The lesser of two evils
We are often faced with situations where we must choose between good and evil. In such situations it is easy for us to know what choice we must make even though it is often hard to actually make that choice. But there are times when we must choose between two alternatives which are both evil. We often encounter this kind of choice in elections. We must choose between two candidates, both of whom are evil. The usual solution is to choose the lesser of the two evils.
Citizens of the United States are facing such a choice in our current presidential election. From a Christian point of view neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump would be a good President. Some Christians reject the idea of voting for the lesser of the two evils because even the lesser evil is still evil. That means we should not vote for either Clinton or Trump. At one time a accepted this view and even made a post supporting it. I had made up my mind not to vote for either Clinton or Trump, but to vote for a third party candidate or write in the name of a candidate. I have changed my mind because I realized that even God sometimes brings an evil ruler to power to supplant someone who is even more evil. What right do I have to maintain a higher standard than the one God himself follows?
Solomon began his reign well, acting in obedience to God. However he took many wives from the nations around him and under their influence he began to serve their gods. Because of this God took ten of the tribes from his son and made Jeroboam their ruler.
When Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had dressed himself in a new garment, and the two of them were alone in the open country. Then Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes (but he shall have one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and they have not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my rules, as David his father did.”
1 Kings 11:29-33
Chapter 12 of 1 Kings tells how this prophecy was fulfilled. Jeroboam should have been grateful to God and served him faithfully but he didn’t do this.
Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.”
So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”
And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Then this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one.
1 Kings 12:26-30
Jeroboam was evil but God made him king because he was less evil that Solomon.
A later king of Israel, Ahab, married the daughter of the king of Sidon and introduced the worship of Baal into Israel. This led to the well known confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal found in 1 kings 18. In spite of Elijah’s victory some of the Israelites continued to serve Baal and so God raised up Jehu to destroy Ahab’s descendants and rule in his place.
Then Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him, “Tie up your garments, and take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead. And when you arrive, look there for Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. And go in and have him rise from among his fellows, and lead him to an inner chamber. Then take the flask of oil and pour it on his head and say, ‘Thus says the LORD, I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee; do not linger.”
2 Kings 9:1-3
Jehu was victorious but like Jeroboam before him he failed to honor God and serve him.
Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin—that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan. And the LORD said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.”
But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.
2 Kings 10:28-31
It seems clear to me that Christians shouldn’t sit out the election but should vote for the lesser evil. Of course the first thing we need to determine is which one is the lesser evil. Since Trump has no record of public service it isn’t easy to determine just what he would do if elected.
There is one issue on which it is clear that Trump would make a better President than Clinton and that is abortion. Clinton has always supported the right of women to abort their babies and has said that she will appoint Federal judges that agree with her on this issue. Here is a news report on Trump’s view of abortion.
Likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is winning praise from pro-life advocates for hiring a top pro-life advocate as a key domestic policy advisory. The presumptive GOP nominee hired long-time conservative congressional aide John Mashburn as his policy director.
Mashburn is pro-life and has worked for pro-life lawmakers including the late Sen. Jesse Helms, former Senate Republican leader Trent Lott and current North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis. As the Washington Examiner reports, pro-life groups see the move as Trump making serious overtures to pro-life voters and hail it as Trump indicating he will govern in a pro-life manner if elected president.
Unless something happens between now and the election to change my mind I intend to vote for Trump. But while Christians should exercise their right to vote, it is even more important that they pray for their leaders and for those who are candidates for leadership. God can override the intentions of a bad leader and cause him to act in ways that are good.
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD;
he turns it wherever he will.
Perhaps if we were more faithful in praying for our leaders we wouldn’t be as likely to face the choice of having to choose between two bad candidates.