Dear Friends,
For most of the past decade our daughter has shared a small house in Washington, D.C. Hotels are expensive there and I am a cheapskate, so when we visit we stay with my wife’s cousin, who owns a spacious house up near the northern point of DC, almost in Maryland, right off Connecticut Avenue.

There’s a great bookstore on Connecticut called “Politics and Prose,” and a fun pizza joint called “Comet Ping Pong.” What’s better than a game of ping pong while you wait for your pizza? As I recall, my son placed his beverage on the end of the table while we played, and I spent the game trying to deposit a ping pong ball into his drink, or at least get it close enough to interfere with his return. Yeah, I’m like that.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Comet Ping Pong. On December 4, 2016, a man entered the restaurant with two guns, including an AR-15, which he fired. This was not random. He had driven up from North Carolina to “save the children,” because he believed Hillary Clinton and other Democrats were running a Satanic child sex ring out of Comet. Instead he found a hipster ping pong and pizza joint.

Later, the gunman admitted, “The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent.” His “intel” came from the alt-right. Strangely, instead of going away, the child abuse story continues to gain traction through the digital cult QAnon.

According to QAnon, Joe Biden, a noted pedophile, is a part of it. Donald Trump knows all about the child abuse operation and is going to bring it to light. (No one asks why he hasn’t done it yet.) He will save the children.

I wonder who in their right mind could believe such a story, but then there’s the guy who shot up Comet. Sadly, he wasn’t alone in his beliefs. Not everyone shouting “Lock her up” four years ago was thinking about an email server.

The lies continue. Coronavirus is either a hoax (which angers me, because I lost two treasured friends, Al Janssen and Gregg Mast, to this “hoax”) or a not-very-serious-flu that we’re overreacting to in an effort to hurt Trump’s chances for reelection (My friend Jona in Spain, whose mother died from COVID-19, doesn’t buy that it’s a US election thing). Besides, Coronavirus only hurts already sick people (my friend Brett, who was perfectly healthy before getting the disease and is now battling it in a hospital, has a different opinion).

When he’s not busy with pedophilia, Joe Biden is a puppet of far-left anarchists bent on destroying “normal” America by hurting the suburbs and hurting God. On and on it goes, and rather than distance himself, Donald Trump has repeated many of these claims, and his son, Donald Trump, Jr., has tweeted that Biden is a pedophile. The purpose of “Biden is a pedophile” (which I’ve seen on Facebook) is to create moral equivalency between Biden and Trump. The line of reasoning is, “Sure, Trump has his faults, but the other guy is a pedophile.” It’s an argument based on lies.

As the election approaches, I see well-meaning friends posting: “It doesn’t matter who you vote for but how you engage in the political process.” Sorry, but not this time. Normally, that would be me. I hate conflict. I just want us all to get along. Yet I believe it matters more in this election that any in my lifetime who you vote for. There simply is no equivalency between Biden and Trump.

There is moral equivalency on issues. It is possible for people of goodwill to disagree on the approach to various problems. You ask, “Are you for abortion?” I am not “for” abortion, but don’t think criminalization will eliminate it. Abortion rates continue to drop, and the drop is not related to state restrictions. That’s worth talking about and understanding the nuances of.

I’d love to hear substantive conversation on that and a host of issues. A debate would be a chance for that, but Trump doesn’t do nuance, and besides, the opening salvo on debates is the demand that Biden take a drug test. Trump’s approach to elections is consistent, he did the same thing in the 2016 primaries and the 2016 general that he’s doing now: bring the opposition down and roll around in the slime together.

There is no moral equivalency with our p****-grabbing, disability-mocking, porn-star-hush-money-paying, pathologically lying, upside-down-Bible-waving, climate-change-denying, ally-alienating, dictator-praising, racial-unrest-inciting, prisoners-of-war-are losers-insisting, Ghislaine Maxwell-well-wishing, I-could-stand-in-the-middle-of-5th-Avenue-and-shoot-somebody-and-I-wouldn’t-lose-voters-claiming, the-pandemic-will-magically-disappear-averring, very-fine-people-on-both-sides-in-Charlottesville-maintaining, brown-kids-in-cages-approving, how-do-I-get-added-to-Mount-Rushmore-asking, I-alone-can-fix-it-boasting, very-stable-genius-bragging, chaos-creating, angry greedy narcissist President. The man does not know right from wrong and his version of truth is simply whatever comes out of his mouth.

