Trump or Carson for President: A Reflection on Religion!

November 9, 2015

There is no religious test for elective office and I would rather have an honest Atheist for President than a dishonest Adventist or Baptist or Methodist or Catholic or Jew! Obviously if I chose presidents by their religious affiliation then I would choose Mike Huckabee since he is a Southern Baptist but he is my third choice. Only later did I discover that Cruz is also a Southern Baptist, member of First Baptist in Houston. At this time, my choice is Cruz, Carson, Huckabee, Trump, etc., and their church membership is a minor matter in supporting them. 

Furthermore, I would have chosen Truman (a Baptist) over Thomas Dewey (an Episcopalian) and Baptist Bill Clinton over Methodist George Bush. However, I preferred Dewey and Bush, both non Baptists. Truman was a cursing Baptist and Clinton was a carousing Baptist and both, in my humble opinion, never had a New Birth experience. Yes, I know it is dangerous to question motives; but I believe that Christians act, talk, and live like Christians with sporadic momentary digressions. Both Truman and Clinton indicted by their lives that they were simply members of Baptist churches.

Today's CBS national poll has Carson leading Trump 26% to 22%!  Donald Trump has been leading the pack until now. Trump might make a good president; at least he gives the Grand Old Progressive establishment nightly heartburn. However, Dr. Ben Carson, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination is leading for the first time. While there is no religious test to be President, it is not smart to elect a candidate without considering his or her religious beliefs. In fact, it is irresponsible not to consider what every candidate believes.

It would be irresponsible not to ask a dedicated Quaker his position on using force in protecting U.S. citizens from terrorists and other enemies.

It would be irresponsible to not ask a Muslim candidate if he accepts the traditional, radical view of the Koran as interpreted by radicals in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, etc.

It would be irresponsible not to ask a Buddhist if he would try to make all of us vegetarians since they refuse to kill anything. They don’t eat meat because they may be eating a dead relative! What impact would a Buddhist have upon our pork, beef, chicken, and turkey industry?

An Orthodox Jew should be asked if he would refuse to work on Saturday in event of a major national problem that threatens America’s safety. Similarity, it is not unreasonable to ask Ben Carson if he has convictions to that extent against working on the Sabbath.

Last week Trump opined that he did not understand why he is losing support among evangelical Christians in Iowa. He toldCNN on Sunday, "I can only speak for myself. I don't like to talk about somebody else's faith. I can say that I'm a Presbyterian. I'm a believer." On Saturday in Jacksonville he said, "I'm Presbyterian. Boy, that's down the middle of the road folks, in all fairness." Trump said. "I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about." I have a problem with Presbyterians and Adventists but a problem I can live with if they meet my other criteria for President.

An evident fact: most of Christianity looked upon Adventists as a cult; however, many Adventists now claim to be mainline Christianity believing in Christ’s substitutionary death and His physical resurrection. Sure, they are way off on some other matters but since I am choosing a President not a pastor, I will live with that.

Trump professes to be a Presbyterian but he’s been reported as having been a Catholic, a member of the Reformed Church of America, and he married his third wife in an Episcopalian church. He admits going to church on Christmas and Easter and some other Sundays. Politically, he registered as a Democrat in 2011.

With his admission to being a Presbyterian, he picks up baggage that he obviously did not consider. The Presbyterian USA was at one time a biblically true group but like all mainline denominations, it fell (or jumped) into the snake pit of unbelief in 1923 when the Presbyterian General Assembly rejected the "Auburn Affirmation." They rejected the veracity of Scripture, the virgin birth, the victorious resurrection, the vicarious atonement and the validity of miracles.

Following this apostasy, the conservative theologians and pastors fled the denomination, as Baptists and Methodists left their groups for the same reason, and formed conservative off-shoots of the parent groups. Those “off-shoots” (original Baptists, Presbyterians, etc.,) are now flourishing while the mainline churches can’t pay their light bill. Since 2011 almost 700 churches left the Presbyterian USA because of apostasy.

In 2014, the Presbyterian USA voted to accept practicing homosexuals into church membership and moved their headquarters to Sodom. With a branch office in Gomorrah.

Recent Iowa polls showed Trump running second to Carson and Trump was surprised at that and the fact he is second to Carson with evangelicals. Trump commented, "I match myself against just about everybody. I am a believer." He added that evangelicals "like me. I've gone to many meetings. We've had 28 of the great ministers last week. … And pastors from all over the country, and so many and they really — I've had a great relationship with Christianity, and frankly, I would say every bit as good as his." I hope Trump has a relationship with Christ, not Christianity; that is far more important than where he goes to church.

While I have major differences with Carson, I believe his testimony that he is a genuine Christian, not simply a church member. I am not confident that is true of Trump. I would like to hear an intrepid reporter (remember them) ask all candidates: “Was there a time in your life when you repented and placed faith in the death and resurrection Jesus Christ?” I won’t hold my breath.

When asked if he ever asked God for forgiveness, Trump replied, "When we go in church and when I drink my little wine ... and have my little cracker, I guess that's a form of asking for forgiveness." That is a flip, frivolous, false answer since real Christians know they commit sin daily if “only” the sins of arrogance, anger, or avarice. Plus, his frivolous reply displayed his lack of knowledge about and/or his lack of respect for the Lord’s Table or as some call it communion. Others incorrectly call it the Eucharist.

Additionally, Trump is uninformed as to what that “wine” and “little cracker” are all about. The Bible does not teach there is forgiveness in partaking in the memorial ceremony (of the death of Christ) but in preparing for the partaking of the “wine” and “little cracker” by repenting of sins before participation.

Carson is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and his critics have suggested that he is in conflict with his denomination since they have a record of being conscientious objectors to all war. The Adventists declared in 1865 that Christians should have “nothing to do with carnal instruments of war.” Due to this history, Adventists like Alexander Carpenter claim Carson “is not an authentic Adventist…The language of [Carson’s] support for guns is totally outside the rhetoric and beliefs of the Adventist church.” However, Carson has served as elder in his denomination so evidently the church leadership did not consider Carson a heretic.

Other Carson critics have brought up his teenage days of violence when he used bricks and bats in assaults; moreover he admitted that he tried to stab someone. Therefore, according to some, they asked if his anti-gun control beliefs make him “a fake.” No, it makes those asking the question a fraud. He trusted Christ and it changed his life. As an adult, he used a knife for better things than stabbing an opponent, like brain surgery!

No, one does not have to be a theologian to be President. Good thing because neither Trump nor Carson would have a prayer!

However, when Trump boasts about being a Presbyterian and puts down Carson’s Adventism, well, that’s like a skunk accusing a rabbit of having bad breath!

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Copyright ©2015

Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives; ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis, wrote columns for USA Today for eight years; authored 15 books, which can be purchased below, and hundreds of columns and articles for Internet and print media publications; defended his beliefs on hundreds of talk shows.

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