4 Christian Arguments for Trump (and why I think they’re wrong)

Let me introduce myself. I am the author of “Seeking First His Kingdom: 61 Days of Worry-free Devotions.” I say this not to claim authority on the Bible (anyone can write a book) but to convince you that God and His Word are my highest priority.

During the primaries, most Christians were united in their lack of support for Donald Trump. Now that Trump is the Republican candidate, I’ve seen many Christians, including pastors, on social media lamenting that they cannot in good conscience vote for him. They are truly agonizing over their decision.

And I’ve seen a few Christians trying to rationalize voting for Trump. I’ve lumped their rationalizations into four categories, which I will attempt to address here.

1. Maybe God Knows We Need a Dirty, Shrewd Businessman Right Now

I really can’t believe that there was a widely shared blog post with this opinion. After decades of claiming that people should vote Republican because the Republican candidate was “more Christian,” you suddenly think that maybe Christianness is not so important after all? Remember all those Old Testament Israelites who had bad things happen to their nation when they started following idols and good things happen when they followed God? They didn’t have bad things happen because they failed to follow a self-proclaimed business tycoon or because they failed to fear the right kind of people. Do not be fooled.

The reason this blog probably gained some ground is because Donald Trump could not come up with a single Bible verse when asked, whereas Hillary, a Methodist, led a Bible study at one point. This is a big problem for people who have long equated Christianity with the Republican party.

2. At Least He’s Better Than Hillary

Of all the accusations against Hillary, only one has been proven true. She used a private server when she wasn’t supposed to. She acknowledged it and apologized. (Have all the other people in Washington who did the same thing apologized, I wonder? Notice that Colin Powell “didn’t remember” telling Hillary to do it and then it turned out that he had?) Things that have not been proven true or indeed been proven false: Clinton Foundation scandals, lying to the FBI, knowingly sending classified information over her private server, causing the Benghazi deaths, participating in unfair actions within the party to beat Sanders, and there are probably a few more I’m forgetting. Please research the claims! Even silly claims like “stealing from the White House” turn out to be similar to what other first ladies including Nancy Reagan have done: thinking gifts were to her personally, moving out with them, and returning them when the White House told her they were not personal gifts (which many things are).

On the other hand, we have a man who loves money, insults POW’s, claims his sacrifices are similar to the sacrifices of parents who lost a child in war, makes fun of people with disabilities, denounces entire ethnicities, objectifies women (my favorite is when he told Brande Roderick on national television that she’d be a pretty picture down on her knees), is probably going to owe a lot of people money for his “university” and contractor fees, and hey, if you’re going to blame Hillary for things that are unproven, why not blame Trump for the rape of a 13-year-old that he’s been accused of? He IS supposedly friends with a registered sex offender whose party he was supposedly at, after all. Looks pretty sketchy. And he did say he’d date his daughter if she weren’t his daughter. I don’t know, I just kind of have a feeling, much as you might have a feeling that Hillary is guilty of the things she hasn’t been proven guilty of. Even without the rape, to suggest that Hillary is somehow a worse candidate than Donald Trump is outrageous. It’s insulting to women and non-whites and veterans and anyone who cares about them. You know who cares about them? Jesus.

3. The Bible Says Women Shouldn’t Be Leaders

There’s a woman named Deborah in the Bible, and there’s an insidious lie about her. I don’t know where it came from or why it persists. Before Israel had kings, it had judges. Of all the judges in the book Judges, only one was a woman. Once when I was debating about women in leadership with a woman from my church who thought that women shouldn’t be in leadership in the church, I brought up Deborah, and my friend said something like, “But she was only a judge because no man could be found to do it.” Here’s what the Bible says about Deborah becoming judge. “Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at the time.” Absolutely no mention of why she was judge.

Was she a good judge? Apparently so. Her people won a battle and “the land was undisturbed for forty years.”

Then there’s the pesky message from Paul in his letter to Timothy. “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man.” It’s one of my least favorite verses, and I have to admit that I enjoy telling myself that God’s calling of Deborah to be judge over Israel outweighs one sentence from one guy who was talking not about a nation, but about church leadership. Also, Paul says “I do not allow.” Well that’s nice for you, Paul. I do.

If you think I am too flippant with Paul’s words, then please skip down a couple verses to where he says that men in leadership in the church should be gentle, uncontentious, respectable, free from the love of money, not double-tongued… Please don’t apply Paul’s letter to Hillary and not to Donald.

And ask yourself, have you ever voted for a woman for senator or governor?

4. Supreme Court Appointments

I can honestly see your point about Supreme Court nominations. Everyone knows their importance. However, I have two problems with voting for Trump based on this alone.

1. Having more liberal justices, while it may have a pretty big effect, will in my opinion pale in comparison to the damage that Trump could do as president.

