’m not going to say one is worse than the other, they’re both crappy and they both suck.”

Wilson concluded with, “We just have to pray because God is ultimately in control, we can say someone is over us and running us, but God is ultimately in control of everything.”