A non-believer I know recently asked, “How can Christians vote for an unmoral character like Trump?” When non-believers are calling Christians out on morality, there’s a problem. Remember in I Corinthians 5 when Paul heard reports of a man in the church living with his step-mother? He took the Corinthian church to task for tolerating what even non-believers wouldn’t tolerate.

Christians used to stand for high moral standards. What has happened? Stop defending the indefensible. Do what the President won’t do. Distance yourself from QAnon, white supremacy, authoritarianism, greed, and sleaze. Show the non-believing world you don’t stand for those things.

Perhaps you’ve seen the recent heartbreaking reports that show “the more racist attitudes a person holds, the more likely he or she is to identify as a white Christian.” That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

There is no moral equivalency in this election. I understand your belief that Trump is fighting for the things you believe in. But his allure is a Faustian deal with the devil. God doesn’t need Donald Trump’s help. Nobody died at Comet, but someone died in Charlottesville, and people have died in Kenosha. That’s where we’re heading, with our “law and order” president refusing to disavow vigilantes. He is playing to his base; a recent survey revealed only 20% of Republicans disagree with the statement: “A time will come when patriotic Americans have to take the law into their own hands.”

Please stand up and stop this. It doesn’t have to be this way. The goal of the Christian life is to be like Jesus, not control the White House. It’s not too late to change things.

Grace and Peace,
Jeff

Jeff Munroe

Jeff Munroe is a retired minister in the Reformed Church in America. He resides in Holland, Michigan.

43 Comments

  • Sue Poll says:

    Thank you, Jeff, for stating so eloquently what many of us are feeling.

  • Tom says:

    “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Matthew 7:1.

    “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:7.

    In your comments about the abortion issue, you acknowledge your willingness to compromise one of your own principles in order to advance other principles; until Jesus runs for president, that’s inevitable in choosing which box to check. Don’t be too quick to judge other peoples moral compromises as a “Faustian deal with the devil’, but your own as “understanding the nuances”.

  • Craig Heerema says:

    Thank you, Jeff. I couldn’t agree more. Now, how do you get this in front of the large percentage of evangelicals, including Reformed and Christian Reformed, that aren’t listening, paying attention, or are often aggressively promoting the opposite. This message needs to be coming from the leadership in Christian organizations. Denomination heads and faith based college presidents should be shouting this from roof tops. Instead its crickets.

  • Kim Van Es says:

    Thank you for articulating what so many of us feel.

  • Ann McGlothlin Weller says:

    If Christianity has any moral standing in the U.S. today, those of us who are believers need to speak against the immorality of this administration, its subverting of the law, the 20,000 lies of the president….and so much more. Thank you for your post.

  • Beth Jammal says:

    Right….., how does God dare to think He can use sinners for His purposes. Oops, He blew it when He called an adulterer and 1st degree murderer “a man after my own heart”.
    I’m so tired of all the judgements. Since when are we not allowed to vote our own conscience? Who do we need to ask who to vote for, if not God? You? Sorry, you seem to have an agenda.
    In a perfect world, I wish people would respect each other enough to let each vote their conscience between two imperfect candidates, without all the anger and judgement.
    Both sides will disagree with each other, that’s okay. It is the mercy of God through Jesus that unites us. That has to be front and center in our lives, including the election.

  • Rayetta says:

    Thank you, Jeff – grateful for your wisdom and words!

  • William Botts says:

    You hit the nail on the head. Thank you for your insightful words.

  • Stephen Staggs says:

    Amen!

  • John Kleinheksel says:

    Wow Jeff,
    How do you REALLY feel about this President?
    Some of the commentators think you’re being judgmental, wanting to impose your views on others.
    I read your comments as coming from you, giving us your point of view, hoping to influence especially white evangelical voters, to disavow this candidate.
    Nothing wrong with that now is there? And you are angry as a hornet, whose nest has been knocked over.
    I’ve just revised (and revised) an op-ed to the Sentinel I’ll want you to sign, along with many others. Peace to you in “retirement” my friend.

  • RLG says:

    Thanks, Jeff, for not mincing your words or thoughts. After reading this article, I think I know where you stand as to the upcoming presidential election. If we were just electing an individual, you make a strong point. But we’re voting for a party, Republican versus Democrat. Capitalism versus Socialism. For a person holding Republican values, to vote for Biden is to forsake his/her long held values and instead vote for socialism and a welfare state. For many, voting for Biden is to turn his/her back on the values that have made a great nation and the American dream. So just remember, you are voting for more than an individual.

