The Pied Piper of Obtuseness

by Micah Clark, Executive Director of the American Family Association

October 28, 2020
         Christian pastor and author John Piper is unquestionably a good man, and an influential leader in evangelical circles for many valid reasons, but political discernment apparently isn’t one of them.

         Piper recently wrote on his Desiring God blog, a very convoluted piece about voting in this election. It makes some of the strangest moral equivalencies and false dichotomies that I have ever read from a solid Christian leader.   It is clear that Piper doesn’t like Donald Trump’s personality, pride, arrogance, or bluster.  (Well, who does?)   Yet, Piper goes so far as to specifically place those character flaws on the same level as 60 million abortions since 1973 and the numerous other moral issues at stake this election.     

        Piper seems to completely miss that this election is not a battle of personalities, it is a battle of worldviews.  One worldview offers freedom of religion, the right to life, and free enterprise.  The other worldview is set to rapidly march toward a political belief system that was responsible for 120 million deaths last century.  

         Ironically, John Piper pastors in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Does he really think that those who set his city on fire did so mimicking Donald Trump’s pride?   Does he not know that these people are Marxist revolutionaries, not Trump protegees?    

         I respect Pastor Piper, but I think his article’s premise is fundamentally flawed.  Moreover, much of what he decries could have been applied to Barack Obama, LBJ or Richard Nixon, and perhaps Joe Biden too.   Additionally, there have been many polite, well-mannered politicians like perhaps Woodrow Wilson or Jimmy Carter, or modest judges who never once speak to the media, who did horrible things to America through their offices. 

         Almost all politicians have an above average ego and level of pride that drives them to run for office.  God used flawed persons who did good things (think of King David) throughout the Bible.   He never condoned their personal sins, but they are highlighted because of the good that they did in their leadership positions.  

         Character is important. I am not telling readers who to vote for or against, but as the head of a public policy organization, I urge you vote based upon substantive reasons.  There are certainly criminal things that should, and do, disqualify people for office, but once they are on the ballot and up for a vote, it is almost always their policies that will matter the most over time.  

          Without naming Piper, the Family Research Council addressed this mindset with this good quote in their daily email on Monday:

         “Character always matters, but if a completely virtuous person is not one of your choices, maybe the policies represented by one candidate are more virtuous than the policies of the other candidates… In a situation where all the candidates are flawed, we might be able to find clarity if we allow ourselves to think less about people involved and more about policies that will be affected… In addition, if there is no ‘best candidate,’ it may be helpful to think about the ‘best team.’ No politician works alone.”  ––Joseph Backholm’s “Myths of Christian Voting”