2. Donald Trump is neither truly conservative nor honest. I am not sure he would come through with conservative nominations.

I love you, brothers and sisters, and I love our country. Please tell me where I am wrong in my four points. I will not respond to comments, but I will read and give them serious thought if they are written with respect. But if you have figured out while reading this that you truly put anti-Democrat agenda above following God, please, for the love of heaven, just admit it.

1 in 5 Women, 1 in 11 Men: My Day at a Rally to End the Statute of Limitations for Rape

1 in 5 women. I kept hearing that statistic about rape, and it seemed like a lot. I would picture five of my female friends and think, “One of them. Probably at least one of them.” For some reason, though, it hit me harder when I multiplied that to apply to my 250 female Facebook friends. 50 (FIFTY!) of my 250 female friends! My Facebook friends are all friends with me in real life, too, and the number made me sick. 1 in 5 is still a 1 in my head, and that’s one too many, but it just didn’t hit me as hard as 50. 50 women I know and love.

The statistics I’ve seen for men range from 1 in 30 to 1 in 11. Whatever the number, it’s too high.

And that is one reason that when my friend helped organize a rally at the Capitol to end the statute of limitations for rape and other sexual assaults in California, I said I’d go. You see, out of my 50 women friends who have, if statistics hold, been raped, I only know of 4 of them, and not a single one of those 4 ever told the police. 2 of them, when they finally told someone, had already missed out on the chance because of the ten year statute of limitations. 1 of them, when she told a family member, was wrongly advised, “That’s not rape.” There are so many reasons that victims don’t come forward for decades. Confusion, fear, shame… (You may be wondering, like I did, what idiot made a statute of limitations for rape, and the reality is that in 1851 all felonies but murder started out with a 3-year statute of limitations, and brave survivors and legislators over the years have slowly increased the time for rape.)

Several days before the rally, my car started making lurching sounds of doom. I ignored it for a while, but in the back of my mind, I worried about a two-hour trip to Sacramento. It sounded like the transmission. A couple days after the sound of doom began, my driver’s side window refused to roll up. “Okay,” I thought, “I’ll try to get it to the shop before my trip and get everything fixed.” Labor Day weekend was coming up. My mechanic didn’t have time until the day of the rally. I could either not go to the rally and take my car in, or I could make an appointment for the day after the rally and hope for the best on Highway 80.

Aside from all this, the two old friends I’d planned to go see after the rally both emailed the day before to say they’d been called in to work. I was supposed to start my period the day of the rally, too, and that always makes me crampy and fatigued. I’ve never liked to travel alone. Where would I park? Would someone see my open window and steal my car?

Maybe you’ll know what I mean when I tell you that I struggled at this point to decide whether all these things were signs from above that I wasn’t supposed to take this trip or whether they were merely hurdles to see how much I was invested in the cause. I don’t know how other moms feel, but after having a child I got really good at saying without any guilt, “Kid’s sick, I can’t go/help/work after all.” It would have been very easy for me to bail, but I didn’t want to, and in hindsight I guess I can say that that was the sign.

It was a very cold trip to Sacramento at 6 AM with my window down. I have to lean my seat back to avoid aggravating a 15-year-old C-section problem (my husband calls me low rider) and with the cold and the fear of breaking down, my neck craned forward tight as a sling shot ready to snap back.

But I didn’t break down, and I found a parking spot on the street only four blocks away, and there was a coffee shop with a restroom right across from the Capitol, which looked really beautiful against the September blue sky. Only about 20 people showed up. I couldn’t help but thinking that even if the rape victims from only Sacramento had showed up, there wouldn’t have been room for everyone on the lawns. I think I was about the only person there who was not a rape survivor. That was a little depressing.

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Before we were even all set up, a policeman approached us. Oh boy, I thought. Good thing we have a permit. He said, “I just wanted to say I support you. My daughters are swimmers and we followed the Brock Turner case. Did you know he just got out?” He was appalled at the short prison time for the Stanford rapist. Lots of the ladies wanted selfies with the policeman. He obliged.

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When we finished marching around chanting things like “SB 8-1-3, that’s what justice means to me” in our matching tee-shirts with the “no” symbol over “Rape Statute of Limitations,” we went into the Capitol building to a press conference with Senator Leyva, the author of SB 813. She had us stand behind her. She spoke, as did two other politicians, attorney Gloria Allred, who represents many of Bill Cosby’s victims, and three rape survivors. The two women survivors have missed their opportunity for justice because SB 813 is not, of course, retroactive. The man, however, was drugged and raped only about two years ago. He’s supporting the cause because he recognizes that in dealing with the emotional burden and coming forward in only a year and a half, he’s done better than most.