    • Rowland Van Es, Jr. says:

      American Democrats are not Socialists and American Republicans only promote one form of Capitalism, there are others forms and mixtures around. Each party has a mix of policies in their platform. Look at what the Republicans used to stand for (before Reagan) and you get a lot Bidden and DNC.

      • RLG says:

        Thanks, Rowland. I was a little hesitant to call Democrats socialists. But when you consider Sanders campaigning on the Democratic ticket and a good share of Biden’s platform, Democrats are definitely socialist leaning. And again, as I suggested earlier, we are voting for a party (Democratic or Republican), as much or more so than an individual.

      • Mark B. says:

        Why do people feel like they must vote for the person at the top of the ticket if they are a Republican right now? You can vote Third Party for President, or not vote at all, and then choose Republican the rest of the way down the ballot. This is a year to think outside the box as a Republican. You can still vote in this election and keep your integrity as a Christian by not voting for 45. I completely agree with what you’ve said here, Jeff. 2020 calls for people to approach this differently, too much is at stake for our Democracy.

        • RLG says:

          Here’s the deal, Mark. It’s like the House has one vote, the Senate has another, and the president has another with his veto/approval powers. With the evident polarization, it’s pretty much the majority party that wins in the Senate or House. So if your are either a Republican or a Democrat you want a President that supports your party to carry the vote, especially if Congress is split between houses, as it is now. So it makes sense when voting for a president to vote along party lines, rather than for the individual candidate, like him or not. Hope that makes sense to you.

          • Mark B says:

            Thanks RBG. What you are asserting would be considered reasonable if it were any other year than 2020. I see the stakes of this election differently, and I worry for the long term implications of 4 more years of leadership under this administration for all of the reasons Jeff named, and more.

        • Stella says:

          Yes I agree!

    • CONNIE VANDYKE says:

      FIVE YEARS AGO I WOULD HAVE AGREED WITH YOU. I ALWAYS VOTED REPUBLICAN. BUT THIS POTUS IS NOT PROMOTING REPUBLICAN VALUES, UNLESS YOU AGREE THAT OVERRIDING THE COURTS TO RELEASE FRIENDS, LYING ABOUT COVID WITH 200,000 DEATHS, AND BULLYING ANYONE WHO DARES TO CHALLENGE HIM IS REPUBLICAN. IF IT IS, I WILL NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN AGAIN!

      AND I AM VERY AFRAID THAT IF TRUMP WINS IN NOVEMBER, I WILL NEVER HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE AGAIN. HE WILL ASSUME THE “THRONE” AND REFUSE TO LEAVE.

    • Danger Mouse says:

      I take exception to “Capitalism versus Socialism.” That’s not it at all. It’s Democratic versus Fascism and moral decay. Capitalism puts more emphasis on money than on humanity, and while it may make the growth of a nation spurt, it is not an ever-expanding principle – especially now, when money is the sole focus of our current politics. For me, I focus on justice and voice for the poor as Jesus taught.

  • Rowland Van Es, Jr. says:

    I feel your pain and sadness and frustration. I recommend the new Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” to explain how people could believe a pedophile ring was operating out of Comet Pizza. As for #45, a clip from Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump has a PhD from John Hopkins documenting his dementia. You can watch it here at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5axgsXtwHMc

    • john c gras says:

      I agree president Trump embarresses me and his age has certainly affected him but do you really believe Biden would be better? He seems to have more cognitive problems than Trump. I think they are both too old and that is why we should have an age limit on all puplic offices anyone who thinks most 70 and 80 year olds are as mentaly sharp as a much younger person is probably 70 or 80 years old. But the real issues I believe are the divisiveness that is being pushed to divide the country who is calling to defund the police who is promoting rioting , you can’t really believe that our media is not biased against conservitive people, And our puplic schools and universities sure seem to teach differently than they did when I was younger.The hate I see seems to be on the left more than the right .And what about the movies and music that we are being provided ,the sex and profanity coming from the entertainment world should make us ashamed.Trump and Biden are both very flawed men but I pray God will have mercy on this country and He will put the man in office that he chooses either to bless us I hope, or maybe to punish us…..what do we deserve?

  • Judy VW says:

    Amen. Well said, Beth. “Both sides will disagree with each other, that’s okay. It’s the mercy of God through Jesus that unites us.”

