Why I Voted for Hillary Clinton

This year has been particularly odd for me. Frustrated with Arminian bloggers who don't blog about Arminian theology, while they whine about the spread of Calvinism by zealous Calvinist bloggers, I decide to abandon my nine-year blogging on Arminius, the Remonstrants, and Arminian theology in lieu of entering the fray of social ethics, religion, and politics -- not, however, without first experiencing my own paradigm shift politically, religiously, and philosophically. What does this have to do with Hillary?

Before I could begin to think about voting for Hillary Clinton, or any other Democratic candidate, I had to first wrestle philosophically with my upbringing. Having been taught by conservative evangelicals that voting Republican -- no matter how vile the candidate, obviously, given the advent of Trump -- was the Christian way to vote, I first had to struggle with the ensuing fear and doubt that accompanied challenging such a narrative, a narrative that was well-ingrained in my psyche. Could I break free?

However, having weighed the slimy and ungodliness of Trump with all that Jesus teaches in Matthew 5-7, Trump could in no sense be a viable candidate, in my opinion, for any God-fearing Christian. Granted, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Franklin Graham, Gary Bauer, James Dobson, Eric Metaxes, Ben Carson, James Robinson and a host of other conservative evangelicals differ, but the Jesus of Matthew 5-7 no more reflects the worldview of Donald J. Trump than does the kingdom of darkness and the Host of that realm.

When I was in college, in 2008 in North Carolina, I registered to vote in that state so that I could vote in the primaries for Hillary Clinton. The reasons I liked her then are the same reasons I like her now. She is a natural-born leader. Is she perfect? Of course not! No one is perfect except for Christ. But here is the primary difference between the flaws and errors of Hillary Clinton and those of Donald Trump: she has embraced and owned her mistakes; Trump, in his mind, has never committed any mistakes. His various cognitive distortions, warped sexual deviancy, temperament and world-sized narcissism are his undoing. He has not a clue how to run a country; and, from all evidence, neither do those advising him.

More importantly, not only can I not vote for a candidate such as Trump, Hillary Clinton has given me plenty of reasons to vote for her. I did not vote for Hillary because of Trump. She has been my pick since 2008. Any cursory read of her Issues page tells the story of why I voted for her. I discovered this Summer that I am in agreement with her policies at a rate of 92 percent. One issue of concern for me has been equal rights for LGBTQ persons. Someone may argue: "Well, she wasn't always for gay rights." My response: "Well, neither was I." Being raised in conservative evangelicalism, I learned not only to hate myself, but also to fight against equal rights for those within the LGBTQ context. Can you imagine? On what basis can we deny equal rights to LGBTQ persons? Jesus certainly doesn't reject these humans.

Let's compare her record on fighting for equal rights among the LGBTQ community with that of Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence. What has Donald ever done for LGBTQ people? During the Orlando massacre, Trump stated at a rally, "The Gays love me." Well, Donald, the Orlando massacre wasn't about you! He turned a national tragedy, the worst massacre of our nation's history, and made it about him -- "the gays" love Donald. Well, no, "the gays" don't love Trump; and they certainly don't love Trump's running mate. Mike Pence, in lieu of funding HIV prevention, voted instead to spend money on gay conversion therapy. (link) Mike Pence signed a bill to jail same-sex couples who applied for a license to wed. (link) Mike Pence complained about the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes bill, served on the anti-LGBTQ board of the Indiana Family Institute, opposed the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and voted against protecting LGBTQ people in the workplace. (link) No, "the gays" do not love you, Trump and Pence -- and, for that matter, the GOP who embraces, affirms, and supports all such injustice.

At the mention of equal rights, what of the rights of all women, demanding equal pay for equal work? Hillary states: "Too often, these are called women's issues. Well, I am a proud lifelong fighter for women's issues, because I firmly believe what's good for women is good for America." (link) Given my theology and philosophy regarding egalitarianism -- that men and women are equal in the sight of God and in the functioning of the home, church, and society -- Hillary is the perfect choice. She is determined to fight for paid leave, quality and affordable childcare, and confronting head-on violence against women.



Someone may argue: "But what of how she treated those women who charged her husband of sexual assault?" Well, during the early stages, before Bill Clinton confessed to some of his affairs, she had every right to challenge and confront those women, since she believed that Bill was innocent. Yes, she confronted those women, because she is a fighter -- a good and strong leader. However, when Bill finally confessed to his affair with Monica Lewinsky, she admitted that all she wanted to do was hide under the covers and have a breakdown. She was betrayed and humiliated. But she handled the humility with grace and dignity. We will not excuse Bill for his infidelities. But we can praise Hillary for moving on.

Hillary is not merely a fighter for LGBTQ equality, and equality for women, but equality for all people, period: "If we stand with each other now, we can build a future where no one is left out or left behind, and everyone can share in the promise of America -- which is big enough for everyone, not to be reserved for a few." (link) She wants what I want: social justice, social ethics, unity in diversity. We respect people of all nationalities and religions and non-religions -- we respect them because they are created in the image of God! Gay people, transgenders, Hispanics, Cubans, Asians, Africans, Indians, of whatever color and whatever philosophy -- all are human beings and we will fight for the rights of all people.

Hillary thinks that "outrageous" is the appropriate word to describe multi-millionaires and billionaires being allowed to "play by a different set of rules than hardworking families, especially when it comes to paying their fair share of taxes." She is calling for a fair tax system. (link) She cares deeply about the environment, national security, economy and jobs, healthcare, education, small businesses, voting rights, veterans and our military, immigration reform, and poverty. (link) If you challenge me on healthcare by interjecting the subject of abortion then I will remind you that 20 years of Republican presidents did not overturn Roe v Wade, that no sitting president can accomplish such a feat, and that a president is not a king. I realize Donald J. Trump thinks he will defund Planned Parenthood, and criminalize abortion, but his astronomical narcissism fails and betrays his cognitive abilities if he thinks he can act like a king.

This election is a milestone for me: it means that I am, finally, done with allowing conservative evangelicals to bully and manipulate me into a fear-induced fiction that Jesus is a Republican and God will judge this nation for its attempt at honoring all people, of whatever race, color or creed; it means that I have, finally, allowed myself to think for myself without spiritual and emotional and psychological hucksters like Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr., Eric Metaxes, Ben Carson, and Al Mohler informing me how I ought to think and believe and vote. Jesus never called these men to wage a cultural war in the first place. That they have, largely, lost that war is on them. Jesus had nothing to do with it.

Moreover, while the likes of Franklin Graham and others will suggest that God is going to give us either a blessing (Trump) or a curse (Clinton), I will highlight and live by this passage: "They made kings, but not through me; they set up princes, but without my [approval]." (Hos. 8:4) In other words, God is not sitting in heaven and appointing this or that leader, but allows us to render our own decisions as God governs the world according to God's plan for the ages. For some of you, this may all seem rather insignificant, but for me this is a new day that has dawned. My hope is for a better world, more love, and more unity. From my perspective, there was only one choice toward that goal, and that was electing Hillary Clinton.

ABOUT WILLIAM BIRCH

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My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.