Every once in a while, the speaker would gesture to us and call us “these survivors.” I wondered if maybe I wasn’t supposed to have stood back there with everyone else. I also thought how sad it was that it was assumed that only rape survivors would bother to come to this rally, even though that was very close to the truth. I remained standing and considered myself a representative of my 4 friends, and even the other possible 46 (64 counting my men Facebook friends if 1 in 11 is correct).

It was a very hot trip home at 12 noon with my window down. Between the fires and the farming, I had to hold my shirt over my nose for at least an hour. But I had done it. I had done my little part. And now we wait to see if Governor Brown signs the bill. It’s on his desk now. It’s September 11th, 2016, and he has until the 30th. Perhaps it’s not too late for you to give him a call.

Mom’s Homework Advice

Does your kid stress out about homework? I wrote this list for my daughter years ago, and she STILL loves to look at it once in a while. Some kids need a very different kind of list, but if your kid is like mine, print this out and put it by their desk. When you’re frustrated, let the list speak for you.

1. Just turning it in is better than many do.

2. If you are only given a week to do it, it doesn’t have to look like you spent a year on it.

3. You always do a good job.

4. It’s okay if someone’s project looks better than yours. Tell them “Nice job!”

5. The teacher’s goal is for you to learn, not be stressed. Enjoy what you’re learning.

6. Whining doesn’t help. I’ve tried it.

7. God doesn’t check homework for entrance into heaven.

8. I love you no matter what your homework looks like.

9. Don’t say mean things about my friend (YOU!).

 

Review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Spoilers!)

** spoiler alert ** When I heard that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was going to be in script form, I was thinking Shakespeare. I wasn’t expecting novel no-no’s in the stage direction like “There’s a lot of emotion here.” If there’s emotion, it should be obvious from the dialogue.

That said, I liked the storyline, and it was nice to feel like I was back at Hogwarts. I did think the tension between Harry and his son Albus was a bit inauthentic. Would Harry really tell his son “Sometimes I wish you weren’t my son?” I think Harry would have grown up a little more sensitive than that. And Ron was like a caricature of himself. I was also really hoping for a better closure to the story with Cedric’s dad. I’d have liked to see something good happen to him or at least some more meaningful dialogue. Maybe it will seem to have more depth on stage.

I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars, but here I am saying only negative things about it. That’s because the bar is set so high in Potter World, I guess. I loved being back at Hogwarts, I thought Hermione’s character was spot on, and I did feel the urgency of Albus and Scorpius’s adventure. I just missed Rowling’s writing and the usual Potter complexity.

Always Have a Woman Read Your Love Scenes

“What a wimp!”

This is handwritten in the margin of the first and only draft of my first novella. My friend Jeff wrote it next to Cate and Micah’s first kiss. You see, I am a woman, and I thought that Micah’s hesitance was sweet and sensitive. If I had planned on marketing primarily to women, the scene might have sufficed, but if my own sweet and sensitive guy friend Jeff wasn’t going for it, I was in trouble.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve read novels written by men and thought, “THAT scene was supposed to be sexy?” Women who are unsure of themselves at work completely changing their personality on a first date, brazenly baring their breasts; women who aren’t gymnasts performing miraculous stunts; overly specific descriptions of sex with no dialogue or mentions of, I don’t know, thoughts or feelings…

MEN! ALWAYS HAVE A WOMAN CRITIQUE YOUR BOOK BEFORE YOU PUBLISH IT! It goes beyond love scenes. An otherwise great book can be derailed by a bad love scene, or worse, a woman written badly the whole way through a book. Ask a woman friend, “Have you ever known a woman who thought this way? Have you ever known a woman who acted like this?” You risk at least half your potential market if you don’t get it right, not to mention that you want to get it right for the sake of writing life like it really is. Don’t you?

Poor, wimpy Micah is only a pile of papers in my closet now, but if I ever go back to that novel I’ll have to do something about him. It might only be an added sentence or it might be a story-wide overhaul, but Micah is not a wimp, and I won’t have men readers thinking of him as such. It doesn’t do him justice.

Men, how do you see your woman character? Make sure women see her the same.

How Not to Teach English (or comment on social media)

I learned how to sit sullenly at the back of the classroom and glare at the teacher my sophomore year of high school. Through the eighth grade I got straight A’s no problem. I sat in the middle with a reasonably pleasant look on my face. Freshman year I hit a few bumps in the road, but it wasn’t until Mrs. Strange’s* English class the following year that I completely shut down.

You see, my dog died. I wrote a paper about all the things I’d loved about Barney and how much I missed him. Greatest dog ever. Once when I was three or four I escaped from the house and asked Barney if it was okay if I went to the park. He said yes, and off we went! (Mom found us before we got there.) If anyone at church or the mall or the grocery store ever asked if I had siblings, I’d respond, “I have two sisters and a brother. He’s a dog.” One of the things I mentioned in my paper was that whenever I had sleepovers, all the girls would try to get Barney to sleep on their sleeping bag. It was such a vivid and happy memory for me. Girls patting the end of their shiny sleeping bags and calling, “Barney! Barney!”

