Roy Exum: Trump & The J-Word

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

There have been a bunch of times in my half-century as a writer when people – especially other writers – have called me out for being different. That in itself isn’t a bad thing (I rather like it), but Alf Van Hoose, the legendary sports editor, told me once in a crowd, “You are a rarity … you’ll put the word ‘Jesus’ in a paragraph, and I appreciate that.” But it’s true - the scariest word in journalism is the J-word. There are some newsrooms where an editor will call you in for it, this long before ‘political correctness.’ To some other writers it is a signal that you are weak. Today’s liberal media would never use it other than a curse word.

Whatever. I aspire to be a Christian and if the J-word is offensive, then there is a “delete key” in the upper right on your keyboard … and have a nice day. During my Morning Reading I came across a great article written by Bill Johnson, the Senior Leader (preacher) at the Bethel Church in Redding, Calif., who had quite an observation: “I’ve never seen a president who loved prayer as much as Donald Trump - and that includes from those I voted for and those I didn’t. His passion for Godly counsel is also legendary. His historic actions for Israel should appeal to believers, as the biblical mandate to pray supportively for Jerusalem is a clear priority in scripture.”

Wow! Look at this excerpt that just appeared in The Christian Post.

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[NOTE: This is part of a story that appeared on on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. It was written as an op-ed by Bill Johnson.]

In 2020, we find ourselves in another election year where the media narrative and rhetoric seem eerily similar to 2016, except more toxic. We are told that President Trump is a “racist, misogynist, and xenophobe.” Partial or out-of-context sound bites are thrown around as evidence of these claims. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, the facts show that the policies and actions of the President do not fit the characteristics of what those labels imply …

It sometimes takes a lot of work to find the truth in the midst of a deceptive platform like the evening news. Personally, I place more weight on the words of those who have a personal relationship with someone than a portrayal by those with a political agenda.

After four years of serving as President of the United States, we have learned more about President Trump as a politician (although I think “businessman” is still a more appropriate description as he continues to break the mold of what it typically means to be a “politician”).

Many politicians tell you what they think you want to hear, and then implement policies that serve their personal interest or the interests of those in their inner circles. President Trump seems to tell it how it is (bluntly or rashly), laying the situation out on the table, working with people to find solutions, and reporting back what has been accomplished.

To the surprise of many, at the end of his first term in his first elected office, he has undeniably accomplished — or attempted to accomplish — a majority of his main campaign promises. It is an honorable character trait of any elected official to follow through on their commitments. As I compare these accomplishments with the nearly half-century voting record of Joe Biden, it is with confidence and a clear conscience that I will be voting for a second term for Donald Trump on November 3, 2020.

For those who are perplexed at how a New York businessman; with a checkered past can be seen as a moral choice as the top executive of the country, I recommend reading Professor Wayne Grudem’s article “30 Good Things President Trump Has Done for America,” and his older, 2016 article, “If You Don’t Like Either Candidate, Then Vote for Trump’s Policies.”

Dr. Grudem’s writing is a thoughtful approach to making a moral choice with biblical values in mind, and his excellent articulation on why voting for a write-in or third party candidate is effectively the same as abstaining from voting given the current political landscape.

I realize there are Christians who find themselves on every part of the political spectrum, and I champion diversity of thought. My heart is not, nor has ever been, to judge or shame anyone based on the candidate they vote for. Neither is it my goal to coerce or tell people to vote for who I vote for.

However, as a leader, I do believe it is important for all Christians to thoughtfully and prayerfully engage in the civic opportunity we are afforded as citizens of this country to use our voice for good.

We can use our voice to vote for local school board members who serve as gatekeepers of the curriculum being taught to our children. We can vote for fair and honest public servants who uphold justice without partiality, whether it be a County Sheriff, District Attorney, or Judge. We can vote for principled legislators who represent our values when writing, debating, and voting on laws for our state and nation. We can vote for the president who advocates for the policies that most align with our vision for this country.

When considering who or what to vote for, we each make choices based on a combination of our personal views on policies, the personality and character of the candidate, and our tradition or upbringing. Each of these value systems must be influenced by our prayer life with the Lord, and we must remain open to change.

Which value is He emphasizing for a particular moment in time? Pay attention to His voice as you seek truth and research the candidates and issues at hand. An act of obedience — even in something as simple as filling out a ballot — is a way that God moves through His people bringing the principles and values of heaven to this earth.

We are called to be salt and light in this world — to bring flavor and a voice of truth to culture. Praying on the sidelines, waiting for a change while watching others use their voices to shape culture does not fulfill that call. Don’t get me wrong, prayer is vital to shaping culture; and we should all be praying for our cities, states, and nations as well as praying for leaders — yes, even those with whom we may not agree.

But just as faith without works is dead, prayer without action is incomplete. There are people who moan and groan — calling it intercession — but do nothing outside of those prayers to make a difference in their own culture.

Tragically, for many believers, the downhill slide of society is a fulfillment of their view of the end times. They have more faith in the return of Christ than they do in the power of the gospel. Both are beyond wonderful, but I have a responsibility to bring about change through a life lived in obedience to Jesus.

We are here to love, serve, and display the power of God, defeating the powers of darkness that rule over peoples’ lives. That is our assignment. We must not give in to the trend of a moral decline in society, and then call it a sign of the times. It’s a sign of our neglected responsibilities. This is our hour!

- - -

My previous article on this topic ended with a similar statement and prayer. As this still applies today, I find it worth repeating:

All elections are tough, and there are very legitimate reasons for voting for or against any given candidate. Unfortunately, neither Billy Graham nor Mother Theresa are running for office. That leaves us with the responsibility to do our best with what we have.

I mention this only because there are so many who drag President Trump’s past into the election. I actually believe he is the only one who isn’t owned by either party and is fully capable through courage and boldness to bring about the changes needed.

Doing my best is exactly what I will do. I will trust the Lord to work through the outcome. At the same time, I realize that many people I care for don't see it that way at all. Regardless, my love for God and people remains the same. This is my number one priority.  As I did for Clinton, Bush, and Obama, I pray for protection for President Trump and his family, that he would have great wisdom for his near impossible assignment, and that he would always listen to Godly counsel.

I pray that (Trump) would increase in favor with God and man. I pray for those who are in fear or uncertainty leading up to this election, that God Himself would give them peace and a hope filled promise. And, finally, I pray that each of us would have a life of realizing the fulfillment of dreams, with great health and blessing in every area of life.

-- Bill Johnson, Bethel Church, Redding, Calif.

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Let me tell you another truth about the J-word. Behind it is a mighty army indeed, made up of millions who love and worship the Lord. Christians will vote overwhelmingly for President Trump, for the United States as ‘One Nation under God’, and will pray without ceasing through next Tuesday that other Americans – no matter of faith, creed, origin, race, or any other stripe – will join them. Believe this, be you a saint or a sinner: The J-word could win the election.

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