  • Jeanne Engelhard says:

    AMEN!!!

  • Ron Calsbeek says:

    Thank you for speaking truths that need to be heard.

  • David Hoff says:

    Jeff: Thank you for articulating this so well. I hope people understand and internalize your message.

  • Judie Zoerhof says:

    As I grew up in CRC, Holland, I understand the concept of not compromising your beliefs. For example, if you don’t believe in abortion, OK, good. But Jeff Munroe is correct. There is more to the discussion. I think our two party is system is great. We need that balance. However right now we are so seriously out of balance it frightens me. The current administration is dividing us even as faith based people. I grieve that divisiveness and I cannot condone the immoral reality TV personality who thrives on attention. Thank you, Mr. Monroe. You wrote my perspective.

  • Harris says:

    Reciting all the evils of the President actually does not help since supporters will not recognize the critique (they after all have their take on the same incidents), and more importantly it blinds by stopping us from seeing the other. The fact is that whether D or R most of us will vote the way we usually do, for the party we always have. Of course we will have our reasons or warrants, but those exist as secondary functions, as explanations; my dear in-laws will vote R gladly. So the question that actually lurks around is how we re-knit our relationships, what do we do to reconnect, rebuild.

  • Doug Vande Griend says:

    Bill Harris (“Harris”) is quite right. Articles like this, which imply that those who vote other than as the article author morally demands, don’t really accomplish anything that is constructive, but they do accomplish a bit that is destructive.

  • RLG says:

    I think both Harris and Doug make good points. I listen to both NBC and Fox for news. It seems that the daily news is like reading the Bible. It is subject to interpretation, and you get many interpretations. Fox and NBC both have their own interpretation of the facts very different from each other. Again it makes sense to choose your political party wisely, according to your values, and vote by party, not the individual. Neither seems stellar to me.

  • Mark R Zietse says:

    Thank you Jeff, but as you can see no matter from some of the comments, no matter what trump does or says or who he harms, some people don’t see him as any different than the other candidate. There has never been anybody more corrupt but supposedly the other candidate is just as bad? Based on?

  • Cal says:

    What I don’t like about Trump is his “name-calling”and certainty that he’s right.
    What I didn’t like about the article is the (Oops) same thing.

  • Gary A VanHouten says:

    Thank you, Jeff Munroe! My sentiments exactly. “It doesn’t have to be this way,” and, “it’s not too late to change things.” Hoping you’re prophetic.

  • Jack Ridl says:

    Thank you, Jeff. Just as Jesus did, you spoke truth to power. Democrats are socialists is hilarious. Sadly Christian Republicans being capitalists is not exactly riding on a donkey.

  • Ken Knipp says:

    Thank you, Jeff. I very much agree!

  • Kristi says:

    I can understand your feelings about President Trump. You have every right to them, and quite honestly I don’t know that I can vote for him myself. What I don’t understand is the “Trump is bad, so vote LEFT” leap. If you call yourself a Democrat and that’s the party you want to support fine, but asserting that we should condemn (hate is what I honestly hear on the edge of many people’s voices) Trump and therefore Biden is the good choice, makes no sense to me. People can choose to vote, where possible, for the candidates they believe in and leave sections without a viable choice blank. For president there are also 3rd party nominees, or we can write in our favorite pastor for lack of better options. Regarding the alt right wackos, there are alt left wackos too. We need to practice discernment and rely on the Holy Spirit with EVERYTHING we read and view!

  • Sharon says:

    The paragraph which begins with “There is no moral equivalency…” and then enters into a tirade of name calling negates the entire premise of this article in my opinion. Sad that the denomination is promoting one person’s political views. Not representative of all members of the RCA!

  • Given that no one is either all right, or all wrong… the truth is that everyone’s position is right, but partially right. Here is a wonderfully articulated view from Brian McLaren. Long, but well worth the read. https://brianmclaren.net/dear-white-christian-pro-life-friends-1-4-compiled/. As for me, I’m pro-life and pro-choice. Both/and. Further, I’m after a post-progressive worldview that integrates the best of the traditional with the best of the progressive, while eschewing the worst of both. Perspectives. Let’s continue to engage in civil discourse, always asking WWJD? Additionally, the sign in front of our home reads PLEASE VOTE FOR MOTHER EARTH. I shall.

  • PVM says:

    Thanks Jeff, but no thanks. If the RCA is truly in alignment with your viewpoint, then it’s time for us to leave the RCA.

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