When I got the paper back, it had little notes along the side, but I only remember one of them. “DOGS AND BEDDING DO NOT MIX.”

Do you think I absorbed any grammar advice she may have mentioned in other places? No. I was furious. At the time I probably thought I was angry because she was insulting my hygiene, but I realize now that it was because she ignored my pain and made a completely unnecessary comment. She could have told me how to use language to better draw readers into my joy and pain (I’m sure I needed help—I still do!) but she chose to make a silly comment that I’m sure she didn’t think would affect me much at all.

But it did. So I sat in the back with a girl named Bonnie from then on. She seemed to hate Mrs. Strange, too. Probably got told that her dream of being an astronaut was unrealistic or something. I never asked. But there we sat, snickering at our formal, old, hag of a teacher and waiting for the year to end.

Looking back, I pity Mrs. Strange. She was raised at a time and place where teaching was probably the only profession she was allowed. And obviously she’d never been allowed to snuggle with a dog. That doesn’t change the fact, however, that English teachers and social media commenters should not be distracted by a sentence that they disagree with but should instead focus on the writer’s feelings. English teachers are there to help use the craft to perfect our own voice.

My first year of college I had the best English teacher I’ve ever had. Professor Schneider didn’t care if a dog or a dozen drunken sailors shared your bed. He cared about words. Language. Expression. Soul. He might hack apart this blog, but he would never overlook the feelings I have about Mrs. Strange and say “kids shouldn’t glare at their teachers.” He would say, “here’s how you can show us more clearly how you felt about her,” without passing judgement on my feelings. I have a feeling that he wouldn’t disagree with me anyway. I have a feeling that he would have been sitting in the back with me and Bonnie.

*Name changed, a little

How to Celebrate Your 20th Anniversary

“Are you getting me a present?” I ask. “Or are the mattress, washer, and desk what we’re doing?”

Unrelated to our anniversary, we’ve taken money out of a small  inheritance to replace some ridiculously old household items. He looks alarmed, so I clarify.

“Because I don’t know what to get you.”

Whew. Neither of us is getting anything for the other. We’ll go for a walk at the beach and he’ll take me to one of my favorite restaurants. And we’ll shop for a washing machine. A long time ago he used to talk about renewing vows, but I’m glad he hasn’t brought that up so that I don’t have to tell him I always associate vow renewal with people who have had affairs and need to re-vow. I meant mine the first time, no offense to vow renewers. Also I’d have to plan a party. Blech.

He shaved off his goatee. He was clean-shaven when I met him, and after my periodic requests for him to shave, he’s done it now for this special occasion in his usual dramatic fashion. There’s my dashing beau! I kept my hair long for him the first 17 or so years. I figure that’s enough.

We’ll probably get each other cards. Usually his say, “Thanks for putting up with me.” Do I act like I’m only putting up with him? Well, sometimes of course, but is that the overall impression? I hope it’s just a cute thing he likes to say. Usually I read into things more than he means. He does the same to me.

He wants to do more for me for our anniversary (in his true dramatic fashion), but I really can’t think of anything else I’d like to do. I like things simple. 20 years ago I wanted to elope in Tahoe, but he insisted that I’d regret not having a wedding. I acquiesced.

Here’s the great thing about a 20th anniversary. We know what we want now. I know now that I wouldn’t have regretted running off to Tahoe. Planning the wedding, although my mom and sisters did most of it, was nothing but a stress for me. Now when he asks if I’m sure that a walk on the beach and dinner at a favorite restaurant is enough, I can say “yes,” and know that I mean it, and he believes me. He knows that I know myself, and he knows that I don’t just say what I think he wants to hear.

What a relief! That’s how to celebrate your 20th anniversary. Know yourself. Accept that your spouse knows their own self, too. Your celebration doesn’t have to be far away or involve a lot of people if you don’t want it to. For our anniversary I’ll tell my husband that I appreciate that he’s a respected teacher and a great dad and a safe driver and a good avocado-picker. (Seriously, he picks perfect ones every time.) We’ll go for a walk on the beach, and at dinner I’ll get either the gluten free fig and pig pizza or gluten free pasta. If he wants to do something else, I trust he’ll tell me.

Once, a confused newlywed asked me for marriage advice. I say confused not because she was confused about her marriage but because she must have been confused about me! She was asking the wrong girl. What gave her the impression that I had any wisdom? Here’s all I know. Don’t have an affair. Don’t consider divorce. Other than that, I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m sure we’re only still together by the grace of God.

So happy anniversary, Sean. I love you, and you’re welcome for putting up with you.